I was out not very early one morning this summer and headed to Safety Harbor. I first stopped by the fishing pier hoping to see manatees. They were dredging the boat channel next to the pier and it must have scared away the manatees. I didn’t see any here while they were dredging.
I caught this anhinga catching some fish. Above were taken right into the sun.
Then she came around to the other side of the pier and caught what looked like a needlefish. After flipping it around a few times she swallowed it quickly.
Another sighting of a spotted eagle ray. It’s hard to get a good shot of them. They are so big and swim by really quickly, just under the surface.
I made a stop at nearby Folly Farms and was able to find a few tiny flying things in the butterfly garden. There were a lot of monarchs and bees but not much else.
Dark clouds had moved in so I went back over to the fishing pier before heading home. There was a great storm out in the bay right in front of the pier but no lightning. That rain did not make it over to my house. Ugh.
It was mid-July and we were expecting rain. We hadn’t had much in months so I was not holding my breath. It sure looked like rain was coming even though the sun kept peeking out so I went to the Dunedin marina to walk around and see if there were any rainbows or lightning. It started to rain so I made it back to my car.
I drove over to the Safety Harbor fishing pier where I could see pouring rain out in the bay. No rainbows or lightning though, not that I could see from the pier. But the weather had cooled off so it was nice being outside.
There’s a new statue in the park at the fishing pier.
I headed over to the Oldsmar pier, much closer to home and I could still see the rain out in the bay. We got a quick shower at home but not nearly as much as we needed. The ponds in my neighborhood were still almost empty at this point.
I went for a walk in Safety Harbor and stopped by the fishing pier before heading home. I immediately spotted a manatee swimming away from the pier. She had some interesting boat strike marks on her back. I was thinking she was heading for the boat channel so I thought this would be the only sighting.
A grackle with a snack that he stole from the garbage can is a regular sight here.
Pelicans were flying around. It looked like they were having a discussion over who got the best spot on the sign. After snapping the above I looked down and saw the below.
The manatee had come back around and got right under the pier. It had some friends as well. There were 4 swimming around this particular morning. The first 3 were taken with my phone. They do look like floating potatoes from up on the pier.
They eventually started swimming away from the pier but not before one of them slapped the water with his tail.
One of them stopped and started floating on his back. I don’t see this often.
I wasn’t up and out of the house that early in the morning. But, early enough to catch the sun before it got too high in the sky. The Safety Harbor fishing pier is one of the best spots to see a sunrise in Pinellas County. There is usually a crowd but this weekday morning wasn’t too busy.
I lingered for a while on the pier watching the sun go up.
As I was leaving and driving down Main Street I realized that they had recently held the sidewalk chalk festival. I stopped and snapped a few shots before heading out.
I stopped at the Oldsmar pier before home and they were getting ready for the weekend carnival at the park. It was late March so I was assuming this was a spring break carnival. I walked out on the pier and could see the workers finishing the set up.
I turned around on the pier and saw my favorite crab trap guy out in the water. This time he was close to the pier and I could see him emptying the traps more clearly this time. I’m hoping one of these days I’ll get to meet him. I think he saw me taking his picture and he was probably thinking “What is she doing? I have a permit for these traps.” But I really just think it’s cool to be out in a small boat with tons of pelicans following him.
I spent a morning at the Safety Harbor fishing pier in late March. It was sunny when I first got there and I could just barely make out this kiteboarder cruising across upper Tampa bay. Tampa was just a shadow in the distance.
A sailboat anchored near the marina.
A cormorant guards the “no wake zone” sign.
Here’s the reason for the No wake and then Slow wake as you leave the marina. Manatees hang out here all year round.
It was low tide and the ibis were picking off tiny crabs.
A snowy egret feeding near the pier.
By the time I was about to leave the sky was dark and it looked like it was going to rain. I headed for my car not wanting to be out on the pier if lightning started but the sky said “Just kidding”. We are in a severe 25 year record drought right now. We are hoping the summer rains start soon.
