Looking for an owl

I stopped by the park not to far from my house on the way home from Chesnut Park. I hadn’t been in a while but was wondering if the owls were nesting again this year. It was too early for babies but I did see an adult sleeping in the tree. This was a good sign.

I would nest here too if I was a bird. The old trees are beautiful.

Nearby in the utility tower are the brown boobies. It’s always been rare to see them here but in the last year, a handful of them have been living in the area. Most days they can be seen on the tower. These were taken with my 300mm lens and extender and I cropped these up so they are pretty far out. You can tell the boobies by the white stomachs vs. the many cormorants or anhingas on the tower.

Lots of birds in along the shoreline at the park.

SkyWatch Friday

Critters in the backyard

This lady kingfisher has been a regular visitor this past winter. She’s either on the dock or on the boat lift poles.

Mr Grumpy (great blue heron) sometimes naps on our dock.

An anhinga paid a visit recently.

My resident osprey has been spending some time on our neighbor’s sailboat mast. I took this right before the sun went down. He usually comes in right before dark and sleeps there.

One day we had a hawk on the same mast.

We have a spotted sandpiper that hangs out in the channel in the winter. I went out on the dock to take this picture. He let me get pretty close.  It was during an extreme low tide so he was walking around in the muck.

A couple of weeks ago we had a pelican on our dock. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one here. I rarely see them come into the channels. They usually stay out closer to the bay.

One night right before the sun went down I went outside to get something and saw a flock of robins hanging out in our tree on the side of the house. They stayed long enough for me to run back in the house to get my camera and come back out and snap a few shots.

We get a lot of squirrels in our yard.

Pretty flower on the fence.

A few of the critters passing through our yard in the last few months.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Looking for a bird at Fort DeSoto – Skywatch Friday

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Not the bird I was looking for. This osprey right next to the boat ramp did not want me to steal his fish.

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This could have been the bird I was looking for but as he got closer I realized it wasn’t a great cormorant but just an ordinary double crested cormorant. This one flew over my head and was full of fishing wire.

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Downtown St. Petersburg from the boat ramp.

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Still not the bird I was looking for, this spotted sandpiper was trying to hide in the weeds that had floated up on the beach.

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No great cormorant on this side of the park. Only shorebirds and gulls.

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Maybe he hitched a ride on one of these boats.

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Back in mid-December I had heard there was a rare great cormorant hanging around the boat ramp at Fort Desoto. This would have been a first for me so I finally made it down to the park after work on the night before Thanksgiving. It had been raining for days and it was nice to see blue skies again. This was my first of 3 trips looking for this silly bird with no luck. Hopefully he will show up when I least expect it.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Things around the water

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Even though you don’t see any spots now, this is a spotted sandpiper. During breeding season (summer) this guy has brown spots all over his stomach. Isn’t that sexy?!?

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I think these are least sandpipers.

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A wood stork watching the fishing boats go by.

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A face only a mother could love. They look prehistoric.

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Cormorants swimming by.

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An oystercatcher trying to take a morning nap.

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This is a regular couple at the north beach tip.

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I’m not sure if I would want to stand in water waist deep fishing all morning. These guys didn’t seem to mind. At least they stayed cool.

Just a few critters around Fort Desoto Park on a recent trip.

Linking to Saturday’s critters

Plovers and terns and gulls, Oh my!

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Another banded piping plover. There’s been a lot of them hanging around Fort Desoto this fall. Several birders have been keeping tabs on them and reporting them as they travel through.

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I sat down on the beach and watched him go about his morning.

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He was eating something goopy looking.

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Portrait of a sandwich tern.

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I think this is a Forster’s tern in winter feathers, hanging around the boat ramp.

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Sandwich terns all lined up, waiting for boats to come back with bait fish.

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“Who let all of the sandwich terns into my park??” says the loud laughing gull.

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The spotted sandpipers are back for the winter, sporting their winter feathers.

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Laughing gulls lose their black feathers on their head during the winter.

Lots of little birds on the beach at Fort Desoto in early October. Nothing unusual though.

Camera Critters

Weekend visitors in the backyard

Every once in while the tide is so low that you can see the sand in the backyard. I walked out on the dock to see if there were any tiny crabs in the sand and I saw the above spotted sandpiper walking around.

Early that morning I looked out the bedroom window when I got out of bed and saw Mr. Grumpy Face sitting on our dock. Taken through the bedroom window.

Our feeder always has ground doves on them. Taken through the dining room window.

Later that morning, Mr. Grumpy Face moved to my neighbor’s sea wall.  Taken through the bedroom window.

A female anhinga was lounging on the dock.

Yea! Our first hooded merganser sighting in the backyard. This was taken Thanksgiving weekend and he’s been hanging around with a lady friend ever since. Last winter we had two couples stay all season. I snuck outside and took this from the side of the house. They are very skittish. They don’t come looking for handouts like the mallards do.

This guy was looking at me like “Lady, what are doing sneaking around in the bushes with that thing in your hand?”.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday  Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

Birds who came to visit me while I was sick

I saw this blue-gray gnatcatcher in my neighbor’s orange tree on the side of our house. Taken through the bedroom window.

Then a cardinal stopped by in the same tree. I kept peeking out the window looking for a woodpecker that’s usually there. He was missing this day.

My neighborhood winter spotted sandpiper was on our dock. Taken through the bedroom window.

He then starts picking through the grass. It’s weird to have a shorebird looking around in the grass. Maybe he was looking for worms.

As I’m taking pictures of the sandpiper, I notice that there’s an osprey sitting on the dock with a blue heron. It’s not often you see them so close together. I guess the osprey tolerated the heron being there. At least he didn’t have a fish.

Later, as the sun was going down, I looked out the window and saw a juvenile blue heron on our dock.

Right below him was a great blue heron.

At this point I had to go outside for a few minutes. It was so nice out. The juvenile blue heron took off  and flew right over my head. I think that big great blue scared him off.

I totally missed a beautiful sunny weekend out in mid-October. I went home early Friday morning from work sick as a dog. I had gone to the doctor earlier in the week but just kept getting sicker. The usual sinus, ear and throat stuff. I slept all afternoon on Friday and all day on Saturday. Sunday I spent most of the day on the couch watching old movies but I kept peeking out the window to see what I was missing. Luckily, there happened to be a lot of visitors that day. It all started that morning when I could hear a woodpecker in my neighbor’s side yard tree. I ran to the office and looked out. Didn’t see him but I saw a gnatcatcher, who is a rare visitor to our neighborhood. After that it was one bird after another. The rest were all pretty common but still fun to see. I finally headed outside in the backyard later in the day but didn’t stay out long. I hate being sick and hate not being out looking for things. Finally, the next weekend I was able to get back out for a short trip.

Camera Critters