A foggy morning

Another foggy walk along the Dunedin causeway in early December. I thought the sun was going to break through when I first got there but it seemed to get foggier as the morning went on.

After my walk I pulled my camera out of the car and walked down near the edge of the water. The tide was low and there were a few shorebirds feeding or sleeping. I caught a lone marbled godwit flying in to nap with the laughing gulls.

I stopped by the marina before heading home. I could see a bright red Santa on top of a boat, really popping with color in the fog.

The usual birds (a pelican and great egret) hoping a fisherman will show up to steal his snacks.

Inspire Me Monday

Finally out with my camera

In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.

There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.

Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.

One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.

An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.

A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.

A great egret posing nicely.

Pelicans around the marina.

A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.

I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.

Too early for fall migration

It was mid-September and I headed out for a quick walk around Roosevelt Wetlands. I didn’t expect to find too much since fall migration was still just a trickle but anything is possible this time of year. The wetlands was packed with dragonflies.

A female red-winged blackbird isn’t very exciting but she posed so nicely for me that I had to take a shot.

The same with this female anhinga, sitting high up in a tree.

I was starting to see palm warblers. That’s a sure sign winter is coming.

I was surprised to see black bellied whistling ducks here. There was an adult with three juveniles. I wonder if they grew up here or just stopped over on their way somewhere else.

“Make room for me” said the great egret to the moorhens. They scooted out of his way.

It was a quiet morning and the only sign of fall was the single palm warlber. It was still a little early for migration though.

So glad to see the eagles again

I finally caught the bald eagle in the tree at the Oldsmar pier. I had stopped by several times with my camera before finding him sitting high up there. He didn’t stay long, taking off not long after I had arrived.

As he left, he flew by so close that I couldn’t fit his wings in. I still haven’t figured out if this is one of the eagles that has a nest in my neighborhood or somewhere else. There is a another nest nearby but that couple did not use it this past year. He always flies north towards my neighborhood when he leaves which is why I’m thinking it’s him.

Walking on the pier I noticed another eagle sitting in a tree at the far end of the park. He was facing the water and wasn’t very visable from the sidewalk but I caught the above from the pier.

A few of the other birds at the pier. I think that tricolored heron was keeping his eye on the sky in case the eagle was heading towards him.

A cormorant cruises by the pier.

The black terns were still there.

The next day I was heading up to Tarpon Springs for a walk and I saw 2 eagles on a tower. I pulled over into a parking lot and shot the above. It wasn’t until later when I cropped up the picture that I realized the eagle on the right is a dummy. I don’t know if they put the fake up there to attract or repel other birds. The real eagle on the left didn’t seem to mind. Now I laugh when I drive by there and see that fake sitting up there.

SkyWatch Friday

On the beach in late July

Out on the beach at Fort Desoto in July, I found a few birds including a laughing gull, a semi palmated plover and a sanderling.

The marbled godwits were busy feeding.

A reddish egret flies in from across the lagoon.

Out on the fishing pier, the birds were lined up waiting for someone to drop their bait fish.

This great egret was looking a little rough. I’m thinking he’s molting.

A cormorant busy preening on the light post.

A ship heading out for a long voyage.

Crazy summer skies

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for a walk when this rainbow popped up.

Out on the causeway I could see rain far out in the gulf and I didn’t see any lightning so I started a quick walk but stayed close to the car.

When I got to the nearby bridge I could see rain all around me out in the water but the sun was out over the causeway. Even with the sun out the wind was blowing pretty hard so it stayed cool for my walk.

This great blue heron hangs out under the bridge. There’s usually people fishing under here so he’s hoping for a handout.

There’s a small tree on the causeway that has tropical white morning glory (also know as moonflower) all over it.

Right when I got back to my car most of the rain had moved out and a rainbow came out. I love mornings like these when the sky does crazy things.

SkyWatch Friday

Summer walk on the causeway

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for an early morning walk in late June and saw that a baby turtle had been painted on the water tower right before the causeway. I had to turn around and take a quick shot. He’s so cute.

It was crazy hot even at 8am in the morning. I caught the drawbridge going up as I was about to cross it. It was a good spot to take a rest,

The usual great egrets and pelicans were hanging around the short bridge, hoping to steal some bait fish from an unsuspecting fisherman.

A fun bike rack in front of the kayak rental station.

After a long walk at the causeway I headed down to the marina for a quick walk. (I was really just stalling until my favorite lunch pick up place nearby opened at 11am).

Inspire Me Monday

More crazy birds at the rookery

A juvenile night heron sits alone at the front of the rookery. He’s been there on my last 2 visits. They nest deep in the bushes so I can’t see them as little babies.

A snowy egret still flirting.

The cormorants and anhingas nest high up inthe cypress trees so it’s a little harder to see those young babies. As they get older the bigger babies end up down on the rookery and Mom feeds them there. The top one is a cormorant. They have orange curved beaks and hook their fish. The middle shot are both anhingas (male on the left in all black and the female on the right has a brown chest and neck). They have pointed beaks and stab their fish. The juveniles with the great egret in the bottom shot are both anhingas.

A female grackle getting some bugs. They also nest deep in the bushes.

A wood stork getting a drink in the pond.

I saw a tricolored heron fly over to the top of a tree away from the rookery. She’s got food in her beak and she’s trying to get her young one to fly over to be fed. She was yelling at the baby to fly across the pond to her to get food instead of her bringing it to the baby.

The baby eventually flew over and got his meal.

All of the tricolored heron babies that I saw were almost fully grown. They all had their adult colors in their feathers but they still had those baby spikes on the top of their heads and were still squawking for food.

Morning walk around Dunedin

One last look at the purple martins at the Dunedin marina. After this trip in late May they have left the condo. The babies were flying around the marina but still landing back on the nest house to be fed. Next year I’ll have to remember to stop by here earlier before the babies are fully grown.

House sparrows were taking a dirt bath below the purple martin nest box.

After walking around the marina I left and stopped at the nearby long fishing pier at Weaver Park. Looking north I could see the drawbridge up at the causeway bridge. This was a common sight back in the “old days” along the intercoastal waterway. Now as older bridges are being replaced, they build them up high so a drawbridge isn’t necessary anymore. This is one of the last remaining drawbridges in the area.

A few guys were fishing at the end of the pier and this great egret flew in looking for a handout.

After hanging around the fishermen for a while, he must have gotten tired of waiting for a handout and started getting his own snacks.. He was leaning over the floating dock and catching the bugs on the side of the dock to eat. Yum!

A least tern takes a break from diving into the water for his fish.

Earlier that morning when I was walking around the marina, some of the houses close by had these cactus vines growing in their yards. These cactus, night blooming cereas, only bloom at night but I was able to catch a few closing up early that morning. I’ve heard they are really beautiful and smell great when they are in full bloom but I would need to be here around midnight for that.

Inspire Me Monday

Regurgitated sushi for dinner

Wood storks and great egrets were flying into the bird rookery in north Tampa non-stop in late May. They were bringing more nesting material but mostly food for all of those screaming babies. It was loud to stand there in the late afternoon as those big growing babies were ready to eat. And they let everyone know it.

There were still a lot of young wood storks honking for food.

The almost grown baby great egrets were really aggresive. These parents have a tough job. Getting fish, then swallowing that fish, then regurgitating it back up to feed the baby.

If you look closely at the beaks you can see fish parts coming down from the parent’s beak and into the baby’s beak. All while big brother is trying to get a bite as well. That does not look yummy.

Even after they are fed, they still yell for more food.