If you look closely you can always find birds at a marina. While my sister and I walked around the Clearwater Beach marina, we saw tons of pelicans, great egrets and snowy egrets. Birds we didn’t see that are usually there are great blue herons and green herons. They hang around the docks hoping to be fed the scraps when the fishing boats come in and the fisherman fillet the fish right there. I recently found out that it’s illegal to feed birds fish parts. The pelican’s pouch is very delicate and made to swallow the fish whole. If there are bones sticking out, they will puncture the pouch and tear, keeping the pelican from being able to scoop up fish on their own. They will eventually starve. The bird sanctuaries in the area are full of pelicans with torn pouches from eating fish parts. Another reason why wild animals should not be fed.
Signs at the fishing piers that people seem to ignore.
The rare hybrid great blue heron/great egret was sporting his breeding colors back in early April. I did not change or enhance the color in his face, only cropped the pictures up. He looks more like a great egret now but they have bright green around the beak during breeding season. Great blue herons get a little blue around the eyes. He or she looks like he’s ready for a mate. I didn’t see him the last 2 times I was at the pier so maybe he’s on a nest.
Snowy egrets were stealing bait fish from the fishermen. The cormorant scored a big one for lunch.
Showing off on the light post.
Pelicans and frigatebirds were flying by.
Out past the fishing pier, the utility tower had broken off during Hurricane Irma. The broken tower is still laying below the water. People started swimming out to it and the lifeguards had to swim out and yell for them to come back to shore. Not knowing if they were strong swimmers, the lifeguards wouldn’t want them to get out too far into the shipping channels where the big boats come in.
After running around in the woods at Fort Desoto Park taking pictures of small birds migrating through the area in late April, I stopped at the fishing pier before heading home. The dolphins were feeding on the bait fish, swimming back and forth in front of the pier. The water was clear that morning so it was easy to see them as they rose to the surface. It was fun watching them splashing around.
Pelicans were also floating close to the pier.
Not too many people on the beach yet near the pier. The crowds were just starting to form north of the pier where the beach is a little wider and nicer.
I saw this red shoulder hawk sitting high up in a cypress tree. Took a couple of shots and then I kept going down the trail, thinking she was taking a break.
I got all the way across the pond and heard the hawk screaming. I looked over and saw the above. These are extremely cropped. Guess we’ll be having baby hawks soon. These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a small watershed area not too far from my house. It sits on a corner of one of the busiest intersections in the area. Except for the traffic noise, the trail is very quiet.