Up close with some crazy animals

It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle.  Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.

Pelicans were just starting to nest.

A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.

A burrowing owl trying to sleep.

Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.

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Clearwater sights

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I took my sisters over to the beach for a walk before lunch. We walked around the marina and stopped in some of the gift shops there.

Later on that day we walked on the causeway from Clearwater to Tampa and watched the sun go down before heading home for dinner.

SkyWatch Friday

Behind thick glass

Aquarium creatures in the manatee exhibit building.

Turtles swimming around in the manatee exhibit.

Watching pelicans being fed from behind the glass at the under water viewing area at the manatee hospital. It was strange watching from this perspective. Their little feet were going a mile a minute.

It’s not often you get to see a hooded merganser this close. He was swimming close to the window of the under water viewing window.

The Lowry Park Zoo is getting a new water filtration system for the manatee hospital so there are currently no manatees at the zoo. Any injured manatees are now being sent to other manatee rehabbers until their new system is in. Normally you can go underneath and see the injured manatees that are being cared for at the hospital which is part of the zoo.. It’s unfortunate that any people visiting the area are not able to see these big guys up close but the zoo really needed to update its water system. And, it unfortunate that soon it will be installed and there will be new injured manatees swimming around there again. You can read about the hospital here.

A quiet night at Fort Desoto

Coming in for a landing.

Cute little plover looking for a snack.

Snowy egrets and ibis hanging around the marsh.

High up –  loggerhead shrike, kestrel and a starling.

Great blue heron posing on a light post.

One I helped save and one I couldn’t. The first one was walking around on the pier. I had a bait fish in my hand and he walked right up to me. He was all tangled up in fishing line with a hook on his wing. I was able to borrow clippers and a nice man was able to grab him as I was giving him the bait fish.  While he held the pelican I clipped off all of the wire and the hook.  He seemed okay so we let him go. He gave me one last look and took of into the sunset. The other pelican was sitting on the ferry boat. His feet were tangled up in fishing wire but he was able to fly and took off.

I was able to head down to Fort Desoto for a quick walk before sundown in late October before the time changed.  Now it’s dark after work. Can’t wait till April.

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“Oh say can you see!!”

This is what you see when you drive into Fort Desoto. This picture does not do it justice. It’s huge.

Blooming things on the trail.

Usual birds on the pier. A cormorant and a few snowy egrets.

Pelicans everywhere.

The osprey have been very accommodating with their meals. Usually they fly off quickly if you get anywhere near them. The ones on the boardwalk don’t even flinch.

Bye, bye, Ibis (take me with you!)

It was strange seeing 2 mallard ducks swimming in the salty gulf.

Summer fun at Fort Desoto.

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A new bird and some old ones

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I finally made it down to Fort Desoto to see the smooth billed ani. This counts as a new bird for me.  I had seen the grooved billed ani at Boyd Hill Park back in 2011.  The smooth billed had spent a while at the park during the holidays but I wasn’t able to get down there until January. He wasn’t too hard to find. Just look for the group of people staring at it.

Above is the groove bill ani. They look exactly the same except for the bill.

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This was only the 2nd time I had seen a lark sparrow. One was hanging out near the same spot as the ani. This one spent the morning feeding on the ground.

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A kestrel high up in a tree.

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This snowy egret has a shrimp. He was fishing along the shoreline next to the pier.

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The pelican clan hanging out on the jetty.

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Some small things on the beach. A mangrove taking root and a small fiddler crab.

Fort Desoto in mid-January.

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