Sand Key Park

Least terns were just starting to mate on the beach at Sand Key Park in late June.

A crazed looking juvenile mockingbird was also on the beach.

On osprey was guarding the jetti with his fish.

A small storm was moving in across the beach.  The tourist pirate ship started to head out into the gulf but then turned around and came back into the bay. That trip must have gotten cut short. It started to sprinkle as I walked back down the beach to my car but then the sun came out just as fast.

I think it was going to end up being a perfect day after the morning storms moved through. I had stopped by the park to see if the least terns were nesting yet. They were there but none of them were sitting on eggs yet. People were starting to come out to the beach once the sun came out. It was time for me to go home and have lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

Growing up at work

For several years an osprey couple have raised a family in a nest on top of a light post in the parking lot at work. The nest is fairly high up so we don’t see the babies until they are pretty big. I kept my camera in my car and in April I caught Mom feeding them when I was leaving. One night Dad was right over my car feeding himself.

Later I realized there were 3 babies. This was the first year we’ve had triplets. Now I know why Dad was eating alone across the parking lot.

Another week goes by and boy was that nest crowded. At this point the babies are as big as the parents.

All 3 grew up and eventually left the nest. Now in early July, the babies are still visiting the nest. I’ve been seeing one or two sitting on the nest in the morning but they are gone when I leave.

We had some Canadian geese hanging around the parking lot as well in late spring.

 

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

A 2nd bobolink sighting

Watching this osprey hover for a few minutes over the lake reminded me of angels. This one never did catch a fish. He kept hovering, then circling the pond, then hovering.

My 2nd sighting of a bobolink. The first was years ago at Fort Desoto. There were several here that stayed for a few days.

A rose breasted grosbeak hiding in the bushes.

An egret’s gotta eat but I feel sad for the little mouse.

Always an alligator floating in the pond but they are not too big here.

A nice walk after work in early May before it got too hot.

Possum Branch Preserve is a small watershed not to far from home. Most of the year it’s pretty quiet with only alligators and the usual big water birds but there are several mulberry trees that attract migrating birds in the spring and fall.

SkyWatch Friday

“Fly like an eagle, to the sea”

In late April I was walking along a trail near a golf course when I saw an eagle flying over my head. The eagle came flying back but this time he had an osprey chasing him. I’m assuming this is a territorial chase. There are a lot of osprey nests in the area and several had new babies on the nest. It only lasted for a few seconds and the eagle took off.

The next day Brett and I were out on the beach at Fort Desoto just hanging out in our beach chairs when an eagle flew right over us.

A few seconds later an osprey shows up and starts to bother the eagle. They chased each other across the sand dunes then then the osprey took off. There was an eagle nest close by in a utility tower but the babies are already grown and gone. There are also many osprey nests all over the park.

The eagle made a few more passes over our beach chairs and came really close at one point. The above is not cropped although I had my 300mm lens on my camera.

After the eagle left, an osprey also flew by.

A common sight far out in the gulf, an osprey grabbing a fish.

SkyWatch Friday

It’s the start of osprey nesting season.

On a Saturday morning in February, I walked out on beach trail and saw this massive osprey nest above. It must have been here for years but on this particular morning, I noticed how much bigger it had gotten. Maybe it was sinking in and the osprey kept adding to it. On Sunday, someone had posted on the Facebook Fort Desoto site that the nest had completely collapsed and fallen to the ground. The osprey couple did not let this get the best of them. They spent an entire week bringing sticks back to the nest, starting from scratch. They were seen all over the area bringing sticks back (although if they were that smart they would just fly down to the ground underneath the tree and bring the same sticks back up). The next Saturday morning I went back out on the beach and saw the below.  The birds had already built a pretty good size nest.

Even a week later, they were still flying in with sticks. They didn’t want to waste anymore time. As I was leaving and heading back to the parking lot, I took one last glance back and saw they were mating.

Farther down the trail, this guy was just starting breakfast and didn’t seem to mind me standing on the trail watching him eat.

Photographing New Zealand

 

The usual suspects at Chesnut Park.

Lots of different birds at Chesnut Park in early January but nothing new.

Bigger birds flying overhead.

I was trying to get some shots of the deer on the baseball field, She looked at me for a second and then took off to join her friends who were heading into the woods. Oh wait, that’s why they call them “white-tailed deer”.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup