Drizzling on the beach – Skywatch Friday

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I’ve seen a few gulls with only one foot. I’m not sure if there are many or I just keep seeing the same one at the beach.

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Skimmers taking flight across the lagoon.

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Up in the dark sky, they fly around in a circle then land right back where they started from.

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A lone ring billed gull.

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He did not seem to mind me there. He sat down for a nap. He has beautiful deep yellow eyes.

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Unfortunately, I did not find this one alive. The beach was full of dead horseshoe crabs that had washed up. This was the biggest one I saw there.

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As usual, the weather has not been in my favor in January. I headed down to Fort De Soto anyway just to get out and walk around. It was a dark gloomy day. And only got darker as the morning went on. There wasn’t much on the beach. Before leaving, I stopped by east beach turnaround to see if any shorebirds were hanging around. This was all I saw. This is extremely cropped. A line of redhead ducks were cruising across the bay. I could see the lights on over at the south Sunshine Skyway Fishing pier. You can barely make out a sailboat. They must be crazy to be out in this weather. It started to rain hard so I headed for home. This was not one of those “quick summer” rain showers that you wait out.

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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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Close to work – Skywatch Friday

Blue heron in breeding colors. He has some bright blue around his beak and the wine tint in his neck.

Ring-billed gull hanging around an office park. He was sitting on the boardwalk.

This female anhinga has her breeding colors on her face. She was sitting on a mangrove bush up against the boardwalk. She had the funniest facial expressions.

She was drying off her wings.

Eventually she hopped on the boardwalk and fanned out her wings. Joggers and walkers were going by and she didn’t move.

The bell tower in the middle of the lake. The sun was going down behind the low bushes at this point.

Yea! It’s sunny when I leave work. Now I can stop by a park after work each week. Carillon office park is 5 minutes from where I work (if I hit red lights) so I will be heading there on a regular basis to get a good walk in after work. Then I miss the worst traffic on the bridge. The park has two small lakes in it. One has a boardwalk around it and one has a trail around it. The regular birds such as anhingas, egrets and herons are used to people being around. The park is busy with joggers and dog walkers. Occasionally, something a little rarer might show up such as a bittern or northern waterthrush. I found both there last year. And yes, there are a few alligators there.

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