A spoony in my neighborhood

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.

A mallard in our backyard.

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

Osprey eating in the backyard

Not an osprey but a night heron. We get these pretty regular in the backyard. I went out to snap a few shots of him sitting on my dock.

Then I noticed he wasn’t alone. A juvenile night heron was standing close by. This was the first time I’ve seen a juvenile in our neighborhood.

Then I saw the first sighting of our winter spotted sandpiper on my neighbor’s little putter boat. We usually have one hanging around the channels in the winter. He was a couple of houses down so I zoomed this in.

Then I see an osprey sitting on my neighbor’s dock. I didn’t even see him sitting there at first. My walking around the backyard was starting to spook him so I went inside. This and the below were taken through the bedroom window.

He had his eye on something.

Does he see me in the window? Is he yelling at me? He then took off. (He was really saying “Wait right there, I’ll be back in a few with a fish”)

 

About 20 minutes later I look back out the window and see him sitting back on the dock. He had come back with a fish. I put my camera on the tripod and set it up on the nightstand in front of the window. It was pretty windy that morning. It’s funny how he stops to look around after every bite. Checking to make sure those annoying mockingbirds don’t try to steal his lunch.

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

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for