A beautiful view from the nest.

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Napping on the nest.

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The great horned owl mom and baby were not very active the morning I stopped by. There’s a younger baby behind the mom but I only saw a tiny bit of fuzz pop up.

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The osprey in the area didn’t have eggs yet.

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Yellow bellied sapsucker has stopped for a rest during spring migration.

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He was trying to nap on the tree.

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Pelicans diving for fish out in the bay.

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This is the view from the owl’s nest. It would be pretty amazing to wake up to this every morning, even on a cloudy day.

Perfect morning at Fort Desoto in early April.

Skywatch Friday

A flashback of when I was 10.

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These fish were already filleted so I’m not sure why they were hanging here. Maybe to advertise how much fish you can catch on their boat?

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The great egrets were hanging around trying to peck at the fish on dock.

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Fish ready to be packed up for the road home.

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This guy was filleting the fish that the people had caught and the pelicans were right there waiting for a handout.

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They would stand within two feet of you. “Excuse me lady. This is my spot to get some fish heads.” They will nip at your ankles if you get in the way of them getting a fish.

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The water was filled with pelicans waiting to catch the fish skins as they were being thrown out. This one looks like he has two in his pouch.

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Mad dash for the handouts.

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The pelicans were pretty aggressive.

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All waiting for the fish parts to fall.

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“Mine, mine”

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This sad great egret was sitting on top of the marina building watching the pelicans get their snacks. What is that hanging out of his mouth? Some kind of fishing line? I hope there’s not a hook in there.

All of the above scenes were typical for me to see when we came to visit my grandparents when I was little. The big vacation thing to do was go to the Clearwater marina before dinner (around 5pm) to see the deep-sea fishing boats come in with their catch. My dad liked to take pictures of the pelicans there because they were so close. And he liked to see what kind of fish they were catching. He wasn’t a big fisherman but he went out a few times. After 40 years, nothing has changed. Some of the same boats are still there. Even the marina building looks exactly the same. It looks like it really needs an update.

Movie trivia – the Clearwater marina was the location of a scene filmed in Lethal Weapon 3 with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. They were in Danny’s boat and got into a fight and fell into the water. You can see the marina building when they are in the water.

December walk at Honeymoon Island – Skywatch Friday

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A common sight on the nature trail at Honeymoon Island.

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Some of the burnt trees have osprey nests in them. It’s not quite nesting season so they were all empty. All of the osprey were out catching breakfast.

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Another typical sight at Honeymoon Island.

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One of the many yellow rumped warblers. I’ve taken a ton of pictures of them in the last few weeks.

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I don’t see eastern towhees very often. This is my 2nd sighting of a towhee in Florida.

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Not sure what this was up so high. It’s probably a palm warbler.

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The red berries everywhere make the trails look like Christmas. This is a nasty invasive tree, a brazilian pepper tree. They spread like wildfire and take over native plants. Birds eat the berries and disperse them everywhere. It’s now illegal to sell, buy or move them. Many parks have pulled them out. They are pretty when the berries are in full bloom.

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This dog was having fun in the water.

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Ring billed gull guarding a shell.

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Another one in the water.

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Raccoon prints on the beach.

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It was another beautiful morning in Florida during December. It started out cloudy and cold but the sun came out after the first hour I was there and it got hot. I’m glad I brought my bottle of Off. The mosquitos were still there.  We need a week in the 40’s at night to make them fly south. Maybe January.

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My first white winged scoter – Skywatch Friday

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After two trips to the little lagoon on the Tampa side of Gandy bridge, I finally saw the white-winged scoter. It’s either a female or juvenile. She’s been there for a while, maybe two months. She was sitting on the little sand bar far out in the lagoon.

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She got up and walked around for a few minutes. These are extremely cropped and it was raining but hey, at least I can finally add this duck to my list.

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I’m not sure what was in this spot many years ago. The lagoon has a concrete wall around it that is falling apart in some places.

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The sun was going down quick and the rain had stopped even though it looked like it would start up again.

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The scoter got in the water and floated around. She was not going to let me get close.

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The shallow area was full of live conch shells.

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Taken with my iphone, a view of the bay from this small park.

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Last shot before dark.

After a week of pouring rain, I stopped by the tiny park and saw the white-winged scoter. It’s a rare sighting for the Tampa bay area. Did she get lost during spring migration? She didn’t look injured. Will she leave and go south for winter? Everyone here is wondering. It was only a drizzle while I was there but it kept others away so I had the whole place to myself. I should stop here more often after work but the bugs were terrible. Worse than the other parks I walk at after work. Maybe in the winter they won’t be so bad.

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More pelicans and other stuff at Safety Harbor

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My first common loon of the season. He was floating all alone far off the fishing pier.

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I was surprised to see manatees at the fishing pier. Usually this time of year they all head over to the electricity plant to swim in the warm water around the plant. Since the weather here has still been warm, I guess they are hanging around longer. There were at least 6 manatees at the fishing pier.

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The trees around the parking lot were full of starlings. They were very loud.

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More pelican fun. They have such amazing color on their faces. With that pink and blue around the eyes and bright orange beaks.

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He looked happy with his fish part.

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This one is a juvenile. Maybe not a year old and hasn’t got his color yet.

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Another one enjoying his prize.

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“Gulp!”

Just a few more things I saw at the Safety Harbor fishing pier.

LorikArt

Pelicans nesting at Homosassa Springs Park.

Hooking up.

What are they fighting about? Or is that something else???

Now maybe they are making up?

He's bringing his big stick.

She’s already got an egg.
More pictures from my recent trip to Homosassa Springs Park. In the middle of one of the rivers, they have a little pelican island where the pelicans can hang out and nest. They were busy the entire morning that I was there. Several nests already had eggs on them. Soon there will be non-stop baby bird crying there.  It was fun to watch them being so pre-occupied.