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.

SkyWatch Friday

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.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Dolphin day at Fort Desoto

Dolphins were swimming all around the fishing pier in late September.

This fishing boat came close to the pier to pull up some bait fish. It became clear that these guys didn’t really know what they were doing as they ended up hitting the pier and breaking several of the the fishing poles sticking up in their boat. All of the fishermen on the pier were giving them a hard time about getting stuck. They eventually got some bait pulled up and left.

Then they went out to the tower where the pelicans were peacefully sleeping. They got too close to the tower and scared all of the pelicans away. I hope they eventually got the hang of it, for the wildlife’s sake. Never a dull moment at Fort Desoto Park.

“Help Me” said the pelican

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.

Photographing New Zealand

Almost alone at Fort Desoto

This was a morning in early May when a nasty storm was suppose to already be here. I got to Fort Desoto hoping to get some storm shots and it was sunny and hot. It was also a rare Friday that I had off so hardly anyone here yet.

Only me and my shadow at the fishing pier.

I walked the swampy trails and only found a young armadillo. All above were taken with  my phone including the one of the armadillo. He walked pretty close to my feet but I didn’t let him get that close.

SkyWatch Friday

The laughing gull soap opera.

This laughing gull was trying hard to flirt with his mate. He brought her several fish and continued to yell even as they were being stalked by a ruddy turnstone who was probably trying to get a fallen piece of fish.

He tried to mate but she wasn’t not having any part of it and knocked him off.

He brought her another fish and at that point people were walking down the fishing pier so they flew off.

A windy day at Fort Desoto

I had a rare Friday off in mid-April and headed to Fort Desoto to see if there were any birds migrating through. I was really too early since a storm was just starting to move through. It was drizzling on and off most of the morning but it was still fun to be out at the beach, even in bad weather.

Birds were diving in the water to catch the tiny fish near the pier.

The usual great blue herons and pelicans were flying close to the pier.

A lone frigatebird was hovering right over the pier. They usually stay high up in the sky but this one was right over my head. She just kept hovering in the wind. The above are not cropped at all. I felt like I could almost reach out and grab her.

Before leaving I hit the back trail and caught this nanday parakeet peeking out of a hole in a dead palm tree. I think they nest back here but I rarely go back this far in the summer since the bugs will attack no matter how much bug spray you use.

SkyWatch Friday

Early morning at Fort Desoto

Terns, willets and laughing gulls out on the beach.

A lone prairie warbler on the trail.

Someone caught a creepy crab while fishing on the pier.

A common sight around the fishing pier, a snowy egret hitching a ride.

The morning started off cloudy, looking like it was going to rain but the sun came out before noon.

SkyWatch Friday

Ghost town on the beach

A nice clean beach after Park supervisor Jim had scooped up all of the dead fish from the red tide algae bloom that lands on the beach during high tide. This morning in late October, Jim had told me that they had just cleaned up 6 miles of beaches, trying to keep it clean so the tourist can enjoy the beach. Even in late November, we were still getting some dead sea life but not as bad as it was in October.

It was still a beautiful morning even with a slight fishy smell.

The dog beach and the fishing pier were deserted that morning since no one wanted to be in the red tide water. It was like a ghost town.

I did see some dolphins coming out of the water from far across the bay.

SkyWatch Friday