I was heading down to Fort Desoto in mid-April hoping to see some migrating songbirds as they stop over for a rest before heading north for the summer. It had rained days earlier and the day after the rain had some good fall out but I had to work that day. There might have been some stragglers still hanging out so I was hopeful. On the way into the park I saw some frigatebirds cruising along a pond so I pulled over and shot these as they kept going.
After walking around the usual spots for the birds for several hours, this is what I got. A lone bright yellow house finch was hanging around the bird feeder at the ranger’s house. I usually only see red house finches so the yellow threw me off.
I also found a black and white warbler but those are pretty common here.
I could at least enjoy the view as I was walking around. Not a bad spot to spend the morning out.
All of these dead trees are invasive Australian pine trees so the park killed them off to return the park to it’s natural state. It’s a tough pill to swallow when these trees use to be filled with migrating birds for so many years. I’m not sure if that is why we’ve seen less birds in the park for the last two years.
Wild things growing on my walk down the trail at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Pete in the beginning of September. Not a lot of wildlife then but they have great trails to walk on.
Some areas have a lot of dead trees and some areas looked just like you were standing in the middle of Florida. Lots of moss growing on the trees. There were very few people out on the trails. Not sure if it’s because it was so hot and humid or if people were still just staying at home. This is the place to be if you wanted to get out. The trails are wide and there’s a lot of them.
Cool new statue up in the tree by the nature center.
The view of downtown St. Pete from the trail. Typical morning of clouds moving in before lunch so the skies were overcast when I took this.
Out on the nature trail at Honeymoon Island, there had been a prescribed burn recently. I didn’t see a date on the sign but green was already starting to sprout.
There are a lot of dead trees all along the trail now. The pine trees seem to dying quickly. This trail use to be shady but now it’s mostly in the sun (although there wasn’t much sun the morning I was there).
I saw very few osprey. Years ago I would walk down the trail and see 20 to 30 osprey. Most of the nests were gone as well. They should change the name of the trail from Osprey trail to Dead Tree trail.
There was still a lot of color though. It was a quiet day. No sign of the eagles or owls. Only the 3 osprey I saw and a few catbirds. Maybe I just hit it on a tough day.
Over the years Honeymoon Island state park has had many controlled burns on the trail. It keeps the area from over growing and keeps uncontrolled fires from getting out of hand such as a lightning strike. Most of the trees grow back but a few of them along the trail are dead. They leave the trees up to keep the park in a natural state. Many of the dead trees have osprey, owl or woodpecker nests. It gives the park a different eery feel.
At the same park is a beautiful beach. The morning I was there in late January it was cloudy and windy. The beach was almost empty except for a few shell collectors. It was fun to see the beach in a different light.
It was too windy and choppy to kayak. They were all stacked up waiting for a sunny day.
Even a dark, cloudy, windy, cold morning at the beach is still a great morning.