Rain or sun?

I wanted to get out of the house on a Sunday early evening so I headed over to the Courtney Campbell Causeway walking trail. When I got out of the car, there were 3 spoonbills feeding right along the trail. I was wishing I had my long lens but I was traveling light so shot the above with my phone.

Halfway across I could see a storm coming into the bay so I was walking pretty fast.

Almost back to my car and the storms moved over near my neighborhood.

I made it to sunset without getting rained on. The sun peaked out right before it went down. Over to the right, I could see it raining in my neighborhood.

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‘Oh, say can you see” 🎵

Brett and I spent most of the 4th of July on the couch watching movies. It rained most of the afternoon but then after dinner the clouds started to part so I headed over to the Courtney Campbell Causeway to check out the fireworks. We get a lot of them in our neighborhood but they are very sporadic so it’s hard to get pictures of them. Most of the big city fireworks were canceled due to the virus but I knew there would people setting them off on their own on the causeway. I started off in an office building parking deck thinking I could see them all around but quickly realized they were too far away and hopped back in the car to head to the middle of it all.

The above were taken in the boat ramp parking lot.  I was actually too close so I walked out on the small beach to move farther away.

Out on the beach, I could see lots of them going off and liked the reflection of color on the water. I stayed on the little beach (mostly rocks on the sand) for a while. I was away from the crowds and had bug spray on so I was in a good spot.

Above I zoomed out and you could see the fireworks over in the far left that were going off over my neighborhood. Cops were coming around right before 10pm and were closing the boat ramp and trying to get the crowds of people to go home. No one really should have been partying on the causeway but people were ready to get out with friends. I had my mask on and stayed away from everyone and headed home after taking the above.

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Walking along the water.

I found a spot close to home that I could get out and go for a walk after work. There were a few parking spots close by and on a weekday night there were spots open. It was already hot in early May and that sun was bright at 6pm. I found some ruddy turnstones hanging out in the rocks next to the sidewalk.

Walking along the causeway, looking first towards Tampa and then towards Clearwater.

From the spot I stopped to turn around, you can barely see the Tampa skyline.

This was a good spot for a couple of weeks when there wasn’t many other places to go or the ones that were open were packed with people. Only a few people on bikes whizzing by. And a few dolphins swimming by.

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Clearwater sights

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I took my sisters over to the beach for a walk before lunch. We walked around the marina and stopped in some of the gift shops there.

Later on that day we walked on the causeway from Clearwater to Tampa and watched the sun go down before heading home for dinner.

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Storm moving in on Tampa Bay

These were all taken with my phone on my walk across the pedestrian bridge across north Tampa Bay. It was late afternoon on a Sunday.  I was lucky the storm didn’t really move directly towards the bridge and I got a long walk in.  The sun was out on the other side of the bridge. Little disappointed there was no rainbow.

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A first for me

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The week after Thanksgiving I had read that a single American avocet had been seen at a small beach on the causeway near my house. I meant to get over there right away but it was a busy time and I forgot.  A week later I stopped on the beach to see if the bird was still there. The tide was low and there were a ton of laughing gulls so I thought I would have to spend some time looking through all of them. Right when I got out of the car I saw a guy laying on the beach taking pictures of a bird off by itself that was sleeping.  I sat on the sand for a few minutes watching the avocet sleep. Then some people walked by and it woke up the bird. Eventually, the avocet started moving around. I only stayed for half an hour and took tons of pictures but it was worth the stop. It’s rare for avocets to be on our side of the state and they don’t stay for longer than a day. If someone reports one being spotted at Fort Desoto, if you’re not there in an hour, it’s gone so after years of missing them, I finally got to see one.

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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Blurry ducks (two lifer sightings) and a sunset – Skywatch Friday

My first common loon. I’ve been seeing these guys floating out in the bay from very far away but I wasn’t sure if they were really loons. They just looked like little black blobs floating. As I was driving on the access road along the causeway, looking for the long tailed duck, I saw this guy floating close to the causeway. It was the first time I had seen one that close. Of course, I took this picture right into the sun but I was excited to see a new bird.

Early on Saturday morning, right after I saw the loon, I came across this group of cormorants floating together out in the bay. At first glance, I thought it was a big log or something floating along. Then when I held my camera up and zoomed in I realized it was a flock of birds. They seemed to be in a hurry swimming across the bay.

Still looking for the long tailed duck, I see this duck swimming alone in the waves. I can’t tell what it is all curled up like that.

She looks up! It’s a female lesser scaup. She was all alone.

Finally, after work I find the long tailed duck. I started seeing posts on the Florida Bird Brains forum about this rare duck around 2/21. It took me a couple of days to get out there and two trips to find it. It was very far out when I first got there and could barely see it. I looked it up before I headed out so I would know what to look for. At first I thought I would not be able to even get a remote picture of it but then it took off and started flying towards the causeway. He headed west of me so the above it still very far away and heavily cropped. It was a lifer for me and I may not ever see one of these again so I kept this one. I’m going to try to look for it again though.

It started to get dark so after seeing the long tailed duck I head home. The above view was in my rear view mirror so I pulled off on the access road and snapped a few shots of the sun going down. This will be my view home from work until the time changes.

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