Early morning at Pine Island beach, north of Tarpon Springs and south of Cedar Key. I had not spent any time in this area and it’s a beautiful quiet area. At least it was in October.
I was hoping to find some new shorebirds here but it was the same old ones that I can find in my usual spots near home.
Fiddler crabs along the shoreline.
Just me and my shadow on the boardwalk, looking out on the gulf.
This is a small beach compared to beaches in the Tampa bay area. It’s a little off the beaten path so it might not get the crowds in the summer that we see on Clearwater beach or St. Pete beach. It was a beautiful morning and I was glad to be out of the house and out on the road.
The drive into the beach is a long 2 lane road with marsh on both sides. The first two shots were looking right and the bottom two were looking left as you drive in. This is why they call this area the “Nature coast”.
Royal terns and willets on the sea wall across from the boat ramp at Davis Islands.
Pelicans and a great egret hanging around the island.
The view of Tampa across from the Davis Islands yacht basin right before sunset.
Watching the sun go down early in the quarantine in late March.
It was a quiet night. Most people were sitting in their cars watching the sun go down instead of getting out and walking around the small beach there. I kept saying I was going to get back over there but I just never did.
These are some older pictures I took years ago on a sunset walk around the yacht basin at Davis Islands in south Tampa. I have not been over there in a long time and was recently thinking I needed to go over there to walk. I’m sure the view is the same.
Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.
Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.
A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.
The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.
A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.
It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.
There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.
A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.
Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.
Royal terns in the air.
The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.
I hadn’t been out on the beach for a long walk all summer. In late July, I headed out for a walk to get some fresh air and hopefully a cool breeze coming off the gulf. My main reason for going though was to look for skimmer babies. I hadn’t been out to see them in 2 years. I saw the above as I started my walk.
After a while I saw some skimmers soaring over the beach and finally made it to the skimmer nesting area.
The black skimmers nest right on the beach and there were a lot of babies at all different ages.
The baby skimmers have a tough time growing up. Besides sibling rivalry, there are so many other dangers. Gulls and crows will fly in and snatch the tiny ones if the parents aren’t guarding them. The beaches are full of tourist and the baby skimmers blend into the sand. They could get stepped on. Kids like to chase the birds and make them fly off which leaves the babies exposed. A really bad storm could flood the beach and the babies can’t fly off or swim yet. So many hurdles.
The view from the water. There are a group of volunteer bird stewards that rope off the nesting areas to keep people from stepping on the babies. They guard the area during the busy times and answer any questions that curious tourists may have about the skimmers. And yes, those are volleyball nets in the back so the babies could also get knocked out by a stray volleyball. I took a ton of pictures in the hour I was there so more to come on these cuties.
Willet, laughing gull, oystercatcher, young blue heron and cormorants can all be found along the water at Davis Islands, a small island next to downtown Tampa.
Loggerhead shrikes are most prevalent there. They were in the bushes next to the boat ramp, in the trees that lined the yacht basin and on the fence that lined the airport. The ones on the fence were a parent and young one that was still being feed.
Mangroves line the yacht basin and the sea grapes in were in full bloom.
At first glance, there aren’t a lot of birds at the south end of Davis Islands where the small private airport and yacht basin meet up. There are lots of bicycles, joggers, walkers, and dog walkers along the road, most are not paying attention to the birds. People look at me like “Why is that girl staring up in the tree?” When you look along the shore line and up in the trees you see lots of things.