I went for a walk in Safety Harbor and stopped by the fishing pier before heading home. I immediately spotted a manatee swimming away from the pier. She had some interesting boat strike marks on her back. I was thinking she was heading for the boat channel so I thought this would be the only sighting.
A grackle with a snack that he stole from the garbage can is a regular sight here.
Pelicans were flying around. It looked like they were having a discussion over who got the best spot on the sign. After snapping the above I looked down and saw the below.
The manatee had come back around and got right under the pier. It had some friends as well. There were 4 swimming around this particular morning. The first 3 were taken with my phone. They do look like floating potatoes from up on the pier.
They eventually started swimming away from the pier but not before one of them slapped the water with his tail.
One of them stopped and started floating on his back. I don’t see this often.
It’s been a hot summer with little rain. Most days looked like this. Sunny with no real chance of rain (at least the rain lowers heat). I went out early for a short walk on the causeway, hoping for a breeze.
The water was so clear you could see the little bait fish swimming in between the old concrete pillars.
The north side of the causeway has never been nice but now it’s really full of dead seaweed. I wonder if this is part of that big 5,000 miles of sargassum seaweed that was floating out in the Atlantic Ocean and heading for Florida.
Walking over the bridge I was almost eye level with the terns diving for fish.
The south side of the causeway was nice and clear.
A kiteboarder goes cruising by.
After my walk I headed over to the marina to see if there were any dolphins or manatees swimming by.
A pelican sits on the corner of the pier and for a short while no one was bothering him.
I could see a dolphin fin breaking the water (just below the red sign) but I couldn’t find him again after I snapped this. He must have turned around and headed out under water.
My favorite great egret was there on the floating dock, trying to catch bait fish through the hole.
There’s a live camera on top of the restaurant next to the pier (it has a minute or two delay). I pulled it up on my phone and screen shot the above of me standing there leaning on the pier (in the blue shirt on the right). I had the pier all to myself this morning, no fishermen or joggers stopping by.
This is something you don’t see everyday in mid-March. That water was a little chilly, even with a short wetsuit. I was out for a short walk on the Oldsmar pier and saw this guy. It looked like fun but you really need some heavy upper body strength to hold that big sail up. Once he got up he went flying by and across the bay.
It was a quiet morning with only a few willets flying around so I headed over to the Dunedin marina.
These grackles were happily singing the morning away.
The usual beautiful scene from the marina.
The only birds I saw were willets and starlings on the little grassy area.
Also, house sparrows. They were busy taking dirt baths.
I had heard the purple martins were back at the Dunedin marina so one morning I drove around to the front of the marina to see if I could get some shots of them in the bird house. I also found some other birds there as well. The spotted sandpipers will be going back up north soon
Pigeons get no respect but they are pretty when the sun shines on them.
A kingfisher was hanging out on the channel marker at the entrance to the marina.
All of the usual birds were there. Green herons, great egrets and pelicans.
The purple martins were busy moving in to the martin house. It looks like most of them were in couples and had staked out their spots. Last year I found them when the babies were almost fully grown and ready to leave to I’m hoping this year I can see some young babies.
The view from the purple martin house. You can see Clearwater beach across the water. It used to be a quiet little beach area with 2 story Mom and Pop hotels but not anymore. All highrises and the traffic is terrible. Parking is $30 a day. Only the tourists go to this beach now.
Finally, I was able to see the head of a baby on the eagle’s nest in my neighborhood on 2/11. He still had gray fuzz on his head. This nest has been really annoying this year. They rebuilt it farther back on the tower and the nest has sunken in quite a bit. And so many sticks “sticking” up in the way. But I was glad to see at least one baby!
It looks like one of the parents was adding to the nest.
Both parents together on the nest on a sunny morning.
This was the view from the other side of the nest. You can really see where it was sinking in the middle so the babies are hidden far down in the bowl.
At this point there was always one parent on guard on the tower.
One morning I saw an eagle on the big pine tree in front of the Oldsmar pier. He spent a lot of time up here last year but this was this first time seeing him here this year.
Flybys close to the nest included a pelican and osprey. There is an osprey nest close by the eagle’s nest and the osprey will fly close but the eagles always yell at them and they take off.
I heard the pileated woodpecker screaming as he landed on top of the utility pole right in front of where I was standing at the nest. I quickly snapped this and off he went again. I hear them screaming all over the neighborhood.
One of the many osprey nest in the neighborhood. This one is a few towers down from the eagle’s nest. I caught them bringing in padding for the nest. This one is pretty far away.
I was meeting a friend for lunch over at the beach and stopped at nearby Seaside Seabird Sanctuary for a quick walk. The sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates over 10,000 birds a year and most get released but some are permanently disabled and live their lives out here. Many are missing wings, eyes or parts of their beaks. I noticed in the one of the pelican enclosures that they were starting to nest. When the babies are born they are released into the wild. It looks like one of the pelicans didn’t understand the nest concept.
Some of the couples were just starting to get frisky in late January. It looks like the lady was missing an eye.
This one in the back of the enclosure was stretching his mouth. He was also missing an eye.
They release injured birds once they are better (some may have gotten sick from red tide) and I happened to be there the afternoon they were doing a big release. Since the sanctuary sits right on the beach they are able to set them free right here.
The volunteers walked the pelicans down to the shore and let them go. Most took off immediately but a few hung around the beach for a while before flying away. I’m sure for the volunteers it makes all the work worthwhile to see them fly away. If you notice they are all holding the pelican’s beak open as they carry them out to the beach. Pelicans don’t have noses. They breath through their beaks so it’s important that someone rescuing an injured pelican doesn’t hold the beak closed.
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.
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.
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.