Shhh! It’s a secret – Skywatch Friday

trail shot

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.

oats shot

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

wide shot

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.

cloud photo

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

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.

July visitors to the backyard


I came home one Saturday afternoon and saw these juvenile house sparrows eating the weeds in front of the dining room window. The bird seed that has spilled out of the feeder had taken root and we left them to grow for now.


They were having a feast. I went and grabbed my camera.


He saw me taking the pictures through window. He flinched for a second but didn’t leave. They stripped the weed down to nothing.


Probably the parent, watching from the boat dock.


I noticed this dove on our new palm tree. It was eyeing that lizard climbing up behind him. Taken through the door and the screened porch.


Looking out the window, I saw a black racer going across the backyard. I hadn’t seen one in a while.


The next day I came home after work and went to get a package on the front porch and saw this snake with his head down a hole next to the sidewalk. It wasn’t moving so I wondered if it had gotten his head stuck earlier that day and died. I threw a piece of mulch at it and it didn’t move. Later I came back out and he was gone so I guess he was just focusing on whatever critter he was trying to get.

sky with birds photo

I went to take the garbage out and dark clouds were moving in. A big flock of crows started flying right over the house.

sky pix

I haven’t been too good with getting storm shots this summer. Things have been crazy at work and I keep forgetting to stop and pay attention to the sky.  One was moving towards our house the night I took this with my iphone in July.

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.
 Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday