This lady kingfisher has been a regular visitor this past winter. She’s either on the dock or on the boat lift poles.
Mr Grumpy (great blue heron) sometimes naps on our dock.
An anhinga paid a visit recently.
My resident osprey has been spending some time on our neighbor’s sailboat mast. I took this right before the sun went down. He usually comes in right before dark and sleeps there.
One day we had a hawk on the same mast.
We have a spotted sandpiper that hangs out in the channel in the winter. I went out on the dock to take this picture. He let me get pretty close. It was during an extreme low tide so he was walking around in the muck.
A couple of weeks ago we had a pelican on our dock. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one here. I rarely see them come into the channels. They usually stay out closer to the bay.
One night right before the sun went down I went outside to get something and saw a flock of robins hanging out in our tree on the side of the house. They stayed long enough for me to run back in the house to get my camera and come back out and snap a few shots.
We get a lot of squirrels in our yard.
Pretty flower on the fence.
A few of the critters passing through our yard in the last few months.
My first common goldeneye from very far away. I had to stand on a picnic table to catch him when he swam away from the tall reeds in front of the lake. This was taken with my 300mm lens and extremely cropped up. Bad shot but at least I can add him to my list. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of one being in the area.
These little grebes were looking at me like I was crazy. Standing in the drizzle looking for a duck.
After a while, the clouds started to disappear. This kingfisher was watching me watching him.
Now watching me on a pole in the lake.
This spoonbill agreed with the grebes. I think he was laughing at me.
Moorhen with the big yellow feet.
The goldeneye had been reported for a few weeks at the lake that Boyd Hill Nature Preserve sits on. It was across the lake from the park at a boat ramp. I finally made it over there in late January. It had been raining and I almost didn’t go. Luckily it stopped raining and the sun came out. I’m glad I braved the weather since now I have a new duck for my list!
In the morning, I saw this great blue heron on my neighbor’s dock.
Later in the afternoon, he was sleeping on our dock.
Every once in a while he would look around. I call him Mr. Grumpy Face.
Back to sleep.
The neighborhood osprey was back again with lots of annoying visitors.
A ring billed gull sat across the boat lift from the osprey. Watching his every bite.
That’s a big fish. I don’t know why he wouldn’t share.
Then a kingfisher landed on the same side.
The kingfisher took off after a few minutes when he realized the osprey wasn’t giving up his lunch.
Then a few minutes later, a little blue heron starts to bother him.
Not in my backyard but in my in-laws front yard. A screech owl has been sleeping in the roof overhang on the corner of their house. He’s there sporadically. I finally put my camera and long lens in the car on Christmas day and was able to get the above when we pulled into the driveway. I think we’re going to have to name him.
All of the above except for the last picture were taken through the bedroom window during Christmas week.
I was sitting quietly on a bench waiting for the rufous hummingbirds to come back and this towhee came out from the bushes and started digging around for snacks in the ground.
He got pretty close to me but I was afraid he would get spooked if I raised my camera. He stayed right there as I took this picture.
This hawk was sitting in a tree close to the bench and right after I snapped this he took off. I heard him screaming and a kingfisher screaming close by.
I ran into the window blind that looks over a little pond and the hawk was chasing the kingfisher around the pond. I couldn’t get a good picture of the chase through the glass but was able to shoot the kingfisher sitting on a bird house in front of the window.
I headed to the other end of the gardens and heard the red headed woodpeckers calling close by.
They were banging away on the trees.
Something in this hole had his interest.
I saw three adults but I heard there were more there.
Zooming over my head.
This juvenile was all alone nearby. I’m not sure how long it takes for them to get their full red head.
A red bellied woodpecker with a big nut in his beak. Taken right into the sun.
A few of the birds I saw on my recent trip to Bok Tower Gardens. I saw several rufous hummingbirds flying around but could not get a shot of them in the shade. They did not sit still the entire hour I was watching them. They would fly high over the trees and then come back 10 minutes later. I guess that’s a good reason for another trip over there.
