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 wouldn’t want to be walking around down there right now with that big stingray cruising around. It’s time to do the stingray shuffle in the water so they scoot away and you don’t step on them. Although it’s really the little ones you have to worry about because it’s hard to see those little guys half buried in the sand.
There were lots of dolphins swimming around the fishing pier in early May. It’s hard to catch a fish here when the dolphins are chasing after your catch. They usually steal it before the fishermen have had time to reel the fish in.
From the bay pier you can see dog beach. Zooming in, I could see the dogs running in the water. The dogs were probably happy to be back out at the beach again after the park being closed for 8 weeks.
Pano of the north beach tip at Fort Desoto during the extreme low tide.
It was cold and windy and a perfect day for a walk on the beach. There were a few other people here but I still felt like I had the beach all to myself. This was the lowest tide I have ever seen here. Someone told me it was because of the full Snow moon (the tides are lowest during the full moon in February). I came out to see if there were any shorebirds but I think the wind kept them hiding somewhere else.
The backside of Outback Key was exposed and all of those little mounds had live sand dollars hiding under them.
A few of them partially exposed.
I’ve read that the pink sand comes from microscopic animals in the water.
Textures on Outback Key.
Walking back to the parking lot.
The beach was littered with the above.
This one had a lot of things living on it.
My stash from the morning when I got back home and washed them off. The beach was covered in whole dead sand dollars. It’s rare to find them not broken. I like collecting shells with barnacles. I feel like it gives them personality.
I was leaving Fort Desoto on a recent Saturday morning and I as I was driving out of the parking lot a flock of black hooded parakeets flew into the tree right in front of me. Of course I pulled over and got out and watched these guys eating leaves and bark. They blended into the tree pretty well and if it wasn’t for their loud screaming most people would not have noticed them in the trees if they hadn’t seen them fly in. They were on top of the tree and underneath it, moving around and jumping from branch to branch. I stayed for a few minutes before heading home.
It’s not easy getting close up shots of dolphins at the fishing pier. They pop up at random places and move so fast that they are gone before you can get your lens focused. If the light is bad and the water is dark, it’s hard to see them coming up. On a recent Saturday morning, the light was good and I could see them coming up fairly early. They were doing zoomies towards the pier since the bait fish were thick right under the pier. They were filling up on tiny appetizers.
A beautiful sunny morning, taken with my phone.
The usual birds were finding snacks.
I had stopped by the fishing pier at Fort Desoto before heading home to see if “Harry” the hybrid (great blue heron/great egret) was hanging around. He was still there in his usual spot but I got distracted by the dolphins and ended up leaving an hour later.
I had heard he was there for a over a week before I made it down to Fort Desoto. I headed down to the park early one Saturday morning in late October thinking it would be a needle in the haystack story. As I drove into the park I saw several people with binoculars in a field near the boat ramp. After walking through ankle deep ant infested water (the field was flooded due to recent rains) I found the Vermilion Flycatcher. He was out in the open buzzing from tree to tree so it was pretty easy to spot that flash of red unless you weren’t paying attention and thought it was a cardinal. It was the first time I have heard of one being in the Tampa bay area so there were a lot of people coming through that morning looking for him. He’s a beautiful bird and totally worth enduring the over 50 ant bites.
Otherwise, there were just the usual migrating birds at the park. This female rose breasted grosbeak was very accommodating.
The white pelicans are back but they were across the lagoon. You can tell how much bigger they are than our resident brown pelicans.
Osprey have taken over the park. They are everywhere.
Shorebirds near the fishing pier.
TOTO is still hanging out at the park. He’s got a band on his legs with TOTO. I’ve been taking pictures of him for over 8 years. He’s always there with his girlfriend.
It was quiet all over Fort Desoto in early October so I headed to the fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home. The bait fish were thick around the pier and the pelicans were going crazy diving for the fish. The funny thing was those annoying laughing gulls. They were trying to catch a fish slipping out of the pelican’s beak. The poor pelicans could not eat in peace. As soon as they came up with a beak full of fish the gulls would attack their heads. I took a lot of shots trying to get the pelicans just as they were hitting the water.
I realized as I cropped the above shot that he had fishing line trailing from his back. He was still able to fly and catch fish so hopefully that line came off as some point.