Wednesday, August 31, 2011

After work walk at Kapok Park

Great blue heron hiding in the bushes. I think I woke him up from his nap.

Tiniest frog I've ever seen. This is blown up. I almost stepped on him.

Mallards walking around keeping an eye on me.

Blue jay with a nut.

Male grackle shining in the sun.

Another hot walk around Kapok Park after work. Kapok is a small park right in the middle of some neighborhoods off a busy road. It used to be a trailer park and was turned into a water management project. It's named after the tall kapok tree that is an emergent tree in the rainforest that grows tallest over all the other trees. I couldn't find any information on how Clearwater Florida got some of these tree. In the winter there's a lot of unusual wildlife there but in the summer it slows down a bit. There weren't too many people there as well. Things were pretty quiet while I was there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birds of Davis Islands

Female grackle sitting on an abandoned boat.

The usual willets are always hanging out around the jetty.

The oystercatchers were pretty skittish. They would not let me get too close.

Spotted sandpiper.

A tern sitting on some type of buoy or anchor.

Nothing unusual was found on my trip to the Davis Islands yacht basin. Just the boring ole oystercatchers, willets and terns. It's still too hot to see anything good but soon the migrating birds will be coming through in bigger numbers and before you know it the eagles will back. I'm counting down the days for when it's no longer hot and the fun winter birds are here. It's only about 100 more days, give or take 10.

Check out more birds at CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An after work beach trip

Pelican hanging out before sunset. He looks like a juvenile. His feathers are so pretty.

Royal tern

Taking off.

Sandwich terns taking off.

Juvenile night heron turning from brown to gray. This was the first time I had seen a night heron that had just a few brown feathers left. He's almost an adult.

Just a few birds from my last trip to Redington Shores to see the baby skimmers. The beach had a few shorebirds on the beach right before sunset. I found the night heron hanging out at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. I was surprised to see the patch of brown still on him. I've never seen seen a night heron in mid molt. I've only seen the blue herons who start out white and then turn blue in mid molt. Night herons don't seem to show much emotion. They just sit there quietly.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hanging with the shrikes

I see the first shrike of the day on a wooden bench.

Then I realize there's a few more shrikes in the trees. I sat on a picnic table under the tree and was watching them. One flies onto the picnic table with a worm in it's mouth. It seemed to be showing me his catch. I had to get up and back up since he was to close to get a picture.

I spotted another one with a worm on the ground.

I finally started to leave and stopped along the seawall to take a picture of the jellyfish. This little guy flies down and sits right next to me. Was he trying to tell me something? He then flew over to the nearby tree. I followed him and took the below picture.

On my recent trip to Davis Islands, I must have seen at least 10 loggerhead shrikes. The most I've ever seen together at one time is 3. They were everywhere in the trees that run along the sea wall. They acted like they were used to having people around and got pretty close to me. They are tiny songbirds that hunt their prey like a hawk. I've always had a hard time getting decent pictures of the face with the black mask trying to hide their eyes. I was happy the sun was out and gave off good light that morning. I did use my flash on the one with the worm since he was sitting under the tree in the shade.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sights of Davis Islands - Skywatch Friday

A view from the yacht basin.

Jellyfish were floating along the top of the water along the basin. This is the first time I've seen them there.

Nice to be paddling and choking on that air.

A fun game of frisbee football going on.

Stingray floating by.

A view of downtown Tampa from Davis Islands. I was standing next to the dog beach.

I hadn't been over to Davis Islands to walk around for a while. I thought maybe there would be a breeze along the water. I was wrong again. Even in the early morning heat there were tons of people everywhere. The small dog beach was full. There was a paddleboarding lesson going on. Lots of people running, walking and biking. The sun was out in full force. No clouds until later on. I managed to find a few birds hanging around. More on those later.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Backyard birds

At 6:30 on a weekend morning I hear a bang, bang bang several times on something outside. It woke up hubby and myself. Hubby says half asleep "What was that?" I said "It sound like a woodpeck trying to drill on the metal drainpipe." He said "No way". I got out of bed and peaked out the window. Sitting on a branch, staring at the drainpipe was a downy woodpecker. I went and got my camera and took a couple of shots throught the bedroom window. He must have tried to bang on the drainpipe and realized it was metal.

