Thursday, June 30, 2011

Carillon Park after work - Skywatch Friday

Anhinga sitting on the boardwalk.  These girls are used to people being close. You can walk right by them on boardwalk.

Juvenile moorhens in the green muck.

Juvenile tricolored heron hiding in the reeds.

Small rainbow coming from the fountain in the lake.

Male anhinga drying his wings on a fountain platform that wasn't turned on.

Another hot walk around a park close by work. At least that way I miss traffic. There wasn't anything too interesting there. I did see a few small alligators but they stayed pretty far away. The anhingas think they own the boardwalk around the lake. Most people are jogging by and the birds don't even flinch. They just keep preening. If you stop and stare at them and slowly walk up to them, they wave their beaks at you and honk.

For more skyscape photography from around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nesting Black Skimmers

Parent screaming for me to get off their beach. It's sitting on eggs.


Looking for a good fishing spot.

Sitting on eggs.

Taking a bath.

A small part of the nesting colony. The skimmers laying flat on the ground are probably sitting on eggs.

It's skimmer time! There's a small flock of skimmers that nest on the beach, just outside of the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. When I took these pictures, a couple of weekends ago, there were no babies yet. As of last week there are babies everywhere so I'll be posting baby pictures soon. For the last 3 late springs, I've been heading out to the Redington Shores/Indian Shores beach. Around 300 skimmers come here to nest. The sanctuary ropes off the nesting area since it's right in the middle of a busy beach.  These birds are pretty aggressive since they have to fend off mean gulls and other prey who want to eat their young. If you stand close to the rope, the skimmers will fly towards your head. Most photographers will stay back and sit or lay on the sand to get the best pictures. It's pretty amazing to see all of these unusual birds living so close together.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A stop on Gandy Bridge beach.

Least tern.

Juvenile least tern.

Osprey with lunch. Made me hungry.

He decided he didn't want an audience. He was sitting right on Gandy bridge eating.

"Doesn't anyone want my gift?" said the lonely least tern.

On my drive home from Fort Desoto, I stopped along the Gandy bridge beach. All I found were a lot of least terns. That's about all that was there. There were a few cars parked on the beach and a couple of dogs running around so I'm sure only the bravest terns were there. I managed to find a juvenile least tern which was a first for me. As I was getting bored and ready to leave, an osprey flew over my head with a fish. He landed close by on a utility wire right on the main road. He ate a few bites then took off over the water.

Go and check out more MyWorld images at the MyWorld Site!  My World

Also, check out more birds at CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fort Desoto

Big red - there are a handful of reddish egrets hanging around the North beach at Fort Desoto. They've become popular with photographers. This one was trying to catch some fish. He kept his back to me the entire time I was there and then flew off.

Willet watching me.

Flock of willets trying to sleep.

Wilson's plover nesting in the sand. It was behind the roped off area.

Oystercatcher preening.

Wilson's plover wandering around the marsh.

Another hot day in June. Another trip to Fort Desoto park. I stopped by the north beach marsh early in the morning and didn't find too many interesting things. I was hoping to see a plover baby but no such luck. I did see a Wilson's plover nesting inside the roped off area. Luckily, he was inside the ropes. These tiny birds blend in well and it would be easy for him to be trampled on by someone carrying a load such as a cooler, beach chair, beach bag, umbrella, etc. I had heard there were a few baby plovers running around outside the roped area but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. They grow up and move on pretty fast. There were plenty of the usual oystercatchers, willets and sanderlings running around. Oh well, maybe on my next trip.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Black neck stilt family

I found this family of black necked stilts in the ditches around the waste plant close to where I work. There were 2 parents and 2 babies walking around. I recently had been seeing the stilts there on my drive to lunch.  One day I brought my camera to work and stopped off along the ditches after work looking for the adults. I had taken pictures of them a couple of months ago and had wondered if they nested there but never imagined I would stumble upon babies. The babies seemed curious and wandered around away from the parents. I took a few pictures from my car and then got out. As soon as I opened the car door the parents started screaming and flew over to the babies. I ended up staying in the car and taking the pictures. I didn't want the parents flying off without the babies. I didn't stay long.  I was hungry anyway and it was time for dinner.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kayaking - Skywatch Friday

My kayaking view from upper Tampa Bay.

