A walk around a lake

The young black swans were almost grown up in late April although they were half the size of the parents and still fuzzy gray. I stopped by Lake Morton on the way home from Bot Tower Gardens and did a walk around the lake before heading home.

This black swan was still sitting on eggs. It looks like she had 3 of them.

There were lots of young mute swans at various ages as well.

This mute swan was checking out her eggs.

Some of the swans were still flirting.

There was a small flock of white pelicans still hanging around. I didn’t think they stayed here all year round but they should have headed north by now. I love those pink and orange beaks.

Even the laughing gulls were flirting. It’s weird to see gulls at this lake since it’s in the middle of the state but there’s always a lot of them here. Maybe because people feed the ducks and swans so the gulls are trying to get a free handout.

A baby moorhen walking around in the grass with those big feet.

I heard some noise near the top of the cypress trees and realized there was a great blue heron nest up there with some almost grown babies.

A turtle posing for me.

Inspire Me Monday

Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

White pelicans in St. Pete

I wasn’t surprised to see white pelicans at North Shore Park in St. Pete in late December. They usually spend the winter somewhere around the park although it’s hit or miss to catch them right in front of the beach. They cruise around the area and sometimes hang out far into the channels in the neighborhoods nearby. I had stopped by for a quick walk and ended up going back to my car and getting my camera. They were standing right there in pelican leg high water.

Turning around to leave, I could see an osprey sitting up on the lights.

Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the boats go by.

There were lots of little shorebirds along the beach. I then decided to stop by nearby Crescent Lake Park on the way home.

Right in the middle of the lake at the park were 3 lone pelicans. I have seen them here before as well but they were all swimming separately. I wonder if they originally came with the beach group and somehow got separated.

I spent some time trying to catch this osprey diving for fish but he was just too far across the lake and he kept missing.

Road trip to Nature’s Coast

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”.

SkyWatch Friday

A quiet slow morning in September

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.

Not many ships passing by this morning.

My Corner of the World

Two parks in early April

Heading out to Chesnut Park in early April. There was hardly anyone there but someone had come before me laying bird seed along the boardwalk.

I didn’t see where this crow got this egg. He stopped in the tree right in front of me. It could be a turtle egg.

I saw this little sparrow deep in the bushes along the boardwalk. I was hoping it was something rare but realized it was just a chipping sparrow. Not rare but not extremely common here.

Dragonflies are everywhere now.

I was watching this guy skiing back and forth across the lake. Looks like a fun way to do social distancing.

Enjoying the quiet morning but since this park was open it started to get crowded pretty quickly. I left by 9:30 and headed to Possum Branch Preserve.

Almost no one here at the reserve. Not many birds either.

The sora rail was still here a few weeks after I first saw him.

A beautiful morning for a walk.

SkyWatch Friday

The last skimmer baby of the year.

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.

The laughing gull soap opera.

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.

Shorebirds at Fort Desoto in May.

A lone marbled godwit on the beach with a snack.

He’s cruising the shoreline looking for more snacks.

Another one flies in.

At first, the original godwit tries to chase the intruder away but after a few seconds they find their own space and both start looking for snacks.

A black bellied plover was also looking for snacks. I think that’s a sand flea. Yum…

Farther down the beach I find some dowitchers trying to nap.

The laughing gulls are getting frisky.

An old shell on the beach. It was still alive so I moved it farther into the water.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

 

Feeding the ducks

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.

Don’t Feed The Waterfowl.