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.

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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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Those crazy Florida skies in August

As August starts to roll around, the summer rains come in. Usually in the late afternoons (although some days the rain can start in the morning and continue all day).Most nights the sun would peek out right before it set which makes for amazing colors through the clouds. I am constantly running outside to check the skies and take pictures. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy. All of the above were taken from my yard with my phone.

I was running errands and caught this tiny lightning bolt walking back to my car. It’s better to run errands on a day like this in August. It’s cooler and less people are out. Although you have to be okay with getting wet if a super soaker happens that even an umbrella won’t help.

Catching a storm coming in at Davis Islands.

While out running errands, I stopped at a fishing pier in the northern part of Tampa bay. This lesser known pier is a great spot to catch the storms rolling in. There wasn’t any lightning from the clouds or else I would not have been out here on the pier. I headed back to my car long before the rain hit.

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Colors in the backyard

Shots from my backyard on different nights in the last few months. The pink and purple ones are from the same night (and I did not change those colors). It was from right before the storm came in and then you can see the rain moving down the channel. Even though we can see all of the neighbor’s yards, we have a great view of the sunset.

We had a male house finche at our feeder for several days in April. This was the first time in years that I had seen one here.

Starlings have been nesting in our neighbor’s boat lift. I think this is a young one. They usually hit the grass when the babies are first flying and pick out all of the bugs but lately we’ve been getting a lot at the feeder.

A little blue heron on our neighbor’s dock.

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Always a perfect sunset

Nothing says Florida like a walk around a marina especially right before sunset. If you want to get a good sunset spot here, you have to get here early.

This was actually back in late October when I headed out for a long walk before sunset at the Dunedin marina. Even thought it sits on the intercoastal waterway and Clearwater beach is across the water, the sunsets here draw a large crowd. There was still plenty of room around the pier and marina the night I was there. It’s totally worth getting up off the couch on a late Sunday afternoon and driving 30 minutes away.

Since parking is hard to find around the marina, a lot of people who live close by have golf carts. It’s easier to get a spot for dinner at the nearby restaurants. The one above was decorated and they were very friendly, talking to everyone. I had to take a picture.

It was time to start hiking back to my car but I turned around and took one more shot.

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Late day walk at the pier.

Another “get out of the house” moment. I headed down to the St. Pete Pier late in the day in early December. I knew it would be crowded but went early enough before the dinner crowd. Standing out on the pier, I could see Tampa across the bay in the bottom shot.

The new cool sculpture on the pier. The first commercial airline started right here back in 1914 with a commercial flight from St. Pete to Tampa with paying customers.

Heading towards the end of the pier.

Looking up at the back of the building on the pier, it looks a little like a space ship.

Looking towards St. Pete, the sun was just starting to go down.

Walking around past the park, I could see a dolphin swimming around by the pier.

Looking out on the bay, the sun had gone down behind me.

As it gets dark, the netting over the grounds before the pier turns pink.  The crowds were starting to come in so I headed home for dinner.

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Sandcastles

This was one of those “got to get out of the house” moments. I had read there was a sandcastle exhibit taking place in late November and of course it was a beautiful day so I headed out to the beach late in the afternoon. The area that had the food and booze tents were packed with people so I stayed away and wandered over to the sandcastles. While they looked really cool, I have to wonder if they are permanent sculptures made out of sand and put on the sand for the event. They looked different from the ones I’ve seen before at the judged events. Almost as if they had been made somewhere else and plopped down here.

The sun was starting to come down late in the day.

There were lots of kites on the beach.

On the way home, I stopped by the famous “chicken’ church. I had recently heard about it and it’s located a block away from the main street on the beach. The way the windows are placed on the tower does remind you of a chicken. It’s a cute little church.

Driving back over to the mainland, there’s a small park along the water and I got out for a few minutes to walk around before heading home. There were several damaged boats that are still stranded from Hurricane Eta that came through in early November including one that was half under water.

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Sunset in the fall.

I peeked out the window right after work and saw the sun out with no clouds which hadn’t happened in a while so I jumped in my car with my camera and headed out to Cypress Point. It was a nice cool breezy night out.

The sun was going down on the picnic area.

The tide was really low so I could go behind this little tree area.

This is the perfect time of year here. Cool weather, low tides so you can walk out far and clear skies.

Heading back to my car right before the end, I turned around and took this with my phone.

Out and about one afternoon

I headed out to Fort Desoto late in the afternoon in early November. There wasn’t a lot of birds around later in the day but it was a beautiful afternoon.

Way out in the bay,

The sun was started to get lower at my favorite spot.

I drove over to the gulf pier before leaving.

Looking back at the old smoke stack.

Silhouettes of birds flying near the pier.

The sun still had a ways to go and I had to get home so I quickly snapped the above.

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Trying to get sunset pictures

I ran out after work to try and get some sunset pictures since it was sunny at my house but 15 minutes away and the clouds were out. I thought I would try and work on my long exposure shots but couldn’t seem to get them right. The shots were either too dark and the water didn’t look like silk or they were too blown out. I didn’t really like any of the ones I came home with. Going to try again when the sun it out.

Trying not to step on the horseshoe crabs coming up in the tide.

I do like this shot, taken from the parking lot.

I took this pano with my phone.

Later that week I went out to Sand Key and the sun hid from me again.  A cloudy time on the beach is still better than being at home!

 

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