A beautiful bird at the fishing pier.

The rare hybrid great blue heron/great egret was sporting his breeding colors back in early April. I did not change or enhance the color in his face, only cropped the pictures up. He looks more like a great egret now but they have bright green around the beak during breeding season. Great blue herons get a little blue around the eyes. He or she looks like he’s ready for a mate. I didn’t see him the last 2 times I was at the pier so maybe he’s on a nest.

Snowy egrets were stealing bait fish from the fishermen. The cormorant scored a big one for lunch.

Showing off on the light post.

Pelicans and frigatebirds were flying by.

Out past the fishing pier, the utility tower had broken off during Hurricane Irma. The broken tower is still laying below the water. People started swimming out to it and the lifeguards had to swim out and yell for them to come back to shore. Not knowing if they were strong swimmers, the lifeguards wouldn’t want them to get out too far into the shipping channels where the big boats come in.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Early April at Fort Desoto

Pretty flowers on the trail to the beach.

A few of the usual birds on the beach.

I looked back as I was leaving the parking lot and saw the cardinal checking himself out on my side mirror.

A northern parula was the only bird in the woods in early April.

An osprey checking me out.

A pelican flying by and a common bird soaring over the beach in the summer, a frigatebird.

The storm clouds were moving in at Fort Desoto.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Another Saturday morning walk at the Fort Desoto fishing pier

DSC_4016

I caught this kestrel flying over my head.

DSC_4024

He flew over to the top of a pine tree.

DSC_4028

Then a frigatebird flew close to the pier.

DSC_4059DSC_4060

A juvenile hawk.  He let me get pretty close.

DSC_4070

The young reddish egret is still hanging around the pier. I’m beginning to wonder if this is a hybrid of some sort. Is it an offspring of a reddish egret and a white morph reddish egret?

DSC_4114

A cormorant preening on a light post.

DSC_4194

The osprey  couple that nests near the Fort were hanging around together. If this warm weather keeps up this December, nesting season will be starting much earlier this year.

DSC_4067

A usual sight at the pier. A big boat passing the lighthouse at Egmont Key.

Just another perfect day at the beach. SkyWatch Friday

Boobies, noddies and a chuck

DSC_5116

My first masked boobies. We were far away on a boat headed for the Dry Tortugas. They nest on this small sand bar out in the middle of nowhere. The sandbar is protected so we could not get to close. Lucky I had my 200mm lens with me and ready to shoot as we went by. These are extremely cropped.

DSC_5126

Another first sighting was the sooty terns. These birds were flying in between a sandbar and the Dry Tortugas.  Several flew close to the boat.

DSC_5149

Not a first but still cool to see. Frigatebirds were circling overhead as we docked at the Tortugas.  A juvenile on the left and a female on the right.

DSC_5155

Then the entire family with dad on the left with the red chest flew by.

DSC_5168

Thousands of birds were on one end of the island.  That section was closed off since many of the birds were nesting.

DSC_5232

Another first, a chuck-will’s-widow on the ground. I have to give credit to several other birders who had found him right before I walked up. They were looking for the Kentucky warbler and found him instead.

DSC_5240

He was hiding under some bushes. I could just make out his face through the branches.

DSC_5245

I did find the Kentucky warbler, another first for me. They told me to look for a bird that looks like a hooded warbler but doesn’t have as much black on the head.

DSC_5171

Heading back onto the boat for lunch, the frigatebirds were still cruising close to the boat.

DSC_5222

Several blue grosbeaks were flying around inside the fort but they were very skittish.

DSC_5265

My 5th new bird of the day was the brown noddies. There were a lot of these flying in between the closed off end of the island and old pilings next to the fort. They are part of the tern family.

DSC_5278

More noddies flying in.

DSC_5254

A male frigatebird flies close by as the boat was leaving the island.

