I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier in early November and it was really low tide. I think this is the first time I could walk all the way under the fishing pier. The pier was closed due to damage from Thunderstorm (or mini hurricane) ETA so the only thing on it was a cormorant.
At first glance it only looked like minor damage around the yacht basin.
This vulture found a dead fish that must have washed up on the grass when the tide got crazy high during the storm and got stranded. He was having a feast.
Pretty pelican in the mangroves.
Out on the open field next to the pier, I saw this dog enjoying getting a good brushing. Then he was ready for some play. I struggled getting him catching the frisbee. He kept going the other way and if I went around I’d be taking the picture into the sun. He was definitely a frisbee catching expert.
I was up early on a Saturday morning in October and headed out to a small beach near my house that sits right under the airplane pathway to the airport. Although it wasn’t that early since the time hadn’t changed yet and the sun wasn’t coming up until 7:30. I stopped at Cypress beach and walked out to catch the sun coming up over the water.
There was hardly any one there this early so I had the little beach area all to myself.
I only saw one plane coming in. The water is mostly grass beds and drops off very deep. I’ve heard there are sharks here so you don’t see a lot of people in the water. I think people come here just to get out and it’s a popular sunset spot.
Pretty butterfly on the ground.
A few of the birds were a hawk and a little blue heron.
Pelicans guarding the slow wake signs. I’m sure there’s also manatees out there with so much of the area being grass beds but I didn’t see any this morning.
A female scarlet tanager getting a snack from the fig tree.
The male was not too far away.
I had heard this was a veery. I don’t remember seeing one before but everyone said they aren’t that rare.There were several in the oak trees.
I don’t remember what this was now. A female something? It was also feeding in the fig tree. Might have been an immature tanager.
Another femaile tanager hiding in the bushes by the fountain.
You can always find a ruddy turnstone on the fishing pier.They look really cool right now in their calico colors.
That dolphin photo bombed my “pelican on the broken tower” picture.
Cruising close to the pier.
A beautiful day for just being out.
I love the drive leaving the pier.
Fort Desoto Park was one of the first closed parks to open in early May. I made it there in the middle of the month and it was good to be outside at the beach. We had missed most of the migrating birds that had come through in late April but there was still a few hanging around the morning I was there.
Royal terns and willets on the sea wall across from the boat ramp at Davis Islands.
Pelicans and a great egret hanging around the island.
The view of Tampa across from the Davis Islands yacht basin right before sunset.
Watching the sun go down early in the quarantine in late March.
It was a quiet night. Most people were sitting in their cars watching the sun go down instead of getting out and walking around the small beach there. I kept saying I was going to get back over there but I just never did.
There were two white pelicans and one brown pelican floating in Crescent Lake near downtown St. Pete recently. The white ones were feeding close to the edge of the lake.
You can always find wood storks here.
Other usual critters include wintering ring billed ducks, lots of green herons, a cute mallard with a feather hat and plenty of turtles. One thing I’ve never seen here is alligators. I’m sure they are there under the water. I’ve only ever been early in the morning so they may be on the bank sunning themselves late in the afternoon.
This ring billed gull would have preferred a handout.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I was being a tourist in my own town. It was easy to do since I actually had tourists with me. When my sisters were visiting we decided to take a dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. Brett and I don’t get over to this beach area often since it’s usually busy and things like work get in the way so it was fun to walk around the marina on a cool sunny morning.
There’s a no wake zone coming out of the marina area so we went really slow until we got out into the open intercoastal water. I was snapping pictures along the way. We did finally see dolphins. More on that later.
On the way home we stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier and a manatee was cruising under the pier. I was able to snap the above with my phone as he went by.
I was taking pictures of shorebirds along the sea wall near the fishing pier when this pelican flew really close right over my head. I noticed his leg and wing were caught up in fishing wire. He could not straighten his leg back.
I was thinking he would cruise right by me but he landed just feet from me on the sea wall. He let me walk right up to him and take this picture with my phone. Notice the wire and sinker by his foot. I felt like he was telling me to help him. I told him to stay put and ran back to my car and drove over to the ranger station and reported it. He could still fly so there was no way I could have grabbed him and taken him over there. The lady said a ranger would be right over so I headed back to keep an eye on the pelican until someone got there.
When I drove back to the fishing pier, there were 2 rangers already there that were pulling a dead pelican out of the jetty. He probably got caught in the rocks with fishing line and couldn’t get out. The ranger said they spend a lot of time helping the birds that have fishing line on them. That’s why it’s so important for people fishing not to cut the line. Below are pictures of the signs at all of the fishing piers showing how to reel in a hooked bird and clip the line from the bird.
The rangers are experts at catching birds quickly and taking off all of the fishing line. This bird was cleaned up and released pretty quickly.This is not a part of their “day job” and they do it with a smile on their faces because they love the birds.
The pelican walked away, testing his wings before hopping toward the beach.
He flew down to the beach and stayed for a few minutes, preening before taking off. He’s one of the lucky ones. Many of them fly back to spoil islands and the fishing line gets tangled up in the mangroves and they can’t fly away and end up starving.
That was my little adventure at Fort Desoto recently. I was just glad the pelican didn’t fly away after I left to go get a ranger.
I had a rare Friday off in mid-April and headed to Fort Desoto to see if there were any birds migrating through. I was really too early since a storm was just starting to move through. It was drizzling on and off most of the morning but it was still fun to be out at the beach, even in bad weather.
Birds were diving in the water to catch the tiny fish near the pier.
The usual great blue herons and pelicans were flying close to the pier.
A lone frigatebird was hovering right over the pier. They usually stay high up in the sky but this one was right over my head. She just kept hovering in the wind. The above are not cropped at all. I felt like I could almost reach out and grab her.
Before leaving I hit the back trail and caught this nanday parakeet peeking out of a hole in a dead palm tree. I think they nest back here but I rarely go back this far in the summer since the bugs will attack no matter how much bug spray you use.
Sailboats far across the bay. The above was taken with my 300mm lens. The below was taken with my phone so you can see how far away they were.
What a perfect winter morning in early February. It was sunny and 72 degrees. I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home after my walk and the park and pier were packed with people hanging out. There was a kiteboarder skimming across the bay in front of the fishing pier and someone flying a kite next to the pier. People were out walking their dogs and kids were playing in the field along the water. Sailboats were cruising by. This was our early spring. Soon it will be too hot and no one will be here but the skeeters and the pigeons
Pigeons in the park. They don’t get a lot of respect but they are really pretty when the sun hits those iridescent feathers.
A pelican flying into the mangroves next to another one that was napping.
White pelicans flying high up over the fishing pier.
A juvenile blue heron looking for food in the muck at low tide.