Storms coming to Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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Up at the north beach lagoon, he was trying to get bait fish.

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With no success in the lagoon, he went over to the gulf. I never did see him catch anything. I don’t know if his form is bad or not.

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Sea oats into the sun.

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Trying to nap before the tourists hit the beach.

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A manatee was swimming by the fishing pier.

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Skimmers were still grabbing the bait fish in the water.

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Jim was walking around the snack shop to try to get a better angle on the storm coming in.

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Clouds were moving in. At least the wind was cooling things off.

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Storm across the water.

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Up in the sky.

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Looking back from the end of the fishing pier. The storm was coming in from the right.

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The tide was low and the threat of rain kept the beach empty (well, almost empty).

My morning in late August started out sunny. The two days before were stormy so I thought I would have been rained out. I headed out anyway thinking I could work on my storm shots if it rained. The clouds started rolling in right before lunch. The beach cleared out after a few sprinkles hit. It only sprinkled for a few minutes at first so I continued to walk around. I could see the heavy rain heading right for the pier so I headed back to my car just before the bottom fell out. Not many birds out but also not a lot of people so it was just nice to be out for the morning.

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Funny things at the zoo

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One of the African spoonbills in the aviary that you can walk through. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing down there?”

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Funny duck trying to hide under a small bush.

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Everyone’s favorite, the meerkats.  The one on the right says “I’ll turn my head and you guys do what you gotta do.”

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“Did you get all the bugs?” says the one on the left. “The things you do for love.” says the one on the right.

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Baby marabou stork born this spring. He’s starting to look like his parents (which isn’t a good thing).

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You can always see plenty of injured manatees at the manatee hospital at the zoo. Which is really sad. The pools are always full. They get injured manatees in faster than they can rehabilitate and release them. Most are from boat strikes but a few where still there from getting sick from cold stress in the winter. Those will probably be released soon. One had lost it’s flipper to a crab trap.

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Turtles hanging out in one of the manatee pools. “No more parking on the stick.”

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The masked lapwing is one of the coolest birds there. He lets people get pretty close.

A had two hours to kill on a Saturday morning before I had a family commitment so I ran over to Lowry Park Zoo to walk around for a while. I was hoping to find wild nesting spoonbills but they did not show up this year. I was still able to find a few things to take pictures of.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Fun things at the zoo

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Sick manatees recouping at the manatee hospital.  A red tide algae bloom farther south than Tampa has killed over 500 manatees this year by the end of April. The zoo as well as other manatee rehab facilities have been filled to capacity trying to save sick manatees. The algae bloom gets into their lungs and they can’t breathe or float to get air. The lucky ones here will be released at some point once they recover.

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You can see them up close.

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Turtle basking in the sun. What a cute face!

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I saw only a few grasshoppers. Soon the zoo will be covered in them for the summer. This one is leaving a nice trail.

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Butterflies are everywhere at the zoo.

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Interesting bloom. It almost looks like little candy corns.

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Hibiscus in the sun.

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I’ve been inspired by Deanna’s blog with her beautiful textures so I’m trying to be a little more creative.

Just a few things I saw on my trip to the zoo to check on the spoonbill babies.

 

LorikArt

Just keep swimming

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One of the permanently injured resident loggerhead turtles at Mote Marine laboratory in Sarasota. He kept coming up for air and looking at me. I think we had a connection.

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One of the resident manatees eating a snack.

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A pantropical spotted dolphin that was stranded off the keys years ago is now a permanent resident. Luckily there were no other sick dolphins there while we visited.

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Creepy eel looking at me.

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Cute little puffer.

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Fish that were in the shark tank.

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It wouldn’t be an aquarium without Nemo.

New Year’s day was sunny and warm. Hubby and I decided to play tourists and drive down to Sarasota for the day which is a little over an hour from our house.  Our first stop was Mote Marine laboratory. They have two buildings, one for fish and sharks and the other for manatees, dolphins and turtles. The manatees, dolphins and turtles that are permanent residents are all permanently injured and cannot be released back into the wild. They also rehabilitate and release injured animals. The laboratory does a lot of work and study on red tide and how it affects the bay and gulf. It’s a little bit of old Florida and we spent a little less than two hours there.

Next stop was Save Our Seabirds. More on that later.

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More pelicans and other stuff at Safety Harbor

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My first common loon of the season. He was floating all alone far off the fishing pier.

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I was surprised to see manatees at the fishing pier. Usually this time of year they all head over to the electricity plant to swim in the warm water around the plant. Since the weather here has still been warm, I guess they are hanging around longer. There were at least 6 manatees at the fishing pier.

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The trees around the parking lot were full of starlings. They were very loud.

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More pelican fun. They have such amazing color on their faces. With that pink and blue around the eyes and bright orange beaks.

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He looked happy with his fish part.

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This one is a juvenile. Maybe not a year old and hasn’t got his color yet.

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Another one enjoying his prize.

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“Gulp!”

Just a few more things I saw at the Safety Harbor fishing pier.

LorikArt

Swimming things behind the house – Skywatch Friday

Hubby was leaving for work one morning and yelled out “There are manatees swimming in front of our dock.” I was only half ready for work so I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and ran outside to get some pictures. Of course, it started sprinkling when I walked out. The clouds were getting dark and I was running late so the above two shots are all I got of the manatees before they headed down the channel.

When I got home from work, I peeked out the sliding doors and saw a ripple in the water. I grabbed my camera and ran outside hoping to see the manatees again. All I got was a big school of fish swimming on the surface. I don’t know what kind of fish these are. I don’t think they are mullet. We have a lot of mullet that jump in the water but these weren’t jumping. They had pretty blue around the eyes and pale pink around the lips. At least the rain had stopped and sun had come out. Below is the view from the dock.

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Safety Harbor fishing pier – Skywatch Friday

Hardly anyone on the pier. It was such a beautiful day. Where was everyone?

The day started out cloudy. But then the sun started peeking out.

Such a perfect view!

Surprise! A rare horned grebe floats up to the pier.

The manatees are back early this year. They usually don't show up at this pier until late March. In the summer, you can always see manatees around the pier.

Hey lady, gimmi a kiss!
Safety Harbor, a small little part of the Tampa bay area, is one of my favorite pit stops. Actually, the fishing pier is. The town sits on the water in  the upper Tampa bay, north of all 3 bridges (Gandy, Howard Franklin and Courtney Campbell) that cross the bay from Pinellas County to Hillsborough County. Unless there is an event going on at the little marina, I can always find a good parking spot and it’s free. Most of the time there are pelicans and shorebirds flying around or digging around in the sand. In the warm months you can always see manatees swimming around the pier.  When the time changes and it’s light outside after work, I sometimes stop by for a quick walk along the pier just to de-stress.  Usually just to take a deep breath before heading to do battle at the grocery store. On a recent Saturday morning I stopped there on the way home from checking on the baby owls. It turned out to be a perfect morning.
 
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