The sun through palm trees

After I caught the sun rising at the Safety Harbor fishing pier I headed down to North Shore Park in St. Pete. The sun was up about half way by this time but still made for some pretty shots. This little beach sits on the bay side of St. Pete and the sand isn’t very nice so there usually isn’t too many people on it in the morning.

The water looked very inviting with the sun beaming down on it but it was a little chilly this morning.

I think this is a Hong Kong orchid tree. The the park was full of them blooming in early December.

I was hoping to find something different in the way of birds out here, sometimes a surprise might pop up but it was quiet. Only the usuals. A ring billed gull scratching an itch and a pelican lands in front of me. The little beach was full of laughing gulls but not much else.

As I was standing on the beach watching the birds this tiny shark swam right up near the sand.

SkyWatch Friday

The big orange ball (not the kind you eat)

Most mornings I’m up well before the sun comes up but it’s not often I am out of the house before then. Brett was leaving for work extra early one morning in early December so I decided to head out with my camera with the short lens on it and my phone. When I got to the Safety Harbor fishing pier there was color but the ball hadn’t come up yet.

Large flocks of birds were flying across the bay. I think most of them were ibis.

Finally, that orange ball started to show up. I was lucky it wasn’t foggy this day.

It’s a beautiful sight and there were a lot of people there to see it. Most of the photographers there hang back in the parking lot to get the shots with the pier in it instead of standing on the end of the pier. I was running back and forth trying to get all of the shots in.

Standing at the end of the pier I took these with my camera.  You can barely see the skyline of downtown Tampa across the bay.

There’s something magical about standing here early in the morning waiting for the sun to come up. You’re not alone but everyone is quiet, almost whispering as if we were in a library. The joggers and dog walkers take a few minutes to stop and look. When I lived in Tampa and was working in the office I used to see the sun coming up in my rear view mirror on the way to work or through the window at the office. For now I can take a deep breath and enjoy the view.

A ring billed gull was sitting on the rail waiting for me to take a shot.

SkyWatch Friday

Sun comes up over Tarpon Springs

It was early October and we had a nice break in the heat so I headed out for a walk at the Tarpon Springs sponge docks. I like walking here early in the morning before the workers and tourist are out on the sidewalks. It feels like a different place when it’s quiet, almost like I can feel the history of the street.

Some of the old boats along the water.

The above boat was built in 1935 and was used for sponge diving until 1943. It was then used as a rescue boat for the Navy during World War 2. After the war it went back to being a sponge boat until it was retired in the early 80’s.

A view of the working part of the docks.

More shots away from the tourist area.

One of my favorite houses along the bayou. It was built in 1885 by one of the founding fathers of Tarpon Springs. It is still a private home and was last sold in 2010. I would love to see the inside but it’s probably already been updated.

The sun coming through the crooked tree at Craig Park along the bayou.

Inspire Me Monday

 

Sunrise and beach birds

I found the whimbril on another trip to Fort Desoto Park in late August. He was right when you walk out on the beach so he wasn’t hard to find.

An oystercatcher was taking a bath.
A snowy egret with a fish for breakfast.

A ring bill gull was posing for me.

I found another whimbrel far up on Outback Key.

The sun was just coming up over the trees when I headed out for a long walk on the beach.

I’ve slowed down a little on my blog posts for a while. I had shoulder surgery on the 6th and can’t pick up anything heavier than a pound for 6-7 weeks so I won’t be out with my camera for a while. I’ll probably be caught up with previous outings by the end of October. I still plan to get in my walks with my phone starting later this week though. I do have my camera set up on a tripod in front of the back window hoping to catch some migrating birds coming through our backyard so I don’t miss out on fall migration completely this fall.

Inspire Me Monday

Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

Osprey day at Fort Desoto Park

I was up and out the door while it was still dark, heading for Fort Desoto Park. The sun was just coming up when I got there so I stopped at the East Beach turnaround to snap a few pictures with my phone before heading to the beach to look for birds.

