Floating around the pier

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Most days you can find cormorants diving for fish around the fishing pier.

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I realized when I cropped this up, it was not a good sign. He must have stolen this fish from someone’s fishing line. I’m not sure if he swallowed the hook and bait.

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This one was busy. He caught 3 fish in a matter of minutes.

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A lone red breasted merganser floating close to the pier.

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After preening, she was showing off.

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Here’s something I’ve never seen before. A common loon already in his summer colors. This bird is a drab gray during the winter and I occasionally see them floating around piers. The common loon is the Minnesota state bird and this is how they usually see them. They look so much prettier here.

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Catching fish.

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Above is how we usually see the common loon in the winter. I took this last winter. They are usually all gray except for those red eyes.

I thought it was going to be a quiet morning at Fort Desoto but seeing the common loon in his black and white feathers was different. All dressed up and ready to go. This was in mid-March so he was molting early. He was probably on his way back home to Minnesota and decided since it was still snowing up there to stay here in sunny Florida a little longer. I would too.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters

Looking for yet another yellow bird.

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Are you a western tanager?  No, just a yellow rumped warbler.

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Of course, the western tanager would be much higher up in the trees and harder to spot. After two hours, she would not come down from the top of the trees.

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This was the best that I got that morning. She’s now been there for a few weeks so I should go back and see if I can find her again.

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Nice butt shot. There were at least 20 birders looking for this bird. After several hours she was spotted high up and stayed there. This is my western tanager.

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After spotting the tanager in the trees by the parking lot, I headed over to the beach to see what I could find. I’m going with Forester’s tern on this one. He’s got the black “earmuffs” that a common wouldn’t have. Bill is slightly longer.  Seagull Steve, let me know if I’m wrong on this. I followed your comparisons here.

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Wilson’s plovers on the beach.

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Are these semipalmated plovers?  Those orange legs on the one in the back makes me think they are but they don’t have a lot of color in their face. Maybe the back one is a juvenile?

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Stretching after a nap.

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A royal tern staring at me.

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Taking a bath in the salt water.

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What’s this? This isn’t a tern or plover. There was a lone red breasted merganser walking up on the beach. Where were all of her friends? They usually aren’t alone. She preened for a few minutes.

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And then took off down the beach.

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Pelican flying by just as the sun was coming out.

It was a foggy morning at Fort De Soto in mid-January. I went down to the park looking for the western tanager. Anything else I found was going to be a bonus. Not much else at the park except the usual terns and pelicans. I did find the Franklin’s gull on this trip. The sun finally started coming out around lunch time. I was hungry so I headed for home.

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Orange beak duck and the red-eyed devils at Philippe Park.

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After leaving the Safety Harbor fishing pier, I headed over to Philippe Park to see what was swimming around the inlet there. First thing I noticed was the red breasted merganser. This is the first one I’ve seen this winter.

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She was alone but there were a few horned grebes a little farther out.

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The red-eyed devils had arrived for the winter. They were my  first horned grebe sighting this season. They were swimming far out in the water.

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Last winter they hung around the fishing pier but this winter they seem to be farther north.

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From the park, I could see a lone eagle sitting far out in the middle of the bay on top of a utility tower.

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Is that a burp? Yawn? Was it calling for its mate?

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Later I saw the above fly over the trees away from me.  I hope it’s the same eagle as the one on the tower and the mate is off sitting on eggs.

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It was a beautiful weekend before the holidays.