Hanging on the causeway

I was back at one of my favorite spots for a quick walk and a rest.

After my walk I got out my chair and started watching a juvenile yellow crowned night heron trying to eat a crab. He flipped it around for a long time and then swallowed it quickly when I blinked. He has one tiny white fuzz strand still sticking out of his head from his baby fuzz.

It was low tide and the rocks were covered in these tiny black shells. I don’t know if these are baby conch shells or just some type of tiny black shell. Any Florida shell experts out there?

A pair of oystercatchers fly by.

Later I drove over to the other bridge on the causeway, closest to the mainland, and parked to walk on that bridge. I noticed a great egret and a reddish egret standing fairly close to each other. I pulled my camera back out and shot the above.

The great egret started walking towards the reddish egret and the reddish egret started ruffling his feathers like “Don’t come over here. This is my spot”. The great egret kept going and then flew off.

Heading over the bridge.

Clouds were moving in as I walked over the bridge. I noticed an osprey on the top of the gate that closes when the drawbridge has to go up.

Pelicans were sitting along the pilings under the bridge.

As I was getting back in my car I heard some nanday parakeets screaming nearby so out came my camera again and I walked over to the bushes and caught a few of them eating the seed. At this point the clouds were getting dark so I headed home.

SkyWatch Friday

Hanging out on the causeway

My relaxing spot on the causeway. After my short walk on the bridge near the beach I pulled off my tennis shoes and put on my (orthopedic) flops. I brought a chair and a book but it’s hard to concentrate with this view. I kept looking for dolphins.

I looked down over the sea wall and saw a green heron dunking for bait fish so I pulled my camera out of the car and started shooting. After catching a few fish he took off.

A little later I looked up from my book and there he was again, or at least it might have been the same one.

He started looking for fish again but didn’t seem to have any luck in that grassy area.

Far across the water I could see the tower at the Duke energy plant.

Another sunny hot morning.

Before leaving I stopped at the other bridge close to the mainland and did a quick walk on that one as well.

Now it was time to go home and eat lunch.

PS. Happy Birthday to my sister Debbie!

SkyWatch Friday

Take a walk with me

It’s been a hot summer with little rain. Most days looked like this. Sunny with no real chance of rain (at least the rain lowers heat). I went out early for a short walk on the causeway, hoping for a breeze.

The water was so clear you could see the little bait fish swimming in between the old concrete pillars.

The north side of the causeway has never been nice but now it’s really full of dead seaweed. I wonder if this is part of that big 5,000 miles of sargassum seaweed that was floating out in the Atlantic Ocean and heading for Florida.

Walking over the bridge I was almost eye level with the terns diving for fish.

The south side of the causeway was nice and clear.

A kiteboarder goes cruising by.

After my walk I headed over to the marina to see if there were any dolphins or manatees swimming by.

A pelican sits on the corner of the pier and for a short while no one was bothering him.

I could see a dolphin fin breaking the water (just below the red sign) but I couldn’t find him again after I snapped this. He must have turned around and headed out under water.

My favorite great egret was there on the floating dock, trying to catch bait fish through the hole.

There’s a live camera on top of the restaurant next to the pier (it has a minute or two delay). I pulled it up on my phone and screen shot the above of me standing there leaning on the pier (in the blue shirt on the right). I had the pier all to myself this morning, no fishermen or joggers stopping by.

SkyWatch Friday

Big skies on the causeway.

It was the end of May and still not much rain which meant it was beautiful out on the Dunedin causeway. I pulled over for a quick walk and then pulled out my beach chair and tried to read a book but I was too distracted by the view.

Eventually clouds started move in and I could see it raining far out past Honeymoon Island.

Heading home I could see that they finally finished painting another turtle on the other side of the water tower.

The clouds right before I got home looked interesting so I stopped at the Oldsmar pier.

I could see rain in the direction of my home (we did get a quick shower).

There was a big storm far out in the bay coming from Tampa and heading towards Clearwater. I was hoping for a rainbow and waited a while until hunger won out and I headed home for lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

The sky said “Just kidding” again.

