Flying across the trail

I walked out on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March and saw this. Lots of wading birds out in a small pond that had developed from the recent rain.

So many birds feeding in this one spot. Great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, great blue herons, wood storks, spoonbills and one large sandhill crane.

All of a sudden the sandhill crane took off across the marsh.

Glossy ibis were flying across the trail.

Spoonbills were flying in and out of the pond all morning. At one point one flew so close I couldn’t fit him all in and he was carrying a stick. He must have been heading for a nest.

Typical sight along the trail. A great blue heron in a dead snag.

Far out in the lake, a great egret sits alone.

My Corner of the World

Fort Desoto Park in early March

I hadn’t been down to Fort Desoto Park since the middle of December so I was due for a trip in early March. The first stop at the park was North beach to look for shorebirds and reddish egrets. Most of the shorebirds were scarse this morning but I did see a cute little piping plover.

I was trying to focus on the laughing gull flying with something in his beak and realized you can see the Don Cesar Hotel far away on St. Pete beach. It’s hard to miss that big pink hotel.

This willet had a great snack and was trying to hide it from the other willets.

 

One last shot of the old bay pier and the old iconic yellow bait shop. It’s all being torn down now and replaced with a new pier.

Some of the shorebirds that were hanging around the small beach next to the big fishing pier. The willets and sanderlings were trying to sleep. At some point something spooked them and off they went before flying in a circle and landing back again. That common tern had been taking a bath and flew into the sleeping guys to catch a nap.

It was windy on the fishing pier and the usual birds were having trouble with their hair.

Someone caught a fish although it looks too small to eat.

I was out on the end of the fishing pier and could see this great egret with a big snack in his beak,

Things in the backyard

Some of the birds in the yard in late January and early February. I’m always looking out the window when I’m at home. I noticed the great egret creeping around the tree but he went behind the bushes when he caught the lizard.

I’ve seen several random turkeys roaming around the neighbhorhood and was wondering if they were all the same turkey. These were across the fairway from our house. The top one had a gray head (maybe the juvenile from this past summer) and the bottom shot has a red head. These were taken the same week.

The usual bigger birds in the backyard include a cardinal, blue jay and a crow that’s been hanging around for a few weeks.

There’s always a Carolina wren in the backyard. Sometimes we have two.

Other occasional birds at the feeder are titmouse and woodpeckers.

We had several bluebirds bouncing around the backyard one afternoon. They would catch some caterpillars on the ground and fly up to the top of the bird feeder to eat them.

We’ve had parulas up in our trees for a while now. I hear their shrill all day long. I was able to catch the male (top shot) in a lower branch singing away one afternoon. The bottom shot is either a juvenile or maybe the female. She came down to the bird bath.

A few other things in the yard. That spider looks like he has a smiley face on his back. The gardenia bush outside our front door has been blooming and it smells so nice when you walk out the door. I went out and got these with my macro lens. All other pictures where taken through the windows.

Birding in my pajamas.

Titmouse are coming to my backyard bird bath pretty regularly to take baths. I try and hide behind the curtains and take pictures through the window so I don’t spook them.

I’m also getting blue jays and catbirds but they just get a quick drink and leave.

Watching the birds fly around the trees, I saw a dash of yellow from across the yard but almost didn’t look twice because I thought it was a palm warlber. I was able to grab a shot of this hooded warbler with a bug in his beak through my dirty windows. (I have since spent some time cleaning them).

I took the shots of the pine wabler and yellow throated warbler outside early one morning, walking around the trees in the back of our home before work.

Twice I watched this red bellied woodpecker hide nuts in a palm tree. He was getting them from a feeder across the fairway and flying back over to our side and hiding them.

Usual morning birds in the back, a great egret and blue jay.

There’s a ton of squirrels in the yard. One climbed up on the outdoor chair and was watching me in the window. I changed out the bird feeder pole to a much higher one and now he can’t get to the food so he wasn’t happy (although at some point he’ll figure out a way to get up there).

