Tarpon Springs – Skywatch Friday

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The sign you first see when you turn down the famous sponge dock road.

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Cool old boats. It amazes me that most of these boats are still in use. Some of them look like they may sink any minute.

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Tourist photo opp – the statue of the sponge diver in the middle of the sponge docks.

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One of the best tourist stores on the street.

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More boats at the dock. On a Sunday morning they were all in at the docks.

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Miss Lexy looking good!

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A mural depicting the old ways of sponge diving.

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Yes, I’m in short sleeves and capris the Sunday before Christmas. The skies were blue and the weather was warm. It would have been nice to at least have long sleeves on but I’m not complaining.

One of the stops on our Christmas tourist tour while my sister was visiting from South Dakota was the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs. We grew up going there when we would come down to the area to visit the grandparents during the holidays. I guess that’s where my love for Greek food came from. The little town is about an hour north of central Tampa but worth the drive for the pastries. It was a beautiful day for a walk and lunch.

Off my silly tourist topic, if you get a chance, head over to Scott Kelby’s blog to read a guest post by Moose Peterson. It’s very inspiring and makes me want to get up out of my chair at work and go out and take pictures. It’s hard to balance a hobby you love and work that pays for the hobby you love (and the bills). Although, would it be a hobby you love if you did it all the time? According to Moose it is! I met him last winter at Fort De Soto park. We talked for a few moments and I told him were the owl’s nest was at the park. A few hours later I found him there waiting for the baby owl to wake up. We chatted for a while. Very nice guy. I also have his book Captured which I’ve read twice.  See his guest post here.

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Looking for a booby – Skywatch Friday

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It’s hard not to make a joke at that post title. You can’t say to someone “I’m going to look for a brown booby” with a straight face unless that other person is a birder. Then they’re like “OMG, where was it? I gotta find it.” I had read that it was hanging around the tower close to the fishing pier at Fort Desoto for a couple of days. It was diving around with the gulls when the guys in the boats were pulling up bait fish. I didn’t get out to the park until Saturday morning. I had high hopes of finding it since so many other birders were there looking for it as well. 50 eyes are better than 2.

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We all walked down the beach to see if we could see it sitting on the side away from the pier. Several people had scopes. There were a lot of boats getting bait fish that morning.

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No sign of the booby from any part of the tower we could see from the beach or pier.

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We scanned the gulls flying around the boats. No luck.

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We walked back to the pier and back down the beach again. Still no luck.

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“Are you a booby?” we would ask any time a bird flew by. No. Just another juvenile gull.

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Maybe he was hiding out at Egmont Key which can only be reached by boat.

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On the pier, this kid did not care about the booby. He was having too much fun with his fish. He was too cute not to stop and snap a picture.

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After several hours of looking, I headed up to the north beach tip to see if there was any interesting shorebirds there. Just the usual sleeping. After walking around that spot I headed back to the pier for one last look. So, I do not have a brown booby picture to show you. No one saw it until much later in the day. Instead, all I have are many pictures of the guys in their fishing boats surrounded by laughing gulls. I was tempted to go back late on Sunday to look again but never made it. Maybe next year. Although, the last documented sighting of a brown booby in the Tampa Bay area was 2009.

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