Those crazy Florida skies in August

As August starts to roll around, the summer rains come in. Usually in the late afternoons (although some days the rain can start in the morning and continue all day).Most nights the sun would peek out right before it set which makes for amazing colors through the clouds. I am constantly running outside to check the skies and take pictures. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy. All of the above were taken from my yard with my phone.

I was running errands and caught this tiny lightning bolt walking back to my car. It’s better to run errands on a day like this in August. It’s cooler and less people are out. Although you have to be okay with getting wet if a super soaker happens that even an umbrella won’t help.

Catching a storm coming in at Davis Islands.

While out running errands, I stopped at a fishing pier in the northern part of Tampa bay. This lesser known pier is a great spot to catch the storms rolling in. There wasn’t any lightning from the clouds or else I would not have been out here on the pier. I headed back to my car long before the rain hit.

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A windy morning at the beach

I had just walked out on to the beach when these two oystercatchers flew by and then circled around and landed in front of me.

A juvenile ring billed gull flew by.

Something spooked the sandpipers and they all took off.

I found the pair of whimbrels that have been sighted hanging out nearby the gulf pier. They were not skittish at all as shell collectors walked right past them. Of course the willet was trying to get in on the pictures as well.

Students from nearby Eckard Collage have been volunteering to help with hooked birds on the fishing pier. They were just arriving with their gear on this cloudy windy day. There’s a huge problem with birds getting caught in fishing line. Not just at this pier but other busy piers as well. Pelicans, cormorants and gulls are just some of the birds that get hooked while diving close to the people fishing. If people cut the lines, the birds fly off with tangled fishing line and get trapped in mangroves and starve to death. The girls are here to help show the fishermen how to reel in the birds and take the line off or the hooks out.

Meanwhile up at the east beach turnaround, the kiteboarders were out in full force on this windy morning.

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Storms were moving in

I needed to get out of the house and go for a short walk so I headed down to Fort Desoto to walk out on the fishing pier. It was a dark and windy late morning and was threating to rain so there wasn’t a lot of people out.

The laughing gulls were driving the pelicans crazy. They would wait until the pelican had a scoop full of fish in their beaks and then try and steal one from them. Or at least catch any smaller fish that fell out of the pelican’s mouth.

A willet on the jetti.

Far down on the beach, I could see a wedding taking place. Looks like it had just ended. Good thing since it was starting to drizzle.

Kiteboarders were having fun at the other end of the park facing the Skyway bridge. I don’t often see girls kiteboarding but the one in the bottom shot was keeping up with the boys.

The rain was starting to move in so I headed home.

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Out and about one afternoon

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.

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The fort at Fort Desoto

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.

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Usual things at Fort Desoto

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.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

A snowy egret convention?

If you walk down the fishing pier at Fort Desoto, you may see all of these snowy egrets lined up on the railings. Is there an egret convention going on?  No, they are waiting for a boat to come close to the pier to pull up bait fish. They must have seen the boat below coming close to the pier and were hoping for a handout.

A few of the egrets immediately fly down and land on the motor or the boat. They squabble over the best spot on the boat (don’t humans do that too?). They wait for the guys on the boat to haul up a net full of bait fish and then hope to get any of the fish that fall out of the net onto the boat.

Some of them are brave enough to steal some out of the bait bucket if they guys aren’t watching closely. This one above got a free handout.

A common sight on boats around the fishing pier. They usually fly off once the boat takes off.

Bait fish thieves

What were all of these snowy egret doing on the roof of the shelter at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto?

They were waiting for some clueless guy pulling up bait fish and dumping it on the pier before putting it in his bucket. The guy dumped out the fish and then turned his back on the fish to get something out of his cart before he was going to put the bait fish in his bucket. The birds swooped down and had a feast before he realized what was going on and scared them away. There was still plenty of fish left but it was funny to watch.

After the snowy egrets left, Harry, the hybrid great blue heron and great egret, decided to swoop down and grab a fish before they were all picked up.

A few birds in mid-May

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.

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Ballast Point

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.

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