Looking for manatees

When my sisters were here over Thanksgiving weekend we went out looking for manatees. The most dependable place to find them is at the Manatee Viewing Center at the Tampa electric plant on the other side of the bay. The manatees congregate here in the winter months due to the electric plant’s discharge canal where the water that cools the electric plant is sent back out into the bay warm and clean. I’ve been there before over the years when you could see hundreds of manatees near the boardwalk but this time there were none. You could see a few far out in the canal but they just looked like bumps floating in the water. We would have been crushed if we hadn’t seen the below the day before.

Another reliable place to see manatees (and much closer to my home) is the Safety Harbor fishing pier. We were out running around one afternoon and stopped by on the way home. We counted at least 6 swimming around the pier so we hung out there for a while watching them come up for air.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

Sunset at the fishing pier

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This is a pano of north Tampa Bay taken with my phone at the Safety Harbor fishing Pier.

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After an early dinner, we walked down to the fishing pier to watch the sunset.

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The sun actually sets behind the trees but it was still a beautiful night out. These were taken from the end of the fishing pier looking towards the marina.

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The sun was going down on the sailboats.

SkyWatch Friday

Under the fishing pier

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Manatee snout coming up for air.

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Stingray in the shallow water.

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I think he was eating the dead fish parts that the fishermen had thrown over the pier.

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Blowing his nose.

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Do you think he needs a kleenex?

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The water was clear enough that you could see what was floating on the bottom. I’m surprised the pelicans didn’t get this stuff when it got thrown over.

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Lots of stingrays around the pier.

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Pretty pelican floating around.

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Taken with my phone camera, this guy swam right up to the pier.

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Even more were swimming towards the pier.

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Pano taken with my phone camera. This is the view from the pier.

It was a busy morning in early December at the Safety Harbor fishing pier. Lots of people out fishing and I counted 8 manatees floating around near the pier. I think that’s a record. The water was clear, the sun was out. Perfect day for a walk.

Safety Harbor sunset – Skywatch Friday

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I just missed the sun going down on the buildings in downtown Tampa. As I was crossing the Bayside Bridge after work, I could see the sun shining down and making the buildings across the bay look orange. By the time I got to the Safety Harbor fishing pier, I just missed it. The sun had gone down too low.

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It was a cool, windy night. This guy fishing in his kayak was bundled up.

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Birds heading home to sleep.

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Pelican flying over the pier as it was getting dark.

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A peaceful quiet night on the water.

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Panorama taken with my phone from the parking lot.

I was meeting my husband for dinner near the Safety Harbor fishing pier and had a few minutes to spare. I stopped at the pier and took a few pictures but it getting dark quick. Most nights I’m driving home in the dark so it was nice to see a little daylight even for a few minutes.

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Safety Harbor lightning – Skywatch Friday

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I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home recently and was kind of bummed the weather looked so bad. This was taken with my phone. I was thinking about jumping back in the car and going home but I thought I’d walk around the area for a few minutes.

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The only bird I found there, other than a few laughing gulls flying over head.

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The exposed sand along the seawall was covered in fiddler crabs. They are very skittish and kept running back in their little sand holes. I finally was able to get a few outside.

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They are very tiny, this is extremely cropped.

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Even with the threat of rain, there were a few people on the pier. Manatees were swimming close by but the water was too dark to get any pictures.

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I realized it was raining north of the pier and lightning was popping up.

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I only had my 70mm – 200mm lens with me and these were handheld.

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There was a lady on the pier as well who was taking pictures and she had a lightning trigger on the top of her camera that automatically shot pictures when it detected lightning. I had not heard of that accessory but it might be a cool one to look into. That would mean I would have to spend more time standing around waiting for storms. On the weekends,whenever I hear thunder starting I think “I should pack up and go to the airport parking deck to try to get lightning pictures.” It’s hard to get out and do that. I’m usually getting dinner ready or doing chores. Maybe a new toy would motivate me. Anyone have any experience using one?

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

The birds with no respect.

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I was walking around the Safety Harbor fishing pier and noticed a flock of pigeons feeding in the grass across from the parking lot. I walked by them to get to the little beach but on my way back I noticed the colors on their feathers reflecting in the sun. They all looked just a little bit different, with different black spots or stripes.

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I stood there for a few minutes watching them forage and noticed how pretty some of them were. With those purple and green feathers, white spot on his nose and those orange eyes, they really should be more respected.

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Are these the same pigeons that hang around downtown cities? I don’t remember them looking like this when I lived in Atlanta and worked downtown.

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Out of the entire flock there, this one had more white spots on his head and pink on his beak. This one must be a mix of something else. He laid there for a while and I wondered if he was okay.

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He finally got up and started walking around. He’s pretty as well.

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This one walked over to me and seemed curious about me.

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All of a sudden a lady walked by with her big barking dog and off they went.

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They landed on a light post close by and stayed there for a few minutes. It looks like Mr. White Spots was last to land. Okay, yes it was a quiet bird day at the pier if I’m taking pictures of pigeons but they really are pretty.

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