I made a trip down to Fort Desoto Park in August to look for a bird. Not just any bird but one I had not seen before. A Wilson’s phalarope had been reported there for several days. I made my usual stop on the bridge going into the park and snapped the above with my phone.
I headed out to North beach and figured that even if I didn’t find the new bird it would be a great morning out.
The new bird looked a lot like the above but no, these were plain ole willets. They are common here along the beaches.
A great egret flies by.
After looking around for the new bird I walked north on the beach and found the white morph reddish egret. He’s a regular here if you can find him along the beach. He was dancing around looking for fish so even though I have a ton of pictures of him I took more (because you know, you can never have too many pictures of the same bird).
A cargo ship goes by.
Some black skimmers came flying by and one went skimming along checking out his reflection.
A cute little piping plover was walking around. He had quite a bit of bling on his legs.
A tricolored heron posed for me.
Snowy egrets lined up on the fishing pier. They were waiting for a fisherman to pull up bait fish.
A shot of the Sunshine Skyway bridge taken right into the sun.
Before leaving I stopped at the East Beach turnaround and shot the above with my phone. And no, I didn’t find that Wilson’s phalarope. There were several others there also looking for it and no one could find it again. I was right though, it was still a great morning out.
It was mid-July and I still hadn’t seen the baby turkeys this summer. I had heard they were around from neighbors but I kept missing them. I went out for a bike ride one morning and there they were. Crossing the street and almost grown. I knew they would be in the woods in a second so I hopped off my bike and snapped the above.
As I passed them by I was able to get a quick shot before they went under the wooden fence and disappeared into the woods. They were still in that “cute” stage.
As I got around to the open utility field I saw a deer couple. The male looked young with those tiny antlers.
I saw another turkey family, all grown ups, far off on the other side of the field. They were heading behind someone’s house. When I got around to the other street they were feeding in front of a home, scratching around for bugs.
I stopped by the pond behind the golf center and found some baby mallards on the other side of the pond. I rarely see baby ducks here. In our old neighborhood in Tampa there were always a ton of babies almost all year round, both mallards and muscovy.
I also found some baby moorhens.
A great egret flies by as I was taking pictures of the moorhens.
Across the golf course I could see a doe running into the cover. I’m thinking she looked pregnant.
It was a stagnant morning in late July. Not even a slight breeze or ripple on the water. I stopped at the pier at Weaver Park to see if I could spot any dolphins but the tide was so low that they would be far out anyway so I didn’t stay long. It was too hot to be out so after my quick walk I headed home.
A few days later it was cloudy when I went out for a walk at the Dunedin marina. There was at least a breeze and a chance of rain.
The tide was low and the water was clear around the pier and I noticed someone must have dumped some fish bones in the water. I’ve never seen this before. The tiny bait fish were picking the bones clean.
A little farther down the pier I could see coral growing on the oyster beds.
The usual great egret was there, trying to catch some tiny fish.
I had heard there were some fun eclectic mailboxes on a few of the streets just off Main street so I took some back roads to get home.
These are just a small sample of some of the ones I saw. All snapped with my phone.
When I got almost home I could see some rain clouds out in the bay. I took a detour and stopped at the Oldsmar pier hoping to see some rain headed our way. I started to walk out on the pier and heard some thunder so I ducked under a picnic shelter and caught the above lightning across the bay. We did get a short storm at home but we are still in severe drought conditions. Through September this is the driest year on record for Pinellas county.
I looked out the window and saw a Carolina wren sitting on the outdoor chair in the backyard. Later I saw one singing on the hanging plant holder. I wondered if it was the same one.
The cardinal was not happy when the dove flew in and got a drink of water while he was taking a bath. He stopped and moved over the the rim to let the dove drink.
I got another look at the molting cardinal. What a scruffy looking bird.
The ruby throated hummingbird was feeding on the flowers in the backyard. I still had the hummer feeder out but it was good to see her feeding on the plants.
We occasionally have white ibis coming through the backyard. They are usually in groups and pick through the bugs but one day I saw one picking around near our pavers alone. I realized it was missing a foot. I cracked open the back door to take the first shot above and it came up to the door. I broke my hard fast rule of never feeding the wildlife other than the smaller birds and ran in and got a few raw green beans and some of the Nutriberry balls I feed my cockatiels. I threw them on the pavers and closed the door and the ibis ate all of it. I always keep an eye out for it when the many ibis come through the area. I have yet to see it again.
A great egret eating a lizard in front of the window.
I heard Harley (my youngest cockatiel) screaming his “There’s something scary in the backyard” scream and I ran over and saw the above red shoulder hawk taking a bath in the bird bath. I grabbed my camera and started snapping. He saw me and took off quickly. I’m surprised he didn’t knock over the bath.
Other critters in the backyard, taken through the window. We haven’t had a lot of deer come through lately but I did see the lone doe stop by.
It’s been a hot summer with little rain. Most days looked like this. Sunny with no real chance of rain (at least the rain lowers heat). I went out early for a short walk on the causeway, hoping for a breeze.
The water was so clear you could see the little bait fish swimming in between the old concrete pillars.
