When my sister was here visiting over Thanksgiving weekend we headed down to Sarasota for the day. After spending the morning at Selby Gardens and having lunch nearby we stopped in at Save Our Seabirds to walk around for a while before heading back to Tampa. SOS is a non-profit bird sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. They rescue, rehab and release injured birds. Many of the birds that can’t be released have found a permanent home here.
Many of the birds had missing wings, eyes or legs. It was late in the afternoon when we stopped in so it was quiet and most of the birds were napping.
They do a lot of work with injured sandhill cranes including ones that lose a leg after being hit by a car. They fit them with prosthetic legs so they are able to move around easily but are still not able to be released.
High up – loggerhead shrike, kestrel and a starling.
Great blue heron posing on a light post.
One I helped save and one I couldn’t. The first one was walking around on the pier. I had a bait fish in my hand and he walked right up to me. He was all tangled up in fishing line with a hook on his wing. I was able to borrow clippers and a nice man was able to grab him as I was giving him the bait fish. While he held the pelican I clipped off all of the wire and the hook. He seemed okay so we let him go. He gave me one last look and took of into the sunset. The other pelican was sitting on the ferry boat. His feet were tangled up in fishing wire but he was able to fly and took off.
I was able to head down to Fort Desoto for a quick walk before sundown in late October before the time changed. Now it’s dark after work. Can’t wait till April.
We were very lucky to have survived hurricane Irma with little damage. Many of my friends did not have power for up to 7 days after the storm and many areas in south Florida including the Keys suffered a lot of damage. Since we live on the water in the upper Tampa Bay, we evacuated to stay at our friends house about 30 minutes north of us. This was only the 2nd time we’ve evacuated since living here for 15 years. The first was for Charley in 2004 which missed us completely. We spent almost 3 days at our friends and didn’t lose power until the last day. I had thrown my camera in the car before leaving and spent some time taking pictures in the rain. Above were all taken from our friend’s backyard. We passed the time by keeping the dogs busy, one was a 9 month old puppy who loved to fetch the ball from the pool. By the time I left my arm was tired of throwing the ball for 3 days. That puppy never did tire out.
Below are just a few “after” storm shots. Beth walking the puppy around the backyard. The neighborhood was filled with yard debris. One of her neighbor’s lost their shed. The shed had completely blown away but the lawn equipment was still in a pile on the grass. Many of the houses has tree limbs in the screens.
I just hope it’s at least another 13 years before we have to do this again. Our house was fine. We had the wood fences on both side of our house fall down but that is an easy fix.
This spring we had a drought here in central Florida. The marshes at Circle B Bar Reserve had all dried up except for a tiny few spots. This one marsh still had some water in it so all of the birds were feeding in the same spot. I guess the bugs were plentiful in this spot. I’m not sure how long they stayed there feeding but the morning I was there in late April they were packed in and fighting over space. The crowd was mostly great egrets, snowy egrets and spoonbills but there were a few tricolored herons, little blue herons, great blue herons and green herons. Oh, also glossy ibis, white ibis and wood storks. It’s been years since we’ve seen that many water birds congregate like that so everyone was taking tons of pictures including me.
This lady kingfisher has been a regular visitor this past winter. She’s either on the dock or on the boat lift poles.
Mr Grumpy (great blue heron) sometimes naps on our dock.
An anhinga paid a visit recently.
My resident osprey has been spending some time on our neighbor’s sailboat mast. I took this right before the sun went down. He usually comes in right before dark and sleeps there.
One day we had a hawk on the same mast.
We have a spotted sandpiper that hangs out in the channel in the winter. I went out on the dock to take this picture. He let me get pretty close. It was during an extreme low tide so he was walking around in the muck.
A couple of weeks ago we had a pelican on our dock. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one here. I rarely see them come into the channels. They usually stay out closer to the bay.
One night right before the sun went down I went outside to get something and saw a flock of robins hanging out in our tree on the side of the house. They stayed long enough for me to run back in the house to get my camera and come back out and snap a few shots.
We get a lot of squirrels in our yard.
Pretty flower on the fence.
A few of the critters passing through our yard in the last few months.