Alone on the beach.

A few of the usual birds at Fort Desoto including a crow with an apple, a loggerhead shrike and our favorite hybrid great blue heron/great egret.

It’s rare to see the ghost crabs out of their holes. They are pretty skittish.

Heading into Tampa bay.

A quiet morning on the beach. Very few people here. This was the Saturday before Hurricane Dorian was headed our way. On this morning it was forecasted to head straight across the state and hit us on Monday so many people had canceled their vacation plans. Little did we know at this point it would stall over the Bahamas and then head north.

A phone pano of the north beach tip.

SkyWatch Friday

In the backyard this spring.

Some of the sightings in our backyard this past spring. A crow gathering nesting material. The last time I saw our neighborhood kingfisher before he headed back north was in early April, Hooded mergansers were a common sight but they leave in early spring as well. A starling looking for bugs.

One morning as I was leaving for work I saw these robins in my neighbor’s driveway. Luckily I had my camera with the long lens in my car and snapped these out of the car window before leaving.

A creepy caterpiller on my car in the garage. I think this is a Sycamore Tussock moth. While it’s doesn’t sting, the fur could cause hives. I’ve read it’s best not to touch prickly caterpillers.

Things in the sky including this fireball that appeared when the sun started peaking out of the clouds after a storm right before sunset in the backyard.

 

  

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Birds on the beach during red tide

There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.

A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.

Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.

Royal terns in the air.

The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.

Still a beautiful day out at Fort Desoto.

Watching baby grow up at work

We have an osprey nest in our parking lot at work. Every morning and evening for weeks I watched the osprey parent sitting on the nest. Finally, on May 16th, I saw a head pop up. The baby was finally visible to see from my car. Later I would find out there were 2 babies but on this day I only saw the one head.

The parent took off. The other parent was close by on another light post.

The fish crows were relentless this year. They were driving the parents crazy, buzzing close to the nest and chasing after them as they come into the nest with a fish.

Mom finally settled down to feed the baby. I kept my camera in the car for several weeks so I have more pictures of the babies growing up to post later.

Some new things at the Botanical Gardens

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I think these are both a 5 stripe skink. This is the first time I’ve been able to get a shot of one. The top one is a juvenile and the bottom is an adult male.

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Tiny critters in the butterfly garden.

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My first hummingbird moth sighting. He was tiny and fast. He buzzed in for a few seconds next to a butterfly I was taking a picture of and then he was gone over the bushes. I looked for him for a long time with no luck. At least I got the blurry shots above. These guys are really cool.

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Soft shell turtle near the pond.

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Turtle on the lily pad.

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Juvenile osprey that grew up in a nest on the utility pole.  All three were born this past winter and were just starting to fly around.

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Not many birds at the gardens in late June. Just the above.

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At the fishing pier

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These two female red breasted mergansers are still hanging around the fishing pier. They should be north for the summer by now.

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A ruddy turnstone on the rocks.

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A royal tern brings her a fish. Since she’s eating it, I guess they are an official couple.

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The laughing gulls are pretty this time of year.

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Having a conversation about something. All of the gulls are pairing up.

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The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.

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Two baby osprey on the smokestack tower nest.

 

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Someone got their snack stolen. Or maybe, the bird is being paid to advertise.

Saturday morning at Fort Desoto.

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