Nature at the house

A few of the birds that visited our backyard in the recent months. A little blue heron on our dock, a great blue heron on our neighbor’s completed demolished dock (after Hurricane ETA), and the phoebe on our fence. I see the little phoebe almost every day. Maybe because I don’t have dogs he looks for his meals here. He eats flying insects instead of seed so he doesn’t visit my feeder.

The starlings have a nest on my neighbor’s boat lift.

An osprey sitting our a  neighbor’s sailboat mast.

We usually get spotted sandpipers in the winter. They hang out in the muck at low tide.

A few creepy visitors include a mangrove crab and a spiny orb.

Squirrels constantly run across our screened porch which is cute but long term they pull out the screen and tear it up so sometimes we yell at them to get off.

A rainbow in the front yard.

My Corner of the World

A quick walk after work.

At the end of October, before the time changed, I could get out for a quick walk after work before dark. I headed over Safety Harbor hoping to get some lightning shots. I could see the storms south of the causeway but they were heading towards Tampa.

Since it was low tide, there were a few birds walking around in the muck right off the fishing pier, probably eating crabs.

The mangrove crabs are very skittish but I manage to catch a few of them scurrying away.

The big beautiful oak tree in front of the library. There’s usually a lot of people in the tiny park here but I think the threat of storms kept everyone at home.

Walking around by the yacht basin, I saw an eagle sitting on one of the poles. I was able to snap the above before he took off. I know they nest near Philippe Park north of here but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one in the fishing pier area.

Even though lights were showing the way to the boardwalk, it was starting to drizzle so I headed home.

On the beach near downtown St. Pete.

I usually only see reddish egrets on the gulf beaches but I found this one at a park on the bay near downtown St. Pete. I was bummed that the sun wasn’t out to show off his pretty colors but he’s still an amazing bird.

An osprey flew right over my head.

Usual things on the beach. Coconuts (although they look like tree boobs to me) and mangrove crabs.

The view from North Shore Park just north of downtown St. Pete on the bay.

I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home and just missed the greyhound meet up. I would have liked to have gotten pictures of them all together but they were just leaving to go on a walk around Safety Harbor. The dog in the first picture was wondering why he couldn’t go although he looked pretty happy just chilling by the water.

SkyWatch Friday

The annual visit to the manatees

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One of the fun outdoor things to do when my sisters are here for Christmas is to drive over to the Tampa Electric Company to see the manatees. The electric plant pulls in cold water to cool the plant and flushes out the warm water so the manatees spend the winter in the channel next to the plant where the water is warmer.

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It’s always fun seeing the manatees floating around in the channel.  Several of them were floating on their backs.  Some of them only stick their noses out to get air.

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They have a new stingray pool where you can pet them.  You can also see them out in the channel swimming by.

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The mangroves along the channel are covered in these black mangrove crabs.

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White pelicans were flying high over our heads.

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Pretty flower in the butterfly garden.

It was a beautiful day right before Christmas but too warm.  82 degrees is too hot for the end of December. It would have been nice to have long sleeves on when we were out running around. The tourist from up north didn’t seem to mind. I’m sure they were all happy to be out of the snow.  The Manatee Viewing Center at TECO is only opened from November through April.  Even though the weather was warm, there were still plenty of manatees to see.

SkyWatch Friday