Rhino Love

Driving home from my morning workout at the Vinoy Fitness Center several weeks ago, I spotted some non-indigenous wildlife in a yard along Coffee Pot Boulevard between 22nd Avenue and 23rd Avenue. Then, earlier this week as I drove by the same house, I saw the same wild animal, but with a new twist – I have to admit that I laughed out loud! Good enough to motivate me to bring my camera the next day.
So, from me, and from the crazy, quasi-life sized Rhinoceros sculpture that lives in the yard on Coffee Pot Boulevard, Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!  (For a better look, please click on the picture – it will open a new window or tab with a high resolution version of this wonderful Rhinoceros!)

Posted in Art, Just For Fun, Photo Opportunity, St. Petersburg, Unexpected | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Pretty In Pink

This stunning Pink Tabebuia tree at the corner of Coffee Pot Boulevard and 23rd Avenue Northeast is always a joyous sight when February comes around. This year, thanks to a warm winter, it came into bloom a bit earlier than usual. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen several snapshots of it posted on various sites and Facebook pages, and The Times even published a photo.
For my take on it, i got up with the dawn on a recent Saturday morning, parked my car, and waited until the sun had just come up enough to illuminate the east face of the treee. I took shots from several different vantage points, but this one turned out to be my favorite. And, since Valentine’s Day is coming up, this just seemed like a great time to post this beauty, in all of its glorious pinkness! (Although the tree is pretty in this small image, please click on the photo to open a high resolution version in a separate window – it’s worth the effort, I promise!)

Posted in Just For Fun, Photo Opportunity, Plants/Gardens, St. Petersburg | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Roseate By Any Other Name…

I’ve heard folks call these beautiful birds flamingoes, pink Ibises, and a few other variants, but these photos, taken last Sunday in Coffee Pot Bayou, are actually of the Roseate Spoonbill.  The name fits – the Roseate works for the gorgeous color of the bird, and the spoonbill for the unique, spoonlike bill that allows these guys to scoop along the bottom of the water in shallow wetlands and marshes. 

For anyone not familar with Coffee Pot Bayou, it’s a bayou just north of Northshore Park, running from Beach Drive to 30th Avenue North.  Not sure of the true source of the name – I’ve heard it said that it is supposed to resemble a coffee pot from the air, but when I look at a map, I can’t see it.  Others say that it’s because of the dark, coffee-colored water in the Bayou.  Who knows? 

Anyway, in the southern portion of Coffee Pot Bayou, there is a mangrove island, often referred to as Bird Island, that serves as quite a rookery for the lucky birds in this area.  Sometimes there are hundreds of birds roosting in and around the mangroves. It’s a great place for bird photography, and it certainly panned out for me last week!  (Please click on each photo to see a larger, high resolution version of the photos.)

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They Have Holly, We Have Palm Trees!

My wife and I were in New York City two weeks ago, enjoying the Holiday feel of the city and the cool, crisp air.  One of the most fun visuals, for me, was to see the Holly Trees that were everywhere, ablaze with bright red berries!  So rich and colorful and they definitely embody the Christmas spirit! 

Well, this morning, Wilson, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, had a little more of the ‘crazy’ in his eyes than he normally does, and I took that as a sign that he really wanted an extended walk.  It was 60 degrees out, so a perfect morning for a walk.  We headed downtown and walked around for a couple of hours.  And as we were walking along the sidewalk in front of the Vinoy Basin, a burst of color caught my eye from across the street.  We walked over to check it out and there, just in front of the Vinoy Place Condominiums, there was a Palm Tree with this gorgeous display of crimson red seeds.  Who needs Holly?  (Click on the photo to open it full size in a new window – much prettier that way!)

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Sailors Start Young in St Petersburg!

 It was a gorgeous morning as I finished my workout at the gym today.  I decided to drive around along the waterfront for a few minutes before heading back home and entering the reality of the work week.  As I neared Mahaffey Theater and The Dali Museum, I saw, off to my left, a fleet of tiny sailing ships, flying across the water! So, since my camera was handy, I found a good place to park and got this shot.  You can’t tell from this distance, but each of these sailboats was piloted by a lone sailor, and they all looked to be very young learners!

The St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s St. Petersburg Sailing Center holds a Summer Camp for teaching kids to sail.  They start as young as 5 years old, with a group called ‘Harbor Mice’ that accommodates five to seven year-olds.  Moving up, there is an eight to fourteen age group and a fourteen to seventeen age group, with each group accommodating either beginning or intermediate sailors.  There are, just out of the view of the camera, two small powerboats with the teachers/coaches/monitors aboard, and I could hear them calling out to each of the kids by name, encouraging them and guiding them. 

Fun to watch these kids, if you happen to have a few minutes and are nearby at this time of year!  And fun to know that we have so many cool things to do in St. Petersburg!  By the way, the Sailing Center also has memberships for adults and/or families, and those memberships include the use of Ideal 18′ sailboats at no additional charge on a first come/first served basis.  Learn more about the Sailing Center at this link

As always, I upload a high resolution version of my photos as well as the post/thumbnail version. So please click on the photo to open a new browser window and see the photo as it should be viewed!

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Madeira Beach, Friday Evening After the Storm

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A Different Kind of Eye Candy: Fireworks!

Yes, I realize that fireworks photos are a dime a dozen on the fifth of July.  But I can’t help myself – I have to post a few!  Ever since, as a young boy, my parents drove my little sister and I out to the beach to see our first fireworks display, I have been utterly, completely, and hopelessly entranced by their magic.  So, without any additional unnecessary commentary, here are my favorite three photos from the batch of pictures that I took last night while in downtown St. Pete for our fireworks show…

Please don’t settle for the previews that you see below – I always upload full resolution versions of my photos, so please click on the previews and then you’ll see the real things, in all of their glory!

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Just For Fun: A Splash of Color on a Gray Day

It’s a very gray day today in St. Pete, but even with the gentle rain that’s falling, my wife and I decided to head out to the nursery to pick up some new hanging plants for our front porch.  When we got to our favorite nursery (Willow Tree, on 49th Street North between 38th Ave and 54th Ave), we found the flowers that we wanted, but we also ran into this very colorful creation.  He was such a great contrast to the gray gloominess that I decided to feature him today, just to brighten up the day!


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Funny Looking 'Ducks'!

So, I was perusing a bunch of historic AP and UPI wire photos that have been acquired by someone and are for sale on eBay.  Found a few that I love and will be buying.  But this one cracked me up!  Not the photo, really, but the caption that was given to the photo.  I’m not sure who should be more insulted, Pelicans or Ducks!? Anyway, I had to post a screen shot of it here – yes, indeed, Florida Ducks!

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It's a Dog's Life!

It was a beautiful day today, and our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Wilson, seemed to want to get out to play.  So we took a fifteen minute drive and let him run free at the Fort DeSoto Dog Beach, where he had his pick of at least 40 other dogs to play with!  His retrieving skills have improved markedly over the past year, and his exuberance is unbounded!  Here he is, running and leaping back to us from his most recent retrieve, happy and eager to please!  In the background, a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, heading out from the Port of Tampa for a few days of glorious fun for those lucky souls on board.  Where else can you let your dog play, unfettered, in the Gulf of Mexico, while taking in sights such as this cruise ship in the background?  St. Petersburg is truly a great place to be! (As always, I have uploaded a high resolution version of the photo below, and it is much prettier to look at! Please click on the photo below to open the high-res version in another browser window.)

Posted in Just For Fun, Nearby Places, Photo Opportunity, St. Petersburg | 2 Comments