Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skies over Tampa bay - Skywatch Friday

Yes, that's an osprey sitting on the top of the boat. I wonder if he left any fish guts behind.

Another abandoned boat. Kay, a fellow blogger, made a comment recently about abandoned boats. They are everywhere here. I guess in this economy, people can't afford them anymore. Some are still in good shape and I think must have just gotten loose in a storm and it takes a while for the owner to find out and get it back. But, there are so many that are stranded that look pretty bad. And they sit there for months. The big one stranded across from Fort Desoto is still there. That's been sitting there for several months. It's really sad.

Beautiful skies over Tampa Bay.

Clouds over Tampa, from across the bay.

Another stop at the Safety Harbor fishing pier on my way home from work. It was a rare night that it wasn't raining. I thought the summer rains were suppose to stop by the end of September but it keeps happening here. I try to get out after work and most days its either pouring or about to. I wish I could get a really big fan and blow the rains across the gulf to Texas.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wild things at the zoo

First thing I saw at the zoo was a red bellied woodpecker. It was right at opening and no one else was around. The trees were full of them. Later when I was leaving I noticed they were all gone.

The zoo was full of these yellow flowers, which were full of bees.

Another late bloomer.  The above baby moorhen was swimming around the gibbon exhibit.

More butterfly art.

Yes, that's a gibbon holding on to the wing of an ibis. I was standing there looking at the baby moorhen when I heard a screaming from a bird. I looked over and the gibbon had grabbed the ibis by the wing when the ibis had wandered to close to the edge. I guess the gibbon thought it would be fun to play with. It was the mother gibbon who grabbed it. The baby gibbon was standing to the left of her.

The ibis started to peck at the gibbon with it's beak. The gibbon let go and was holding a handful of white feathers. I was about ready to jump in the pool to save the ibis (I'm sure the zoo would have loved that).

The captured ibis flew over to the wall once it was released. It seemed to be okay, just missing a few feathers.

On a recent weekend I was on call for work and needed to stay close to home. Since the zoo is only 15 minutes away I ran in for an hour. I hadn't been in several months. The last time I was there the baby spoonbills had left the nest and all I saw were a bunch of empty nests over the alligator exhibit. They won't be back until January or February. It was a pretty quiet morning. The biggest excitement was when the gibbon grabbed the ibis. Everyone was watching. I didn't have the exposure correct on those pictures. I was focusing on the baby moorhen which was swimming in the shadows but when I heard the screaming from the bird I looked over and snapped a couple of pictures really quickly.  The manatee hospital had two newly injured manatees that had arrived. Both were injured from boat strikes. They were in the back pool being fed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chesnut park

That's a big pine cone he's got.

Female cardinal staring at me.

Carolina wren looking up in the trees.

This is either a Louisiana waterthrush or a northern waterthrush. They are so similar. I'd have to see them side by side to compare.  It was a first one for me.

Butterfly art.

Still pretty quiet in the parks a few weeks ago. It's hard to get out and find different things when I've only got Saturday mornings to look right now. Things have been pretty busy with work and a trip to South Dakota (more on that later). I took the above on a hot Labor Day weekend Saturday morning.  But things are looking up. Migration is happening now (although work is keeping me from a most of it) and soon things will cool off a bit. 

Check out more birds at CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oh, deer me!


Finally! After going to Chesnut Park in north Pinellas county so many times in the last 2 years, I get some pictures of the deer. It was 8:30 in the morning and I was pulling into a parking spot when they came running by. They stopped at the edge of the woods right in front of me. At first I thought they would run into the swampy woods before I could even get my camera out. Four of the six did but two hung around along the edge for a while. I opened my car door and stood next to it and took the above quickly. Eventually, they all headed into the woods. I looked for them on the boardwalk but never did see them again. Last week, one of my coworkers said she saw 17 deer on the baseball field while biking one afternoon. One of these days I'm going to head up there later in the day to see what else I can find that I don't see in the mornings.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rain on Gandy beach

Laughing gull taking a bath.

Least sandpiper taking a bath.

BIG and little.  Juvenile laughing gull on the left and least sandpiper on the right. I forget how small those sandpipers are until I see them next to a gull.

Least sandpiper walking around.

Dowitcher digging around for something.

Sandwich tern with a mouthful.

I stopped on the Gandy bridge beach on the way home from work hoping for some lightning pictures. The rain came but no lightning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Almost night in the backyard - Skywatch Friday

A Saturday night in the backyard. The sun was going down behind the palm tree.

More sunset.

Blue heron on my neighbor's dock. The sun was almost down and I tried to use my flash to get better light but I didn't have much reach.

My shutter frog came out a little early. I usually only see him after it's dark.

A lizard on a plant in my screened in porch. They sneak in under the screened door but we have to make sure they don't get in the house.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A morning with some pelicans

Goin fishing!

Gotta mouthful of fish.

Cruizin for fish.

What a headrush!

Snoozin time.

Flyby in the big city.

"Yuck, that fish gives me the burps."

Gotta itch.

Another mouthful.

One of the best things about the St. Petersburg Pier is all of the pelicans. You can buy bait fish and feed them yourself and have your picture made doing it but it's more fun to watch them dive for fish. There's always a few crashing into the water head first. The docks are full of pelicans sleeping, yawning and scratching. They live their lives in full view for everyone to watch. I saw 2 pelicans sharing a pole and kept rubbing beaks. I'm guessing they're a couple. I didn't see any real hanky pank going on but baby season is over for a while. The closer it got to lunchtime the less they were feeding and most of them were settling down for a mid-day nap.

Monday, September 19, 2011

St. Petersburg Pier

Great blue heron sitting on the sea wall.

Flowers around the pier.

Scruffy looking grackle with a green grasshopper.

Great blue with his army of white ibis.

Sailing lessons in the bay.

It's always fun to watch the kids taking sailing lessons in the bay near the pier. They follow the leader in the small boat and practice zig zagging around the area. The wind was blowing pretty hard this morning. But, it was warm air so it still felt hot. My highlight of the morning was watching the grackle trying to eat the grasshopper. I didn't see him catch it. I walked up on him with it in his mouth. It took him a while to get it in his beak correctly to swallow it down. Or, maybe he was just trying to decide whether he really wanted to eat that wiggly bug. Maybe I should have offered him some ketchup to help it go down. The best thing about the pier is all of the pelicans that hang around. More on those later.

Check out more birds at CLICK THIS PICTURE!