A warm morning out in December.

Folly Farms in Safety Harbor was all decorated for Christmas with lights everywhere. I was there early in the morning and many of the lights were still on. It was weird looking for birds and butterflies with a tshirt on and Christmas lights everywhere. The farm has a community garden and someone had sunflowers blooming in their square, in the middle of December! I could only find a few butterflies in the butterfly garden even though it was still blooming.

The only bird I found at the farm was a hermit thrush. I had not seen one since 2018 and I had just seen one in my backyard before finding this one at the farm. I had to wonder if it was the same one from my yard even though I was 15 minutes away.

I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home and found some black capped (or nanday) parakeets in the parking lot. They were eating seeds from the top of the trees. They blend in well in the trees and I might not have seen them if they hadn’t been screaming.

A manatee was close to the pier but the dolphins were pretty far out in the bay.

Watching the ibis feed off tiny crabs in the water.

Pelicans were cruising by the pier.

There were several osprey out diving for fish in the bay but only one came close enough to try and get shots. He swooped down and grabbed that fish so fast and then went the other way. I was hoping he would fly towards me. Oh well. I’ll try again.

Inspire Me Monday

 

Finally out with my camera

In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.

There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.

Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.

One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.

An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.

A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.

A great egret posing nicely.

Pelicans around the marina.

A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.

I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.

All of the birds were eating breakfast

I was out for a walk at the end of September and the tide was super low. I could see the gulls eating some type of puffer fish that was stranded in the grass beds. Although I never did actually see the gulls eating them, they just kept picking them up and playing with them. Maybe they were waiting for them to deflate.

An osprey cruises by with a tiny fish in his feet.

The little blue heron was busy eating.

There were several snowy egrets looking for food.They look so pretty against the blue water.

This boat must have lost anchor during Hurrincane Ian. It’s still there, stranded near the Dunedin causeway. It’s in pretty bad shape at this point.

Out on the beach

Out on the beach while watching the black skimmers feeding their babies I caught an osprey flying by with what I thought was some nesting material. Since it’s late for nesting, I think there’s a small fish in there and he grabbed seaweed with his fish, a nice little salad to go with his sushi.

Other than royal terns bathing, it was a quiet morning.

I stopped by the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary to see if there were any herons or egrets still nesting in the mangrove trees. I found a very young black capped night heron walking around under his nest.

Up above another baby saw Mom fly in nearby and started screaming to be fed.

The baby was going crazy for a while before Mom finally passed that fish over to him.

An older juvenile was watching me take pictures from high up in the trees.

Morning walks at the marina

The Dunedin marina area is one of my new favorite places to walk in the mornings. Even though it’s miserable hot, there’s usually a breeze here on the water. During the week, before 9am, it’s pretty quiet and easy to get a good parking spot.

Two juvenile osprey were trying to catch some food. After a while they both ended up on the same tree on the water’s edge.

This anhinga had no problem catching her fish. I think she was showing it off.

Juvenile house sparrows were digging in the sand for bugs to eat.

I found these fuzzy plants on a fence near the water. It looked like cotton but a month later I would find out what they were. More to come on these.

A great egret ready to take off.

Inspire Me Monday

Lots of critters at Fort Desoto

Another trip to Fort Desoto Park to look for migrating birds. The first thing I found was a squirrel being cute on the agave plant. I was hoping there would be birds on those plants but no, I find a squirrel.

Cape May warblers were still around. I found both females and males.

I also found a northern parula and a blackpoll warbler (I hadn’t seen one of those in several years).

An osprey was checking me out making sure I wasn’t going to steal his fish.

Cormorants were diving for fish around the fishing pier.

It was a slow dolphin morning but I did manage to find one.

The starlings and nanday parakeets were fighting over wire space in the parking lot.

A two park morning

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms to see if I could find some hummingbirds in the butterfly garden. I only found butterflies but there were lots of yellow ones which I don’t see often.

I caught this downy woodpecker with something in his beak. It looks like a cocoon. He pulled it out of a hole in the fence.

I stopped at Possum Branch Preserve on the way home. As I headed out on the trail I caught a limpkin flying by and an osprey overhead looking for fish.

The bunnies were still around long after Easter. This one was snacking in the mimosa groundcover which blankets the preserve in the spring.

This goes under “the one that got away”. This was the only shot I got of the boblonk. It was a female. I saw the pair several times from far away as they were flying off. I had seen them here several years ago but was bummed I couldn’t get a decent shot. Hopefully they will stop by next year.

The cedar waxwings were still there, hanging out on the far end of the preserve.

SkyWatch Friday 

Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

Osprey day at Fort Desoto Park

I was up and out the door while it was still dark, heading for Fort Desoto Park. The sun was just coming up when I got there so I stopped at the East Beach turnaround to snap a few pictures with my phone before heading to the beach to look for birds.

I was out on the beach taking pictures of the reddish egret when I noticed this osprey coming in toward the beach with some dead branches in his talons. Looks like he was heading for a nest.

There are so many osprey at the park now. They are everywhere and are either adding to the nest or sitting on eggs. The one above had a half eaten fish and was flying in circles around me. It think he was being chased by another osprey.

This one was being harassed by a mockingbird while trying to eat his fish.

There are two different nest fairly close to each other and they were both screaming non-stop.

This  nest is on top of the old smoke stack. She was constantly screaming as well.

Hopefully there will be lots of baby osprey soon.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

 

Out on the water

I went for a long walk around by the Dunedin marina on a cool morning in late February (this was one of those perfect Florida winter days, sunny and 58 degrees). I had left my camera in the car and was walking along the front of the marina and saw all of the sailboats out in the water.I snapped the above with my phone and then hiked back to my car to get my camera.

There was some sort of sailing class or group out in the water. It looked like fun. It got me thinking I might need to take some sailing lessons.

I drove over to Weaver Park, just north of the Dunedin marina. From that long pier you can see most of Clearwater Beach.

Of course as I’m standing on the fishing  pier I had to snap pictures of the anhinga watching me and the osprey cruising by. I’m glad I had left my camera in the car. I wasn’t planning on taking any pictures this morning but you never know what you’ll see out there.

My Corner of the World