Two parks in early April

Heading out to Chesnut Park in early April. There was hardly anyone there but someone had come before me laying bird seed along the boardwalk.

I didn’t see where this crow got this egg. He stopped in the tree right in front of me. It could be a turtle egg.

I saw this little sparrow deep in the bushes along the boardwalk. I was hoping it was something rare but realized it was just a chipping sparrow. Not rare but not extremely common here.

Dragonflies are everywhere now.

I was watching this guy skiing back and forth across the lake. Looks like a fun way to do social distancing.

Enjoying the quiet morning but since this park was open it started to get crowded pretty quickly. I left by 9:30 and headed to Possum Branch Preserve.

Almost no one here at the reserve. Not many birds either.

The sora rail was still here a few weeks after I first saw him.

A beautiful morning for a walk.

SkyWatch Friday

Breakfast on the trail.

Everyone was eating breakfast along the trail.

Some of the birds were eating the seeds from the bitter melon (or balsom pear).

A few usuals along the trail.

A scruffy looking pine warbler trying to hide in the bushes.

A snail kite across the marsh. He had been diving down getting snails to eat but he was so far away I couldn’t get a clear shot of him moving.

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Ballast Point

I found some older picture that I took with my phone from the fishing pier at Ballast Point park in south Tampa.

Taken back in the summer, I had stopped for a quick walk before meeting Brett for dinner after work.

Dark clouds were moving in and you could barely make out the Tampa skyline across the bay.

Of course I shot one of the crow with the missing foot sitting on the end of the dock. He came pretty close. I think he was looking for a handout.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Dolphins doing zoomies.

It’s not easy getting close up shots of dolphins at the fishing pier. They pop up at random places and move so fast that they are gone before you can get your lens focused. If the light is bad and the water is dark, it’s hard to see them coming up. On a recent Saturday morning, the light was good and I could see them coming up fairly early. They were doing zoomies towards the pier since the bait fish were thick right under the pier. They were filling up on tiny appetizers.

A beautiful sunny morning, taken with my phone.

The usual birds were finding snacks.

I had stopped by the fishing pier at Fort Desoto before heading home to see if “Harry” the hybrid (great blue heron/great egret) was hanging around. He was still there in his usual spot but I got distracted by the dolphins and ended up leaving an hour later.

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.