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.

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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.

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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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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.

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The Tampa art festival

Several years ago Brett and I went to an art festival in downtown Tampa and I just recently found these old pictures. In late February it’s usually beautiful, sunny and cool.

Looking across the bay at Davis Islands.

The University of Tampa minarets in the sun.

Most people are there looking at the art and I’m running around taking pictures of the birds. Mostly gulls.

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Fort Desoto in early January

Little birds along the shore at Fort Desoto Park.

Weird sea slugs that were on the sand at low tide. The muck was full of these.

The tide would be coming in soon to wash this guy back into the water.

A very large raft of ducks far out in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I think these were mostly ring neck ducks.

Scenes from the beach.

In early January I was walking the trails and noticed an owl sitting in an old osprey nest.

Not a bad way to be stuck in traffic. On my way home I got stuck on the bridge for a few minutes while the bridge was up waiting for some tall boats to pass underneath.

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