Early morning at Pine Island beach, north of Tarpon Springs and south of Cedar Key. I had not spent any time in this area and it’s a beautiful quiet area. At least it was in October.
I was hoping to find some new shorebirds here but it was the same old ones that I can find in my usual spots near home.
Fiddler crabs along the shoreline.
Just me and my shadow on the boardwalk, looking out on the gulf.
This is a small beach compared to beaches in the Tampa bay area. It’s a little off the beaten path so it might not get the crowds in the summer that we see on Clearwater beach or St. Pete beach. It was a beautiful morning and I was glad to be out of the house and out on the road.
The drive into the beach is a long 2 lane road with marsh on both sides. The first two shots were looking right and the bottom two were looking left as you drive in. This is why they call this area the “Nature coast”.
Back in mid-September when things were quiet at Fort Desoto, I stopped by the pier to see if there were any dolphins swimming around. There wasn’t any dolphins this morning but the pelicans were diving for fish and the gulls were driving them crazy trying to steal a fish from them.
Harry, the usual great blue heron/great egret hybrid, was hanging out on the roof on the pier panting in the heat.
I stopped by St. Pete beach in mid July thinking that all of the skimmer babies would be almost grown up and starting to fly but there was one little baby still remaining. They were outside the roped off area near the seaweed line. The baby stayed close to Mom.
There was one other baby that was bigger but still staying close to Mom. All of the rest of the older babies were down along the water line practicing their wing flapping.
One of the laughing gulls had gotten a hold of a snack from someone and all of the other gulls were chasing him trying to steal it. Not even a cheese cracker is safe on the beach.
I stopped at Sand Key park on the way home and there were several eastern kingbirds near the beach.
This laughing gull was trying hard to flirt with his mate. He brought her several fish and continued to yell even as they were being stalked by a ruddy turnstone who was probably trying to get a fallen piece of fish.
He tried to mate but she wasn’t not having any part of it and knocked him off.
He brought her another fish and at that point people were walking down the fishing pier so they flew off.
The great tree where the ducks hang out at the retirement home where Brett’s aunt lives. The shade is amazing and it’s always filled with birds. We spent some time sitting on a bench visiting his aunt.
Ducks on the way to nap under the tree.
While we were visiting, someone came to feed the ducks. They knew this women and came flying over when they saw her walking across the parking lot.
She fed them a little bread but most of it was cracked corn and seed.They ignored me standing over them taking pictures with my phone.
The laughing gulls and ibis were fighting over the bread.
When we got home, this new family was cruising through our neighbor’s yard.
Below is a public service announcement with a link below that from the Audubon about feeding ducks.
I wonder if this is the same cardinal that I also see looking at himself in the mirrors or windows of cars when I have visited before.
I can’t stop taking pictures of the wild nanday parakeets.
Laughing gulls fighting over a dead bait fish.
A snowy egret having a bad hair day.
This was the first time I had seen a spoonbill at the fishing pier. He was hanging out on the light post. He had a snowy egret join him for a few minutes. Funny how they put up those steel fringe things to keep the birds of the posts but the birds don’t mind them at all.
It was a quiet morning at the boat ramp at Fort Desoto Park. Even thought the weather was perfect in early October very few boats were going out. The seabirds were taking an early morning nap on the floating dock railings. They barely glanced at me as I walked up but I’m sure they wouldn’t have been happy if I had started to walk down the ramp and caused them to move. Most of these are sandwich terns (with the yellow tips on their beaks) and a few laughing gulls in the mix.
Over at the fishing pier, the laughing gulls were harassing the snow egrets that were all lined up. All fighting over bait fish.