Sunset walk

A sunset walk on the Dunedin causeway in early August.

It had been raining most nights so it was nice to see the sun for a while (although the rain is usually good in the summer since it cools down the heat). The causeway was packed for a Wednesday night so I was trying to get some shots in without so many people. Here it almost looks like I had the place to myself but that wasn’t the case.

Almost the end.

Turning around, the rain was coming from the mainland quickly but the sun cast a glow on the clouds.

One last look before heading home.

SkyWatch Friday

Riding around the neighborhood.

Out for a bike ride this summer, I always stop at this small pond in the neighborhood. I’m sure it’s just a mosquito pit but I always hope to find some critters getting water. Maybe a deer or raccon but no, just mosquitos. I do hear pileated woodpeckers deep in the woods but I have yet to hike through there.

Just down from the pond the ditches are covered in these purple flowers. The frogs were really loud this morning since it had rained most of the night.

I need to get a bumper sticker for my bike that says “I brake for critters”.  I’m not sure what those black vultures were eating. They wouldn’t let me get too close.

Back at home a bad storm was coming so I took the almost empty bird feeder down and left it just outside the back door. Later that day I look out the window and realized the squirrel had knocked it down and was eating the scraps. When he was done he hopped up on the chair and was giving me the eye to come add more food.

 

Our backyard camera picked up this bobcat creeping around at 2:30am. This was our first bobcat sighting in the neighborhood.

Color on the trees in late July.

All was calm before sunset at the lake across the street.

I have to watch where I stand when I’m taking shots of the sunset. The alligator above was on the shore just below me. He’s relatively small but I see him here often.

Inspire Me Monday

Summer skies in July

It was sunny and hot early in the morning during my walk around the Safety Harbor marina. I was traveling light so all of the shots in this post were taken with my phone. The local news said this was the hottest July on record in 40 years.

Another sunny morning at the Dunedin marina.

A rainbow on the 4th of July, coming home from a late afternoon cookout with friends.

We had an early dinner in Tampa one weekend and hit the causeway coming home right at sunset. Brett was driving so I snapped this through the windshield.

From partly cloudy to dark clouds during my walk around Olds Park.

A sun halo in our backyard one day around noon.

A walk at some parks near Tarpon Springs. This was the first time I had seen this mermaid statue. She is called “Ama” and was installed in 2014 as part of the Amaryllis Art for Charity project. There’s a small sponge on the base to represent the sponge diving industry here and there’s a small manatee on the left front of the base. Manatees are common in this area.

SkyWatch Friday

Around the house in mid-June

The downy woodpeckers and the chickadees keep coming to the feeder together.

Another set of Carolina wren babies were hopping around our backyard. I think they had been born in my neighbor’s pot because I kept seeing an adult flying over there with bugs.  Mom was close by. You can still see the fuzz in their head and necks.


A beautiful cooper’s hawk in our tree. I was walking back from getting the mail and he landed on my husband’s car in the driveway. I ran back in and grabbed my camera thinking he would be gone when I got back outside but he flew up to the tree when I came out.

I have seen hummingbirds coming through the backyard but this is the first time I was able to catch one. They were buzzing around my gardenia bush but they don’t stay long. I was looking out the back window watching a squirrel and saw her fly in and feed on my hanging purslane flowers. I grabbed my camera and waited, half hiding behind the curtains. She came back again and I was able to snap the above but then she took off and I didn’t see her again that afternoon.

A smiling gator drying out behind the pond near my house. I was riding my bike around the neighborhood with my camera and stopped to catch it.

Juvenile osprey are everywhere in the neighborhood. There’s a nest in every utility tower across the neighborhood and they are all filled with osprey.

As I was biking home I stopped at the pond down the street and noticed something moving around with an adult limpkin. I was glad I had brought my camera in my backpack. At first I thought there was just one baby but when they started swimming across the pond I could see all 5 of them. The pond turns into a river that runs through the neighborhood and once they crossed they started heading behind some houses so I lost track of them.

The rain was starting to move in. I love the summer skies after the rain. The lake across from my house is going to be a good spot to catch some orange sunsets.

 

SkyWatch Friday

The backyard in early June

I keep seeing downy woodpeckers and chickadees on the feeder at the same time.

I think this chickadee was going to tell me to get better seed.

I’ve been seeing baby bluebirds bouncing around in the backyard. I’ve seen 4 at one time but it’s hard to get more than one through the window. They are very skittish and take off if I go out in the back.

The doves were napping under the bird bath.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a lizard shedding his skin.

Sunset in the lake across the street.

I usually stop at the lake as I’m getting the mail and one night I saw a lone skimmer cruising around right before dark. This was taken with my phone, which I usually have in my pocket. I went out there the next 2 nights with my camera but didn’t see him again.