I’m going to bore you with my tons of vacation pictures. Brett and I recently spent a week in Key West. It was our first time on the island. We had a great time and I lugged my camera stuff everywhere. We took the all day boat trip out to the Dry Tortugas on the first day of our trip. It was a 2 and a half hour boat ride each way. The boat felt a little crowded with close to 200 people on it. Once we got to the island and everyone was spread out on that big island, it felt like we almost had the place to ourselves. Lots more pictures to come.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Fun morning at Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

DSC_2840

An oystercatcher couple were feeding along the shoreline right when I walked out on the beach.

DSC_2841

Upclose. He was digging pretty deep.

DSC_2844

A dowitcher also digging for food.

DSC_2873

It was dig deep day at the beach. Even the ibis were doing it.

DSC_2884

A snowy egret cruising for tiny fish.

turtle nests

Turtle nests were everywhere at the park. I’ve never seen so many nests there before. The rangers keep them roped off and has even relocated a nest if the turtle lays the eggs right in the middle of a main tourist area. Taken with my Iphone. Update – on 7/20, the park reported having 86 turtle nests there. This is a record!

DSC_2855

A busy day for some photographers. I think they were shooting a great blue heron. When you fly down from across the country, you’re out there concentrating and getting the most for your day. Kind of like what I did when I was in Arizona for vacation. Every day was packed. It’s nice to know I can stop by here for a leisure stroll and get pictures if I happen to see something fun. The guy in the bright blue shirt is the famous photographer, Moose Peterson. I have his book Captured and love it. I stayed away from his group since I knew they were busy but I have chatted with him before in the parking lot a few years ago.

DSC_2997

Before I left the park, I stopped by the fishing pier to see if anything interesting was going on. There’s always snowy egrets chasing after dropped bait fish.

DSC_3002

A great blue heron staring down at me from the shelter.

pier

Someone had asked me how I had gotten the close up pictures of the bird’s face looking down at me. I took the above with my Iphone. There are several rain shelters on the pier and the birds hang out on the roof. You can walk right up to the edge of the roof and they stare down at you. They want to know if you’re going to throw them some food or fish.

DSC_3008

Crazy cormorant on the light post was giving me a big yawn.

DSC_2978

Overhead, a frigatebird flies by.

DSC_2987

“Sailing takes me away…”

DSC_3004

Off into the wild blue yonder! The view from the end of the pier.

Another perfect hot sunny morning at Fort Desoto park.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Perfect day at the fishing pier – Skywatch Friday

DSC_9400

Ruddy turnstones are starting to get their summer colors in.

DSC_9392

It looks like this pelican has a handout. Unless he knows how to filet a fish?

DSC_9386

All lined up, waiting for someone to drop some bait fish.

DSC_9381

Rush hour traffic on the water. A perfect sunny windy day. Lots of boats out.

DSC_9377

Hanging out.

DSC_9376

Great blue heron up high on the pole.

DSC_9373

Most of the snowy egrets around the pier were sporting their summer breeding pink feathers around their beak.

DSC_9273

My first frigatebird sighting of the summer.

DSC_9267

Flowers were blooming all over the park.

This was one of the first sunny warm days we had this season.  The fishing pier was crowded early that morning. When I left after lunch, the line to get in the park was really long. Beach season has officially opened. Which means I need to be at the park before 8am and out before lunch until next winter. Too many people around.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

A sunny October morning at Fort De Soto – Skywatch Friday

DSC_7551

Yes, I know, another tricolored heron.

DSC_7554

White ibis were looking for snacks in the lagoon.

DSC_7562

This one found a crab. He’s still a juvenile. He hasn’t quite lost his brown baby feathers yet.

DSC_7585

A cormorant drying off in the sun.

DSC_7629

A typical sight in Florida.

DSC_7607

Another typical sight. People were catching a lot of fish at the pier. They weren’t big fish though.

DSC_7571

“Come back here bug” says the lizard looking down the hole.

DSC_7657

When I was leaving the park, I saw a big flock of frigatebirds flying over the duck ponds. I pulled over to take a few shots but they stayed pretty high up and then flew off over the houses.

Another very quiet Saturday morning at the park. I headed there to look for little migrating birds on the trails but saw almost nothing so I headed out to the beach and the fishing pier. In early October, the heat was just barely starting to break.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday