Our Natural Places

Archives

Stepping into the warm water of Tampa Bay, a school of mullet moved ahead of me as though it was one large organism. Occasionally one would jump and smack the water’s surface and I would once again wish for proficiency in the art of throwing a cast net. A much larger splash behind me turned out to be a Brown Pelican crashing onto a school of sardines. The East Beach turnaround is… Read More

Is anticipation an emotion? We had been traveling in darkness for about an hour. The eastern sky began to lighten and in the distance shadowy urban landscapes formed a backdrop for the expansive Tampa Bay. Scanning the water’s surface below the tall Sunshine Skyway Bridge, we hoped for a glimpse of dolphins, pelicans, terns or schools of sardines rippling the blue-green water. To the west, the lighthouse at Egmont Key faithfully flashed… Read More

(Header image: Buff-breasted Sandpiper) Today’s title may seem like an oxymoron, but species defined as shorebirds spend a lot of time at places other than the shore, such as mud flats, marshes, agricultural fields and even forests. During migration, shorebirds stop at historically food-rich locations to refuel and rest on their annual trek. Even commercial sod farms. Green. Horizon to horizon. Small tractors scuttled around the fields and large flatbed trucks trundled… Read More