Out and about in late February

The big kapok tree in Safety Harbor was blooming in late February. Much earlier than last year. I was driving by and saw the moon going down behind it so I had to pull over and snap a few.

After leaving the kapok tree I decided to swing by the fishing pier for a quick walk. There were a few manatees coming up for air.

A female lesser scaup cruising by.

I saw this osprey fishing for breakfast far out in the bay. He pulled up a big one and as he was flying away he dropped it. I was hoping he would try for another fish but he just flew over my head and far out of sight. Maybe he was embarrassed.

One day I was coming home and saw two red faces pop up from a pond in my neighborhood. They were hanging out along the golf course. I have since seen them several times but not since late February. I’m thinking maybe they are nesting but I couldn’t find them anywhere.

There’s a fenced in section of woods at the end of my street and when I’m out walking I always look down this open spot, thinking I’ll never see anything in here but it’s a pretty spot. One morning I could just make out 2 deer in between the trees.

Foggy morning at the piers

At the end of December I woke up and peeked out the window. It was really foggy so I got ready quickly and headed out the door. I love it when it’s foggy. I stopped by the nearby fishing pier early that morning and could not see across the bay. I could barely make out the end of the pier.

I noticed these strands of oyster shells hanging under the pier and looked them up when I got back home. These are VOG’s (vertical oyster gardens). The water around the shore of Safety Harbor and Oldsmar (which is Old Tampa Bay) was found to be the least healthy in all of the Tampa Bay. Not surprised. There’s a new Save Our Bay program and the easiest thing to start with was using oysters to filter out the water. One oyster can filter out 50 gallons of water a day. There were a lot of these on the dock and they are encouraging people who live on the water to hang these on their docks as well. It will take several months for the oysters to start to grow on these so I’ll keep an eye out.

Next I headed to the Safety Harbor fishing pier since I was close by running errands. It was foggy here as well but that didn’t stop those kayakers from being out.

I saw several manatees coming up for air right next to the dock and was bummed I didn’t have my camera with me but these phone shots turned out okay.

I think the sun was trying to peek out by the time I left.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday

Things at the marina

Trying to stay off my legs (due to hip bursitis) but not wanting to stay at home, I headed out for the Dunedin marina and fishing pier early one morning in mid-November. I spent the morning just hanging out, sitting on benches watching the activity around the marina. From the shots above, it was pretty quiet that morning.

I did see a manatee cruising around the boats in the marina.

This anhinga was having fish for breakfast.

Some of the birds also hanging around the marina, a green heron and lots of pelicans.

A spotted sandpiper was digging around the exposed muck at the boat ramp.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

Nice morning at the zoo

Fun animals at Zoo Tampa in late February. The weather was cool so many of the animals were moving around. This was the first time in a long time I’ve seen the bears playing together.

The eagle was stretching and you can see he has part of his wing missing. He was injured out in the wild and lives at the zoo now. The other eagle was sitting high up in the tree looking over the zoo.

The lorikeets were all flirting and preening.

I can’t go to the zoo and not take a ton of manatee pictures.

My Corner of the World

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More from MOTE Aquarium

It’s not often you get this close to a shark.  Above are some of the bigger things under water at MOTE Aquarium in Sarasota.

The Aquarium rehabilitates and houses permanently injured turtles, manatees and dolphins. The turtle above was missing an eye.

We don’t have crocodiles in the Tampa Bay area, at least not yet. They can be found in areas much farther south including the Everglades. I’ve never seen one out in wild. They look very comical, almost like a cartoon.

Pretty flowers in the water at aquarium.

My Corner of the World

Clearwater marina

Over Thanksgiving weekend I was being a tourist in my own town. It was easy to do since I actually had tourists with me. When my sisters were visiting we decided to take a dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. Brett and I don’t get over to this beach area often since it’s usually busy and things like work get in the way so it was fun to walk around the marina on a cool sunny morning.

There’s a no wake zone coming out of the marina area so we went really slow until we got out into the open intercoastal water. I was snapping pictures along the way. We did finally see dolphins. More on that later.

On the way home we stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier and a manatee was cruising under the pier. I was able to snap the above with my phone as he went by.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

Zoo Tampa in early June

Fun at the zoo in early June. The manatees are back at the zoo which is good and bad thing. The zoo has been updating their water system in the manatee hospital so any injured manatees had to go to Homosassa Springs for rehabilitation for 6 months. Now that the manatee hospital is updated they can take in injured manatees. The bad thing is that the manatees have to be here at all. It’s great that visitors can see these big guys up close and that the zoo treats them but it’s sad that so many are injured due to boat strikes or sick from red tide.

On top of the manatee pool, a few juvenile blue herons are learning how to catch their own fish. These were all probably born in the nests over the alligator exhibit next door.

Vultures were drying off in the bear exhibit. They do this in the morning to easily warm their body up. Not sure why, it was already 85 degrees at 10am. The bear eventually came over to check them out. The vultures didn’t fly off but just moved over. They didn’t seem to scared of the bear.

The last of the wild baby blue heron birds that were growing up over the alligator exhibit.

Photographing New Zealand

Swimming under the water

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There was a manatee right in front of the fishing pier. He stayed in the same spot for a while before moving on. They usually swim past quickly the few times I’ve seen one here. As I leaned over to take a picture, he stuck his nose up for air.

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Dolphins were swimming all around the pier.

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The water was full of little jellyfish. I haven’t seen the water filled with jellyfish here before like this. They were floating far out at the end of the fishing pier so I don’t think they were bothering the people swimming close to shore.

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Someone caught a fish.

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The cormorants were diving under and getting fish. They seemed to be catching more that the fishermen on the pier.

It was a busy morning under the water around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.

Saturday's Critters

Going to see the “Tees”

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The water was very clear.

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A mana “tee” heading for the bridge.

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This one looks like he was covered in hairs.

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Tourists swimming with the manatees.

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Lots of manatees were close to the bridge in the park.

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Coming up for air.

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Through the glass at the underwater viewing area.

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This big guy should be under water. He was warming himself up as the sun was hitting the gravel.

A few pictures from my annual winter trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Life Park. An hour north of Tampa, this park has a lot of fun animals including tons of manatees that head into the warm springs to stay warm for the winter.  You can take a boat out and swim with the manatees or just walk over them on a bridge. You can get up close here without getting wet. The park is full of birds, both wild and permanent residents that are injured.  More on those later.