Fort De Soto on Christmas day

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Ruddy turnstone convention on the jetti.

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This one was on the pier.

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His feet were tangled up together. He was flying around pretty good so I’m not sure how you could catch him.

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My first common loon sighting of the winter. There were two of them swimming around in a lagoon.

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They are not common at all.

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A cormorant was going after a fish on someone’s pole.

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He’s thinking he has an easy meal.

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He was giving it a good tug but in the end the fisherman was able to pull it up with the fish intact.

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Although later, he did  manage to steal a fish from someone who wasn’t paying attention.

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Someone pulled up a starfish. Back he went into the water.

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I checked on the old owl’s nest from last winter. There was an owl sitting there sleeping. Hopefully there’s an egg underneath it. Last year the owl couple had two babies but only one survived.

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A great blue heron flying by.

We had a big late breakfast and wasn’t going to eat dinner until much later on Christmas day. We were tempted to spend the day on the couch in our pj’s watching old Christmas movies but it was just to gorgeous outside. Sunny and 70 degrees. My sister was visiting for the week from South Dakota and she wanted to get outside and walk around so we headed to Fort De Soto. It was a perfect afternoon. We walked around both piers and looked around at the North beach but it was too windy for any shorebirds. Perfect day off.

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No babies owls at my local park

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Almost two months later and Mom owl is still sitting on the nest.  A week after I took this I stopped by again and she had abandoned the nest. No owl babies at this park this year. Last year there were twins. We don’t know what happened. Did she not actually lay any eggs? Were the eggs bad? I’ll check back again next spring.

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The other owl was sitting a few branches away. What was he thinking?  1)”I’m so glad I don’t have to spend all night hunting for screaming baby brats”. 2)”Now I can go back up north early this year.” 3)”Sorry photogs, no baby owl pictures this year. You can all go home now.” 4)”Maybe I’m too old to be raising kids.”

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I haven’t seen a lot of kingfishers this winter. The one that usually hangs out behind my house has only stopped by once for a few seconds. This one was flying in between the short bald cypress trees.

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Mockingbird posing nicely.

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A limpkin was walking through the reeds. This lake is full of limpkins.

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He was dragging a clam shell over to the side to eat.

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Osprey were flying overhead looking for a fish to snatch.

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On my way home, I stopped by the baseball park near my neighborhood. As I drive by I kept hearing parakeets so I decided to drive through the park. Several of the lights had nests in them. Two of the nests had parakeet couples looking back at me. I guess that’s why these birds just keep multiplying here.

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Butterfly under the parakeet nest.

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Practicing my “bee on flower” shots.

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Fun things at Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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One of my first shots with my new lens, a Nikon 300mm f/4. I’m going to be struggling in the beginning to get use to not zooming in. My old lens was a 80mm – 400mm lens but I used the 400mm end of it most of the time. I added a 1.4 teleconverter to the new lens which gives me more length.  I’m excited about using this for birds in flight but have to get use to the distance thing. As I walked out on the pier the first thing I see is a pelican coming right at me. It took me a few seconds to focus and by then he was right above me. I cropped his wing but his face is pretty sharp.

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I saw an osprey flying by far away thinking he had a fish but after I took the picture and cropped it up I realized it was nesting material he was getting. It’s that time of the year. I saw a few osprey hanging out on nests on this day.

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Royal tern flying by.

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These guys were hanging around the pier getting bait fish with a net. The gulls were terrorizing them.

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Tricolored heron looking for food.

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Another shot where I couldn’t zoom in and I couldn’t back up any farther. This juvenile ring-billed herring gull was cleaning up the trash. He practically handed it to me with his beak. I stuck it in the garbage can on the way out.

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I stopped by the owl nest before I left. She was half asleep this morning. It’s still a little early for the egg to hatch. I don’t know if anyone has seen how many is there yet. Last year two were born and one died early after a bad storm came through. The park has the area fenced off much farther out than last year so people don’t walk close by the tree. You probably won’t even notice her if you didn’t know she was there. – Update on the baby: I was there this past Saturday and a little white fuzzy cotton ball looking thing was peeking out. I’ll post pictures later.

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Tiny fiddler crabs on the beach.

Just a handful of stuff on the beach in  early January. Today is the last day of January. Where did the month go??? We’ve had fairly warm weather for the winter down here in central Florida. Some days it between 70 and 80 degrees and then some days it’s in the low 60’s. I haven’t heard of many manatees landing in the manatee hospital from cold stress so I guess it will be a mild one this year. Nesting season is up and running with many birds on time or early. I’m just going to tell hubby to play a lot of golf on the weekends so I can get in as much hiking and birding as possible until it gets too hot. I’m sure he won’t mind. I mean, what wife says to the hubby “Honey, play golf every weekend for a few months. I don’t mind.”

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Breakfast with the burrowing owls

Yum, dirty frog for breakfast!

He’s completely ignoring me while he’s chowing down.

He looks over like “Wait, someone’s watching me eat.”

This one looks like he’s eating dirt. I think it’s a bug or something just completely covered in dirt.

Okay, now it looks like he’s eating twigs. He was chewing on it.

They looks so cute when they are holding something.

Just a few more pictures from my trip to Fort Lauderdale. I caught two owls eating for a few minutes. I didn’t see them catch their food. They seemed to have had it stored in their hole.

Spoonbill and an owl at Kapok Park

Slinging water

Gulp!

Keeping an eye on that duck.

Great horned owl sitting on an egg.
There are tons of birds at Kapok Park. I can hear them. Finding them and getting their pictures are a whole different thing. Late on a Sunday afternoon I decided to head out for a walk but I think I wasn’t really in the mood. The easiest thing to find was a lone spoonbill staying very busy feeding in the water right below the boardwalk . She didn’t stop for a second. Just kept swinging her beak back and forth in the water.  I watched her for a while, taking tons of pictures. Before I left I stopped by the owl’s nest. She was sitting there like she has been for several weeks now. Since this trip I have heard the owl baby has been born so I’m on a mission to get some owl baby pictures. Check back later for those.
P.S. I think the reason I was in a funky mood that afternoon was because my little Spikey, a 6 year old cockatiel, had spent a day in the vet hospital. She was egg bound. When I got home from work Thursday night, she was not her usual self so I ran her to the overnight animal hospital. They kept her overnight and early the next morning I moved her to a bird specialist in north Tampa. She stayed there all day Friday and laid a very large egg. Almost the size of a ping pong ball. Her eggs before were the size of a jelly bean. When I went to pick her up Friday night, she laid another one while I was there. She’s been getting lots of medicine and is doing fine now but there will always be that risk again. They gave her hormone shots to stop the egg laying but that is only temporary.
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