Morning walk on the beach

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Young royal terns and sandwich terns were yelling at the parents to get them fish.


Ghost crab on the beach.


Sandwich terns showing off.





Young black bellied plovers. I’m not sure if they were fighting or  playing.



Ibis looking for snacks.


A hawk flies by on the beach.


A dolphin goes by out in the gulf.

The last of my Sanibel Island vacation pictures.

Swimming under the water

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There was a manatee right in front of the fishing pier. He stayed in the same spot for a while before moving on. They usually swim past quickly the few times I’ve seen one here. As I leaned over to take a picture, he stuck his nose up for air.





Dolphins were swimming all around the pier.



The water was full of little jellyfish. I haven’t seen the water filled with jellyfish here before like this. They were floating far out at the end of the fishing pier so I don’t think they were bothering the people swimming close to shore.


Someone caught a fish.




The cormorants were diving under and getting fish. They seemed to be catching more that the fishermen on the pier.

It was a busy morning under the water around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.

Saturday's Critters

Quiet Saturday morning at Fort Desoto



Pretty pelican floating by.


A cormorant sleeping on the top of the light post.


Dolphins were cruising by the pier.


This osprey did not want to share his meal. After a closer look, I didn’t want it anyway.


Climbing a tree.


Great egret getting a snack.


It was a windy morning. The storm clouds had not moved in yet so the kiteboarders were out taking advantage of the wind. The park is pretty limited on wildlife sightings for the summer. Other than the usual laughing gull and reddish egret, there’s not much around the beach except tourists. When is summer over????

Skywatch Friday

A walk on the fishing pier

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The snowy egrets are always putting on a show at the fishing pier. They are hanging around waiting for the fishermen to turn their backs on their bait buckets so they can steal the little minnows. Sometimes the fisherman will clean their fish on the pier and the egrets try to steal the scraps. There are signs saying not to throw the scraps in the water or to the birds but some people still do it. Then the ones that don’t are annoyed by the birds being aggressive.


A sting ray cruises by the pier in the shallow water.


Dolphins feeding around the pier.


Looks like he caught a little shark.


It was a beautiful morning to watch the big boats from the pier at Fort Desoto.

Skywatch Friday

Right before spring break at the beach.



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


Young herring gull with a snack.


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


The dolphins were active this Saturday morning.


Heading towards the pier.


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.


Rush hour  traffic in the bay.


Having fun on a boat ride.

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

 Skywatch Friday

Visiting the local movie star

Panama was in the same pool as Winter. Named after Panama City, where she was found, she was Winter’s surrogate mother. She seemed very friendly.

Panama kept showing off her tail. She seemed to be saying “I have a tail, see!”

This is Hope, found in December of 2010. Her mother had died. She was found on the night of The Dolphin Tale wrap party so the dolphin volunteer rescue team had to leave the party early to rescue Hope.

Close up of Winter.

Winter is now in the inside pool so the lighting and shadows made it hard to get a good shot of her. She did not have on her prosthetic tail while I was there.

Hazel’s houseboat sits right next to the parking lot.

I hadn’t been to see Winter since the movie had been released. The last time I was there, the movie had been made but hadn’t come out yet.  If you haven’t seen Winter’s Dolphin Tale, you should. I have seen it several times and still shed a tear at the end. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, stop by and see Winter. But, go early on a school day. It gets crowded fast.  You can see Winter live here at Winter’s Webcam.  You can also check out my last post about Winter here.

Camera Critters

Don’t go to Sea World! Come to Fort Desoto!

Baby dolphin swimming to the right of mom.

The baby was heading right towards me.

Baby dolphin jumping out right in front of the pier.

More dolphins swimming around the pier.

Three dolphins swimming together. The baby was on the left.

A big turtle came swimming up to the fishing pier. This was the first time I’ve seen a turtle at the pier.

Close up!

Why travel to central Florida and pay a ton of money to go watch dolphins jump in a small pool when you can come spend the day at Fort Desoto for $5 a carload. You can watch wild and free dolphins swimming and jumping around the fishing pier. You can spend the day swimming and building sand castles. After a picnic lunch on the beach on a recent Sunday, I walked down to the fishing pier while hubby took a nap on the beach chair. There weren’t a lot of people fishing that day but there were at least 10 dolphins swimming around. I stayed on the pier for almost two hours watching the dolphin show. Right before I left, the turtle came swimming up. What a great finish. If that doesn’t convince you, I just missed the two manatees that had passed under the pier minutes before I got there. I could see them out in the distance but they were too far away to get pictures. Meanwhile, I shouldn’t be letting out the best kept secret spot in Florida. Then I’ll only have myself to blame when it gets too crowded.

Camera Critters