A sad story on a beautiful afternoon

It was a beautiful afternoon in late January and I was able to get outside for a little while on a late Friday before sunset. I jumped in the car and headed over to Dunedin, thinking I would stop by the fishing pier and then go over for a quick walk at the causeway. I was snapping the shot of the water when I turned around and noticed the two osprey that had built a nest on top of the building next to the pier.  I was pretty excited to see the camera up on the top but when I got home and searched it, you could only see over the building so the camera wasn’t look down on the nest. Would have been fun to watch that nest up close.

I found this cute little boat in the marina that I hadn’t seen before.

I headed over to the beach area on the causeway and saw the sailboat that has washed up back in November during Hurricane ETA. I had seen many pictures of it posted on the internet, people climbing and playing on it. They had it roped off which didn’t make for a pretty picture. I have since heard that it was hauled away a few weeks after I took this. The state of these old damaged sailboats are sad. At some point years ago, someone paid a lot of money for this boat. Probably used it at first. Then it sits out there for a long time and becomes a hazard. The owner, if they had insurance, probably just collected and moved on. Many people with these old boats let their insurance lapse and the city pays for the haul. Not sure if they can sell them for scrap.

On a sad note, at the end of the causeway, a dead dolphin had washed up on shore hours before I arrived. Everyone was standing around watching the marine life rescue team (with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter the flipperless dolphin resides) get him ready to be taken away. They will do a necropsy on him to find out the cause of death. Was he old? Sick?  Eaten something bad? Hit with a boat? Swallowed too many fish hooks from stealing fish from the fishermen at the pier? So many questions.  Everyone was watching from a respectful distance. It was sad to watch these volunteers do their work.

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Late day walk at the pier.

Another “get out of the house” moment. I headed down to the St. Pete Pier late in the day in early December. I knew it would be crowded but went early enough before the dinner crowd. Standing out on the pier, I could see Tampa across the bay in the bottom shot.

The new cool sculpture on the pier. The first commercial airline started right here back in 1914 with a commercial flight from St. Pete to Tampa with paying customers.

Heading towards the end of the pier.

Looking up at the back of the building on the pier, it looks a little like a space ship.

Looking towards St. Pete, the sun was just starting to go down.

Walking around past the park, I could see a dolphin swimming around by the pier.

Looking out on the bay, the sun had gone down behind me.

As it gets dark, the netting over the grounds before the pier turns pink.  The crowds were starting to come in so I headed home for dinner.

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Out and about one afternoon

I headed out to Fort Desoto late in the afternoon in early November. There wasn’t a lot of birds around later in the day but it was a beautiful afternoon.

Way out in the bay,

The sun was started to get lower at my favorite spot.

I drove over to the gulf pier before leaving.

Looking back at the old smoke stack.

Silhouettes of birds flying near the pier.

The sun still had a ways to go and I had to get home so I quickly snapped the above.

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Davis Islands yacht basin

I hadn’t been over to Davis Islands in a while so I headed over for a walk around the yacht basin at the end of the island. There’s a small dog beach there that has a great view of downtown Tampa. The dogs looked like they were having fun jumping in the water. I wanted to join them but that water was not too pretty right there near the shipping channel.

Two panos of downtown in front of the small private airport on the island.

There are usually a few planes taking off on a Saturday morning but none were leaving this morning in mid-August.

Shots above of the quiet lagoon.

Looking closer, one of the docks at the boat ramp has gone missing. The other one is still there but looks like it’s about to crumble.

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Busy beach in August.

The royal terns were having a feeding frenzy at Fort Desoto in early August. The parents were busy trying to keep the juvenile ones fed.

I found another Harry the hybrid (great blue heron and great egret) at the north beach lagoon. I had heard there were two hybrids at the park but I had only seen one at the fishing pier. This one has more beige and grey than the one at the pier which is more white.

Birds cruising by at the north spit. You can see the boats far off at the tip of the spit already anchoring to party for the day.

Flowers near the parking lot.

