An early morning walk

I left the house in the dark in early October, heading north to Chinsegut Wildlife trail. It’s only an hour away but feels like a completely different place. I made some quick stops along the way, taking shots of the light coming up over the trees and through the fog.

Right before the trail I saw this old building. At first I thought it was a house but it might have been some type of small factory or type of barn. There were trees growing in the middle of the building. I had to stop and get a shot of it. As I was taking some pictures with my phone, some crows flew out of the building. I thought “Is it Halloween already?”

When I got to the conservation center to park the sun was just coming up. I hadn’t been out for a long walk in a while and it felt good to be out in the woods.

Due to a lot of recent rain, things were pretty swampy. I had on a lot of bug spray so I was able to linger a while and listen to the swamp sounds.

It looked a little like fall with a few red leaves but I would suspect that they are really from the trees being so flooded for a while.

I found a sandhill crane family near the parking area and junior was almost grown up. He didn’t quite have a full red head yet though. They walked around for a while, picking off some bird seed in the ground feeder and then eventually headed into the woods.

 

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One last walk

I got up early one morning in late September to take my last walk around the neighborhood. It wasn’t my last walk anywhere, just around this neighborhood. After living here for 17 years, we moved about 20 minutes away so Brett could be closer to work and it was time to downsize. It was before the sun came up and a faint rainbow was visible as the ducks flew by. I said goodby to Blondie and her grown babies. I’ll miss those creme colored mallards.

The ducks stopped by the yard days before we moved. It was the last of the bird seed so they were going to have to scrounge somewhere else.

Backyard skies on our last week here. I’ll miss the open sky but we are moving to a heavily wooded area and it will be nice to be in the shade now and see different wildlife. I’ll be posting pictures of the critters near our new home soon.

SkyWatch Friday

That small orange dot in the sky

I don’t get out for sunrise very often. During the week I’m busy with work and on the weekends I’m either heading out to a park to walk to look for birds or sleeping in. In early September I was up on a Saturday with no plans (and sunrise isn’t that early this time of year) so I packed up and headed to Safety Harbor.

You could barely see the sliver of moon high up in the sky. The line between the water and land was turning bright orange.

People were starting to show up to the fishing pier and boats were heading out.

It was such a nice morning out. Birds were cruising back and forth across the pier.

Here it comes! A small orange dot off in the distance. I walked around the park for a while and will post those pictures later.

SkyWatch Friday

Heading into sunrise

I was running late but it was just as well since there was that small cloud bank right at the earth’s surface. I was trying to get to Fort Desoto for sunrise, although since they don’t open until 7am I would have gotten it already risen anyway. Since there was no one else around, I stopped for a few seconds and shot this out the window with my phone at the top of the bridge before going into the park. I hadn’t been down to the park in 3 months due to red tide so I was pretty excited to be here early.

Stopping right before the entrance, the clouds were making the sun a little hazy.

The color was soft at the East Beach turnaround, looking towards the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Half an hour later the sun was already high up. I headed over for a quick walk at the bay pier. Seeing the bait shop, it always makes me think it would be a great house to live in out on this pier. To wake up and peek out the window at the sunrise over the water every morning would be pretty cool.

Big boats on the water. It was a beautiful morning out and the dolphins were pretty close to the pier (more on those later).

SkyWatch Friday

“Here comes the sun”

It wasn’t dark but the sun had not come up when I arrived at the beach at Fort Desoto in late March. The time had just recently changed and it was still dark after 7am so it wasn’t that early. Still, I was all alone on the beach with the exception of a great blue heron.

After a few minutes the sun was slowly starting come up over the bridge and the birds started to fly around.

Then minutes later it rose quickly and the pelicans were diving in the water for fish.

I turned around to head out to the other side of the park to look for birds and noticed the flag at half staff over the palm trees.

Good thing I had my shoes on. The beach had a lot of these spiky sea urchins as the tide was coming back in.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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Just catching sunrise.

I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.

One of my favorite views in the morning.

There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.

Some of the smaller critters along the trail.

The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest?  Might have been a little early but soon.

SkyWatch Friday

Not that early for sunrise

Sunrise at East Beach at Fort Desoto. No, I wasn’t up that early. This was in late October before the time changed so it was right before 7:30. There was a small cloud right above the bridge that kept the sun from being clear but it was still a great sky.

As I stood there watching the sun come up, I could see the frigatebirds starting to circle high up in the sky. They were coming from across the bay and then ended up right over my head.

Once the sun was up it was time to go hang out with the white pelicans.

SkyWatch Friday

Sunrise in Tampa

I was up early on a Saturday morning in October and headed out to a small beach near my house that sits right under the airplane pathway to the airport. Although it wasn’t that early since the time hadn’t changed yet and the sun wasn’t coming up until 7:30. I stopped at Cypress beach and walked out to catch the sun coming up over the water.

There was hardly any one there this early so I had the little beach area all to myself.

I only saw one plane coming in. The water is mostly grass beds and drops off very deep. I’ve heard there are sharks here so you don’t see a lot of people in the water. I think people come here just to get out and it’s a popular sunset spot.

Pretty butterfly on the ground.

A few of the birds were a hawk and a little blue heron.

Pelicans guarding the slow wake signs. I’m sure there’s also manatees out there with so much of the area being grass beds but I didn’t see any this morning.

SkyWatch Friday

All grown up

At the end of February I was able to stop by the owl nest and see the baby almost grown up. He was still pretty fuzzy but was looking more like an adult.

One of the parents was always close by.

Then in mid-March I stopped by again and the baby was looking all grown up. Almost as big as his parents. He was very curious, always looking around at the sounds of the birds and squirrels going by.

The morning was so nice that I hung around the park watching the fishing boats go by. This one was pulling up bait fish and getting followed by the pelicans looking for a handout.

The old trees in the park near the nest have a lot of personality.

It was the beginning of a great weekend.

SkyWatch Friday