I had heard he was there for a over a week before I made it down to Fort Desoto. I headed down to the park early one Saturday morning in late October thinking it would be a needle in the haystack story. As I drove into the park I saw several people with binoculars in a field near the boat ramp. After walking through ankle deep ant infested water (the field was flooded due to recent rains) I found the Vermilion Flycatcher. He was out in the open buzzing from tree to tree so it was pretty easy to spot that flash of red unless you weren’t paying attention and thought it was a cardinal. It was the first time I have heard of one being in the Tampa bay area so there were a lot of people coming through that morning looking for him. He’s a beautiful bird and totally worth enduring the over 50 ant bites.
Otherwise, there were just the usual migrating birds at the park. This female rose breasted grosbeak was very accommodating.
The white pelicans are back but they were across the lagoon. You can tell how much bigger they are than our resident brown pelicans.
Osprey have taken over the park. They are everywhere.
Shorebirds near the fishing pier.
TOTO is still hanging out at the park. He’s got a band on his legs with TOTO. I’ve been taking pictures of him for over 8 years. He’s always there with his girlfriend.
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.
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.
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.
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.