Lots of activity going on around the park. It was going to be a busy afternoon.

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A new attraction coming

After leaving Crescent Lake Park, I headed over to the bay to see what the new St. Pete Pier was going to look like. Last time I was in the area, it looked like a shell.  This was before the big opening back in early July. They were still putting the finishing touches on it but it didn’t look like much from across the Vinoy yacht basin.

Above is an old shot of the original pier that I grew up visiting when we came to visit my grandparents. Several functional piers were built in the early 1900’s but the first “attraction” pier was built in 1926. (Pictured below from the St. Pete. Pier History site).  It was demolished in 1967 and the new pyramid pier opened in 1973.  I also found a mural in downtown St. Pete of the pyramid pier painted on the side of a building.

Zooming in, far out in the bay near the pier, there’s always a lot of activities going on in the water and you can see the Tampa electric plant.

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The whale watching trip

This is exactly how I pictured New England. Sailboats and lighthouses. The big eggs are the Deer Island Sewage Treatment plan.

We took a half day whale watching trip one day and it was sunny and warm when we left the Boston harbor. The farther out we went, the worse the weather got. Dark and foggy and then freezing rain.

I saw my first wild northern gannet. They were pretty far out and would fly off when the boat started to get close. One of the bird rescue sanctuaries in the Tampa area has a few of them that were rescued at some point over years off the coast of Florida but I’ve never seen them flying out in the wild. We saw several during the trip.

An hour and 40 minutes later we found some whales. We had traveled over 40 miles since the whales were moving farther away for the winter. Everyone who had been huddling in the warm cabin came out in the freezing drizzle. There were a lot of whales that were close to the boat but none of them breached and came out head first. Most of the ones we saw were Minke and Fin whales. It was a lot of fun and everyone was really excited. My husband was not that impressed. He said they just look like really big dolphins. He’s not wrong but it was still a fun afternoon.

When we got back to the Boston harbor it was sunny and mild again. Since I have a tendency to get seasick, I had a patch on for the boat trip. I’m glad I did because even though it was sunny and calm in the harbor, it was rough out there away from the harbor and many people were getting sick. They passed out ginger candy as we left but I think many people thought they would be fine since it was calm in the harbor.

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Across the Hillsborough river

Shots taken while on my walk along the river front in downtown Tampa in July. The above shows the University of Tampa. The main building was originally the Tampa Bay Hotel that opened in 1891 by Henry B Plant (the railroad magnate).

Looking over to Bayshore Boulevard and out towards the bay.

Lots of rowing going on this morning.  Kayakers, paddleboarders and members of the Dragon Boat Rowing club were all out on the water.

A different view at the convention center.

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Enjoying a sunset with hundreds of other people.

In late April, Brett and I decided to head down to Naples for a couple of days. We had not been to this part of Florida before and always passed the signs to get off when we’re driving over to Fort Lauderdale to visit his family. It’s only a little over 2 hours away so it was nice to throw a bag in the car and be on vacation so quickly. Naples is very different from the beach area in Tampa bay. Much more quiet and secluded. Except for our first night there, we decided to go to the public pier after dinner to see the sunset and since it was a Sunday night, so did everyone else. I’m glad we went since it was cloudy the remaining nights we were there.

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A perfect winter morning.

Sailboats far across the bay.  The above was taken with my 300mm lens. The below was taken with my phone so you can see how far away they were.

What a perfect winter morning in early February. It was sunny and 72 degrees. I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home after my walk and the park and pier were packed with people hanging out. There was a kiteboarder skimming across the bay in front of the fishing pier and someone flying a kite next to the pier. People were out walking their dogs and kids were playing in the field along the water. Sailboats were cruising by. This was our early spring. Soon it will be too hot and no one will be here but the skeeters and the pigeons

Pigeons in the park. They don’t get a lot of respect but they are really pretty when the sun hits those iridescent feathers.

A pelican flying into the mangroves next to another one that was napping.

White pelicans flying high up over the fishing pier.

A juvenile blue heron looking for food in the muck at low tide.

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