At the end of April I went out late in the day instead of the morning. I had something I had to do in the morning but I didn’t want to miss a walk outside. I headed to Largo Nature Preserve not expecting much since it was hot. I caught the screech owl peeking out of her hole. I knew this was the tree that had a nest but hadn’t seen anything until now. I didn’t know at this point if there were babies. I waited a while but she just sat there staring off so I kept on going.
I did a quick walk along the boardwalk before heading out. It was interesting to see the spotted sandpiper on the boardwalk rail. Those guys are usually skittish and only here in the winter. Lots of dragonflies around and I saw a moorhen sitting on a nest.
A quick stop at Possum Branch on the way home. I had the entire preserve to myself.
Green herons were everywhere.
A black and yellow flash went by me and when it landed on a branch I realized it was a bobolink. It was with another male and a female that landed farther down the canal. They stopped for a few seconds before taking off again. It was the only bobolink I saw this season.
Little critters in the weeds.
The trails around the ponds were covered in this mimosa ground cover. The purple flowers were covered in moths and bees. You could see the tiny path where people had been walking on it. Quickly they will die off and the trail will get mowed again but the blanket of purple was really pretty this afternoon.
These yellow and white flowers are weeds and they were also everywhere.
A few of the birds that visited our backyard in the recent months. A little blue heron on our dock, a great blue heron on our neighbor’s completed demolished dock (after Hurricane ETA), and the phoebe on our fence. I see the little phoebe almost every day. Maybe because I don’t have dogs he looks for his meals here. He eats flying insects instead of seed so he doesn’t visit my feeder.
The starlings have a nest on my neighbor’s boat lift.
An osprey sitting our a neighbor’s sailboat mast.
We usually get spotted sandpipers in the winter. They hang out in the muck at low tide.
A few creepy visitors include a mangrove crab and a spiny orb.
Squirrels constantly run across our screened porch which is cute but long term they pull out the screen and tear it up so sometimes we yell at them to get off.
Trying to stay off my legs (due to hip bursitis) but not wanting to stay at home, I headed out for the Dunedin marina and fishing pier early one morning in mid-November. I spent the morning just hanging out, sitting on benches watching the activity around the marina. From the shots above, it was pretty quiet that morning.
I did see a manatee cruising around the boats in the marina.
This anhinga was having fish for breakfast.
Some of the birds also hanging around the marina, a green heron and lots of pelicans.
A spotted sandpiper was digging around the exposed muck at the boat ramp.
Recently I was talking a walk around my neighborhood late one afternoon and saw the above spoonbill in my neighborhood pond. I think this is the first time I’ve seen one here. I snapped the above with my phone.
The next day I threw my camera in the car and sure enough, he was still there so I stopped and took a few more pictures. These were taken with my 300mm lens. He stayed for about a week before leaving for good.
The usual ducks were there. My favorite mallard couple.
In late December there was a spotted sandpiper on my neighbor’s seawall. He spent the afternoon picking bugs out of the grass.
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.
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.
Not the bird I was looking for. This osprey right next to the boat ramp did not want me to steal his fish.
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.
Downtown St. Petersburg from the boat ramp.
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.
No great cormorant on this side of the park. Only shorebirds and gulls.
Maybe he hitched a ride on one of these boats.
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.