Storms and an eagle

I was out for an early morning walk and stopped by RE Olds Park (named after Ransom Olds who invented the Oldsmobile and developed what is Oldsmar now) to see if there were any storm clouds moving in. After walking the pier I looked up in the big tree at the end of the pier and saw an eagle sitting there. I was bummed I didn’t have my camera. I took the above with my phone. I was glad to see it back here. Last fall I saw them here pretty regularly.

The storms were far away this morning but I could see a little bit of lightning so I didn’t stay long on the pier. They were coming off the gulf coast.

A few days later I stopped by the pier again with my camera and of course there was no sign of the eagle. This time there were storms out in the bay and over land. The sun was out over the park but there wasn’t any rainbows.

I caught some great blue herons cruising by.

I was surprised to find black terns here. I’ve only seen them at Gandy beach before.  There was a small flock of them flying around trying to get bait fish. They were in all stages of molting with a few still having mostly black feathers. By now they are somewhere in South America for the winter.

A pelican with a pouch full of bait fish.

A creepy mangrove crab was walking along the railing.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Eagles, owls and deer, Oh my.

 

My first eagle sighting of the season. He was hanging out near the restrooms at Chesnut Park. He didn’t stay long, taking off towards the lake. It was mid-August. I didn’t realize they come back that early.

I had heard there was an owl sitting at the end of the boardwalk so I quickly walked down to the end thinking he would probably be gone by then or I wouldn’t be able to find him. There he was, sitting almost eye level. He sat there for a while as I snapped a ton of pictures. He was checking out critters on the ground and I was hoping he would swoop down and catch something but that didn’t happen.

I was walking on the back boardwalk and came across a Mom and her baby. As the Mom was feeding the baby was walking around and walked over to it’s sibling.

I had found the twins. It was interesting to see them both licking each other.

After walking around for a while I came back to the back boardwalk and one of the babies was still sitting there with the sun coming through the swamp. The other twin and Mom were feeding behind some trees.

Things that remind me of July 4th.

This is a repost from 2016.

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This was way too easy.  A permanently injured eagle at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Whoever added the flag on the back fence was a genius.

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Mount Rushmore several years ago with my sister who lives in nearby Sioux Falls.

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Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg Florida where members of the Armed Forces are buried.  My parents are here.  My dad was in WW2.

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My cousin and his family are all in the Tampa Bay Water Ski show. This is the opening from their free shows every Saturday afternoon.

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Practicing fireworks before dark in the neighborhood.

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I found this flag hanging on a wall in a tourist shop in Tarpon Springs. It’s made of shells and starfish.

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A very young bald eagle learning to fly.

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A bald eagle souring across the sky.

I was looking through some older folders of a flag picture to post for today and came across all of the above. I couldn’t decide which one to post so I added all of them. All reminders of the summer season. From Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.

Inspire Me Monday

Cruising by the cows

I bought a bike in early April, mostly to cruise around the neighborhood but since I can fold it and put it in the back I decided to take it out on a bike path. There’s a parking area about 15 minutes north of me that picks up the northeastern end of the Pinellas Trail. The path goes through cow pastures and a golf course and I didn’t think I would see too much else so I only had my phone with me the first ride. Above are taken with my phone. I was not surprised to see sandhill cranes along this path since I had heard there were a lot of them up here.

A week later I came back up here with my camera and longer lens in my backpack. Far across the cow pasture I could see a juvenile eagle sitting high up on a utility tower. I saw several eagles when I was riding the week before. Next fall I’ll have to look for a nest although it’s probably in a utility tower like the one by my house.

I love seeing the cattle egret hanging out with the cows. They are hoping the cows churn up some bugs as they chew the grass.

I found several meadowlarks along the fence.

I’m assuming the sandhill crane couple I found was the same one I saw the week before. They were in a cow pasture farther down the trail. This is a fun trail to ride and there’s not much traffic during the week so I’ll be coming here quite a bit.

SkyWatch Friday

Largo Nature Preserve in early April

It’s always fun to see baby mallards (although with that yellow beak on the Mom, these may be mottled ducks). There were two families at Largo Nature Preserve in early April. One was feeding in the water and the other was walking around on the walking path. They eventually made it down to the water.

The two northern shovelers were still there. They are probably up north for the summer by now.

Looking up in the utility tower I saw a young eagle. I often see adult eagles sitting here but today it was a younger one. Maybe 4 years old? They don’t get a full white head until their 5th year. This one still had a little brown on his. Maybe he was born in the area.

While watching the eagle, a Canadian goose flies by. They hang out on the golf course along the park so it’s not a surprise.

