Summer storms in the morning.

I realized why there wasn’t any little birds around the firebushes early one Saturday morning at Crescent Lake park. A hawk was keeping watch.

You can usually see monk parakeets hanging around the ball park there.

No birds but plenty of moths.

This dog looked bored when I was taking his picture. He was standing guard while his human was fishing.

Starlings are everywhere.

I got all the way across the lake from my car and it started raining. Luckily I had thrown my tiny umbrella in my backpack so I stood under a tree for a few minutes hoping it stop quickly. It was raining on one side of the park and the sun was on the other side. After 15 minutes I just walked back to my car and was soaked from the waist down.Typical Florida weather. By the time I got to my car the rain had stopped so I decided to head over to the North Shore beach park in nearby downtown St. Pete before heading home.

When I got out of the the car there were a few parakeets eating on the ground in front of me. They were chomping on the ground covering.

Meanwhile, this squirrel had found a piece of pizza in the garbage can, probably left over from last night’s picnic. He seemed pleased with himself.

There were still storms out in the bay so I headed home for lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

Killing time at the feeders

You can always find a carolina wren at the nature center.

 

Little critters buzzing around the flowers near the feeders at the nature center.

A bunny hops by.

I made a new friend sitting on the boardwalk waiting for the hummingbirds to show up.

A few four-legged critters walked by with their two-legged critters.

Some type of moth cocoon.

You see lots of interesting things waiting around for a hummingbird to show up. The firebushes around the nature center at Lettuce Lake Park usually has them buzzing around this time of year.  After an hour, I had only seen 2 of them quickly going by and I only got blurry pictures. It was just too hot in August to sit around any longer so I went home for lunch.

“Irma”geddon

We were very lucky to have survived hurricane Irma with little damage. Many of my friends did not have power for up to 7 days after the storm and many areas in south Florida including the Keys suffered a lot of damage.  Since we live on the water in the upper Tampa Bay, we evacuated to stay at our friends house about 30 minutes north of us. This was only the 2nd time we’ve evacuated since living here for 15 years. The first was for Charley in 2004 which missed us completely. We spent almost 3 days at our friends and didn’t lose power until the last day. I had thrown my camera in the car before leaving and spent some time taking pictures in the rain. Above were all taken from our friend’s backyard.  We passed the time by keeping the dogs busy, one was a 9 month old puppy who loved to fetch the ball from the pool.  By the time I left my arm was tired of throwing the ball for 3 days. That puppy never did tire out.

Below are just a few “after” storm shots.  Beth walking the puppy around the backyard. The neighborhood was filled with yard debris.  One of her neighbor’s lost their shed.  The shed had completely blown away but the lawn equipment was still in a pile on the grass. Many of the houses has tree limbs in the screens.

I just hope it’s at least another 13 years before we have to do this again. Our house was fine.  We had the wood fences on both side of our house fall down but that is an easy fix.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

Random stuff at Chesnut Park

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This squirrel showed up with a big piece of bread. I don’t know whether someone gave it to him or he stole it. He carried it to the top of the palm tree, sniffed it a few times and left it there after one bite. I guess he knows what’s bad for him.

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I found this weird yellow fungus growing on a cypress tree knee.

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Into the sun.

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Tiny gators under the boardwalk.

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Cute dog staring at me.

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Pretty but still creepy.

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Looking up from the boardwalk, the trees are all covered in moss.

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Looking down at the boardwalk with the sun coming through the trees.

A few things on my walk around Chesnut Park in December.

Shine the Divine

Saturday walk through a garden

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Bright colors were everywhere at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in late May. Trees and bushes were blooming and since there were very few birds, I started taking pictures of the flowers. These were my favorites.  The gardens are next door to the Pinellas county animal services. I have seen volunteers walking the dogs through the gardens on Saturday mornings. I’ve seen one man several times who spends time with the dogs, getting them ready for adoption. This one below was looking for a good home.

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Shine the Divine

Right before spring break at the beach.

 

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The laughing gulls were pairing up. Chasing each other and fighting over the ladies.

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Young herring gull with a snack.

