I had heard the white pelicans had come down to south St. Petersburg for the winter. They had been recently sighted at Fort Desoto near the north beach tip. The big white pelicans only spend part of the winter in the area and leave in early spring. I headed down in mid-November to look for them and after looking everywhere for them I was about to leave. I stopped at the East beach turnaround before leaving to see if any new shorebirds were there. I noticed something white behind the tall overgrown mangroves. There in a small lagoon, hidden behind the mangroves was a small flock of them. They were busy feeding and didn’t notice me standing in the mangroves across the lagoon. I watched these big beautiful graceful birds feeding together. They would fly in and together, a small group would swim around scooping up the fish. I’m hoping I see them again before they leave.
A nice clean beach after Park supervisor Jim had scooped up all of the dead fish from the red tide algae bloom that lands on the beach during high tide. This morning in late October, Jim had told me that they had just cleaned up 6 miles of beaches, trying to keep it clean so the tourist can enjoy the beach. Even in late November, we were still getting some dead sea life but not as bad as it was in October.
It was still a beautiful morning even with a slight fishy smell.
The dog beach and the fishing pier were deserted that morning since no one wanted to be in the red tide water. It was like a ghost town.
I did see some dolphins coming out of the water from far across the bay.
A few of the regulars at the pier; the famous great blue heron/great egret hybrid, a ruddy turnstone, a reddish egret, lots of snowy egrets always looking for a handout and great blue heron and reddish egret fighting over space on the railing.
Skimmers were skimming the bait fish.
This reddish egret was bored with me.
Shots of a beautiful morning at the pier. These were taken in early September, before Irma.
On a recent trip to Fort Desoto I was standing on the fishing pier watching the pelicans diving for fish. They are so hard to get as they crash into the water. It happens fast. I was able to get a handful of shots of them going down but all of my pictures of them hitting the water are just big splashes.
I saw two birds that were hooked on fishing lines. Both were pulled up and released. The top one was a cormorant with line wrapped around his foot. The 2nd was a snowy egret that got a hook caught in his feathers. Everyone helped out and both had the lines taken off and released. The birds were very calm while the people were taking the lines off.