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

Out and about in late February

The big kapok tree in Safety Harbor was blooming in late February. Much earlier than last year. I was driving by and saw the moon going down behind it so I had to pull over and snap a few.

After leaving the kapok tree I decided to swing by the fishing pier for a quick walk. There were a few manatees coming up for air.

A female lesser scaup cruising by.

I saw this osprey fishing for breakfast far out in the bay. He pulled up a big one and as he was flying away he dropped it. I was hoping he would try for another fish but he just flew over my head and far out of sight. Maybe he was embarrassed.

One day I was coming home and saw two red faces pop up from a pond in my neighborhood. They were hanging out along the golf course. I have since seen them several times but not since late February. I’m thinking maybe they are nesting but I couldn’t find them anywhere.

There’s a fenced in section of woods at the end of my street and when I’m out walking I always look down this open spot, thinking I’ll never see anything in here but it’s a pretty spot. One morning I could just make out 2 deer in between the trees.

Dolphins, Osprey and Eagles, Oh My!

I found an eagle’s nest in my neighborhood and I’ve been keeping my camera in my car in case I wanted to stop and get some pictures. The nest is high up in a utility tower and it’s a tough shot with the light. The sun is behind it most of the day and I can’t get on the other side.

One recent day I went early in the morning and stood for a while watching the nest. When I first got there I didn’t see any eagles so I though maybe it was a bust but then one flew in and started feeding the baby. You can just make out the baby’s head in between the sticks. I’ve only seen one eagle here so I wonder if the parent is now flying solo with this baby. Both parents usually hang around the nest.

After the eagle’s nest, I headed over to the nearby fishing pier just to see what was going on. It was too nice to head back home. I could see dolphins out in the bay.

There’s usually several osprey diving around for fish but they are far away. This one cruised close to the fishing pier.

At some point I realized there was an eagle chasing the osprey. The osprey had a fish in his talens and the eagle was trying to steal it. Eventually the osprey dropped the fish in the water and the eagle stopped chasing him. They were pretty far out in the bay but it was still pretty cool to see.

The eagle flew by the pier and landed in a tree at the end of the pier. I ran back down the pier towards the parking lot hoping he wouldn’t take off before I got back there. I was able to take a couple of shots before he took off again and flew over the trees towards a neighborhood. Where was he going?

My Corner of the World

White pelicans in St. Pete

I wasn’t surprised to see white pelicans at North Shore Park in St. Pete in late December. They usually spend the winter somewhere around the park although it’s hit or miss to catch them right in front of the beach. They cruise around the area and sometimes hang out far into the channels in the neighborhoods nearby. I had stopped by for a quick walk and ended up going back to my car and getting my camera. They were standing right there in pelican leg high water.

Turning around to leave, I could see an osprey sitting up on the lights.

Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the boats go by.

There were lots of little shorebirds along the beach. I then decided to stop by nearby Crescent Lake Park on the way home.

Right in the middle of the lake at the park were 3 lone pelicans. I have seen them here before as well but they were all swimming separately. I wonder if they originally came with the beach group and somehow got separated.

I spent some time trying to catch this osprey diving for fish but he was just too far across the lake and he kept missing.