So far it’s been a mild winter here. I think I’ve worn a coat to work only once. Some days it’s sunny and 60 degrees like it was on this day in early February. It was windy though. I stopped by the fishing pier in Safety Harbor to see what was flying around. Not much flying but I noticed the flowers around the picnic area were still blooming. I guess that’s why I’m still sneezing in the winter here. Things are still blooming.
After leaving the Safety Harbor fishing pier, I headed over to Philippe Park to see what was swimming around the inlet there. First thing I noticed was the red breasted merganser. This is the first one I’ve seen this winter.
She was alone but there were a few horned grebes a little farther out.
The red-eyed devils had arrived for the winter. They were my first horned grebe sighting this season. They were swimming far out in the water.
Last winter they hung around the fishing pier but this winter they seem to be farther north.
From the park, I could see a lone eagle sitting far out in the middle of the bay on top of a utility tower.
Is that a burp? Yawn? Was it calling for its mate?
Later I saw the above fly over the trees away from me. I hope it’s the same eagle as the one on the tower and the mate is off sitting on eggs.
It was a beautiful weekend before the holidays.
A common loon floating around the fishing pier.
The red-eyed horned grebe is back at the fishing pier this winter. There were 4 of them floating around but stayed away from each other and the other 3 were pretty far out.
Common tern fly by.
Pelican going in for a fish.
There’ s always a laughing gull trying to get a freebie from the pelicans.
“I’m outta here.” says the pelican to the gull.
Another sunny morning stop at the Safety Harbor fishing pier. I did not see any manatees this morning but a few dolphins were far out.
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My first common loon of the season. He was floating all alone far off the fishing pier.
I was surprised to see manatees at the fishing pier. Usually this time of year they all head over to the electricity plant to swim in the warm water around the plant. Since the weather here has still been warm, I guess they are hanging around longer. There were at least 6 manatees at the fishing pier.
The trees around the parking lot were full of starlings. They were very loud.
More pelican fun. They have such amazing color on their faces. With that pink and blue around the eyes and bright orange beaks.
He looked happy with his fish part.
This one is a juvenile. Maybe not a year old and hasn’t got his color yet.
Another one enjoying his prize.
Just a few more things I saw at the Safety Harbor fishing pier.
I see the first one swimming in front of the fishing pier
Later I spot this one in the sailboat basin. Scratching an itch.
Another one making sure his backside is pretty.
Giving me that red eyed devil look.
I stopped at the Safety Harbor fishing pier after seeing the baby owls just to see if anything interesting was there. I found several horned grebes swimming around. These little ducks seem to be popping up everywhere in the bay. I’ve seen several swimming along the causeway. It really is feast or famine. I looked for these guys for two years with no luck and now I see them everywhere. I love those red eyes staring back. They are migratory though and will soon be heading back up north.
Hardly anyone on the pier. It was such a beautiful day. Where was everyone?
The day started out cloudy. But then the sun started peeking out.
Such a perfect view!
Surprise! A rare horned grebe floats up to the pier.
The manatees are back early this year. They usually don't show up at this pier until late March. In the summer, you can always see manatees around the pier.
- Hey lady, gimmi a kiss!
Safety Harbor, a small little part of the Tampa bay area, is one of my favorite pit stops. Actually, the fishing pier is. The town sits on the water in the upper Tampa bay, north of all 3 bridges (Gandy, Howard Franklin and Courtney Campbell) that cross the bay from Pinellas County to Hillsborough County. Unless there is an event going on at the little marina, I can always find a good parking spot and it’s free. Most of the time there are pelicans and shorebirds flying around or digging around in the sand. In the warm months you can always see manatees swimming around the pier. When the time changes and it’s light outside after work, I sometimes stop by for a quick walk along the pier just to de-stress. Usually just to take a deep breath before heading to do battle at the grocery store. On a recent Saturday morning I stopped there on the way home from checking on the baby owls. It turned out to be a perfect morning.
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