The north side of the causeway has never been nice but now it’s really full of dead seaweed. I wonder if this is part of that big 5,000 miles of sargassum seaweed that was floating out in the Atlantic Ocean and heading for Florida.
Walking over the bridge I was almost eye level with the terns diving for fish.
The south side of the causeway was nice and clear.
A kiteboarder goes cruising by.
After my walk I headed over to the marina to see if there were any dolphins or manatees swimming by.
A pelican sits on the corner of the pier and for a short while no one was bothering him.
I could see a dolphin fin breaking the water (just below the red sign) but I couldn’t find him again after I snapped this. He must have turned around and headed out under water.
My favorite great egret was there on the floating dock, trying to catch bait fish through the hole.
There’s a live camera on top of the restaurant next to the pier (it has a minute or two delay). I pulled it up on my phone and screen shot the above of me standing there leaning on the pier (in the blue shirt on the right). I had the pier all to myself this morning, no fishermen or joggers stopping by.
I made another trip to Fort Desoto Park in late April. I was hoping there would still be some migrating birds stopping by. There was a small chance of rain even though it looked like it would pour at any time.
The only migrating bird I found was a Cape May warbler. There were several of these cuties in the woods near the ranger’s house.
Heading to the gulf fishing pier.
The usual birds were at the fishing pier including a ruddy turnstone showing me his missing foot and great egrets.
The laughing gulls were putting on a show on top of the shelter on the pier.
I thought maybe the sun would break through but it stayed cloudy.
Pelicans hanging out on the jetti next to the pier.
A quick shot of a red breasted merganser that was still there. They spend the winter here but usually leave in March.
It was still a nice morning out even though it wasn’t very birdy or sunny.
I was looking out the back door and saw the above great egret in the yard. He saw me standing there and walked up close to the door. Someone nearby has been feeding him because he was looking for a handout. I took the first shot with my phone through the door and then went and got my camera. I slowly cracked open the door and he perked up, probably thinking I was coming out with a snack. I shot the above with my camera and then closed the door. He eventually left.
In mid-April I saw a Carolina wren in the backyard with 2 young ones. The 2 juveniles were bouncing around the yard, following Mom and still being fed by her. They must have just left the nest because they were bouncing and hopping around more than flying. I ran out with my camera as they passed my yard and headed into my neighbor’s yard.
Butterflies are regular visitors on the lantana plant.
It was getting dark and I was watering the plants and I heard the above great crested flycatcher right above me. I ran in and got my camera but it was so dark.
I hadn’t seen any bluebirds for a while and was thinking they were nesting in my neighbor’s nest box but then I saw a few in the backyard and one was getting nesting material in front of my window so some of them may still be working on a nest.
I’m glad someone is using my nest box.
We were still in an extreme drought and the pond down the street was almost dry. There was just a tiny bit of water in the middle. Some type of piping was exposed (it might have been thrown in there by a neighbor years ago). I was heading out for a bike ride and saw the spoonbill in the pond so I had to stop and take some pictures.
A juvenile little blue heron and a great blue heron were looking for snacks as well.
We are starting to get those summer sky colors right before dark but still no rain.
There were several glossy ibis flying over the rookery in late March. I’m not sure if they were nesting yet since they nest in the far back hidden part of the rookery. The color of their feathers really popped against the sun as they flew by.
Tricolored herons were still flirting. They nest later than the great egrets and wood storks.
A great egret showing off.
Yes, that’s an almost grown cormorant with his entire face down his Dad’s throat. He was trying to get the fish that Dad was regurgitating for him. I think he still wanted more.
A wood stork showing off his underneath green feathers.
There were so many wood stork babies here.
That fish was way to big for the baby to swallow. The parent realized that pretty quickly and didn’t want it to go to waste so down the hatch it went.
I made a road trip back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late March. The noise was so loud from all of the baby birds screaming to be feed. The little spoil island in the pond was full of babies. Although this great egret above looks like he’s still flirting.
There were baby egrets from just a few days old to several weeks old.
The tricolored herons were still sitting on eggs.
This Mom was shading her baby wood storks from the sun.
This was the youngest wood stork baby I could see and it had a tiny fish in his beak.
This Mom had no rest with all of these babies.
It looks like the older baby got the big fish this time. It took him a while to get it down.
Great egrets were still bringing sticks back to the nests.
The baby muscovy ducks I had seen here weeks ago were almost grown now.
It was late February and I was stopping by the neighborhood eagle’s nest every couple of days. One morning I caught the parent bringing in a fish for breakfast. Now they were just dropping off the food and letting the babies eat on their own.
At least one parent was still hanging close to the nest.
At one point an osprey flew close to the nest and the eagle was yelling at him to leave.
One of the babies was flapping his new wings and you could still see the pin feathers.
Finally, I could get a decent shot of both of the babies sitting up. The younger one seemed to sleep a lot and wasn’t flapping yet.
The kestrel couple landed on the wire nearby.
A few other birds that came by the nest was a phoebe and a brown thrasher.
I could see a red shoulder hawk far away on the other side of the field.