The sea fog rolling in.

I love being out in the fog so when I peaked out the window in mid-February I got ready quickly and headed out the door for a walk on the Dunedin causeway. It kept getting foggier as the morning went on. I guess the sea fog was rolling in. The tide was super low which made it even cooler.

I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out to get some shots of the oystercatcher couple that was feeding along the causeway. Someone walked up behind me and spooked them to fly to the other side of the causeway.

A few of the other birds included a sanderling, a snowy egret, a marbled godwit and a young ring billed gull feasting on a dead fish.

Later I saw the oystercatchers again and snapped a few more pictures before leaving. They seemed to be having a lot of luck with whatever they were eating (tiny crabs?).

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

Stops along the beach.

I was meeting a friend for lunch on the beach in January and threw my camera in the car to make a few stops on the way home. Since I was close by, my first stop was at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. It’s now run by a group of volunteers and they rescue and rehabilitate injured birds.

The sanctuary is shaded by overgrown mangrove trees and wild birds nest high up in them this time of year. Great egrets were working on fixing up their nests.

I could just barely make out baby great blue herons through all of the sticks and leaves. This nest had 2 babies and they were already growing up.

One of the first baby night herons of the season. They usually nest a little later but these guys were already almost as big as their parents.

A pretty pelican face.

This sandhill crane is one of the residents. You can see he’s missing his bottom beak. He’s well fed here.

Much farther north on the water, I stopped back by Weaver Park again. I always see parakeets here. They aren’t hard to miss, screaming so loud all of the time. Looks like they’ll be nesting soon.

The pier was pretty quiet.  Mostly terns and gulls. I was hoping to catch the opsrey diving for fish but there wasn’t any here this afternoon.

Breakfast with the oystercatchers

In mid-December I was out on the beach at Fort Desoto and found 2 oystercatcher couples. The first couple I found was just standing around, preening. Then a few feet away I saw the 2nd couple. It was super low tide and they were digging around in the wet sand for critters to eat. Eventually the other couple started feeding as well. I just plopped down on the sand and watched them feed for a while.

They were all busy pulling little worms out of the sand. It was nice that there wasn’t anyone walking this stretch of the beach to scare them away. I’m sure people were coming through as it got later in the morning.

This ring billed gull was keeping an eye on me.

The Fort Desoto fishing pier

I was back out at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto in late April. I was still trying to find some spring migrate birds with still no luck. So instead of going home empy handed, I headed over to the fishing pier to walk around (it’s a long pier). There’s always a good breeze and usually lots to see.  A ring billed gull sitting on top of the showers welcomed me.

Lots of hanky panky going on with the laughing gulls on the beach next to the pier. I’d tell them to get a room but I was basically in their “room”.

The pair of female mergansers were still hanging around. Feels like it’s late for them to be here. Shouldn’t they have gone north for the summer already?

The opsrey were nesting all over the park including on top of the old fort smokestack near the pier.

Some were still working on nests that sits right on the trail. She was going to get tired of yelling at every person that walks by.

SkyWatch Friday

A windy morning at the beach

I had just walked out on to the beach when these two oystercatchers flew by and then circled around and landed in front of me.

A juvenile ring billed gull flew by.

Something spooked the sandpipers and they all took off.

I found the pair of whimbrels that have been sighted hanging out nearby the gulf pier. They were not skittish at all as shell collectors walked right past them. Of course the willet was trying to get in on the pictures as well.

Students from nearby Eckard Collage have been volunteering to help with hooked birds on the fishing pier. They were just arriving with their gear on this cloudy windy day. There’s a huge problem with birds getting caught in fishing line. Not just at this pier but other busy piers as well. Pelicans, cormorants and gulls are just some of the birds that get hooked while diving close to the people fishing. If people cut the lines, the birds fly off with tangled fishing line and get trapped in mangroves and starve to death. The girls are here to help show the fishermen how to reel in the birds and take the line off or the hooks out.

Meanwhile up at the east beach turnaround, the kiteboarders were out in full force on this windy morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Dark and cloudy at the beach.

It was a cold quiet windy day at Fort Desoto in early January. I walked out to the north beach and saw nothing as far as the eye could see. Then this flash of movement caught my eye. A lone female red breasted merganser. She didn’t stay long and neither did I.

I headed over to the fishing pier and found a ring billed gull with a snack. The laughing gull was trying it’s best to steal it away but he wasn’t successful.

This was a scene all over the park. Osprey getting ready to start nesting and were coupling up. They both were eating fish.

Far away I could see skimmers, gulls and terns flying around.

The Clipper was cruising by the fishing pier.

It was a little creepy out on the beach. I only saw a few other people. We were all bundled up this morning.

It was extremely low tide. The clouds were getting darker so I decided not to head out on the spit. Even with the low tide I’d have to slosh through some water and wasn’t up for having cold feet this morning. I still love the beach here even on a day like this.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

Just being outside

A beautiful morning out at Fort Desoto. Out on Outback Key, you can see St. Pete beach far off in the distance. That big pink hotel (Don CeSar) really stands out.

Rush hour traffic on the water.

Usual birds around the fishing pier. A ruddy turnstone, loggerhead shrike and a ring billed gull with just a touch of orange around his eye.

TOTO, the banded oystercatcher, was there in his usual spot.

His mate was close by looking for food.

A nice cool morning for a walk on the beach at Fort Desoto in February. Sadly now this is more important than every, just being outside. Yesterday Brett and I went to the beach just to be outside since everything else is closed. Even the zoo is closed (although the keepers will still be there taking care of the animals). I’m working at home for the next few weeks and I’m sure the walls will start closing in. I’m going to try and walk in the neighborhood after work each night to get out. Hope everyone stays sane out there. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you are coping.

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A walk around a lake

There were two white pelicans and one brown pelican floating in Crescent Lake near downtown St. Pete recently. The white ones were feeding close to the edge of the lake.

You can always find wood storks here.

Other usual critters include wintering ring billed ducks, lots of green herons, a cute mallard with a feather hat and plenty of turtles. One thing I’ve never seen here is alligators. I’m sure they are there under the water. I’ve only ever been early in the morning so they may be on the bank sunning themselves late in the afternoon.

This ring billed gull would have preferred a handout.

Cold and windy at Honeymoon Island

A lone ring billed gull braving the wind on the beach.

A few things on the beach including a large sea sponge in the first shot. The horseshoe crab and starfish were still alive and the tide was coming in fast so they would be gone soon.

A few people were out trying to surf but there really wasn’t any big waves. For a while I watched them sit on their boards. This guy tried once but didn’t stay up long. There just wasn’t enough wind in the gulf.

I came out to Honeymoon Island to walk on the nature trail in the woods but stopped by the beach before leaving. It was drizzling on and off so there were very few people there except for the ones bobbing up and down on their surfboards. Even on a cold windy day it was fun to be out on the beach.

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Looking for a duck.

This ring billed gull spent the morning eating tiny horseshoe crabs.

Lots of ducks but nothing new.  Ring billed and lesser scaup way out in the bay.

Teeny tiny on the ground.

I saw an eagle high up in a utility tower near my house on the way home.

I stopped by Veterans Park in Oldsmar looking for a long tailed duck. I heard he was there earlier in the week but I couldn’t find him by Saturday. That’s a rare duck here. I briefly saw one years ago near the same area but haven’t heard of one being around until early December. I’ll keep checking back this winter. It was a beautiful day to be out walking even without the duck.

My Corner of the World