Sleeping shorebirds

It was a quiet morning on the Dunedin causeway and I noticed a lot of sleeping shorebirds. After my walk I got my camera out of my car and started snapping the shorebirds. I found a lone black bellied plover mixed in with a lot of dowitchers. When I cropped this up I noticed the little dunlin on the right.

I usually only see large flocks of laughing gulls here so it was great to see all of the dowitchers sleeping together. Some were trying to nap and some were feeding. There were a few dunlins and ruddy turnstones mixed in as well.

My camera could only catch a small portion of them at a time.

Some were flying in and out of the sleeping group.

A little farther down the beach I found a lone skimmer.

A pelican cruises right above the water.

A foggy morning

Another foggy walk along the Dunedin causeway in early December. I thought the sun was going to break through when I first got there but it seemed to get foggier as the morning went on.

After my walk I pulled my camera out of the car and walked down near the edge of the water. The tide was low and there were a few shorebirds feeding or sleeping. I caught a lone marbled godwit flying in to nap with the laughing gulls.

I stopped by the marina before heading home. I could see a bright red Santa on top of a boat, really popping with color in the fog.

The usual birds (a pelican and great egret) hoping a fisherman will show up to steal his snacks.

Inspire Me Monday

The sun through palm trees

After I caught the sun rising at the Safety Harbor fishing pier I headed down to North Shore Park in St. Pete. The sun was up about half way by this time but still made for some pretty shots. This little beach sits on the bay side of St. Pete and the sand isn’t very nice so there usually isn’t too many people on it in the morning.

The water looked very inviting with the sun beaming down on it but it was a little chilly this morning.

I think this is a Hong Kong orchid tree. The the park was full of them blooming in early December.

I was hoping to find something different in the way of birds out here, sometimes a surprise might pop up but it was quiet. Only the usuals. A ring billed gull scratching an itch and a pelican lands in front of me. The little beach was full of laughing gulls but not much else.

As I was standing on the beach watching the birds this tiny shark swam right up near the sand.

SkyWatch Friday

A warm morning out in December.

Folly Farms in Safety Harbor was all decorated for Christmas with lights everywhere. I was there early in the morning and many of the lights were still on. It was weird looking for birds and butterflies with a tshirt on and Christmas lights everywhere. The farm has a community garden and someone had sunflowers blooming in their square, in the middle of December! I could only find a few butterflies in the butterfly garden even though it was still blooming.

The only bird I found at the farm was a hermit thrush. I had not seen one since 2018 and I had just seen one in my backyard before finding this one at the farm. I had to wonder if it was the same one from my yard even though I was 15 minutes away.

I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home and found some black capped (or nanday) parakeets in the parking lot. They were eating seeds from the top of the trees. They blend in well in the trees and I might not have seen them if they hadn’t been screaming.

A manatee was close to the pier but the dolphins were pretty far out in the bay.

Watching the ibis feed off tiny crabs in the water.

Pelicans were cruising by the pier.

There were several osprey out diving for fish in the bay but only one came close enough to try and get shots. He swooped down and grabbed that fish so fast and then went the other way. I was hoping he would fly towards me. Oh well. I’ll try again.

Inspire Me Monday

 

Finally out with my camera

In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.

There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.

Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.

One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.

An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.

A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.

A great egret posing nicely.

Pelicans around the marina.

A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.

I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.

Storms and an eagle

I was out for an early morning walk and stopped by RE Olds Park (named after Ransom Olds who invented the Oldsmobile and developed what is Oldsmar now) to see if there were any storm clouds moving in. After walking the pier I looked up in the big tree at the end of the pier and saw an eagle sitting there. I was bummed I didn’t have my camera. I took the above with my phone. I was glad to see it back here. Last fall I saw them here pretty regularly.

The storms were far away this morning but I could see a little bit of lightning so I didn’t stay long on the pier. They were coming off the gulf coast.

A few days later I stopped by the pier again with my camera and of course there was no sign of the eagle. This time there were storms out in the bay and over land. The sun was out over the park but there wasn’t any rainbows.

I caught some great blue herons cruising by.

I was surprised to find black terns here. I’ve only seen them at Gandy beach before.  There was a small flock of them flying around trying to get bait fish. They were in all stages of molting with a few still having mostly black feathers. By now they are somewhere in South America for the winter.

A pelican with a pouch full of bait fish.

A creepy mangrove crab was walking along the railing.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Summer walk on the causeway

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for an early morning walk in late June and saw that a baby turtle had been painted on the water tower right before the causeway. I had to turn around and take a quick shot. He’s so cute.

It was crazy hot even at 8am in the morning. I caught the drawbridge going up as I was about to cross it. It was a good spot to take a rest,

The usual great egrets and pelicans were hanging around the short bridge, hoping to steal some bait fish from an unsuspecting fisherman.

A fun bike rack in front of the kayak rental station.

After a long walk at the causeway I headed down to the marina for a quick walk. (I was really just stalling until my favorite lunch pick up place nearby opened at 11am).

Inspire Me Monday

Summer skies in July

It was sunny and hot early in the morning during my walk around the Safety Harbor marina. I was traveling light so all of the shots in this post were taken with my phone. The local news said this was the hottest July on record in 40 years.

Another sunny morning at the Dunedin marina.

A rainbow on the 4th of July, coming home from a late afternoon cookout with friends.

We had an early dinner in Tampa one weekend and hit the causeway coming home right at sunset. Brett was driving so I snapped this through the windshield.

From partly cloudy to dark clouds during my walk around Olds Park.

A sun halo in our backyard one day around noon.

A walk at some parks near Tarpon Springs. This was the first time I had seen this mermaid statue. She is called “Ama” and was installed in 2014 as part of the Amaryllis Art for Charity project. There’s a small sponge on the base to represent the sponge diving industry here and there’s a small manatee on the left front of the base. Manatees are common in this area.

SkyWatch Friday

A day in the life of a pelican sanctuary.

I was up at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park at the end of January and noticed the pelicans were getting frisky. It was warm the day I was there but we still had some cold weather to get through. Injured pelicans live at the park (most are missing a wing) and are free to nest and raise their babies. Then the babies are able to fly free when they grow up.

A few of the residents showing me their missing wings.

It was funny to watch all of the couples flirting and getting the nests ready.

It’s also funny to watch them stretching their pouches.

Chilling, this one looks like he’s got his breeding feathers in with that pretty yellow head.

There are also a few white pelicans that live there but I’ve never seen them nest, Maybe they nest closer to the middle of the summer.

Stops along the beach.

I was meeting a friend for lunch on the beach in January and threw my camera in the car to make a few stops on the way home. Since I was close by, my first stop was at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. It’s now run by a group of volunteers and they rescue and rehabilitate injured birds.

The sanctuary is shaded by overgrown mangrove trees and wild birds nest high up in them this time of year. Great egrets were working on fixing up their nests.

I could just barely make out baby great blue herons through all of the sticks and leaves. This nest had 2 babies and they were already growing up.

One of the first baby night herons of the season. They usually nest a little later but these guys were already almost as big as their parents.

A pretty pelican face.

This sandhill crane is one of the residents. You can see he’s missing his bottom beak. He’s well fed here.

Much farther north on the water, I stopped back by Weaver Park again. I always see parakeets here. They aren’t hard to miss, screaming so loud all of the time. Looks like they’ll be nesting soon.

The pier was pretty quiet.  Mostly terns and gulls. I was hoping to catch the opsrey diving for fish but there wasn’t any here this afternoon.