My Corner of the World

Critters in my new backyard

Behind our new townhome is a tree lined golf course. There’s also a small pond a few homes down. The first week we moved in I went for a quick walk early in the morning before work along the tree line.  I’ve seen several limpkins in the pond so I’m hoping for limpkin babies next summer.

Right outside our home, I found an ovenbird deep in the bushes.

There’s always noisy mockingbirds anywhere in Florida.

Is it Thanksgiving yet? My second turkey sighting in the neighborhood. When we were doing some work on the home before we moved in, we could see several turkeys across the golf course. The week we moved in they were right down the street so I ran and got my camera.

Little birds in the trees. I think these are palm warblers.

A great egret out my back door (taken through the window)

There are palm warblers everywhere. The golf course is full of them on the ground if there are no golfers playing.

A parula out the back door (also taken through the window).

My Corner of the World

A great morning for beautiful birds

I headed down to Fort Desoto at the end of August not expecting much. As I headed out to the north beach I was greeted by a few spoonbills. I rarely see them here and in fact it was probably last fall when they were in the same spot. I wonder if these are the same ones that have stopped by for a rest.

I found a few red knots hanging out with one of the resident reddish egrets.

A red knot still in breeding feathers.

The best part of the morning was seeing an uncommon avocet. It wasn’t really a surprise though. I had heard 2 were here but wasn’t counting on actually finding it so it was a bonus to walk up on it. I didn’t see the other one although it may have been hiding in the sanctuary close by. There were 3 that hung out here last fall and I was able to catch those on 2 visits.

A young skimmer fluffing up his feathers.

A dunk and a catch.

Looking over through the sea oats over to Egmont Key in the distance. If you look close in the right hand side, you can see an osprey sitting on a branch on the beach.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Fishing on the fishing pier

One of the fun things about walking around on the fishing pier besides fishing, is watching the birds steal the bait fish. The snowy egrets get in squabbles over the tiny fish.

All lined up, waiting for someone to pull up a bait net full of fish.

This great blue heron had already eaten and was wiping his beak on the light.

Cruising by with the big boats in the background.

The guy who owned this rolling bucket was not paying attention. He had some fish already in there but left it open and walked farther down the pier to pull up another net full of bait fish. The snowy egrets and great egrets were having a feast until he came back.

 

At the beach

No, I did not take these this weekend. We avoid the beaches on holidays. We are fortunate enough to live here and can go to the beach any time so we don’t go during the busiest times. This was a beautiful Saturday morning in early May.

The wind was blasting and you could see all of the kiteboarders bobbing up and down across the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

The usual birds near the fishing pier included a ruddy turnstone taking a break, a gull who was cruising the wind and a black bellied plover.

One last look for migrating birds at the ranger’s house came up empty. Only a young great blue heron and a white ibis in the fountain.

This osprey had built a nest right on the trail and was giving me the stink eye when I passed by. Luckily there isn’t much traffic on this trail when the heat sets in.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

The bird rookery

Catching a little blue heron lift off.

Snowy egrets were showing off.

Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.

The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.

The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.

There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.

Late day walk at Fort Desoto

I’m still going through my pictures from Fort Desoto in late October. So many shorebirds there at that time. Tons of gulls, terns and skimmers. The 2nd shot is of red knots, feeding before their trip south for the winter.

Many of the birds were taking baths before it got dark.

An uncommon herring gull.

Not sure what kind of snack this laughing gull has.

Some of the smaller shorebirds. Yellowlegs, dowitcher, a black bellied plover and a tiny snowy plover that was smaller than this pile of sand.

It’s weird to see turkey vultures on the beach. They were really in the muck at low tide. The one on the right had a small piece of fish under his foot that he was eating.

Great egret flyby.

This kid was throwing his frisbee into the birds. Why is it so fun to watch the birds flush? Someone walked over to him and asked him to stop and explained that the birds needed their rest before they migrate for the winter. He really just didn’t know. He stopped and went back to his family.

Heading home back into Tampa right before dark, I saw the moon coming up and had to stop and take a picture.