Our neighborhood dove was trying to take a bath in our dried up boat cover. When it rains we get a little puddle in the front of the cover. For several days we've had doves taking baths there but then it dried up. I told hubby to run outside and spray the boat cover with the hose so the dove could get wet. He said "I'm not getting up off the couch to spray the hose so a dove can take a bath." I guess a trip to Home Depot for a real birdbath is in our near future.

A family of house sparrows has been hanging our the boat dock. I wonder if these were the same ones that were born here earlier this spring here.


All of the above pictures where taken through the bedroom window. If I walk outside the house sparrows fly off and hide in my neighbor's bushes. They do that when a hawk stops by as well. I'm still waiting for hubby to build me a nice air conditioned blind to put in the backyard.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baby skimmers all grown up

Juvenile skimmer staring at himself in the pictures. The cones above were stationed all over the beach area where the skimmers had been nesting.

Juvenile skimmer getting a drink a water. He kept his eye on me. This was my first time seeing a baby in the water.

Getting some shade under a sign (or hiding from the tourists).

All lined up.


Ready for take off. He didn't go very far.

Practicing their duet?

Parting shot.

I'm sure there's still a few straggler babies hanging around but by now most of these are gone. I took these a couple of weeks ago after work. I would think the parents are tired of staying in the same spot for several months and are ready to move on. I'm not sure if the babies go with the parents or take off on their own right away. Most of the year you won't find many skimmers on this stretch of beach so I probably won't head back here until early next spring. It was so much fun watching these little birds grow up but nerve wracking as well. Watching them fight over space and food. I saw a few ones that didn't make it. I'm not sure if there was an official count done but there had to have been at least 100 babies born in this little spot this year. Hopefully, next year I'll be back with a new batch of baby pictures.  Below is the 3 phases of the black skimmer.

Check out more birds at World Bird Wednesday.  CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Birds at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Green heron hiding in the trees.

Great blue heron posing in front of the St. Petersburg downtown skyline (way off in the distance).

Tricolored heron

Male anhinga looking up.

White ibis looking down.

Nothing different or unusual about these birds. This was all I could find at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. It was a hot walk and most of the birds were resting either high in the trees or close to the water to get a good breeze. The birds all looked lazy and sleepy. This was around 9am so they were already getting ready for a morning nap. I don't blame them. I managed to walk around the park for about 2 hours and then went home for my afternoon nap.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Non bird things at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

 I think this is a silk orb spider. Looks like there's a baby one with it.

Otter teasing me.

"Hey, I'm over here, otter."

He popped up far away and looked like he was eating something. I snapped quick but wasn't really ready for this shot. It didn't come out well but I realized when I cropped it up he was eating a small turtle. He chowed down for a few seconds, then went back down into the water.

A family of four raccoons went quickly scurring by me on the trail. The smallest one stayed back and climbed half way up the tree and was watching me. After a few seconds he climbed back down and hurried to catch up with his family.

This big slow guy wasn't going anywhere. He stopped munching on the grass for a few seconds and looked up.

Lily pad flower upclose. The water was full of them. Lots of tiny bugs hanging out on them.

I headed out on a recent hot Saturday morning to Boyd Hill Nature preserve in south St. Petersburg. I figured since the front trail was mostly shaded and went along a big lake then maybe there would be a nice breeze and it wouldn't feel so hot. I was wrong. Even the tons of alligators there stayed hidden under the water. I would have liked to be hidden under the water as well. I was walking along one of the boardwalks that goes over a section of the lake and and heard a snort. I realized it was an otter swimming around. It was the first time I had seen one at this park. I was so excited. Except he stayed in the shadows and mostly under the bushes hanging along the water so it was hard to get good pictures of him. He blended into the water most of the time. He was cute though and kept swimming around under the boardwalk. The bird sightings were disappointed but since I watched an otter play, passed a turtle and raccoon I still thought it was a pretty successful morning.