It was the end of May and still not much rain which meant it was beautiful out on the Dunedin causeway. I pulled over for a quick walk and then pulled out my beach chair and tried to read a book but I was too distracted by the view.
Eventually clouds started move in and I could see it raining far out past Honeymoon Island.
Heading home I could see that they finally finished painting another turtle on the other side of the water tower.
The clouds right before I got home looked interesting so I stopped at the Oldsmar pier.
I could see rain in the direction of my home (we did get a quick shower).
There was a big storm far out in the bay coming from Tampa and heading towards Clearwater. I was hoping for a rainbow and waited a while until hunger won out and I headed home for lunch.
I made another trip to Fort Desoto Park in late April. I was hoping there would still be some migrating birds stopping by. There was a small chance of rain even though it looked like it would pour at any time.
The only migrating bird I found was a Cape May warbler. There were several of these cuties in the woods near the ranger’s house.
Heading to the gulf fishing pier.
The usual birds were at the fishing pier including a ruddy turnstone showing me his missing foot and great egrets.
The laughing gulls were putting on a show on top of the shelter on the pier.
I thought maybe the sun would break through but it stayed cloudy.
Pelicans hanging out on the jetti next to the pier.
A quick shot of a red breasted merganser that was still there. They spend the winter here but usually leave in March.
It was still a nice morning out even though it wasn’t very birdy or sunny.
It was hot as usual at the end of July. I headed out early one morning for a walk at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. I hadn’t spent a lot of time here, only driven through. I parked in the shaded area of the park and walked out on the causeway that leads to the beach. I was hoping for a breeze but didn’t get much of a whiff this morning but it was a beaufiful morning and I saw several dolphins far out in the gulf.
After my walk at Howard Park, I stopped at nearby Sunset Beach. It’s a small spit of sand but also a small piece of heaven the morning I was there. I imagine it’s packed on the weekends but early this Wednesday morning it was quiet and I sat on the bench for a while, watching more dolphins go by.
And if you forgot to bring a book with you to read on the beach, there’s a free library in the parking lot.
Another quick stop was the Anclote River Park, just north of Tarpon Springs.
A replica of the Anclote lighthouse was in the parking lot. The actual lighthouse is on Anclote Key, only accessible by boat.
One last stop was the Anclote Gulf Park just a few minutes away. I walked out on the long fishing pier and was hoping for dolphins here but didn’t see any.
It was sunny and hot early in the morning during my walk around the Safety Harbor marina. I was traveling light so all of the shots in this post were taken with my phone. The local news said this was the hottest July on record in 40 years.
Another sunny morning at the Dunedin marina.
A rainbow on the 4th of July, coming home from a late afternoon cookout with friends.
We had an early dinner in Tampa one weekend and hit the causeway coming home right at sunset. Brett was driving so I snapped this through the windshield.
From partly cloudy to dark clouds during my walk around Olds Park.
A sun halo in our backyard one day around noon.
A walk at some parks near Tarpon Springs. This was the first time I had seen this mermaid statue. She is called “Ama” and was installed in 2014 as part of the Amaryllis Art for Charity project. There’s a small sponge on the base to represent the sponge diving industry here and there’s a small manatee on the left front of the base. Manatees are common in this area.
The dolphin show at Fort Desoto Park in mid-May. The water was clear so you could see them before they were coming up for air and they were swimming close to the fishing pier.
I found this calico crab on the beach early that morning. It was low tide but the water was starting to come up. At first I though maybe he was dead but then I saw bubbles coming out of his face. I was going to nudge him close to the deeper water but he stood up and started heading that way on his own. It looks like he has a critter in a shell living on top of him.
A juvenile little blue heron dunking for fish.
Scenes from the fishing pier.
I walked up to the top of the fort hoping to find some migrating birds up at the top but all I found was a cardinal on a dead snag. He had a great view.
View from the beach.
Standing near the northern end of the beach you can see the hotels on St. Pete beach, about a 20 minute drive north.
It was late April and after walking the trails at Fort Desoto one morning looking for migrating birds with no luck, I headed to the fishing pier. It was just too nice to go home yet.
As usual pelicans were flying by.
I started looking out in the water to see if there were any dolphins swimming around the pier and found a pair of manatees instead. They were fairly far out in the shallow area so they were easy to spot. At one point it looked like they were mating. I could see one of the manatee’s flipper on top of the other manatee. After a few minutes they started swimming towards the pier.
They swam right up to the pier and luckily I had my zoom lens so these were at 80mm.
They mated several times right along the pier. At this point there was a huge crowd of people watching. Several people said they had never seen one before.
These above were taken with my phone. They eventually swam under the pier and then hung out on the other side before slowly swimming away. What a great thing to see! I had planned to do a quick walk and snap a few shots of dolphins but I stood there for an hour since they were so close to the pier and moving so slowly.
I hadn’t been down to Fort Desoto Park since the middle of December so I was due for a trip in early March. The first stop at the park was North beach to look for shorebirds and reddish egrets. Most of the shorebirds were scarse this morning but I did see a cute little piping plover.
I was trying to focus on the laughing gull flying with something in his beak and realized you can see the Don Cesar Hotel far away on St. Pete beach. It’s hard to miss that big pink hotel.
This willet had a great snack and was trying to hide it from the other willets.
One last shot of the old bay pier and the old iconic yellow bait shop. It’s all being torn down now and replaced with a new pier.
Some of the shorebirds that were hanging around the small beach next to the big fishing pier. The willets and sanderlings were trying to sleep. At some point something spooked them and off they went before flying in a circle and landing back again. That common tern had been taking a bath and flew into the sleeping guys to catch a nap.
It was windy on the fishing pier and the usual birds were having trouble with their hair.
Someone caught a fish although it looks too small to eat.
I was out on the end of the fishing pier and could see this great egret with a big snack in his beak,
At the end of December I woke up and peeked out the window. It was really foggy so I got ready quickly and headed out the door. I love it when it’s foggy. I stopped by the nearby fishing pier early that morning and could not see across the bay. I could barely make out the end of the pier.
I noticed these strands of oyster shells hanging under the pier and looked them up when I got back home. These are VOG’s (vertical oyster gardens). The water around the shore of Safety Harbor and Oldsmar (which is Old Tampa Bay) was found to be the least healthy in all of the Tampa Bay. Not surprised. There’s a new Save Our Bay program and the easiest thing to start with was using oysters to filter out the water. One oyster can filter out 50 gallons of water a day. There were a lot of these on the dock and they are encouraging people who live on the water to hang these on their docks as well. It will take several months for the oysters to start to grow on these so I’ll keep an eye out.
Next I headed to the Safety Harbor fishing pier since I was close by running errands. It was foggy here as well but that didn’t stop those kayakers from being out.
I saw several manatees coming up for air right next to the dock and was bummed I didn’t have my camera with me but these phone shots turned out okay.
I think the sun was trying to peek out by the time I left.
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?