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

Sunset walk

A sunset walk on the Dunedin causeway in early August.

It had been raining most nights so it was nice to see the sun for a while (although the rain is usually good in the summer since it cools down the heat). The causeway was packed for a Wednesday night so I was trying to get some shots in without so many people. Here it almost looks like I had the place to myself but that wasn’t the case.

Almost the end.

Turning around, the rain was coming from the mainland quickly but the sun cast a glow on the clouds.

One last look before heading home.

SkyWatch Friday

Crazy summer skies

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for a walk when this rainbow popped up.

Out on the causeway I could see rain far out in the gulf and I didn’t see any lightning so I started a quick walk but stayed close to the car.

When I got to the nearby bridge I could see rain all around me out in the water but the sun was out over the causeway. Even with the sun out the wind was blowing pretty hard so it stayed cool for my walk.

This great blue heron hangs out under the bridge. There’s usually people fishing under here so he’s hoping for a handout.

There’s a small tree on the causeway that has tropical white morning glory (also know as moonflower) all over it.

Right when I got back to my car most of the rain had moved out and a rainbow came out. I love mornings like these when the sky does crazy things.

SkyWatch Friday

Dancing for your breakfast

I was headed for a long walk on the Dunedin causeway in mid-June and wasn’t planning on seeing anything interesting but I threw my camera in the car “just in case”. I was almost back to my car when I saw a reddish egret feeding along the causeway. I ran back to my car and grabbed my camera and watched him feeding for a while.

He was busy hopping around, catching fish after fish. He started getting close to some people who were putting their kayak in when he took off. I thought he would be gone but he flew just around the people and landed again.

I guess he was pretty hungry since he kept catching fish. I spent half an hour taking pictures of him before he stopped and started preening. Reddish egrets are fairly common at Fort Desoto but this was the first time I had seen one here on the causeway. I’ll have to keep putting my camera in the car.

Summer walk on the causeway

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for an early morning walk in late June and saw that a baby turtle had been painted on the water tower right before the causeway. I had to turn around and take a quick shot. He’s so cute.

It was crazy hot even at 8am in the morning. I caught the drawbridge going up as I was about to cross it. It was a good spot to take a rest,

The usual great egrets and pelicans were hanging around the short bridge, hoping to steal some bait fish from an unsuspecting fisherman.

A fun bike rack in front of the kayak rental station.

After a long walk at the causeway I headed down to the marina for a quick walk. (I was really just stalling until my favorite lunch pick up place nearby opened at 11am).

Inspire Me Monday

The sea fog rolling in.

I love being out in the fog so when I peaked out the window in mid-February I got ready quickly and headed out the door for a walk on the Dunedin causeway. It kept getting foggier as the morning went on. I guess the sea fog was rolling in. The tide was super low which made it even cooler.

I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out to get some shots of the oystercatcher couple that was feeding along the causeway. Someone walked up behind me and spooked them to fly to the other side of the causeway.

A few of the other birds included a sanderling, a snowy egret, a marbled godwit and a young ring billed gull feasting on a dead fish.

Later I saw the oystercatchers again and snapped a few more pictures before leaving. They seemed to be having a lot of luck with whatever they were eating (tiny crabs?).

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

From sunny to dark in one morning.

I started the morning off at Chesnut Park, It was sunny and warm but the clouds starting moving in after I had been there a while. Not many birds out but I did find a pine warbler and cardinal fattening up for the winter on beauty berries. That cardinal seemed drunk after eating so many.

Looking over the lake, the sun seemed to have an angel glowing from it. Or is that just my imagination? I took this with my phone.

Later I headed over to the Dunedin causeway, after the clouds had moved in. I knew it would start raining soon but wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. The wind had picked up and no one had gone out in a kayak. That one small sailboat was braving the wind.

My Corner of the World

A sad story on a beautiful afternoon

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

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