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Blurry picture of a barn swallow. These guys rarely sit still. I saw him from across the lagoon.

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The dolphins were active this Saturday morning.

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Heading towards the pier.

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One of the bird steward volunteers at the park. He was checking out the roped off area for nesting birds. They work on keeping the tourist out of the nesting area and answer questions about the birds.

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Rush hour  traffic in the bay.

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Having fun on a boat ride.

A few things at Fort Desoto Park in mid-March.

 Skywatch Friday

Still looking for that great cormorant with no luck.

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A week later I was still looking for that great cormorant. Back at the boat ramp, I still only saw double crested cormorants.

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Ring billed gulls had taken over the boat ramp.

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They were all lined up.

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Not many boats going out this morning so the pelicans were snoozing on the floating docks. It was a beautiful morning but windy and cool.

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Flyby!

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Two adults and a juvenile in between.

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Little blue heron hanging around.

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Several kayakers came up to the beach next to the boat ramp and they let their dog out to stretch his legs. He looked so cute in that life vest.

I still keep an eye out for that great cormorant although I don’t think anyone has spotted him recently. It was still a perfect morning out.

Birds and beasts at Chesnut Park

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Cardinal wanting a handout.

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His mate wanted a handout as well.

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A wet brown thrasher hiding in the bushes.

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Something yellow. I’m thinking a female common yellowthroat?

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A carolina chickadee high up in the trees. I could not get a good shot of this guy.

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A male common yellowthroat high up in the trees.

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Mom alligator still guarding her nest. I thought it had been close to 2 months since I had seen the alligator nest mound she was resting on. Still no babies on this trip. The area is fenced off so I took this in between. She’s got some nice teeth.

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Turtle hanging out near the alligator’s nest.

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Buzzing around.

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 I saw this beautiful dog walking with his owner and had to take a picture.

Another quiet morning at Chesnut Park. There were a few migrating birds showing up but most stayed high up in the trees. I’m having a hard time seeing many of the fall migrating birds this season. It always rains during the week when the birds stop by for a rest and I can’t get out of work. By the sunny weekend, they all have heading on their way south for the winter.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for 

image-in-ing

Beauties, beasts and Bambi

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Cool dog at the park. Beauty or beast?  You decide.

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Eyes peeking out.

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Upside down.

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Bambi near the parking lot.

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This Bambi’s mom lives.

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Crossing the road.

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Watching me.

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Looking for mom.

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Tiny one swimming by.

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The spider was eating a bee.

After walking around Chesnut Park for two hours, I was thinking I was not going to have a deer sighting on this trip. I was almost out of the park when something caught my eye. I turned around and pulled off on the grass. I got out for a few minutes and watch a mom and her baby walking by. Perfect ending to a hot morning.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Black terns on Gandy beach – Skywatch Friday

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I had heard there were hundreds of black terns on Gandy beach in early August. By the time I made it over there in late August, there were only a handful still hanging around. Most had lost their all black feathers and were molting into some form of mix of black and white. The above was already in his winter feathers.

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You don’t realize how small they are until you see them next to a royal tern. Both little ones on the left and right are black terns in the middle of molting.

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Something spooked them and off they went. They circled around and came back to the beach.

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Was he showing off or clowning around?

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Bye bye. Down below is the reason the terns took off. This time they flew far away to the roped off area at the end of the beach.

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This guy thought it was funny to have his dog chasing after the birds. Since they were in the main beach area I didn’t say anything. All of the birds flew over to the sanctuary. I took these from the car. Although it was sunny here on this side of the beach, across the street were dark clouds and I could see lightning headed this way. I was disappointed there was no rainbow.

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I couldn’t blame the dog for wanting to run around and have fun. He was cute.

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Looking down towards the utility tower. The yellow on the left was a concrete wall so people couldn’t drive past that spot. There are also big signs that say keep out, bird sanctuary but many people don’t pay attention.

I stopped off at the beach on the way home from work to see if any black terns were still there. They migrate through in late summer and stay for a while. It started out sunny when I left work but right after I got to the beach, a nasty storm was heading for me quickly. I snapped a handful of pictures and left.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday