This is something you don’t see everyday in mid-March. That water was a little chilly, even with a short wetsuit. I was out for a short walk on the Oldsmar pier and saw this guy. It looked like fun but you really need some heavy upper body strength to hold that big sail up. Once he got up he went flying by and across the bay.
It was a quiet morning with only a few willets flying around so I headed over to the Dunedin marina.
These grackles were happily singing the morning away.
The usual beautiful scene from the marina.
The only birds I saw were willets and starlings on the little grassy area.
Also, house sparrows. They were busy taking dirt baths.
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.
I was was walking around the Dunedin marina early one morning in late April when I noticed there were purple martins coming out of the bird house. I’ve seen many of these condo bird houses but this is the first time I’ve seen purple martins in them. I only had my phone with me so I snapped the above. My camera was in the car so I headed back and drove around to the area they were at.
I had seen them briefly before but this was the first time I was able to get a good look at them. They are beautiful! Of course the male is all shiny and purple (they look blue to me) in the sun. There were several flying around the house.
The above is either a female or an immature male. They might have already nested and this is an offspring.
I think this is a juvenile house sparrow, hanging out underneath the bird house.
An anhinga was catching fish close by in the marina.
The view in front of the bird house. The blue building is the Dunedin Sailing Center.
On our last day in Utah in January, we checked out of our rental and headed over to Salt Lake City. We had half a day to kill before our flight so we stopped at the Hogle Zoo. It wasn’t too crowded because you know, who goes to the zoo in Utah in the middle of winter? But, there were a few other people there and it was sunny and mild, around the high 40’s. The animals were all out running around.
The meerkats were staying warm in the sun.
Lots of red pops from the plants. The berries looked interesting and I found out the red bulb was some sort of sumac. I haven’t seen these in Florida.
A few of the wild critters roaming around. Yes, another magpie and a Canadian goose high up on a building.
A cool statue.
Some house sparrows all puffed up trying to stay warm.
The zoo had amazing views of the mountains from every spot. There was an interesting park across the way from the zoo. What is that statue? After walking around we headed over to find out.
Doves sleeping on our fence. Taken through the kitchen window.
This night heron was hanging out on our dock, staying busy preening.
An ibis flew in and landed on the same dock.
The night heron was not happy with the ibis near his spot and chased him off. I just happened to be walking out of the side of the house to sneak around to the back to take pictures of the heron when I caught the ibis landing.
A few minutes later the night heron flew down to the water. It was an extreme low tide and you could see some of the rocks exposed. He was looking for tiny crabs on the rocks.
A mockingbird was eating something off my neighbor’s bottle brush tree.
A red bellied woodpecker in the tree.
Not an exciting bird but the house sparrows nest nearby and I always get a lot of them at my feeder so I consider them “my” birds. They are not skittish at all.
I was hosing down the front porch early one Sunday morning when I looked down the driveway and saw a duck couple drinking the runoff water. I know they want a handout but we don’t feed the ducks here. On one side it would be fun if they nested in our bushes but on the other side, our driveway would be covered in piles of duck poop.
In late spring, I heard some birds screaming in the backyard. I peeked out the bedroom window and saw the above, baby starlings being fed by the parents. I ran and grabbed my camera and took the above through the window. I didn’t want to go outside and spook them. These almost fully grown babies were very aggressive, almost attacking the parents to be fed. This went on for 20 minutes. They must have wiped out all of the worms, bugs and caterpillars we had in the backyard. Maybe I should have scared them off.
This was the last I saw of my neighborhood kingfisher back in late April, sitting on our dock. Hopefully she’ll show back up in late October again.
Now we get a lot of house sparrows on our dock.
A little blue heron walking through our yard.
Blondie and her babies came by the house recently. This beautiful cream colored mallard lives in our neighborhood. She usually has 2 sets of babies each year.
One of the “I get no respect” birds. Blue jays are pretty even though they are annoying.
That lunch looks yummy.
Female house sparrow getting a bite.
Keeping an eye on me.
I don’t see woodpeckers at feeders often. They like what ever is in this feeder.
Red bellied woodpeckers were everywhere.
And the usual titmouse.
I’m still figuring this one out. I first thought it was a prairie warbler or a white eyed vireo. I was hoping it was the female summer tanager that had been spotted there recently but they don’t have the white underneath. Any ideas?
I thought I was catching him in the act.
Later, I was told this was the squirrel feeder.
I didn’t want to give away the secret but these guys have done a great job. In a strip mall that backs up to some woods with a creek running through it, there’s a Wild Birds Unlimited store. They have deck out back and they have put up bird feeders and nest boxes all around. They have built this great little oasis near one of the busiest intersections in town.They must have only been getting the most common birds at first. Then someone spotted a summer tanager recently. The store owner told me people have been lining up to get pictures. He couldn’t believe people were coming all the way from Orlando to see this bird. He was very friendly and we talked for a few minutes about the different birds he was seeing. I hope all of this birding traffic has helped his business. I’ll be back to visit him (especially since there’s a great little cafe with amazing deserts a few doors down).