I was out on the beach taking pictures of the reddish egret when I noticed this osprey coming in toward the beach with some dead branches in his talons. Looks like he was heading for a nest.

There are so many osprey at the park now. They are everywhere and are either adding to the nest or sitting on eggs. The one above had a half eaten fish and was flying in circles around me. It think he was being chased by another osprey.

This one was being harassed by a mockingbird while trying to eat his fish.

There are two different nest fairly close to each other and they were both screaming non-stop.

This  nest is on top of the old smoke stack. She was constantly screaming as well.

Hopefully there will be lots of baby osprey soon.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

 

The welcoming committee

The welcoming committee at Chinsegut Wildlife Area. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen these sandhill cranes hanging around the nature center. One is a juvenile and didn’t quite have the red on his face this past summer. It’s great to see the family is still together. I’m assuming they nest somewhere  on the lake here.

Later when I was leaving they were hanging around the parking area and I snapped this with my phone.

I’m sure these are some type of weed but they were really pretty along the trail.

It was foggy when I first got there but wore off as the sun got higher.

SkyWatch Friday

Early morning on the beach.

I got to Fort Desoto Park after the sun had come up but it was hiding behind a big cloud. I was able to catch the orange glow behind the cloud though, right over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

I was hoping to find the big flock of white pelicans who had been hanging out at the park for weeks now but I could only find 2 out at the north end. 

I know I have a million pictures of the reddish egret but I can’t help stopping and snapping a few more when he’s dancing around for his fish. He was hanging out in a tide pool and was putting on a show.

A few other birds on the beach was a turkey vulture cleaning up the beach eating a dead fish and a great blue heron strutting around.

I was walking on a back trail hoping to find the white pelicans in the back lagoon and saw this eagle flying in to a tree right in front of me. He landed in a dead tree which was good since he would have been hidden in the leaves if the the tree was still alive. He stayed for a few seconds and grabbed a branch before taking off. Assuming he was heading back to the nest across the park.

Pelicans flying across the clouds.

I stopped by the fishing pier before leaving but it was quiet. I couldn’t help but snap the cormorant drying his wings and then I noticed this crow trying to eat a piece of paper. He played with it for a few minutes but finally realized he couldn’t eat it so he dropped it in the water. Ugh. More trash.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

The moon was still up

There’s something magical about being at Circle B Bar Reserve when the sun is coming up. Besides it not being crowded or hot yet, the birds and critters are very active this early in the morning. It was my first time back since April and it felt good to be out on the trails. I usually don’t come during the summer because it is so hot and the main trails are closed due to alligators nesting on them.

Turning around, I could see the moon still up in the sky.

Of course I had to stop and take pictures of my favorite spot before heading down the trails. The last one is with my phone and you can see how big the marsh is on this trail.

The great blue heron was sitting right on the trail. I walked right under him and he didn’t move. I stopped and snapped the 2nd one with my phone so you can see how close he was.

After passing him I turned around to see if he had flown off. Nope, he’s still there watching the sun come up.

A few fly bys. A night heron and a pair of cormorants.

Some of the tiny birds, a common yellowthroat (who looks more like a masked bandit) and some blue gray gnatcatchers.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Waking up on a golf course

The golf course behind our home was closed for maintance the first few weeks we were here. One morning I got up right before the sun came up and went out for a walk. I had been seeing people jogging or walking on the cart path and knew that would all stop once the course opened back up again. I am not a golfer. My husband plays golf (when he has the time which is rarely) and I’ve ridden with him in the cart when he plays when we are on vacation but it was strange to walk out the back door and be on the cart path. I only walked a few holes and passed several ponds and tons of birds. Now the course is open and I can still go out early in the morning and walk along the tree line but need to stay out of the way once the golfers come through (we’re on the 13th hole so it takes a while for them to get to our hole in the morning).

Across the street from our townhome is a big pond (with a few alligators swimming around) and I’ve been trying to catch the sunset here.

SkyWatch Friday