Herons on the fishing pier.

The beautiful and rare great blue heron/great egret hybrid that lives at Fort Desoto. Harry (as I call him) can usually be found at the gulf fishing pier. In the spring during mating season his face turns blue.

Harry is the size of a great egret which is smaller than the great blue heron behind him.

 

A great blue heron landing on the shelter on the fishing pier.

SkyWatch Friday

Happy Memorial Day from the beach

Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.

Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.

A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.

The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.

 

A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.

It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.


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“Fly like an eagle, to the sea”

In late April I was walking along a trail near a golf course when I saw an eagle flying over my head. The eagle came flying back but this time he had an osprey chasing him. I’m assuming this is a territorial chase. There are a lot of osprey nests in the area and several had new babies on the nest. It only lasted for a few seconds and the eagle took off.

The next day Brett and I were out on the beach at Fort Desoto just hanging out in our beach chairs when an eagle flew right over us.

A few seconds later an osprey shows up and starts to bother the eagle. They chased each other across the sand dunes then then the osprey took off. There was an eagle nest close by in a utility tower but the babies are already grown and gone. There are also many osprey nests all over the park.

The eagle made a few more passes over our beach chairs and came really close at one point. The above is not cropped although I had my 300mm lens on my camera.

After the eagle left, an osprey also flew by.

A common sight far out in the gulf, an osprey grabbing a fish.

SkyWatch Friday

Hanging out at the beach.

A beautiful morning at Fort Desoto out on the beach.

Watching all of the big boats go by, wondering about that life at sea. I recently started following a guy who¬† pilots the big boats in and out of Tampa bay on Instagram. It’s cool to see his pictures from the boat. I bet he has some great stories to tell. You can find him at Tampabaypilot.

It’s always fun to see the dolphins swimming around the fishing pier and the little terns diving for fish.

The cactus all over the park are blooming.

Brett and I spent a Sunday morning in April just hanging out on the beach. With work, chores and family we don’t get there as much as we use to.

SkyWatch Friday

 

A rare hybrid at Fort Desoto

Not this normal cormorant, but I was wondering what those guts were next to his wing. Someone’s unfinished lunch.

The above beautiful bird is a hybrid of a great blue heron and a great egret. A great bird indeed. He has the body of a great blue heron and legs and face of a great egret. He’s been hanging around the fishing pier for at least 2 years. He’s famous with the locals and I call him “Harry, the Hybrid”. Although now, he’s been spotted at 2 places at the same time so people are now thinking there are more than one. He must have a sibling.

A regular ole great egret with green breeding feathers around his beak.

Out at east beach, the sun had long come up over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

SkyWatch Friday

Wild parakeets

You can usually find wild nanday parakeets flying around Fort Desoto Park. Most of the time, you hear them before you see them. They buzz overhead, screaming the entire way. Lately I’ve been seeing them hanging around the east beach trails.

On a recent Saturday morning I was about to get in my car when I saw flashes of green moving on the ground near the flowers. The parakeets were eating the seeds out of the dead flowers. There were 10 of them munching away and keeping an eye on me.

Others were grabbing a flower and flying back up to the utility wire to eat. They really are pretty even though they are loud and can wipe out a flower bed in minutes.

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Growing up in a tree.

One of the great horned owl parents keeping an eye on the nest.

The baby great horned owls are very cute at this age. They were very curious and would bob their heads when a mockingbird or osprey flew by. They spent a long time looking around and then finally facing Mom in the other tree. They eventually dozed off.

Mom didn’t move all morning.

These were all taken in mid-February with my zoom lens and extremely cropped.