Sunshine Skyway bridge – Skywatch Friday

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Wood stork hanging out in the water.

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He gave me a glance and then went back to checking out the water for food.

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Terns and a gull knee-deep in the water.

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Taking a bath.

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Taken with my wide-angle lens. The birds were lined up on the beach in front of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

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Farther back, the bridge off in the distance.

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Taken from in the water, the sky looks bluer here than the picture above.

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This was a panorama taken with my phone. You can just barely see the bridge in the distance. This is the view from the East Beach turnaround.

I headed out to Fort Desoto in late September. It was a beautiful morning. Luckily I had my wide-angle lens in the car because there wasn’t a lot of birds around. The clouds were beautiful against the blue sky and the rain held out until much later in the afternoon. By then I was napping on the couch.

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Storms coming to Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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Up at the north beach lagoon, he was trying to get bait fish.

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With no success in the lagoon, he went over to the gulf. I never did see him catch anything. I don’t know if his form is bad or not.

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Sea oats into the sun.

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Trying to nap before the tourists hit the beach.

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A manatee was swimming by the fishing pier.

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Skimmers were still grabbing the bait fish in the water.

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Jim was walking around the snack shop to try to get a better angle on the storm coming in.

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Clouds were moving in. At least the wind was cooling things off.

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Storm across the water.

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Up in the sky.

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Looking back from the end of the fishing pier. The storm was coming in from the right.

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The tide was low and the threat of rain kept the beach empty (well, almost empty).

My morning in late August started out sunny. The two days before were stormy so I thought I would have been rained out. I headed out anyway thinking I could work on my storm shots if it rained. The clouds started rolling in right before lunch. The beach cleared out after a few sprinkles hit. It only sprinkled for a few minutes at first so I continued to walk around. I could see the heavy rain heading right for the pier so I headed back to my car just before the bottom fell out. Not many birds out but also not a lot of people so it was just nice to be out for the morning.

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Birds flying high – Skywatch Friday

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The adult skimmers usually don’t get much attention since their little babies are so cute. Everyone is taking pictures of the babies running around. I think that feather he has in his beak is a laughing gull feather.

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Skimmers high up in the sky. They are constantly chasing after each other. I’m not sure if they are fighting over something, territory or a mate? Or are they are flirting?

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They fly really fast in circles.

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I love the way their tail feathers fan out. Perfect form.

DSC_3439Skimming for fish right before sunset.

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Ibis were also looking for food right before the sun went down.

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It’s amazing how much the sky changes in the hour I’m out on the beach before sunset. You could see the rain out in the gulf but it never made it on shore. I think the risk of rain had sent most people home for the night. It really cooled down when those big rain clouds came close. Luckily, there was no lightning or thunder. Otherwise, I’d be home as well.

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A walk on a new bridge – Skywatch Friday

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There’s a new walking and biking bridge in town. They built a pedestrian bridge on the Courtney Campbell Causeway next to the car bridge. The causeway connects Tampa to Clearwater. I stopped for a walk after work. It was around 6:30pm but was getting dark from the storm clouds moving in.

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You could see it raining over across the bay towards south Tampa. I didn’t see any lightning.

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Zooming in on Tampa from the top of the bridge. This is extremely cropped.

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It’s not a long bridge. I walked across it twice in about 40 minutes. It was starting to thunder so I headed home.

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Before pulling out at the end of the causeway, I turned around and took this. Not much of a view of the sun.  At least the clouds kept it cooler and there was a strong wind. It was a nice walk after work and I didn’t have to drive out of my way to get there.

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Safety Harbor fishing pier – Skywatch Friday

Hardly anyone on the pier. It was such a beautiful day. Where was everyone?

The day started out cloudy. But then the sun started peeking out.

Such a perfect view!

Surprise! A rare horned grebe floats up to the pier.

The manatees are back early this year. They usually don't show up at this pier until late March. In the summer, you can always see manatees around the pier.

Hey lady, gimmi a kiss!
Safety Harbor, a small little part of the Tampa bay area, is one of my favorite pit stops. Actually, the fishing pier is. The town sits on the water in  the upper Tampa bay, north of all 3 bridges (Gandy, Howard Franklin and Courtney Campbell) that cross the bay from Pinellas County to Hillsborough County. Unless there is an event going on at the little marina, I can always find a good parking spot and it’s free. Most of the time there are pelicans and shorebirds flying around or digging around in the sand. In the warm months you can always see manatees swimming around the pier.  When the time changes and it’s light outside after work, I sometimes stop by for a quick walk along the pier just to de-stress.  Usually just to take a deep breath before heading to do battle at the grocery store. On a recent Saturday morning I stopped there on the way home from checking on the baby owls. It turned out to be a perfect morning.
 
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