Fort Desoto in early January

Little birds along the shore at Fort Desoto Park.

Weird sea slugs that were on the sand at low tide. The muck was full of these.

The tide would be coming in soon to wash this guy back into the water.

A very large raft of ducks far out in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I think these were mostly ring neck ducks.

Scenes from the beach.

In early January I was walking the trails and noticed an owl sitting in an old osprey nest.

Not a bad way to be stuck in traffic. On my way home I got stuck on the bridge for a few minutes while the bridge was up waiting for some tall boats to pass underneath.

SkyWatch Friday

After the storm

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We had a big storm come through the area on Friday and then next morning I headed out to Fort Desoto. It was low tide and the beach was full of things we don’t see that often. Lots of live shells. We mostly see broken ones.

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I think this crab took over this empty conch shell.

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This starfish was missing a few limbs.

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The beach was full of these.  They were all empty though.

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Horseshoe crabs were on the beach.

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Another critter taking up residence in an empty shell.

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The beach was full of the above.  Some kind of sea plant?  Looks like corn on the cob husks to me.

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A beautiful cool morning at Fort Desoto Park.

Shine the Divine

Drizzling on the beach – Skywatch Friday

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I’ve seen a few gulls with only one foot. I’m not sure if there are many or I just keep seeing the same one at the beach.

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Skimmers taking flight across the lagoon.

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Up in the dark sky, they fly around in a circle then land right back where they started from.

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A lone ring billed gull.

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He did not seem to mind me there. He sat down for a nap. He has beautiful deep yellow eyes.

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Unfortunately, I did not find this one alive. The beach was full of dead horseshoe crabs that had washed up. This was the biggest one I saw there.

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As usual, the weather has not been in my favor in January. I headed down to Fort De Soto anyway just to get out and walk around. It was a dark gloomy day. And only got darker as the morning went on. There wasn’t much on the beach. Before leaving, I stopped by east beach turnaround to see if any shorebirds were hanging around. This was all I saw. This is extremely cropped. A line of redhead ducks were cruising across the bay. I could see the lights on over at the south Sunshine Skyway Fishing pier. You can barely make out a sailboat. They must be crazy to be out in this weather. It started to rain hard so I headed for home. This was not one of those “quick summer” rain showers that you wait out.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

A boat, a horseshoe crab and some birds

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I thought I might get rain when I first got to Fort Desoto early on a Saturday morning. The sun was barely peeking out behind a big cloud bank.

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I walked along the beach up to the north beach tip and the sun finally came out. The beach was full of dead horseshoe crabs. I’ve never seen to many here at one time. The tide must have washed them all up. This one looked like it was alive but when the water came up it didn’t move.

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Black bellied plover watching me.

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Snowy egret getting his morning breakfast.

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This great blue heron did not catch his own breakfast. As I rounded the corner on the beach, there were a handful of guys fishing. They were throwing the tiny ones to the birds close by.

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Another free meal.

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Another beautiful morning walking the beach at Fort Desoto Park.

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