Sleeping shorebirds

It was a quiet morning on the Dunedin causeway and I noticed a lot of sleeping shorebirds. After my walk I got my camera out of my car and started snapping the shorebirds. I found a lone black bellied plover mixed in with a lot of dowitchers. When I cropped this up I noticed the little dunlin on the right.

I usually only see large flocks of laughing gulls here so it was great to see all of the dowitchers sleeping together. Some were trying to nap and some were feeding. There were a few dunlins and ruddy turnstones mixed in as well.

My camera could only catch a small portion of them at a time.

Some were flying in and out of the sleeping group.

A little farther down the beach I found a lone skimmer.

A pelican cruises right above the water.

Finally out with my camera

In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.

There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.

Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.

One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.

An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.

A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.

A great egret posing nicely.

Pelicans around the marina.

A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.

I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.

The beach at low tide

It’s not often we see whimbrels around here. The pair at Fort Desoto have been very accommodating when you can find them. They were right when you walk out on the beach the morning I found them in late October, feeding along the grass line before the sand.

It was extreme low tide and the buoys were exposed. The ruddy turnstones were picking tiny crabs off of them for breakfast.

This willet also found some breakfast.

The little tiny shorebirds are so cute creeping around in the muck. A snowy plover and a sanderling.

Skimmers cruising by.

Something spooked the birds way out on the sandbar.

There’s something magical about being out on the beach at low tide early in the morning. There aren’t many people out and you can walk forever and feel like you are out in the middle of the gulf.

Dead Australian pine tree graveyard on the beach. The stumps have all been smoothed down by the water and have been bleached out by the sun.

My Corner of the World

At the beach

No, I did not take these this weekend. We avoid the beaches on holidays. We are fortunate enough to live here and can go to the beach any time so we don’t go during the busiest times. This was a beautiful Saturday morning in early May.

The wind was blasting and you could see all of the kiteboarders bobbing up and down across the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

The usual birds near the fishing pier included a ruddy turnstone taking a break, a gull who was cruising the wind and a black bellied plover.

One last look for migrating birds at the ranger’s house came up empty. Only a young great blue heron and a white ibis in the fountain.

This osprey had built a nest right on the trail and was giving me the stink eye when I passed by. Luckily there isn’t much traffic on this trail when the heat sets in.

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Another morning at Fort Desoto

I think I found some spring migrating birds. But only two. A red eyed vireo and a rose breasted grosbeak were the only birds in late April at Fort Desoto Park.

After walking the trails, I headed to the beach. The royal tern was doing a big stretch.

I caught these two willets fighting over the best spot.

Other usual birds on the beach include a ruddy turnstone and a piping plover.

I could see two big osprey babies on the nesting platform in the parking lot. The babies have white spots on their brown feathers when they are young.

A few of the boats from the fishing pier.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Saturday morning at Fort Desoto

The red breasted mergansers were still swimming around the pier in early April at Fort Desoto Park.

I found the whimbrels again. This time they were hunting for food around the stone edges near the fort. The tide was low and they were picking off some type of black bug.

A great blue heron standing on the roof at the end of the fishing pier.

This ruddy turnstone had a bite and I realized he was also missing a foot.

A ruddy and a laughing gull feeding on the beach under the pier.

Watching the ibis fly by on a perfect Saturday morning.

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A few birds in mid-May

A female scarlet tanager getting a snack from the fig tree.

The male was not too far away.

I had heard this was a veery. I don’t remember seeing one before but everyone said they aren’t that rare.There were several in the oak trees.

I don’t remember what this was now. A female something?  It was also feeding in the fig tree. Might have been an immature tanager.

Another femaile tanager hiding in the bushes by the fountain.

You can always find a ruddy turnstone on the fishing pier.They look really cool right now in their calico colors.

That dolphin photo bombed my “pelican on the broken tower” picture.

Cruising close to the pier.

A beautiful day for just being out.

I love the drive leaving the pier.

Fort Desoto Park was one of the first closed parks to open in early May. I made it there in the middle of the month and it was good to be outside at the beach. We had missed most of the migrating birds that had come through in late April but there was still a few hanging around the morning I was there.

SkyWatch Friday

Walking along the water.

I found a spot close to home that I could get out and go for a walk after work. There were a few parking spots close by and on a weekday night there were spots open. It was already hot in early May and that sun was bright at 6pm. I found some ruddy turnstones hanging out in the rocks next to the sidewalk.

Walking along the causeway, looking first towards Tampa and then towards Clearwater.

From the spot I stopped to turn around, you can barely see the Tampa skyline.

This was a good spot for a couple of weeks when there wasn’t many other places to go or the ones that were open were packed with people. Only a few people on bikes whizzing by. And a few dolphins swimming by.

SkyWatch Friday

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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Dolphins doing zoomies.

It’s not easy getting close up shots of dolphins at the fishing pier. They pop up at random places and move so fast that they are gone before you can get your lens focused. If the light is bad and the water is dark, it’s hard to see them coming up. On a recent Saturday morning, the light was good and I could see them coming up fairly early. They were doing zoomies towards the pier since the bait fish were thick right under the pier. They were filling up on tiny appetizers.

A beautiful sunny morning, taken with my phone.

The usual birds were finding snacks.

I had stopped by the fishing pier at Fort Desoto before heading home to see if “Harry” the hybrid (great blue heron/great egret) was hanging around. He was still there in his usual spot but I got distracted by the dolphins and ended up leaving an hour later.