Alone on the beach.

A few of the usual birds at Fort Desoto including a crow with an apple, a loggerhead shrike and our favorite hybrid great blue heron/great egret.

It’s rare to see the ghost crabs out of their holes. They are pretty skittish.

Heading into Tampa bay.

A quiet morning on the beach. Very few people here. This was the Saturday before Hurricane Dorian was headed our way. On this morning it was forecasted to head straight across the state and hit us on Monday so many people had canceled their vacation plans. Little did we know at this point it would stall over the Bahamas and then head north.

A phone pano of the north beach tip.

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

Birds on the beach during red tide

There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.

A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.

Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.

Royal terns in the air.

The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.

Still a beautiful day out at Fort Desoto.

Visiting my favorite pier groupies.

A few of the regulars at the pier; the famous great blue heron/great egret hybrid, a ruddy turnstone, a reddish egret, lots of snowy egrets always looking for a handout and great blue heron and reddish egret fighting over space on the railing.

Skimmers were skimming the bait fish.

 

This reddish egret was bored with me.

Shots of a beautiful morning at the pier. These were taken in early September, before Irma.

SkyWatch Friday

“Don’t play with your food.”

I was driving through the parking lot heading to the fishing pier and I saw this guy over by a new rain puddle. He’s the rare great egret/great blue heron hybrid that’s been hanging out at the park for a while now. I’ve only ever seen him at the fishing pier.  I’m glad I stopped and got out of the car since I saw the below when I did.

A great blue heron had a snack.  He kept flipping it over, dropped it a few times and finally swallowed it quickly. I know the bird’s gotta eat but I felt bad for the frog.

Other birds kept cruising by hoping they could try to steal it.  Another great blue heron started getting too close so he gulped it down.