|The Admiral just spotted a woodpecker at McKay Bay Nature Park..she told me to not move...to late!|
|This is the first Glossy Ibis we have ever seen, lots of White Ibis though everywhere.|
|This is the Manatee aquarium at Tampa Lowry Park Zoo|
|Siamang Gibbons my favorite, check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znczPematUA&feature=related|
|Amazing how they swung through the air so easy.|
|The Baby white Rhino was fun to see.|
|Out on our evening walk, it is about 1/2 mile from our boat to the end of the outermost end of the marina seawall.|
|A different sunset every evening, always sets behind the Gandy Bridge that goes from Tamps to St. Pete|
|This is taken from the end of the marina seawall near the little rookery island.|
|This is looking across the marina towards the Yacht club facility in the center.|
|These 3 baby Blue Herons make a lot of noise asking mom for food.|
|This little blue heron is in its breeding colors.|
|This was the night of the Big Moon...I wondered how many of us was looking at it at the same time?|
This is what is says on the Tampa City website:
“McKay Bay Nature Park showcases McKay Bay as a national avian sanctuary, where bird- and wildlife-watching opportunities abound. A 0.17-mile boardwalk trail winds through the mangroves toward the extensive mudflats of McKay Bay. Many species of wading birds forage, particularly in winter months. Birds may also be viewed with spotting scopes from either the park's observation tower/education pavilion, located on the east side, or the bird-viewing station on the west side. A paved 1.25-mile multi-use path leads through the park and circles the peninsula to the south. A half-mile nature trail also traverses this 38-acre nature preserve.”
We drove over there to spend a day of birding. It is located just a few blocks south of Tampa on the industrial side. It is immediately adjacent to a asphalt recycling plant, the cities re-cycling plant, and a huge storage lot of city stuff like signs, portable barriers, etc.
When you enter the park it looks pretty nice but as you walk along the paved trail you get a good dose of industrial city stuff and smells. We were determined though to see the whole park and try to find some birds. It paid off as we turned a corner and there was three large detention ponds with lots of birds. We saw a Glossy Ibis that we have never seen before. The paved trail ended at McKay Bay where there was a lot of dirt moving machines reshaping large areas of terrain. We later learned this is all part of a diversion channel that diverts large amounts of rain runoff into McKay Bay to prevent flooding. On the way out we found a boardwalk trail. The boardwalk had seen better days and you had to watch your step as it wound through a very large section of mangroves. It was kinda freaky since a lot of the mangroves seemed dead (from pollution?) and we were the only ones right out in the middle of it. The Admiral saw a woodpecker high up on a palm tree far away and told me to be still. I moved and the woodpecker flew. I got in trouble. I wondered if the asphalt re-cycling plant was responsible for killing the mangroves? Anyway we were happy to see a couple of new birds and just as we were walking back to our little truck the Admiral spotted a couple of songbirds to make the trip complete. On the way back to the marina I decided to take a little detour and drive through Harbour Island which is also located almost downtown Tampa. I thought we could find a little park there to eat our picnic lunch. Nope, almost the whole island is gated The general public can only drive on and immediately drive right back off, there are of course a few blocks of restaurants and shops which we saved for another day. We took our picnic next door to Davis Island and had our picnic at the marina there.
The Admiral found the Tampa Bay Calendar website that list all the stuff going on around the area and of course we like to find almost free stuff to do since there is plenty of it around here. She decided we should go to the Tampa Lowry’s Park Zoo on $5 day
The Zoo was Voted #1 by Parents Magazine and had to wonder about that. I had never heard of the Tampa zoo anyway. Well I now know why it was voted number1 by Parents Magazine…it is because of $5.00 day when every baby momma and baby daddy and all there children (aka lots of germs) within a 100 mile range show up. We managed to bob and weave our way through the maze of strollers to find the areas of this really large Zoo that would interest us. We loved the Manatee exhibit. You could see them and their babies in a huge underwater viewing area. The Baby White Rhino was fun to see as well, it is now 11 months old. The entire African section was huge and all the animals looked very healthy with babies in most of the species groups. Since we have yet to see Pink Flamingos in the wild they were fun and we got to see Sandhill Cranes up close, we have only seen large flocks flying in the distance. My favorite, which definitely made this one of the best zoos I have seen, were the Siamang Gibbons:
These guys put on a big show and a zoo volunteer explained to us all about the sounds that were coming from these animals. The parents were teaching their young their families song. These monkeys were swinging high through the air with great ease. I love monkey’s and when they put on a show like this it made my day. I explained to the Admiral that when I was about 7 years (1958) old my family took a month trip to Florida and as we were leaving Florida somewhere on the West coast we stopped at a beach souvenir shop. They had small baby alligators for $1 and little spider monkey’s for $5. I wanted that monkey, my mother almost let me have it but I think my dad nixed it as he probably wondered what it would be like traveling all the way back to Texas in a car with a monkey. I still want a monkey, it could go up the mast and fix things.
Evening walks on the Marina Seawall
Each evening when the sun is almost down we take a stroll out to the end of the marina seawall. The sea breeze is always up, it is cool, the birds are out for their evening meal and the sunsets are always worth it. There are lots of mangroves where the birds love to feed at low tide. We got to see a very Little Blue Heron in its breeding colors that we have never seen before. The little island at near the end of the seawall is a small rookery and the Admiral has discovered a nesting family of Great Blue Herons so she likes to check on their progress. We thought there were just 2 babies but we discovered last night there are three.
Coming in the next Post:
Trip to Sarasota