I'm paddling along and I see this bird in the dead mangroves (still dead from the big freeze winter before this last one).

I stop and think "I've never seen this bird before." I paddle backwards towards the birds and get out my camera.

When I got home I looked it up in the Florida Audubon guide. I think it's an eastern kingbird, which is a type of flycatcher. If so, then it's a first for me. I had my small point and shoot camera so I wasn't able to get a good close up of them. And rocking back and forth in a kayak doesn't help. There was 2 of them and they flew around the edge of the mangroves for a while. They didn't seem to be too skittish (not as bad as kingfishers) but if my kayak floated too close to the mangroves they would move over a few branches.

Least terns on the sign.

There's usually a least tern on every crab trap bouy.

For more skyscape photography from around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spoonbill at Carillon Park

I'm nominating June to be official spoonbill month. A while ago I was thinking I hadn't seen any spoonbills for a while. Now I'm seeing them everywhere. I took a walk after work at Carillon Park. It's 5 minutes from work and has a small lake that is surrounded by office buildings and a hotel. There wasn't too much there that night. I went to look for a baby bittern that I had seen reported on No luck. At least not while I was there. After work a lot of people are jogging on the boardwalk so that might scare some of the birds away. I did find a beautiful spoonbill that I'm sure felt like I was following him around. I was just walking around the boardwalk but he kept flying in front of me instead of behind me. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chesnut Park

Alligator hiding in the reeds close to the edge of the lake.

I was standing on a dock at the lake and saw this alligator go by a fishing boat. The boat had been sitting out in the middle of the lake for a while. The guys were probably half asleep (I would have been). The alligator kept on going by the boat. There's always people skiing in this lake. Makes you wonder whether they are brave or just stupid.

I found about 8 different bunnies around the playground area. They look different from the usual wild brown bunnies I see at parks. These look like someone had them as pets and let them go in the park.

Grackle looking around.

Carolina wren sitting on the boardwalk.

Cute squirrel. Is it me or does there seem to be a huge population explosion of squirrels lately in the Tampa bay area?  There seems to be tons of them everywhere. Are the hawks not keeping up? Sometimes in my backyard I can count 3 or 4 wandering around. We don't have feeders in our yard (no cats or dogs either which might explain why they hang out in our yard).

It was a quiet morning at Chesnut Park in north Pinellas county a couple of weekends ago. It was one of the first really hot humid weekends. Not much but me and mosquitoes (and the usual alligators). I managed to find a few birds but nothing exciting. This was my first trip there that I didn't see any woodpeckers. I usually see pileated woodpeckers somewhere along the Peggy Park trail. I didn't even hear them. On top of tons of squirrels everywhere, there were also a lot of rabbits. I saw several wild brown rabbits but also saw a big group of black ones and cream ones. Someone must have dropped them off after Easter. They let me get pretty close so they are used to people. If they get to close to the water's edge, they're going to end up being alligator food. Oh well, circle of life, etc.

Go and check out more MyWorld images at the MyWorld Site! My World

Also,  check out more birds at CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spoony babies update - 3rd week at the zoo.

"Mom, we don't see it."

"Mom, tell Bubba to get off me."

"Everyone, look busy. Here comes another photographer."

"Don't worry, that creepy lady with the black box can't get you."

"But we can if you fall down"

Third trip to Lowry Park zoo since the roseate spoonbill babies were born. I think the lady at the front gate gave me a "You're here again?" look. A week later and they are getting big. Their bills are starting to really look like a spoonbill beak. The pink is just getting a little deeper. They were busy all morning. They kept trying to climb over each other. People were noticing the nest more than before. That big group of pink really sticks out over the alligator exhibit. I think at least 2-3 trips are still in my future. I'd like to see them taking those first flights but it would be shear luck if that happened on the weekend. There are a lot of baby blue herons that are just growing up flying from tree to tree and there are still a few late couples just laying eggs.