It was a dark and dreary day during the week before Christmas. I had heard about a rare duck being seen in south St. Pete so I headed out ready to brave the weather. (You northerners will laugh at me. It was 50 degrees and I was bundled up, glad that I wasn’t up there in that crazy snow.) The black scoter had been seen just off the boat ramp at War Veterans Memorial Park. It would be a first sighting for me if I find it.
I hit all of the areas in the park and could not find that duck. The wind was blasting so she might have floated farther south. I noticed a small spoil island that had a lot of pelicans hiding from the wind.
The small beach area at the tip of the park held a few shorebirds. A lone willet was digging for food.
A lone red knot was doing the same.
A semipalmated plover was trying to nap.
More pelicans preening out on a spit.
Not sure if this is because of the extreme low tide or if this boat has been stranded for a while here. It looked a little damaged.
Bay Pines National Cemetery was next door to the park so I stopped in to visit my parents (Dad was in WW2). The graves were decorated with wreaths.
I did not find the black scoter that morning but all was not lost. Weeks later another one was spotted closer to home. More on that one later.
In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.
There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.
Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.
One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.
An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.
A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.
A great egret posing nicely.
Pelicans around the marina.
A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.
I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.
I was out at Fort Desoto in late August and started the long hike to the north tip where most of the shorebirds hang out. The lagoon beach area was full of little birds sleeping including red knots.
They were all taking a morning nap.
I passed a big flock of semipalmated plovers hanging out together on the beach with a few sanderlings mixed in.
They look so cute when they are sleeping.
Marbled godwits have been common along the beach here.
A royal tern flying by with a snack.
I had waded out waist deep in the water to get far enough away to shoot the birds on the beach with the sun at least to the side. It was a little bit cooler doing this and made me realize it was beautiful being out past the sea oats.