It was late April and I headed out looking for some storms that were in the forecast. We were desperate for rain. The ponds were all dried up and the lakes were so low. Our grass was turning brown and we were only allowed to water once a week. My first stop was the Dunedin marina where the clouds were just coming in but didn’t look like rain clouds.

My next stop was the Dunedin causeway and by that point the clouds were clearing up and the expected rain didn’t happen.

SkyWatch Friday


Breakfast on the causeway

So many birds on the Dunedin causeway when I went for a drive on a cold early morning in late February. At first it looked like they were all dowitchers but I found a few other birds mixed in. They were feeding along the rack line on the north side of the causeway were its rocky along the water.

A few tiny sanderlings were mixed in with the dowitchers.

You can always find a willet here.

There were dunlins mixed in with the crowd. They looked drab here in their winter colors without the brown and black feathers they have during the summer.

Someone walked by and spooked them (not many people walk this side of the causeway). I was taking most of these from my car.

They were all feeding together in large groups. The dowitchers seem to favor the newer greener seaweed. The dunlins were feeding in the older brown seaweed.

Several times they would all take off and circle back to the same spot. There were also a few ruddy turnstones in the mix with those orange legs.

A lone willet flies along the causeway.

Splish, Splash

In early January I headed out to see what I could find on the Dunedin causeway. I was hoping for another look at the black scoter in better light since I heard she was still around and it was a sunny morning. I couldn’t find her and heard that she was floating around on the other side of the bay. I did find an oystercatcher couple though.

Both of them were feeding when I first saw them. Then they both started taking baths.

It was fun watching them splashing around. They both eventually came out and started walking down the causeway. It would be great to see them with a baby this spring but I’m sure they nest on one of the spoil islands close by. Once all of the spring breaks start this causeway will be packed.

Finally saw that duck

I headed over to the Dunedin causeway to look for the elusive black scoter. I had recently driven down to south St. Pete to look for him without any luck. Then a few days later I hear there is one right at the causeway nearby. The first thing I saw was this turkey vulture eating a fish that must have washed up on shore.

The dark clouds had started to move in so it was hard to tell what was floating around out there. The two above were a pair of cormorants.

Was this it? No, I realized as I cropped it up on my camera. Just a common loon but still a cool find.

There she was. The black scoter that I could finally add to my list. She was pretty far out and these are extremely cropped up but she counts! Not a pretty duck by any means. I would have probably thought it was a female lesser scaup if I wasn’t paying attention. She’s a fairly rare duck but there were two sightings in two weeks. Unless, she’s the same one that was down south that ended up here.

The rocky beach on the north side of the causeway was littered with these fish. This was at the end of December when red tide was creeping north up the beaches. Luckily it didn’t hang around too long and is gone.

I stopped at nearby Possum Branch Preserve for a quick walk since I hadn’t been since May. It’s too hot and void of birds in the summer and I missed fall migration due to my shoulder surgery. I was meeting Brett for lunch so I didn’t stay long but it was good to get out there and walk the trails.

I saw this ibis with his lunch as I was leaving.

Inspire Me Monday


Sleeping shorebirds

It was a quiet morning on the Dunedin causeway and I noticed a lot of sleeping shorebirds. After my walk I got my camera out of my car and started snapping the shorebirds. I found a lone black bellied plover mixed in with a lot of dowitchers. When I cropped this up I noticed the little dunlin on the right.

I usually only see large flocks of laughing gulls here so it was great to see all of the dowitchers sleeping together. Some were trying to nap and some were feeding. There were a few dunlins and ruddy turnstones mixed in as well.

My camera could only catch a small portion of them at a time.

Some were flying in and out of the sleeping group.

A little farther down the beach I found a lone skimmer.

A pelican cruises right above the water.

A foggy morning

Another foggy walk along the Dunedin causeway in early December. I thought the sun was going to break through when I first got there but it seemed to get foggier as the morning went on.

After my walk I pulled my camera out of the car and walked down near the edge of the water. The tide was low and there were a few shorebirds feeding or sleeping. I caught a lone marbled godwit flying in to nap with the laughing gulls.

I stopped by the marina before heading home. I could see a bright red Santa on top of a boat, really popping with color in the fog.

The usual birds (a pelican and great egret) hoping a fisherman will show up to steal his snacks.

Inspire Me Monday