Looking for a bird at Fort DeSoto – Skywatch Friday

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Not the bird I was looking for. This osprey right next to the boat ramp did not want me to steal his fish.

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This could have been the bird I was looking for but as he got closer I realized it wasn’t a great cormorant but just an ordinary double crested cormorant. This one flew over my head and was full of fishing wire.

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Downtown St. Petersburg from the boat ramp.

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Still not the bird I was looking for, this spotted sandpiper was trying to hide in the weeds that had floated up on the beach.

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No great cormorant on this side of the park. Only shorebirds and gulls.

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Maybe he hitched a ride on one of these boats.

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Back in mid-December I had heard there was a rare great cormorant hanging around the boat ramp at Fort Desoto. This would have been a first for me so I finally made it down to the park after work on the night before Thanksgiving. It had been raining for days and it was nice to see blue skies again. This was my first of 3 trips looking for this silly bird with no luck. Hopefully he will show up when I least expect it.

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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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Shhh! It’s a secret – Skywatch Friday

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Don’t tell anybody but I’m about to show you one of my favorite secret places to spend an afternoon vegging out. We park in the grass and walk along one of the many almost hidden trails. That’s hubby way ahead of me. It looks really far but it’s only about a 5 minute walk to the beach from the car.

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As we get closer to the beach you can see the sand dunes.

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I took this panorama while standing on the edge of the water. It was early in the morning so there weren’t too many people there yet. The water was perfect.

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Clouds were starting to roll in on the land side but we still had sun all morning.

A short video of the waves lapping but the wind is loud. It was pretty windy that morning which was nice. It kept it from being so hot.

Fort Desoto is a huge park. There are some areas that get miserably crowded and some areas that stay quiet if you know where to look. Most people go to the main parking lots and go out to the beach from there. Most of those areas have lifeguards so it’s best to be there if you have kids. We found a spot that’s not near a main parking lot. It’s usually pretty quiet except for big holiday weekends (we stay home on those weekends anyway). The sand is perfect. The water is usually perfect. Unless a bad storm has just come through, the water is clear. I can sit in my beach chair and read my book while hubby takes a nap. We go in swimming a lot but here you have to do the stingray shuffle. There are a lot of stingrays that hang out in this area so you have to shuffle your feet to scare them away when you walk in the water.

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