The water around the Safety Harbor fishing pier was really low the morning I was there in mid-March. There were a lot of shorebirds far out on a tiny spit. A few black bellied plovers, red knots and dowitchers were mixed in with tons of willets, gulls and terns.
Heading around the edge of some mangroves I could just make out 3 Canadian geese.
Several manatees were coming up for air.
A red-winged blackbird posing on the mangroves.
I stopped by Folly Farms on the way home. Lots of little critters there.
I love these foggy winter mornings. It’s quiet and most people stay in when it’s like this. Right after Christmas I went out for a walk at the nearby Oldsmar pier. It was so damp that if felt like I was walking through a cool shower.
I then headed over to the Dunedin marina for a quick walk. The fog was almost gone but dark clouds had moved in and it started to drizzle.
I stopped at the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home (a slightly long detour) and the sun was trying to peek through.
I have been to the fishing pier at Safety Harbor a million times but I had never been in the hotel next door. I pass it as I’m doing my walk but I never stop in. I had heard their Christmas decorations in the lobby were pretty so I decided to check it out. It’s a fairly small lobby but still had a lot of history in it. One of these days I might have to eat at the restaurant here.
Most mornings I’m up well before the sun comes up but it’s not often I am out of the house before then. Brett was leaving for work extra early one morning in early December so I decided to head out with my camera with the short lens on it and my phone. When I got to the Safety Harbor fishing pier there was color but the ball hadn’t come up yet.
Large flocks of birds were flying across the bay. I think most of them were ibis.
Finally, that orange ball started to show up. I was lucky it wasn’t foggy this day.
It’s a beautiful sight and there were a lot of people there to see it. Most of the photographers there hang back in the parking lot to get the shots with the pier in it instead of standing on the end of the pier. I was running back and forth trying to get all of the shots in.
Standing at the end of the pier I took these with my camera. You can barely see the skyline of downtown Tampa across the bay.
There’s something magical about standing here early in the morning waiting for the sun to come up. You’re not alone but everyone is quiet, almost whispering as if we were in a library. The joggers and dog walkers take a few minutes to stop and look. When I lived in Tampa and was working in the office I used to see the sun coming up in my rear view mirror on the way to work or through the window at the office. For now I can take a deep breath and enjoy the view.
A ring billed gull was sitting on the rail waiting for me to take a shot.
Folly Farms in Safety Harbor was all decorated for Christmas with lights everywhere. I was there early in the morning and many of the lights were still on. It was weird looking for birds and butterflies with a tshirt on and Christmas lights everywhere. The farm has a community garden and someone had sunflowers blooming in their square, in the middle of December! I could only find a few butterflies in the butterfly garden even though it was still blooming.
The only bird I found at the farm was a hermit thrush. I had not seen one since 2018 and I had just seen one in my backyard before finding this one at the farm. I had to wonder if it was the same one from my yard even though I was 15 minutes away.
I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home and found some black capped (or nanday) parakeets in the parking lot. They were eating seeds from the top of the trees. They blend in well in the trees and I might not have seen them if they hadn’t been screaming.
A manatee was close to the pier but the dolphins were pretty far out in the bay.
Watching the ibis feed off tiny crabs in the water.
Pelicans were cruising by the pier.
There were several osprey out diving for fish in the bay but only one came close enough to try and get shots. He swooped down and grabbed that fish so fast and then went the other way. I was hoping he would fly towards me. Oh well. I’ll try again.
The clouds started to move in on my early morning walk at the Dunedin marina. The wind had cooled the air down so I wasn’t in a hurry to get home.
I could see it raining far out in the gulf. I decided to head south down the beach to see what storms I could find.
I stopped at Sand Key Park, just south of Clearwater Beach. The sun was out over the beach but a nasty storm was heading inland quickly. I didn’t see any lightning but here that can change in a second so I didn’t stay long. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t any rainbows.
Heading back over the mainland, the storms stayed right behind me.
I stopped at the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home. The clouds were just rolling in here.