Storms were moving in

I needed to get out of the house and go for a short walk so I headed down to Fort Desoto to walk out on the fishing pier. It was a dark and windy late morning and was threating to rain so there wasn’t a lot of people out.

The laughing gulls were driving the pelicans crazy. They would wait until the pelican had a scoop full of fish in their beaks and then try and steal one from them. Or at least catch any smaller fish that fell out of the pelican’s mouth.

A willet on the jetti.

Far down on the beach, I could see a wedding taking place. Looks like it had just ended. Good thing since it was starting to drizzle.

Kiteboarders were having fun at the other end of the park facing the Skyway bridge. I don’t often see girls kiteboarding but the one in the bottom shot was keeping up with the boys.

The rain was starting to move in so I headed home.

SkyWatch Friday

Road trip to Nature’s Coast

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”.

SkyWatch Friday

Out on the beach

Lots of shorebirds at Fort Desoto in early June. It felt good to be out stretching my legs  along the shoreline. Even though it was hot there was a good breeze coming off the gulf.

It’s always fun to see marbled godwits with those pink toothpick beaks.

The crow was mistaking the trash for food.

A crab coming up on shore when the tide went out. He made it back in though.

Jump! A great blue heron taking off from the roof of the pier cover.

A nice morning to be outside.

I heard this cicada screaming from the mangroves near the pier. I found him pretty quickly. Such a weird loud critter.

SkyWatch Friday

“Don’t let the sun go down on me”

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.

SkyWatch Friday

Seafood for breakfast.

The above sandwich tern flew right in front of me and landed with a fish. Adult sandwich terns have that yellow tip on their beak.

He then proceeded to fly around the flock of different birds on the beach looking for his mate or baby. Not sure which. He seemed to be lost and none of the other birds tried to take the fish.

Some of the other babies tried to steal it after a few seconds. Eventually the bird flew off down the beach. He must have come back to the wrong flock on the beach.

This royal tern baby was driving his parents crazy, begging for food. Royal terns have orange beaks and always look like they have a bad hairpiece sticking up.

This lonely willet had a sand flea.

Happy Memorial Day from the beach

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.


image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup
Our World Tuesday Graphic

Early morning at Fort Desoto

Terns, willets and laughing gulls out on the beach.

A lone prairie warbler on the trail.

Someone caught a creepy crab while fishing on the pier.

A common sight around the fishing pier, a snowy egret hitching a ride.

The morning started off cloudy, looking like it was going to rain but the sun came out before noon.

SkyWatch Friday

Birds on the beach during red tide

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.

Still a beautiful day out at Fort Desoto.

Out on the beach in the summer

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.