A fever of stingrays came by just as I walked out on the Safety Harbor fishing pier. They must call a group of stingrays a fever because you’re going to get a fever if you step on one. I’ve seen grown men cry from getting stuck with a barb from one after not doing the stingray shuffle. It’s supposed to be very painful. Luckily I don’t know that personally. Brett and I saw a man get stuck in the ankle at the beach a few years back. He could barely talk and was turning blue. It was a big barb. I helped his wife pack up their stuff and 2 sons and Brett helped him walk back to their car. We told them to stop at the ranger station on the way out to get some relief. The rangers would have put his foot and ankle in a big bucket with the hottest water he could stand to help stop the pain along with pain relievers.
Standing at the end of the fishing pier, I could see Tampa. Zooming in I could make out the airport and the football stadium. It was hot and hazy in early June.
Not many people on the pier.
I found some osprey taking a break in the water in the shallow area and one flew right over my head.
People have started putting locks on one end of the boardwalk. What they may not know is that so many people were putting love locks on the bridge in Paris that part of the bridge collapsed. They have since removed all of the locks in Paris but now people are putting them everywhere. This is symbolic of “locking” in your love for someone. Eventually the rangers will take them down so the rail of the boardwalk doesn’t collapse and cause injury to someone. And those locks are going to rust quickly in the salt air.
A small mangrove growing along the water.
Grasshoppers are everywhere.
Different patterns on the mangrove leaves along the boardwalk.
I finally was able to see a few migrating birds coming through in late April. Since the best place to see spring migration was closed (Fort Desoto Park) here in the area, we were thinking we wouldn’t get to see any birds coming through. Since some of the smaller parks were still open I was able to see a few birds. They were very skittish and stayed hidden in the bushes. Above are a hooded warbler, a redstart and an ovenbird (or at least I think it’s an ovenbird. May be a thrush of some type?).
I had not been to McGough Nature Park in Largo in years. It’s a small park that sits on the intercoastal waterway. I had heard there were a few migrating birds there so I headed out not expecting much. I had forgotten that the park has this great turtle pond. There’s a small dock that goes out over the pond and benches all around it. Turtles were all along the bank and it was very peaceful watching them hang out.
My Saturday morning “just being outside” shot from the boardwalk.
I finally made it down to Fort Desoto to see the smooth billed ani. This counts as a new bird for me. I had seen the grooved billed ani at Boyd Hill Park back in 2011. The smooth billed had spent a while at the park during the holidays but I wasn’t able to get down there until January. He wasn’t too hard to find. Just look for the group of people staring at it.
Above is the groove bill ani. They look exactly the same except for the bill.
This was only the 2nd time I had seen a lark sparrow. One was hanging out near the same spot as the ani. This one spent the morning feeding on the ground.
A kestrel high up in a tree.
This snowy egret has a shrimp. He was fishing along the shoreline next to the pier.
The pelican clan hanging out on the jetty.
Some small things on the beach. A mangrove taking root and a small fiddler crab.
Fort Desoto in mid-January.
A cormorant and a green heron along the water.
A juvenile night heron filling up on fiddler crabs.
The fiddler crabs were out by the thousands since it was a low tide.
Mangroves at low tide. You can really see the oysters that have built up on the roots.
The water from the observation deck.
For years I have heard that Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge was the place to go to see birds. Half of Sanibel Island, just south of Fort Myers, is the refuge. It is on the east side of the island and runs along the water. There are lagoons and inlets all along the trail. It’s a paved driving trail over 4 miles long. We must have been there during the off season because we saw very few birds there. The winter snow birds hadn’t arrived yet, it was too early for fall migration and the summer birds had disappeared. It was still a beautiful place to visit. I walked most of the trail and Brett would drive ahead and then wait for me to catch up. It was too perfect outside to be in the car. I need to get back there in the winter.
This black bellied plover was washing his face.
Is this a Cooper’s hawk or a northern harrier? It was flying across the north beach.
White pelicans all in a row.
Stumpy getting a snack.
The osprey was not going to share his meal.
The osprey nest at the fishing pier. I guess that trash makes a nice cushion.
Low tide at North beach.
A few shots from a recent morning walk at Fort Desoto.
This is my view looking out the kitchen window. Our neighbor’s plant has gotten so big it is over the fence.
Plant in the yard.
Poinsettia in hanging baskets.
These do stay red through the spring.
Around our fence.
These are pretty in the fall.
Reflection of our neighbor’s boat. Taken from our dock and cropped up. The neighborhood osprey sleeps on top of this mast.
Down at the end of our channel. A Santa in someone’s backyard. I take a left in front of the Santa to get out to the bay.
Mangroves growing in our corner.
I threw last year’s poinsettia in the corner by the shed and it came back this year.
Hibiscus through our fence.