Yummy fish for breakfast

I was walking down Marsh Rabbit Run trail at Circle B Bar Reserve recently when I saw this great blue heron walking in front of me with a big fish.

I froze thinking he would take off but he just stopped and played with his snack for a while. I’m not sure if he was waiting for the fish to stop wiggling or he was just trying to get a good angle to swallow it. He jumped down into the water right before he swallowed it but he got it down whole.

Starting vacation

The Monday before Thanksgiving I headed to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to spend the week with us. I had a few minutes before she got off the plane so I snapped the above of this beautiful tree near her concourse. Even though it was a bit early, it still put me in the vacation spirit.

It was beautiful outside so after lunch we headed over to Clearwater beach. It’s always fun being a tourist in my own town when she comes to visit. We ended up at the Clearwater marina later that afternoon and watched the fishing boats come in (it was something we use to do with our parents when we were growing up and came here to visit our grandparents).

We decided to stay for sunset even though the clouds were moving in quickly. The sky looked like it was on fire as the sun went down. While we were there we thought we might as well have dinner on the beach too. A great way to start the week.

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Fishing on the fishing pier

One of the fun things about walking around on the fishing pier besides fishing, is watching the birds steal the bait fish. The snowy egrets get in squabbles over the tiny fish.

All lined up, waiting for someone to pull up a bait net full of fish.

This great blue heron had already eaten and was wiping his beak on the light.

Cruising by with the big boats in the background.

The guy who owned this rolling bucket was not paying attention. He had some fish already in there but left it open and walked farther down the pier to pull up another net full of bait fish. The snowy egrets and great egrets were having a feast until he came back.

 

It was too early for manatees.

The water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park was so clear you could see the fish.

We had a small cold spell in mid-November and I headed up to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park hoping to see manatees along the boardwalk at the park. They congregate in the springs along the park in the winter where the water stays fairly warm. The morning I was there the river was void of wild manatees. The only ones I saw were the 2 living there that were rehabilitating at the park. They were right up against the boardwalk so it was great to see them up close. I think I was just too early for the wild ones to have made their way to the springs.

The otters were so cute that morning. The vultures were hanging out in their exhibit and driving them crazy.

The view from the boardwalk.

Still hot in October.

Busy little birds at Bok Tower Gardens. A black and white warbler, a titmouse (with a nut), a red eyed vireo and a female redstart were the only migrating birds I could find in mid-October. I realized as I was running around in the woods at Bok Tower why fall migration is much harder than spring migration. The birds are more scarce in the fall and it’s just too hot to be running around looking for tiny birds high up in the trees. Here in central Florida in the spring, if you are lucky to be out on a day when there are a lot of birds around, at least the weather is usually cooler. On this morning in October it was 85 degrees by 9:30 and the humidity was brutal. It takes a lot of patience to wait for these little birds to come down from the tops of the trees and it’s hard to be dripping in sweat. With that said, it was still a fun morning out even if I only saw a few birds.

Beauty in the pond.

A grasshopper high up in the tree. He caught my eye while I was watching a hummingbird on the other side of the tree.

I was taking a break on a bench when this little squirrel came up to me. He looks like he had a bot fly problem this summer. He should be okay though.

Reflections on the pond.

Looking down on the pond, the fish were waiting for a handout.

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Upclose with the fish.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota is more than just a bunch of fish in tanks. They are a “nonprofit marine research institution comprised of world-class marine scientists committed to the belief that the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans begins with research and education.” They do a lot of work with injured marine life and study the impact of red tide. While my sisters were here visiting over Thanksgiving weekend, we drove down to Sarasota (a little more than an hour from my house in Tampa) to visit the aquarium, have lunch somewhere fun and stop by the outlet mall on the way home. It was a busy day. It was fun seeing all of the fishies to start the morning.

Breakfast on the trail.

Everyone was eating breakfast along the trail.

Some of the birds were eating the seeds from the bitter melon (or balsom pear).

A few usuals along the trail.

A scruffy looking pine warbler trying to hide in the bushes.

A snail kite across the marsh. He had been diving down getting snails to eat but he was so far away I couldn’t get a clear shot of him moving.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Fun at the New England Aquarium

The penguins were so much fun to watch.

Up close with some pretty fish.

The best was the octopus. It was awake and moving around. I’ve only ever seen them balled up in a corner. This one was right on the glass, looking at us.

The seals were our favorite though. I think that one seal was making faces at us, telling us what he thinks about us. The seal exhibit is outside with a view of the harbor. They were probably saying “Break that glass lady and let us out.”

Since we were a 10 minute walk to the aquarium in Boston, we spent a few hours visiting before dinner.

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Big things swimming by.

I love seeing the big sting rays at the aquarium. It’s funny how they have faces underneath. I think that first one was smiling at me.

It’s fun to watch the kids go crazy over the sharks. You get to see them close up.

A turtle cruising by.

There’s something hypnotic about watching the fish swim by.

More fun from my September visit to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.