A quiet morning out.

It was a gorgeous morning to be out on the beach in early April.

Far out in the water I could see a willet with a snack.

Terns were cruising by.

Laughing gulls were pairing up.

The rare kittiwake was still on the pier, a week later than when we first found him.

I still kept seeing the same warblers on the trails, a hooded and a black and white. I kept telling myself it was still early for migration here.

After a quiet morning at Fort Desoto Park I headed home but not before stopping by Possum Branch Preserve for a quick walk. Two red shoulder hawks were sitting on the big dead snag outside of the preserve. I guess the hawks are pairing up as well.

A green heron trying to hide in the marsh.

It was pretty quiet at this park as well. I started taking pictures of butterflies since they are starting to be more plentiful. At least I got a good walk in before heading home for lunch.

Inspire Me Monday

The sea fog rolling in.

I love being out in the fog so when I peaked out the window in mid-February I got ready quickly and headed out the door for a walk on the Dunedin causeway. It kept getting foggier as the morning went on. I guess the sea fog was rolling in. The tide was super low which made it even cooler.

I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out to get some shots of the oystercatcher couple that was feeding along the causeway. Someone walked up behind me and spooked them to fly to the other side of the causeway.

A few of the other birds included a sanderling, a snowy egret, a marbled godwit and a young ring billed gull feasting on a dead fish.

Later I saw the oystercatchers again and snapped a few more pictures before leaving. They seemed to be having a lot of luck with whatever they were eating (tiny crabs?).

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

Dolphins, Osprey and Eagles, Oh My!

I found an eagle’s nest in my neighborhood and I’ve been keeping my camera in my car in case I wanted to stop and get some pictures. The nest is high up in a utility tower and it’s a tough shot with the light. The sun is behind it most of the day and I can’t get on the other side.

One recent day I went early in the morning and stood for a while watching the nest. When I first got there I didn’t see any eagles so I though maybe it was a bust but then one flew in and started feeding the baby. You can just make out the baby’s head in between the sticks. I’ve only seen one eagle here so I wonder if the parent is now flying solo with this baby. Both parents usually hang around the nest.

After the eagle’s nest, I headed over to the nearby fishing pier just to see what was going on. It was too nice to head back home. I could see dolphins out in the bay.

There’s usually several osprey diving around for fish but they are far away. This one cruised close to the fishing pier.

At some point I realized there was an eagle chasing the osprey. The osprey had a fish in his talens and the eagle was trying to steal it. Eventually the osprey dropped the fish in the water and the eagle stopped chasing him. They were pretty far out in the bay but it was still pretty cool to see.

The eagle flew by the pier and landed in a tree at the end of the pier. I ran back down the pier towards the parking lot hoping he wouldn’t take off before I got back there. I was able to take a couple of shots before he took off again and flew over the trees towards a neighborhood. Where was he going?

My Corner of the World

White pelicans in St. Pete

I wasn’t surprised to see white pelicans at North Shore Park in St. Pete in late December. They usually spend the winter somewhere around the park although it’s hit or miss to catch them right in front of the beach. They cruise around the area and sometimes hang out far into the channels in the neighborhoods nearby. I had stopped by for a quick walk and ended up going back to my car and getting my camera. They were standing right there in pelican leg high water.

Turning around to leave, I could see an osprey sitting up on the lights.

Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the boats go by.

There were lots of little shorebirds along the beach. I then decided to stop by nearby Crescent Lake Park on the way home.

Right in the middle of the lake at the park were 3 lone pelicans. I have seen them here before as well but they were all swimming separately. I wonder if they originally came with the beach group and somehow got separated.

I spent some time trying to catch this osprey diving for fish but he was just too far across the lake and he kept missing.

From sunny to dark in one morning.

I started the morning off at Chesnut Park, It was sunny and warm but the clouds starting moving in after I had been there a while. Not many birds out but I did find a pine warbler and cardinal fattening up for the winter on beauty berries. That cardinal seemed drunk after eating so many.