A regular on the beach. About a year ago, this oystercatcher had some fishing line wrapped around his leg and was cutting off the circulation. Someone took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook and a team of people were able to catch him and get the line off. You can still see the ring around his leg just above his foot.
Not a regular but a once in a while visitor, the piping plover.
The great blue heron kept walking back and forth right behind this guy and kept getting closer. We finally got his attention and told him to turn around. By then the heron was too close for him to even get a shot.
Someone on the beach told me this was a merlin. He was across the marsh so this is extremely cropped. It could also be a cooper’s hawk. Anyone know which?
A kingfisher flew over my head with a fish stuck on his beak. She took off into the woods to enjoy her snack alone.
A juvenile night heron has a crab.
Oh no, he dropped it.
He got it back quickly.
And gulped it down fast before it could get away again.
A quiet but perfect morning in mid-September at Fort Desoto.
I had heard there were a few avocets in a field near Cockroach Bay. Since I still haven’t seen these birds, I figured I would drive the almost hour trip to try to find them. The field was covered with thousands of birds. There was only access to view the field on one side which faces directly into the sun. The rest of the field was fenced off. I looked for an hour and did not find the avocets. Most of the birds were least terns with a few sanderlings, plovers and starlings thrown in. Oh well, maybe one day.
I did see a belted kingfisher flying over a lake off in the distance.
This guy was sitting on the side of the road. I’m not sure if he was checking out a snack. He eventually flew off. I think this is a juvenile red shoulder hawk.
I was leaving the area to head back to town and saw a pair of sandhill cranes on the side of the road. Of course, I pull over and snapped a few pictures.
I love their “heart” heads.
Cows were chewing near the side of the road. I pulled off hoping to get the “cattle egret sitting on the back of the cow” shot. Not this time.
Another cow got curious and came close to the fence. He started to creep me out a little and I was going to jump back in my car but he turned around.
A brown cow farther back looked up with grass hanging out of his mouth.
#47 also had grass hanging out of his mouth.
You know it’s a slow day when I get excited about taking pictures of cows.
Heading home, I had to drive back over the Sunshine Skyway bridge. A quick stop at the rest area and I was home in less than an hour.
The hooded mergansers showed up in our channel in early November. I saw that flash of white and started yelling “The hoodies are back!” This is the 4th year we’ve had them floating in the water behind our house during the winter. These were taken through the bedroom window. If I just open the back door, they take off down the channel.
At first we just saw 2 males. Since then we’ve had a few females show up.
This one came pretty close to our dock.
A female anhinga hanging out on our neighbor’s dock.
I noticed the little kingfisher sitting on our neighbor’s dock post and realized he had a fish in his beak. I snapped the above through the window. He saw me.
He flew down to our neighbor’s dock with the fish. Then he flew off down the channel so I didn’t get to see him swallow it.
Later in the afternoon he was back on our dock.
I noticed the white ibis sitting on my neighbor’s dock. They were watching something.
On the other side of the dock was an osprey with a fish under his foot. That juvenile ibis was pretty brave to fly over to him. The osprey eventually got tired of the crowd and left with his lunch.
Just a few visitors to the backyard in the middle of November.
When I started walking down the trails, I didn’t notice the pink at first. It was only when I turned around and saw the sun coming through the plants that I noticed the color. The trails were covered in this.
I saw this kingfisher hovering over a pond across the trail.
I think this was a yellow rumped warbler. The trail was full of these little guys.
Red shoulder hawk sitting on the wire across the road.
At the top of a small mound, you could see Tampa from far away. I was at least an hour away from the city.
I had heard about Cockroach Bay for several years but never made it there until recently. I went looking for the red-breasted nuthatches that had been sighted there but did not find them. I was joined by several other birders and all we found were tons of yellow rumped and pine warblers. The trails were pretty quiet that morning. It reminded me a bit of my favorite place, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. Since I have to drive the long way around the bay, it took me longer to get to Cockroach bay so I’ll probably not head back there too often. Didn’t see any cockroaches there. The story is that early explorers saw the horseshoe crabs from a distance and thought they were big cockroaches. The name was never changed.