Across the canal a cattle egret had a dragonfly in his beak.

Brown thrashers are common here. This one was singing away.

Night herons can usually be found napping along the boardwalk.

A monk parakeet coming down to the ground to get a snack.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

Back out in the wild

I headed back over to the Manatee Viewing Center at the electric plant when my sister was visiting in February. We got there right when it opened on a weekday and it was already crowded. Everyone was here to see the hundreds of manatees floating near the dock. I first noticed a girl out there floating with them. She worked with an enviremental agency and was counting the manatees and making notes of each one’s distinct markings. There was also one on the dock counting. Can you imagine floating around with all of those manatees? It seems like a dream job.

Standing on the dock looking down, you could see lots of them floating close together. I took this one with my phone.

It was hard to single them out and get close up shots.

When we first got there we had heard there was going to be a manatee released back into the wild. We got a good spot on the dock railing and I was able to get pictures of them bringing it down to the water.

They carried that heavy manatee down to the water and carefully placed the tarp in the water and the manatee swam away. Everyone cheered as he swam out of the blue tarp. The thing I find interesting is that it was all women who carried that manatee that could have weighed from 1500 to 3000 lbs. Many of them were volunteers.

The manatee had been rehabilitated at Zoo Tampa, probably stranded from cold stun or starving (which many of them have been lately due to changes in grass beds).The zoo has a manatee hospital on site and you can see some of the resident ones there.

A few of the birds cruising by as we were waiting for the manatee release. A bald eagle was flying over by the electric plant and a tricolored heron flew right by the dock.

One of the cute statues at the viewing center.

My Corner of the World

Dolphins, Osprey and Eagles, Oh My!

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?

My Corner of the World

Critters close to home

I was coming home from the grocery store and saw this guy feeding in my neighborhood. I had my camera in the car so I had to make a quick stop and shoot this.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the towers in the neighborhood and one day I saw this juvenile eagle sitting high up. Several of the towers have nests but I was thinking they were all osprey nests. One of the nests was an eagle’s nest. Maybe this guy was born in the neighborhood last year?

There’s a water reclamation facility close to home and every winter the pond is filled with wintering ducks. I finally stopped to check out what kind of ducks they were. This is a small section of the ducks that were in the pond. The majority of them were redhead ducks but there were a few lesser scaup mixed in. I think this pond has the highest number of wintering ducks in the area.

There were a few hooded mergansers staying away from the other ducks and kept close to the fence.

One morning I was heading to the Oldsmar fishing pier and I caught these guys right before the pier. “A spoonbill, a woodstork and a great egret walk into a bar…..”

I was heading to the fishing pier because I had seen an eagle sitting in the tree in the parking lot there back in October. I hadn’t seen him since until this day. He was cruising around the fishing pier before taking off over the houses nearby.

The same ole things

The welcoming committee at the entrance to Circle B Bar Reserve wasn’t doing a very good job. They were too busy stuffing their faces. Pigs.

It was a generally quiet morning for birds in late December. A sparrow, a downy woodpecker (making that landing), an anhinga posing and the usual black bellied whistling ducks.

Across the lake anhingas were hanging out in a bald cypress tree. The tree was losing it’s leaves for the winter, although this one looks like it’s been broken off at the top.

Far across the marsh I could see a northern harrier and an eagle. After standing there on the trail for an hour hoping either would get closer, I finally gave up and headed home for lunch.

My Corner of the World

Early morning on the beach.

I got to Fort Desoto Park after the sun had come up but it was hiding behind a big cloud. I was able to catch the orange glow behind the cloud though, right over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

I was hoping to find the big flock of white pelicans who had been hanging out at the park for weeks now but I could only find 2 out at the north end. 

I know I have a million pictures of the reddish egret but I can’t help stopping and snapping a few more when he’s dancing around for his fish. He was hanging out in a tide pool and was putting on a show.

A few other birds on the beach was a turkey vulture cleaning up the beach eating a dead fish and a great blue heron strutting around.

I was walking on a back trail hoping to find the white pelicans in the back lagoon and saw this eagle flying in to a tree right in front of me. He landed in a dead tree which was good since he would have been hidden in the leaves if the the tree was still alive. He stayed for a few seconds and grabbed a branch before taking off. Assuming he was heading back to the nest across the park.

Pelicans flying across the clouds.

I stopped by the fishing pier before leaving but it was quiet. I couldn’t help but snap the cormorant drying his wings and then I noticed this crow trying to eat a piece of paper. He played with it for a few minutes but finally realized he couldn’t eat it so he dropped it in the water. Ugh. More trash.

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