Looking over the lake, the sun seemed to have an angel glowing from it. Or is that just my imagination? I took this with my phone.

Later I headed over to the Dunedin causeway, after the clouds had moved in. I knew it would start raining soon but wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. The wind had picked up and no one had gone out in a kayak. That one small sailboat was braving the wind.

My Corner of the World

Starting vacation

The Monday before Thanksgiving I headed to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to spend the week with us. I had a few minutes before she got off the plane so I snapped the above of this beautiful tree near her concourse. Even though it was a bit early, it still put me in the vacation spirit.

It was beautiful outside so after lunch we headed over to Clearwater beach. It’s always fun being a tourist in my own town when she comes to visit. We ended up at the Clearwater marina later that afternoon and watched the fishing boats come in (it was something we use to do with our parents when we were growing up and came here to visit our grandparents).

We decided to stay for sunset even though the clouds were moving in quickly. The sky looked like it was on fire as the sun went down. While we were there we thought we might as well have dinner on the beach too. A great way to start the week.

My Corner of the World

From one side of Tampa bay to the other

It was a two waterfront kind of day in late October. I went for a walk along the waterfront on the bay in downtown St. Pete early in the morning and then went to the Dunedin marina on the gulf side for a sunset walk.

I got to the marina late in the day right as the moon was coming up.

Fun boat at the marina.

This little spot is one of my favorites to catch a sunset. I think it’s also a lot of other people’s spot as well because it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

Maybe it’s because watching the sunset here makes you feel like you are on vacation. Until you drive home and have to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then back to work the next morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Rain in the bay

The rain was moving in but I wasn’t ready to go home. I was hoping for either lightning pictures or at least a rainbow. I got neither but it was still fun being out. I headed over to tiny park on the other side of the St. Pete Pier. I could see the heavy rain out in the bay towards Tampa.

A pano of the Pier (on the left) to the small private airport tower (on the right). Typical Florida summer day, rain on the left, blue sky on the right.

Turning around I could see the downtown St. Pete skyline.

One sailboat was heading out for the bay. I hope they dodged that storm coming in. It was suppose to rain all day so I was surprised to see them going out.

Across the yacht basin, I could see the big model airplane. A tribute to the first commercial airline that started here.

SkyWatch Friday

Going somewhere

Getting to the fishing pier at Fort Desoto Park early on a Saturday morning in June, I caught this cargo ship going into port.

It’s always fun standing on the pier watching the ships go back and forth. Wondering what they are carrying and where they are going. Being out at sea for weeks at a time. (Makes me sea sick just thinking about it). I wonder if this Del Monte ship is really carrying Del Monte canned vegetables?

Heading out.

It was beginning to look like rush hour traffic around the pier. Lots of sailboats and fishing boats going by.

The guys on this boat pulled up to the pier and caught some bait fish. I just keep thinking about what Dory said in “Finding Nemo”.  “Just keep swimming.”

The bridge in the middle of the morning with the sun sparkling on the water.

Turning around, another ship goes behind the dog beach as it turns the corner past the park.

SkyWatch Friday

Spring migration is becoming a bust

I was heading down to Fort Desoto in mid-April hoping to see some migrating songbirds as they stop over for a rest before heading north for the summer. It had rained days earlier and the day after the rain had some good fall out but I had to work that day. There might have been some stragglers still hanging out so I was hopeful. On the way into the park I saw some frigatebirds cruising along a pond so I pulled over and shot these as they kept going.

After walking around the usual spots for the birds for several hours, this is what I got. A lone bright yellow house finch was hanging around the bird feeder at the ranger’s house. I usually only see red house finches so the yellow threw me off.

I also found a black and white warbler but those are pretty common here.

I could at least enjoy the view as I was walking around. Not a bad spot to spend the morning out.

All of these dead trees are invasive Australian pine trees so the park killed them off to return the park to it’s natural state. It’s a tough pill to swallow when these trees use to be filled with migrating birds for so many years. I’m not sure if that is why we’ve seen less birds in the park for the last two years.

SkyWatch Friday