I was back at the Dunedin marina in late December for a quick walk (can you tell this is one of my favorite places to walk?). That damaged abandoned boat is still stuck to the channel marker. You can see where it’s cut into the boat. It’s a great place for birds to rest and I caught a green heron sitting on it the morning I was there.
A great egret was fishing through the little hole around the floating piling. I kept seeing him sticking his head down thinking he couldn’t catch even a tiny fish that way but he sure did.
A little blue heron was creeping around the dock, also looking for fish.
There’s always a lot of pelicans around the marina.
I caught this grackle eating some kind of seeds.
I saw this osprey flying across the marina with some sticks and moss in his talons. It’s the start of nesting season for osprey so I thought he was heading to one of the 2 nests in the marina parking lot. He flew around with it for a while. Then it looks like he’s going to land on a light pole that didn’t already have a nest and I’m thinking “What is he doing?”. He did land but then took off across the marina and headed to the nest on a pole at the other end of the marina.
There’s a nest high up in a tree near the boat ramp and another nest across from it on top of a pole. There’s always a lot of osprey flying around so they guard them pretty well during nesting season.
Far out in the water I could see a dolphin coming up every few minutes. I was bummed he didn’t come close to the pier.
Folly Farms in Safety Harbor was all decorated for Christmas with lights everywhere. I was there early in the morning and many of the lights were still on. It was weird looking for birds and butterflies with a tshirt on and Christmas lights everywhere. The farm has a community garden and someone had sunflowers blooming in their square, in the middle of December! I could only find a few butterflies in the butterfly garden even though it was still blooming.
The only bird I found at the farm was a hermit thrush. I had not seen one since 2018 and I had just seen one in my backyard before finding this one at the farm. I had to wonder if it was the same one from my yard even though I was 15 minutes away.
I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home and found some black capped (or nanday) parakeets in the parking lot. They were eating seeds from the top of the trees. They blend in well in the trees and I might not have seen them if they hadn’t been screaming.
A manatee was close to the pier but the dolphins were pretty far out in the bay.
Watching the ibis feed off tiny crabs in the water.
Pelicans were cruising by the pier.
There were several osprey out diving for fish in the bay but only one came close enough to try and get shots. He swooped down and grabbed that fish so fast and then went the other way. I was hoping he would fly towards me. Oh well. I’ll try again.
It’s Tuesday morning and Hurricane Ian is on it’s way to pay us a visit. This morning the track is showing a direct hit with a category 3. Our house is just under 20 minutes from the water so we were not too worried about storm surge but we were worried about flooding from a lot of rain and wind damage. Everything is ready to go and now we wait until Thursday morning when it’s due to hit. I decided to get out of the house for a walk to calm my nerves. It was already dark and dreary at the Dunedin marina but it had cooled off. The big boats were still there but most of the little boats that can go on a trailer were gone.
People live on both of these sailboats and their dingys were still there. I hope they get into town by Wednesday morning.
These little boats were still there but I’m sure someone was coming to haul them away or tie them down.
The water was super calm and I could several dolphins swimming out in the water.
I was able to catch this quick video of a dolphin feeding along the rocks right in front of me. I don’t usually see them this close to the marina.
Update – it’s now after lunch on Wednesday and Ian is hitting near the Fort Myers area, much farther south of us. We are still due to get heavy rain and flooding later tonight as the other side of the Hurricane skirts past us. We are saying prayers for those south of us. They will need a lot of help in the coming days.
The dolphin show at Fort Desoto Park in mid-May. The water was clear so you could see them before they were coming up for air and they were swimming close to the fishing pier.
I found this calico crab on the beach early that morning. It was low tide but the water was starting to come up. At first I though maybe he was dead but then I saw bubbles coming out of his face. I was going to nudge him close to the deeper water but he stood up and started heading that way on his own. It looks like he has a critter in a shell living on top of him.
A juvenile little blue heron dunking for fish.
Scenes from the fishing pier.
I walked up to the top of the fort hoping to find some migrating birds up at the top but all I found was a cardinal on a dead snag. He had a great view.
