Tampa across the bay.

A fever of stingrays came by just as I walked out on the Safety Harbor fishing pier. They must call a group of stingrays a fever because you’re going to get a fever if you step on one. I’ve seen grown men cry from getting stuck with a barb from one after not doing the stingray shuffle. It’s supposed to be very painful. Luckily I don’t know that personally. Brett and I saw a man get stuck in the ankle at the beach a few years back. He could barely talk and was turning blue. It was a big barb. I helped his wife pack up their stuff and 2 sons and Brett helped him walk back to their car.  We told them to stop at the ranger station on the way out to get some relief. The rangers would have put his foot and ankle in a big bucket with the hottest water he could stand to help stop the pain along with pain relievers.

Standing at the end of the fishing pier, I could see Tampa. Zooming in I could make out the airport and the football stadium. It was hot and hazy in early June.

Not many people on the pier.

I found some osprey taking a break in the water in the shallow area and one flew right over my head.

People have started putting locks on one end of the boardwalk. What they may not know is that so many people were putting love locks on the bridge in Paris that part of the bridge collapsed. They have since removed all of the locks in Paris but now people are putting them everywhere. This is symbolic of “locking” in your love for someone. Eventually the rangers will take them down so the rail of the boardwalk doesn’t collapse and cause injury to someone. And those locks are going to rust quickly in the salt air.

A small mangrove growing along the water.

Grasshoppers are everywhere.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Funky town

I went for a walk on a late Sunday afternoon around Safety Harbor with just my phone. I was getting tired of walking around in my neighborhood and Safety Harbor is not too far away. It’s a cute little town that sits on the water in upper Tampa Bay and though it’s small in size, it has a huge personality. Although I’ve never been inside any of the buildings, the Art and Music Center looks like a lot of fun.

You can rent kayaks in front of the fishing pier and if you are lucky, will get to float around with the manatees. I almost always see them here at the pier.

This abandoned sailboat has been sitting here in front of the pier for years. Someone has been painting the outside but the inside had plants growing inside of it.

A great place to hang out and enjoy the view but don’t tell anyone else. We wouldn’t want it to get too crowded.

SkyWatch Friday

Sharp teeth and flashes of green

I was at Crescent Lake Park recently and saw this guy moving fast. Darting around and popping his head up out of the water at a different place every time. It was dark and cloudy and I could not get a decent picture of him that wasn’t blurry. He only stayed for a few minutes before disappearing under the vegetation and then he was gone for good. He was chomping on something, I’m thinking a turtle. Everyone thinks they are so cute but look at those teeth. Another reason not to let your small dog get near the water in a lake in central Florida (the other is those pesky alligators).

After walking around Crescent Lake Park I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home. The above parrots landed right in front of me before I stepped on the pier. They only stopped for a minute before screaming down the street.

It was cold this morning in January but people were out sailing.

My Corner of the World

 

On the beach near downtown St. Pete.

I usually only see reddish egrets on the gulf beaches but I found this one at a park on the bay near downtown St. Pete. I was bummed that the sun wasn’t out to show off his pretty colors but he’s still an amazing bird.

An osprey flew right over my head.

Usual things on the beach. Coconuts (although they look like tree boobs to me) and mangrove crabs.

The view from North Shore Park just north of downtown St. Pete on the bay.

I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home and just missed the greyhound meet up. I would have liked to have gotten pictures of them all together but they were just leaving to go on a walk around Safety Harbor. The dog in the first picture was wondering why he couldn’t go although he looked pretty happy just chilling by the water.

SkyWatch Friday

A few stops on the way home.

The trail around the ponds at Possom Branch Preserve were covered in these purple flowers. The bees seemed to love them.

Little critters.

I noticed a swallow tail kite cruising high over the busy road next to the preserve.

Lots of parulas and palm warblers but not many other birds. Spring migration was pretty much over by early May.

On the way home I stopped by a small park near Possum Branch Preserve to take a peek on the boardwalk. Nothing there but I saw the above yellow billed cuckoo in the parking lot. I saw it fly into a tree and at first glance I thought it was a dove. I’m glad I stopped and paid attention. These are fairly rare here.

I also stopped by the fishing pier in Safety Harbor to see if there were any manatees. No manatees this morning but a school of sting rays swam under the pier.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

 

Almost grown up

One of the parents keeping an eye on the kids.

“Mom, I’m hungry!”

“Big brother, you better come down from there. Mom’s here with breakfast.”

“Lady, are you going to watch us eat?”

“I guess he’s not coming down so we’ll eat without him.”

“Yum”

 

The older baby had climbed to the very top of the tree and was sleeping in the moss so the youngest was all alone on the nest.  Mom came down for a while and fed it. Not sure what they were eating, rabbit or squirrel?

“Peek A Boo” from the other side of the tree.

They grow up so fast. These were taken in late March, the last time I saw the babies on the nest. Not long after this the oldest was already moving to other trees. Hopefully we’ll see new babies next winter.

The Safety Harbor owls were growing up.

A rare time seeing both parents sitting together high up in a tree while the babies sit below alone in the nest. Although, at this point the babies are big enough to stay by themselves as long as a parent is close by. We usually only see one parent at a time.

After a while, Mom woke up and flew down to the nest.

She only stayed for a few minutes and then took off across the park while Dad continued to nap high above.

The babies were awake and were very curious looking around at all of the joggers and dog walkers going by.

Then this one sits up, stretches and yawns and then plops down for a nap. Time for me to go home and have lunch

 

Photographing New Zealand

Another great horned owl family

Both parents were close to the nest. Mom out in the open in the top picture. Dad was trying to hide in the moss while napping.

Mom eventually flew down to the nest. She turned her back when she was feeding the little ones so I don’t have a shot of that. After a few minutes she left again, flying to a branch nearby.

The little ones sat quietly for while, watching people walk by.

Someone found a pellet right underneath where the Dad was sleeping. We were trying to figure out what he had eaten.

I ran into some friends who were there walking their dog. They stopped to chat for a while but the dog was ready to go. He wanted to be out running in the park, not sitting under a tree while his owners were talking.

The view of north Tampa bay from the park. The owl’s nest sits in a big oak tree in the middle of a parking lot. It’s a main thoroughfare for joggers and walkers so the area is very busy.

Photographing New Zealand

Two parks in one morning

A very hot morning at North Shore Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The beach was busy with volleyball players. On a Saturday morning you can find a lot of joggers and dog walkers on the sidewalk but not many people in the water. Since this is the bay, the water here is not nice but you can usually get a breeze.

Across the bay, you can just make out the energy plant with steam coming out.

After walking around at North Shore Park, I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home. They have a new boardwalk that goes along the mangroves next to the pier. This small area is a little piece of Florida that hasn’t changed much over the years (with the exception of that big condo building going up next to the old Safety Harbor Hotel in that first shot).

SkyWatch Friday

Looking for an owl

I stopped by the park not to far from my house on the way home from Chesnut Park. I hadn’t been in a while but was wondering if the owls were nesting again this year. It was too early for babies but I did see an adult sleeping in the tree. This was a good sign.

I would nest here too if I was a bird. The old trees are beautiful.

Nearby in the utility tower are the brown boobies. It’s always been rare to see them here but in the last year, a handful of them have been living in the area. Most days they can be seen on the tower. These were taken with my 300mm lens and extender and I cropped these up so they are pretty far out. You can tell the boobies by the white stomachs vs. the many cormorants or anhingas on the tower.

Lots of birds in along the shoreline at the park.

SkyWatch Friday