I headed out to Fort Desoto late in the afternoon in early November. There wasn’t a lot of birds around later in the day but it was a beautiful afternoon.
Way out in the bay,
The sun was started to get lower at my favorite spot.
I drove over to the gulf pier before leaving.
Looking back at the old smoke stack.
Silhouettes of birds flying near the pier.
The sun still had a ways to go and I had to get home so I quickly snapped the above.
There is an actual fort at Fort Desoto Park. The fort was finished in 1900 and was used until after World W 2. Pinellas county bought the fort and surrounding area later and in 1963 it opened as a park. I don’t usually spend a lot of time there but one day in late October I wasn’t quite ready to go home for lunch so I thought I would climb the path to the top of the fort to see if there were any birds around.
You can rent bikes next door and I thought the bright colors popped against all of the green and blue.
Looking around the fort area, it reminded me of a picture I had seen looking through the old family photos.
Apparently I had been there when I was just a tot running around. It must have not been opened as a park long when we went because I was born in 1963. I must have less than a year old.
After the fort, I stopped by the fishing pier to watch the dolphin show.
At this point a storm was moving in and it was starting to drizzle so I quickly headed back to my car.
Lots of little birds on Outback Key at Fort Desoto. After a morning of looking through all of these little birds for anything unusual with no luck, I headed over the fishing pier to see what was going on there.
My friend TOTO was hanging out near the fishing pier (he is tagged with a band that has TOTO on it). He’s been around for years.
A snowy plover was skipping around in low tide.
Sushi for breakfast.
Pelicans were also diving for their sushi breakfast.
“Whatta you want lady?”
I think that’s a piece of apple in this crow’s beak. At least it’s not a chip.
What is he doing up here? I have never seen a reddish egret hanging around the fishing pier. They are usually feeding along the shoreline.
A female scarlet tanager getting a snack from the fig tree.
The male was not too far away.
I had heard this was a veery. I don’t remember seeing one before but everyone said they aren’t that rare.There were several in the oak trees.
I don’t remember what this was now. A female something? It was also feeding in the fig tree. Might have been an immature tanager.
Another femaile tanager hiding in the bushes by the fountain.
You can always find a ruddy turnstone on the fishing pier.They look really cool right now in their calico colors.
That dolphin photo bombed my “pelican on the broken tower” picture.
Cruising close to the pier.
A beautiful day for just being out.
I love the drive leaving the pier.
Fort Desoto Park was one of the first closed parks to open in early May. I made it there in the middle of the month and it was good to be outside at the beach. We had missed most of the migrating birds that had come through in late April but there was still a few hanging around the morning I was there.
I found some older picture that I took with my phone from the fishing pier at Ballast Point park in south Tampa.
Taken back in the summer, I had stopped for a quick walk before meeting Brett for dinner after work.
Dark clouds were moving in and you could barely make out the Tampa skyline across the bay.
Of course I shot one of the crow with the missing foot sitting on the end of the dock. He came pretty close. I think he was looking for a handout.
Only at Fort Desoto can you find a parrot tree. They grow all over the park.
“No, I’m not going to steal your fish. “
“Or your tiny fish scrap from you, Ruddy.”
Fighting over a spot.
Out in the bay.
I was taking pictures of shorebirds along the sea wall near the fishing pier when this pelican flew really close right over my head. I noticed his leg and wing were caught up in fishing wire. He could not straighten his leg back.
I was thinking he would cruise right by me but he landed just feet from me on the sea wall. He let me walk right up to him and take this picture with my phone. Notice the wire and sinker by his foot. I felt like he was telling me to help him. I told him to stay put and ran back to my car and drove over to the ranger station and reported it. He could still fly so there was no way I could have grabbed him and taken him over there. The lady said a ranger would be right over so I headed back to keep an eye on the pelican until someone got there.
When I drove back to the fishing pier, there were 2 rangers already there that were pulling a dead pelican out of the jetty. He probably got caught in the rocks with fishing line and couldn’t get out. The ranger said they spend a lot of time helping the birds that have fishing line on them. That’s why it’s so important for people fishing not to cut the line. Below are pictures of the signs at all of the fishing piers showing how to reel in a hooked bird and clip the line from the bird.
The rangers are experts at catching birds quickly and taking off all of the fishing line. This bird was cleaned up and released pretty quickly.This is not a part of their “day job” and they do it with a smile on their faces because they love the birds.
The pelican walked away, testing his wings before hopping toward the beach.
He flew down to the beach and stayed for a few minutes, preening before taking off. He’s one of the lucky ones. Many of them fly back to spoil islands and the fishing line gets tangled up in the mangroves and they can’t fly away and end up starving.
That was my little adventure at Fort Desoto recently. I was just glad the pelican didn’t fly away after I left to go get a ranger.