Visiting my favorite pier groupies.

A few of the regulars at the pier; the famous great blue heron/great egret hybrid, a ruddy turnstone, a reddish egret, lots of snowy egrets always looking for a handout and great blue heron and reddish egret fighting over space on the railing.

Skimmers were skimming the bait fish.

 

This reddish egret was bored with me.

Shots of a beautiful morning at the pier. These were taken in early September, before Irma.

SkyWatch Friday

A beach in downtown St. Pete?

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A few monk parakeets were flying around the parking lot.

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It was low tide on the beach and very few people were there so the shorebirds were napping.  Although, something kept spooking them and they would all take off flying in a circle and then come land in the same spot.

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There were two white pelicans floating around in the area around the beach. They were hanging out with a bunch of cormorants. They stayed pretty far out in the water so these were all extremely cropped.

I rarely go the tiny beach next to downtown St. Pete. It’s usually pretty busy and there’s a big public swimming pool in the parking lot.  I was in the area so I stopped and talk a quick walk in the sand.  It was fairly early in the morning so there wasn’t anyone on the beach. The paved trail along the side of it was packed with people walking, jogging, biking and walking their dogs. It was a normal weekend rush hour traffic on the trails.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

All grown up

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The baby skimmers are all grown up. I stopped by the beach where the skimmers nest in late July and these babies were all grown up. A few were already flying around. Not to far but they were moving pretty good. A few of them walked down to the water and it looked like they were trying to imitate their parents. It’s always fun to watch these birds grow up.

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I caught a few adults skimming by. Now that they are empty nesters, they’ll be heading out to their winter homes.

Flying and swimming for food

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Laughing gull flies by with a fish in his beak.

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The skimmer is trying to get a fish.

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This one got a fish.

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“Hey lady, how’s my form?”

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Cormorant coming up with an empty beak.

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This pelican has a beak full.

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Gulp!

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Another mouthful of fish.

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The fish were flopping in his pouch.

The fishing pier at Fort Desoto was busy with everyone trying to catch fish. The tiny bait fish was all around the pier creating this blanket of fish layering the top of the water. People were coming in close to the pier on their boats and throwing their nets to catch the fish. The birds were also there, filling their beaks. Gulls and skimmers were hovering over the water and scooping up the fish with their beaks. Pelicans weren’t even diving for the fish. They were just floating there and sticking their heads half way under water and filling their pouches with fish. I don’t know if the people fishing were catching any bigger fish. I didn’t see any that morning.

Skimmer babies growing up

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How comfortable does this look? He was trying to sleep in this soft sand.

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This one was still getting protection from the parent.

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Do you think they realize those wooden decoys are not real?

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“Hey, a parent’s gotta eat too.”

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The baby above was hiding under the Gatorade bottle.

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“Hey lady, can you open this bottle? I’m thirsty.”

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“No? Then I’ll just hide behind it.”

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Scrawny bottom. This little one was so cute standing like that.

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“Someone turn the light out. I’m sleepy.”

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“I caught one this big.”

No, I did not pick up trash. I was not going to cross the ropes even for trash. It will get picked once the birds are all gone. Someone might have left it sitting on their blanket and the wind blew it over. There were a few trash items in the roped off area. These were a few of the older babies that were born first. They are probably about 3-4 weeks old when I took these in mid July. Soon they’ll be walking over to the water and practicing skimming. I’m going to try to get over there when they are all much older.

Camera Critters

Shorebirds on Gandy beach

Skimmers flying by with a few royal terns mixed in.

Sanderling in breeding colors.

Short-billed dowitcher.

Very young laughing gull.

Short-billed dowitchers with a willet on left.

I think this is a female grackle. It was still wet from the rain.

Yes, it’s been shorebird season the last couple of weeks. It’s too hot to head inland so I’ve been heading to the beaches for what little sea breeze there is. I’ve been looking for black terns and finally, a handful appeared on the beach.  More on those later. Above are just a few things I found on the beach after work. It had just stopped raining when I got there. It’s better to go there when it’s rainy and cloudy, not as many people there.

On a migration note, the belted kingfishers are back in town. I was sitting at my desk typing away on my computer when I heard that distinctive chortle sound they make. I looked out my window and saw one flying across the small retention pond outside my office. Later in the week, I was walking around my neighborhood trying to get a few miles in before the rain started and one flew over my head.  He darted off down the street. I’m hoping he stops by my backyard soon for a visit.

Camera Critters