“Help Me” said the pelican

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.

Photographing New Zealand

A windy day at Fort Desoto

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.

SkyWatch Friday

A perfect winter morning.

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.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Nested season had already started for the great blue herons at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Some were just starting to work on nests, some were still showing off for their mate and some were already sitting on eggs.

Resident pelicans.

The permanently injured resident white morph great blue heron was showing his breeding colors in his beak.  The colors were really pretty against his white neck.

A caracara yelling at something. It’s rare to see a caracara in the Tampa bay area so this is a new bird for a lot of people They can usually be found more inland in central Florida. unfortunately this bird is here because he was injured out in the wild and lost a wing.

An eagle with a missing wing.

A wild phoebe flew right in front of me and posed so I had to take his picture.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

Being a tourist, continued

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.

A beautiful bird at the fishing pier.

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.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.