I was very safe taking these shots from the boardwalk at Gatorland. These were all taken during the early morning hours at the bird rookery. It’s hard not to take pictures when they are moving around right below you. Mating season was in full swing so they were being very loud.
This great blue heron was hanging out in the exhibit. I’m sure he knew he could make a fast getaway if needed.
The younger alligators in the ponds at the front of the park all seemed to be smiling this morning. I think they had just been fed.
Views from the observation tower. The birds nest in the bushes all along the boardwalk. There were quite a few other photographers there that morning as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wild hogs hiding in the bushes. Not sure where the term “pigtails” comes from?
One of the main trails, Alligator Alley, was finally back open after closing in September of 2017. When Hurricane Irma came through, the trail was washed out and a lot of damage was done to that part of the park. The raised trail across the marsh was finally rebuilt and it was great to walk down it again in late January.
Out on the dock you could see the bald cypress trees going bald for the winter.