Monday, May 07, 2012

Beach and Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder

Lutz, Florida

Saturday night, we got this bright idea to get up early and head to the beach to watch the sunrise.

We decided to go to Fort Desoto Park, which is one of the few places on the Gulf coast where you can actually watch the sunrise over the water.  It’s about a 70 minute drive, so in order for us to get up, get ready and get there, we set the alarm for 4am. 

Well, someone (me) kept hitting the snooze button for an hour, so of course we missed the sunrise.  over.   Oh well, better luck next time! 

We went over to the north beach area, which has always been our favorite part of the beach.  Fort Desoto Park is a huge park with 1136 acres,  and there are lots of places to go. 

Map picture

There is a very nice (and pricey) campground that we’ve stayed at before with smaller rigs.

We wanted to double check and see if we could get our current motorhome into any of the sites.  I was concerned more about the campground roads, more  than the actual sites.    I think we could easily get around the roads and we found quite a few sites we could get in.

The following site 185 has a coach like ours.  They seemed to fit fine. It’s a waterfront site.

Fort Desoto campsites, site 185

The next is site 188, and appears to be plenty large.

Fort Desoto campsites, site 188

A squirrel peeking out of the wildlife proof trash cans.

squirrell in dumpster



We headed to the north beach area which has always been our favorite because it is remote and most people don’t go there.

However, someone had the bright idea to add a lifeguard stand there and make it more public.

How ugly is this?

Fort Desoto North Beach area

Part of the problem is serious beach erosion and a lot of the beautiful white sand has washed away.  Beaches come and go naturally and a beach that is beautiful today might not look so pretty in a few months.   The state of Florida constantly spends millions of taxpayer dollars   “renourishing” beaches.

So our favorite beach had really changed since we were last there.  You could really see the erosion of the beautiful sugar white sand.

As we walked around towards the inlet, it started to look more like we had remembered.

They had planted hundreds of Sea Oaks to try to re-establish the sand dunes.  Unfortunately, we saw a lot of them laying on top of the sand.  We re-planted a few.

sea oats plugs

This part of the beach is a favorite for photographers and you can usually see Roseatte Spoonbills there.  (none yesterday)

Fort Desoto North Beach area

There are lots of birds.

A Ruddy Turnstone, I think.

Ruddy Turnstone

A common Snipe?

Common Snipe

Dowitcher snipe family


sugar white sand is very fine and soft.

Fort Desoto north Beach


shells at fort desoto beach

We brought our chairs, books and new beach umbrella, but there was no breeze at all and no way were we going to sit there with no breeze.  The afternoon seabreeze usually picks up, but it was still and hot without it.

We left that area and went over to the fishing pier. 

fishing pier at fort desoto

We were treated to a mother and baby dolphin putting on a great show.   A couple of times they jumped straight up, but my trigger finger was too slow to get a good picture.

At first they were right under the pier, but then swam a little further out.  That is the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background.

mama and baby dolphin at skyway

This is a ferry boat that will take you over to Egmont Key (island).  I think it’s a bit pricey at $20 per person for a 5 minute ride.


Am I just getting cheap, or are prices going insane? 

They now charge $5 to get into Fort Desoto park, which had always been free until the last year or two.  I don’t really mind that though.  The local zoo is $24, which I think is crazy!

From the pier, we could see the dog beach and it looked like a fun place to visit.  Most of the dogs were not swimming, but just playing in the sand with the other dogs.  They were having a great time.

dog beach

Was this dog spoiled, or what?  He was floating and his owner was walking!

dog beach

It was starting to get too hot out and the sea breeze hadn’t kicked in, so we decided to leave and drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge.


This is the second Sunshine Skyway bridge. The first was destroyed on May 9, 1980 when it was hit and knocked down by a large ship during a blinding rain storm.    It was during rush hour traffic and 35 people plunged do their deaths when the span of the bridge collapsed.  One man survived the fall when his car went over and landed on the ship.

You can read more about it here.  They built a new bridge after the disaster and much of the old bridge remains as a fishing pier and recreation area.  It was a sad day in Tampa, I can tell you and I remember it well.

Here are a few pics going over the bridge yesterday.  The old bridge was scary when you drove over it.  This one isn’t.


The new, larger cruise ships won’t fit underneath it, but its pretty high.


It was a night day, but would have been much nicer if it had been 10 degrees cooler!


Baxter is now 9 months old.  He weighed in at 12 pounds yesterday. 

Shoe comparison, after

Baxter at 9 months and 12 pounds

Shoe comparison, before

kitten with shoe

For my bird watching friends, here is a squirrel proof bird feeder.  


The baffle will absolutely keep the squirrels from getting into the feeder….as long as the feeder is far enough away from any trees where they can jump from. It can be disassembled for travel.

They will climb the pole, but can’t get past the baffle.  Trust me.  It works!


  1. What a great blog Karen! Full of information and great pictures! AND whole sand dollars!!! I've only found pieces of them on the west and gulf coast...

    I'm kind of surprised you didn't get any photo's of the "super" moon though! I tried here, but a low cloud bank made us miss the initial bigness so all we got was just a moon... =0/

    1. I planned on getting some supermoon pictures, but unfortunately waited until it got pretty high in the sky and then it didn'd looke like a supermoon!

  2. It seems that as state budgets get tighter, they are finding lots of "fees" to raise money - many of them directed at visitors since they figure that if you are from out of state that you can't vote. Maryland is becoming especially bad about doing this !

  3. We will definitely have to put this beach on our ever growing list of places to visit. Your kitty is cute!

  4. GREAT post Karen and we also love Fort Desoto Park ~ have spent many of weekends and vacations there when the kids were young. Loved the photos!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  5. Awww love the After and Before pics of Baxter with the same sandal! How cute...

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  6. I thought it said, "Moose and Squirrel"
    Never mind.

  7. I just love Fort Desoto and it's been a long time since we've been there because of the prices and the difficulty of getting reservations. Thanks so much for the site suggestions. Hope you'll let us know if you can ever book those sites. :-)

    Great comparison photos on Baxter. He is really gorgeous. Oh dear, guess I should say handsome. wouldn't want to hurt his feelings.

  8. Been reading your blogg for a frew months now and really enjoying it thanks! The Berry'sRV travel 's


  9. very useful information you shared with us..thanking you..

  10. I wanna try this method in sometime.. hope it will work for me...


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