View from the beach.
Standing near the northern end of the beach you can see the hotels on St. Pete beach, about a 20 minute drive north.
Another trip to Fort Desoto Park to look for migrating birds. The first thing I found was a squirrel being cute on the agave plant. I was hoping there would be birds on those plants but no, I find a squirrel.
Cape May warblers were still around. I found both females and males.
I also found a northern parula and a blackpoll warbler (I hadn’t seen one of those in several years).
An osprey was checking me out making sure I wasn’t going to steal his fish.
Cormorants were diving for fish around the fishing pier.
It was a slow dolphin morning but I did manage to find one.
The starlings and nanday parakeets were fighting over wire space in the parking lot.
I found an eagle’s nest in my neighborhood and I’ve been keeping my camera in my car in case I wanted to stop and get some pictures. The nest is high up in a utility tower and it’s a tough shot with the light. The sun is behind it most of the day and I can’t get on the other side.
One recent day I went early in the morning and stood for a while watching the nest. When I first got there I didn’t see any eagles so I though maybe it was a bust but then one flew in and started feeding the baby. You can just make out the baby’s head in between the sticks. I’ve only seen one eagle here so I wonder if the parent is now flying solo with this baby. Both parents usually hang around the nest.
After the eagle’s nest, I headed over to the nearby fishing pier just to see what was going on. It was too nice to head back home. I could see dolphins out in the bay.
There’s usually several osprey diving around for fish but they are far away. This one cruised close to the fishing pier.
At some point I realized there was an eagle chasing the osprey. The osprey had a fish in his talens and the eagle was trying to steal it. Eventually the osprey dropped the fish in the water and the eagle stopped chasing him. They were pretty far out in the bay but it was still pretty cool to see.
The eagle flew by the pier and landed in a tree at the end of the pier. I ran back down the pier towards the parking lot hoping he wouldn’t take off before I got back there. I was able to take a couple of shots before he took off again and flew over the trees towards a neighborhood. Where was he going?
It is with heavy heart that I write this. Thursday night Clearwater lost an icon. Winter, the dolphin who lost his tail and lived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, died of a gastrointestinal infection. Specialist from around the country flew in and the best care was given to her but she had other plans. Winter was a young dolphin when she was rescued in 2005. Her tail was caught in a crab trab which resulted in her losing her tail. She was the star in her own movie “A Dolphin’s Tale”. I recently visited her back in June and you can read about that visit here. Below is an older post from 2011.
It was a beautiful afternoon in late January and I was able to get outside for a little while on a late Friday before sunset. I jumped in the car and headed over to Dunedin, thinking I would stop by the fishing pier and then go over for a quick walk at the causeway. I was snapping the shot of the water when I turned around and noticed the two osprey that had built a nest on top of the building next to the pier. I was pretty excited to see the camera up on the top but when I got home and searched it, you could only see over the building so the camera wasn’t look down on the nest. Would have been fun to watch that nest up close.
I found this cute little boat in the marina that I hadn’t seen before.
I headed over to the beach area on the causeway and saw the sailboat that has washed up back in November during Hurricane ETA. I had seen many pictures of it posted on the internet, people climbing and playing on it. They had it roped off which didn’t make for a pretty picture. I have since heard that it was hauled away a few weeks after I took this. The state of these old damaged sailboats are sad. At some point years ago, someone paid a lot of money for this boat. Probably used it at first. Then it sits out there for a long time and becomes a hazard. The owner, if they had insurance, probably just collected and moved on. Many people with these old boats let their insurance lapse and the city pays for the haul. Not sure if they can sell them for scrap.
On a sad note, at the end of the causeway, a dead dolphin had washed up on shore hours before I arrived. Everyone was standing around watching the marine life rescue team (with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter the flipperless dolphin resides) get him ready to be taken away. They will do a necropsy on him to find out the cause of death. Was he old? Sick? Eaten something bad? Hit with a boat? Swallowed too many fish hooks from stealing fish from the fishermen at the pier? So many questions. Everyone was watching from a respectful distance. It was sad to watch these volunteers do their work.