Tricolored herons and anhingas are usual in the lake, getting that last meal before dark.

I caught this tern flying overhead right at dark. I think it’s a Caspien tern.

In the yard in June

We’ve had some beautiful skies in June. This was looking across the fairway before the storm hit.

Later I was peeking out the window and caught this lightning with my phone.

Sunset across the street.

These were all blooming on my neighbor’s wall. We share a courtyard.

I was coming back from the mailbox and this bunny was in our yard. I couldn’t believe he was still there when I went in and got my camera and came back out. I’ve been seeing one every couple of days. I wonder if it’s the same one. I call him Peter.

The usual visitors in the backyard. All taken through the window.

I finally got a shot of a great crested flycatcher. I’ve been hearing them calling for months but they always stay high up in the trees. One morning I was sitting outside and had my camera with me and was able to catch him.

Baby bluebird was yelling at Mom to feed him (or her). Taken through the window, they were far out on the golf course.

Squirrels being cute in the backyard.

SkyWatch Friday

Waiting for eagles to wake up.

I spent many mornings standing under a bottle brush tree along a fence waiting for the eagles in my neighborhood to wake up. I would go for a long walk and then ride my bike over to the nest with my camera and wait for the parents to bring in food. I saw a lot of other birds there as well. A kestral was there on the wires every time I came to take pictures. In the beginning he was very skittish and would fly away when I walked up but after a month he started getting a little closer. One morning I caught him eating a cricket.

A phoebe hung out in the reeds along the utility area beyond the fence. He was there most of February and March.

One morning a hawk landed in a tree nearby. I thought he was going to catch something when he flew to the ground but he took off empty handed.

The moon was still up early one morning.

Early in April on a cloudy morning there were two swallow tail kites that flew far up overhead.

One morning a turkey cruised by.

The usual annoying birds were always there, mockinbirds and blue jays.

A mallard flew by.

I was out there right before sundown one day and got to watch the beautiful sunset. That’s a bat box on the stick. Sometimes I could hear them sqweaking in there.

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

In the yard in January

I pulled back the curtains one recent morning and saw deer in my neighbor’s yard. I tried to quietly crack the door open so I could take some pictures. They eventually saw me but kept on eating in the area.

I went back inside and a few minutes later I saw them heading across the golf course and towards the woods (the golfers would be coming through soon). I snapped the above with my phone. You can just see the last deer (to the left of the tree) as they left. They never seem to stay in one spot long, always moving around and always close to the woods.

For early January, the squirrels were already getting frisky. One is always snoozing on the broken branch. All taken through the window.

Yes, we are getting blooms in January. The temperature this month fluxuates between 78 degrees and 50 degrees.

We had an ibis hanging around the back door and a juvenile blue heron grabbing a frog at the end of our driveway.

Beautiful skies with the sunset in the front pond as I was getting the mail. One night I saw the red clouds and ran out on the golf course right before dark.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

The perfect spot

More shots from my sunset walk at the Dunedin marina.

You can see why this is one of the best places to watch the sun go down but don’t tell anyone else. It already gets crazy crowded.

People in the surrounding neighborhoods ride over in their golf carts since parking is limited in this area. I park several blocks over and walk in to the marina. Many of them decorate their carts which makes it more fun.

I decided to head back to my car before it got too dark but I stopped for one last shot in front of the sailboats. All shots taken with my phone.

SkyWatch Friday

An all day walk at Disney

Last year we did not make it for our annual lunch at Disney Springs so this year we couldn’t miss it. We knew it would be crazy crowded (and it was later in the day) so we got there early to walk around before lunch.The above statues are made out of Leggos and there’s always a line to get in that store.

All of Disney was decorated for Christmas this week.

After lunch we decided to try something different. We didn’t want to go to a theme park but instead hopped on a bus to a hotel and then rode the monorail to several of the nice hotels to walk around and look at the holiday decorations at each one. I didn’t really notice the decorations at the Polynesian Resort but I thought this statue above was really cool and it had beautiful orchids all around it.

We could see the Grand Floridian across the lake and decided this would be our next stop on the monorail ride.

The lobby at the Grand Floridian was beautiful. They have a large lifesize house made out of gingerbread and candy. The details were incredible. There were people standing in the back of the house selling gingerbread cookies. That’s how big it was.

All of the details at this hotel are perfect. Down to the wreaths hanging in the lobby.

We headed back to our car at Disney Springs and stopped at a french pastry shop to get some desserts to take home.

After a long day of walking around, we got back into Tampa as the sun was going down behind the buildings downtown. My sister snapped this with my phone. I love the reflection on the hood.

SkyWatch Friday