A chilly morning at Fort Desoto

“I caught one this big” said the osprey as he landed on his nest.

Actually, he was bringing in sticks to spruce up the nest.

It’s amazing what you see when you are standing around waiting for baby birds to wake up. This Prairie warbler flew right in front of me.

Turning around, the coast guard was sitting right off the beach.

I eventually got tired of waiting for the baby birds to wake up and headed over to North beach to see what was over there (I don’t have a lot of attention span and was also trying to get some exercise so I needed to keep walking). All of the usual birds were there.

On the fishing pier, Harry the hybrid (great blue heron x great egret) was having a scratch.

It was a beautiful morning in late February.

Not many people out early in the morning (just us photogs) and it was a little chilly.

SkyWatch Friday

A sad story on a beautiful afternoon

It was a beautiful afternoon in late January and I was able to get outside for a little while on a late Friday before sunset. I jumped in the car and headed over to Dunedin, thinking I would stop by the fishing pier and then go over for a quick walk at the causeway. I was snapping the shot of the water when I turned around and noticed the two osprey that had built a nest on top of the building next to the pier.  I was pretty excited to see the camera up on the top but when I got home and searched it, you could only see over the building so the camera wasn’t look down on the nest. Would have been fun to watch that nest up close.

I found this cute little boat in the marina that I hadn’t seen before.

I headed over to the beach area on the causeway and saw the sailboat that has washed up back in November during Hurricane ETA. I had seen many pictures of it posted on the internet, people climbing and playing on it. They had it roped off which didn’t make for a pretty picture. I have since heard that it was hauled away a few weeks after I took this. The state of these old damaged sailboats are sad. At some point years ago, someone paid a lot of money for this boat. Probably used it at first. Then it sits out there for a long time and becomes a hazard. The owner, if they had insurance, probably just collected and moved on. Many people with these old boats let their insurance lapse and the city pays for the haul. Not sure if they can sell them for scrap.

On a sad note, at the end of the causeway, a dead dolphin had washed up on shore hours before I arrived. Everyone was standing around watching the marine life rescue team (with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter the flipperless dolphin resides) get him ready to be taken away. They will do a necropsy on him to find out the cause of death. Was he old? Sick?  Eaten something bad? Hit with a boat? Swallowed too many fish hooks from stealing fish from the fishermen at the pier? So many questions.  Everyone was watching from a respectful distance. It was sad to watch these volunteers do their work.

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Funny and pretty at the botanical gardens

I was walking around the Botanical Gardens in Largo in late December and a small flock of monk parakeets flew right into the trees over my head. They spend a few minutes feeding on the seeds and anything else they could find up there. It was funny to watch them hopping around and hanging upside down.  A few minutes later they all started screaming and took off. All was quiet again.

Across the gardens I could see an osprey flying into his nest with a small fish.

The milkweed bushes were still full of caterpillars. The weather had been mild and warm up to this point.

You can always find butterflies all year long here in central Florida.

My Corner of the World

Dark and cloudy at the beach.

It was a cold quiet windy day at Fort Desoto in early January. I walked out to the north beach and saw nothing as far as the eye could see. Then this flash of movement caught my eye. A lone female red breasted merganser. She didn’t stay long and neither did I.

I headed over to the fishing pier and found a ring billed gull with a snack. The laughing gull was trying it’s best to steal it away but he wasn’t successful.

This was a scene all over the park. Osprey getting ready to start nesting and were coupling up. They both were eating fish.

Far away I could see skimmers, gulls and terns flying around.

The Clipper was cruising by the fishing pier.

It was a little creepy out on the beach. I only saw a few other people. We were all bundled up this morning.

It was extremely low tide. The clouds were getting darker so I decided not to head out on the spit. Even with the low tide I’d have to slosh through some water and wasn’t up for having cold feet this morning. I still love the beach here even on a day like this.

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On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

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A drive along the lake

Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.

A great blue heron off in the distance.

A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.

A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.

A tricolored heron guarding the sign.

A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.

More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.

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Backyard visitors in October

Some of the birds visiting my feeder in the backyard. I usually only get house sparrows and blue jays but the woodpecker was fun to see.

The common ground dove was waiting his turn for the feeder. I’ve since redone that hanging plant with mums.

Once in a while I get a cardinal as well.

Other bigger birds cruising by were a little blue heron, a white ibis on my neighbor’s broken dock and a great blue heron. All of the above were taken through the bedroom window.

When I saw the osprey on my neighbor’s sailboat mast, I ran out and took the picture from the backyard. For years there was an osprey that slept on the mast every night but she hadn’t been doing do that for about 2 years. Just recently one has been stopping by for a while during the day. I wonder if it’s the same bird.

Things growing in the yard including the pink muhly grass in front of our screened porch.

Sunset in the back yard.

Tampa across the bay.

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.

SkyWatch Friday

 

The backyard in June

There’s a duck couple that’s been spending afternoons sleeping under our tree in the backyard. Sometimes I peek out the bedroom window to check on them but they are very skittish. They can see me barely move the blinds.

A few of the birds that have been visiting the bird feeder.

I looked out the window and saw something moving in the channel. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch 2 manatees rolling around at the end of the channel. After I snapped the above they started heading out to the bay.

Some of the critters in the yard including this juvenile black racer that was climbing up the wall next to the front door.

A faint rainbow in the backyard. It’s the beginning of rainbow season with the summer rains starting in June.

An osprey on my neighbor’s sailboat mast just after the rain.

The sun was trying to peek out.

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Dinner time at Possum Branch Preserve

Across the pond I could see this osprey hovering, looking for fish.

Eventually he splashed down and got a fish but took off in the other direction.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, an anhinga was having trouble getting his big catch down. He eventually swallowed it in one big gulp.

Another anhinga scored across the pond. It was a busy fishing night right before dark.

This guy was just cruising around.

A few of the other critters on my walk after work.

A very cool tree in the woods.

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