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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Starting vacation

The Monday before Thanksgiving I headed to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to spend the week with us. I had a few minutes before she got off the plane so I snapped the above of this beautiful tree near her concourse. Even though it was a bit early, it still put me in the vacation spirit.

It was beautiful outside so after lunch we headed over to Clearwater beach. It’s always fun being a tourist in my own town when she comes to visit. We ended up at the Clearwater marina later that afternoon and watched the fishing boats come in (it was something we use to do with our parents when we were growing up and came here to visit our grandparents).

We decided to stay for sunset even though the clouds were moving in quickly. The sky looked like it was on fire as the sun went down. While we were there we thought we might as well have dinner on the beach too. A great way to start the week.

My Corner of the World

From one side of Tampa bay to the other

It was a two waterfront kind of day in late October. I went for a walk along the waterfront on the bay in downtown St. Pete early in the morning and then went to the Dunedin marina on the gulf side for a sunset walk.

I got to the marina late in the day right as the moon was coming up.

Fun boat at the marina.

This little spot is one of my favorites to catch a sunset. I think it’s also a lot of other people’s spot as well because it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

Maybe it’s because watching the sunset here makes you feel like you are on vacation. Until you drive home and have to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then back to work the next morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Craving open spaces

Our new home is surrounded by trees and I don’t really get to see much of the sky unless I walk to the end of the driveway or out on the golf course. In our old house I could look out the sliding doors and see the big sky so now I’m craving wide open spaces. I found it about 10 minutes away walking down my street. If I walk the other direction I end up here. A big open field where the utlity towers line up. Part of the field has a small wooden fence around it and they mow it regulary. Neighbors bring their dogs here to run around. It’s a nice place to walk to see the sun go down after work (although now it’s dark after work).

I stayed right before the sun went down.

Turning around looking in the other direction, there’s lots of lines. A sign of progress?

Parts of the field were covered in these yellow flowers.

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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

Things in the backyard

I was out in the backyard in early September and noticed this mallard trying to eat something that was bobbing in the water. I ran and got my camera and headed down to the dock and realized it was a mango. He was chowing down on it.

After 17 years in our house, we finally had a dragonfly come in. He was flying around for a while. We opened the doors and was waving around a broom and mop and was finally able to shoo him out into the screened in porch. I then opened the porch door and eventually he flew out but not before I was able to get this close up of him. He had a beautiful green color on his head.

Later in the week it was raining. We had a wet green heron hanging out on our dock in the rain and the mallards have been visiting for a while.

Squirrels like to hang out on the top of our down spout when it’s raining to stay dry. I took this through the sliding door and the screen.

We’ve been getting regular visits from 2 female mallards lately. They scrounge around under the bird feeder for fallen seed. One morning I looked out the window and realized they had brought friends. We also get ibis on a regular basis.

Looking out the side window from my desk, I see a dove sitting on the fence. Later a little blue heron was on our neighbor’s shed.

Taken through the window, this lizard had the cutest toes.

Sunset from the backyard.

My Corner of the World 

More summer skies from the yard

The skies from my front and back yard in late summer are insane. Some nights right when the sun hits after the rain has moved out, it looks like the sky is on fire. These were all taken in late August and early September.

The above was snapped with my phone through the glass door and the screened porch. The smaller ones before this were too close to be outside. The next day I found out it hit my neighbor’s house. It fried his fuse box and burned one side of his house. It took several days for an electrician to come out and fix everything so you really don’t know when it’s going to hit.

Lightning on the side of the house (I was standing in the garage). It’s weird the way the 2nd one was brighter in the middle.

Most nights if the sun peaks out in the backyard after a storm, I get this in the front yard.

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