Up close on a rainy day.

Playing around with my macro lens in the house on a rainy morning in February.

We have hibiscus bushes growing on the side of our house but I rarely bring them inside. I need to do that more often. They only last a day though.

Up close with some new shells. Our glass stove top gives off a nice reflection.

Turning the lens on my own birds.  Buddy on top (he’s 27 years old) and Harley in the bottom 2 (he’s 5). Harley used to be terrified of the camera so I would only take pictures of Buddy up close but now he sings for it.

My Corner of the World

All sand, no birds

Pano of the north beach tip at Fort Desoto during the extreme low tide.

It was cold and windy and a perfect day for a walk on the beach. There were a few other people here but I still felt like I had the beach all to myself. This was the lowest tide I have ever seen here. Someone told me it was because of the full Snow moon (the tides are lowest during the full moon in February). I came out to see if there were any shorebirds but I think the wind kept them hiding somewhere else.

The backside of Outback Key was exposed and all of those little mounds had live sand dollars hiding under them.

A few of them partially exposed.

I’ve read that the pink sand comes from microscopic animals in the water.

Textures on Outback Key.

Walking back to the parking lot.

The beach was littered with the above.

This one had a lot of things living on it.

My stash from the morning when I got back home and washed them off. The beach was covered in whole dead sand dollars. It’s rare to find them not broken. I like collecting shells with barnacles. I feel like it gives them personality.

SkyWatch Friday

Last of the Thanksgiving tourist tour

Cruising along Clearwater bay looking for dophins.  Lots of big buildings going up around the beach including the new expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the movie star dolphin from A Dolphin’s Tale who lost his tail and was given a prosthetic tail.

Anyone want a boat real cheap?  An abandoned boat near the marina.

Cruising by some of the big old historic homes along the intercoastal waterway.

Out along Sand Key.

Two osprey taking a bath on a sand spit during low tide.

We stopped at a spoil island near Sand Key and looked for some shells. The ones that were still alive were put back in the water.

The last day my sisters were here visiting we took a 2 hour dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. After living here for almost 18 years it was the first time I had done that. It was fun being out on the water on such a beautiful morning. We finally did see some dolphins coming back to the marina but I didn’t take any pictures. The boat was fairly full and I hung back letting all of the tourists see them from the edge of the boat. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they see one for the first time out in the wild. Living here we take things for granted. I saw 3 of them coming home from work recently while I was stuck in traffic on the bridge.

SkyWatch Friday

A beautiful beach day before red tide rolled in.

Things along the trail from our car to the beach.

Out on the beach, it was a perfect quiet morning in late August. We get there early before it gets too hot and crowded.

The water was crystal clear but warm. This was before the red tide had brought dead sea life to the beach, the calm before the storm. I was traveling light this morning so all above were taken with my phone.

SkyWatch Friday

Scenes from a beach on Memorial Day weekend – Skywatch Friday

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A lone red knot on the beach.

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And then there were two.

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As I was sitting on the sand shooting the red knot, I looked over and saw this Wilson’s plover watching me.

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He grabs a small crab and was showing it off before he gulped it down.

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He cruised by me while keeping an eye on me.

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The park rangers having a meeting in the roped off bird sanctuary area. Since this was the Saturday morning before Memorial Day, they had a busy weekend ahead of them. Sometimes I think they must have a cool job but it must be hard being out in that heat all day not to mention every holiday. Dealing with drunk people (yes, no alcohol is allowed in the park but duh, people bring it anyway). I once heard a man who was slurring his words argue with a ranger over having his dog on the main beach where there are clear signs that say no dogs  on this beach. There is a separate beach for pets. The guy would not leave with his dog. If I was the ranger I would have wanted to taser the guy. The rangers at this park work hard!

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Great blue heron posing on a light post on the fishing pier.

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Yellow eyeballs on a snowy egret.

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A group of people kayaking around the fishing pier.

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Rush hour traffic in the shipping lanes.

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The dolphins were out in full force.

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Looking back from the end of the fishing pier.

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Zoomed in on a ship going by.

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A tourist had a nice stash of shells she was collecting. It’s not usual to find a big one like this on the beach. She was digging around out in the water near the fishing pier.

You know it’s going to be a packed park on a holiday weekend. I got there early Saturday morning and was home by lunch time. I could have stayed later and taken pictures of all the people packed in on the beaches but that would only make me crazy. It was nice to get out on a sunny morning and walk the beach and fishing pier before the crowds. After a long nap at home, I was ready to do chores.

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Baby owls and some ibis on a sunny morning – Skywatch Friday

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One baby was facing me and the other one (on the right) was turned around.

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The older baby (on the left) was stretching her wings.

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This nest is so tiny. They were up against each other the whole morning. Mom was close by on an upper branch.

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Out on the beach, ibis were digging for breakfast.

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Double dipping. An ibis and a great egret were feeding together.

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I found the above birds at the north beach marsh. The tide was really low this morning.

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It was another perfect morning in late February.

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The beach was quiet. The water was calm.

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Lots of shells on the beach.

By now the baby owls at Fort Desoto are flying around from branch to branch. I heard that the park ranger has taken down the orange fencing that went around the area where the nest was which means they have fledged. They grow up so fast. I think they’ll still stay in the area for a couple of months so I’ll look for them next time I’m at the park. There weren’t many other birds at the park. It was cool and windy so the north beach was lacking in shorebirds. I could only find a few ibis and great egrets that morning. Spring break has begun and the beach will become a different place, full of loud kids chasing birds. Can’t wait.

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