Recently I watched a television show called "Jon & Kate + 8" which is about a couple with two sets of multiples. That means they have 8 children but with only two birthdays so they give each child a "special" day when they alone go with mommy & daddy to do something fun. Since it can be hard to handle two rat terriers, much less a cranky chihuahua, at one time I decided to give my Daisey a special day with me - Eddie's will come later. I wanted to do a little bird watching, nothing too demanding, so I chose to go to the beach thinking there would be great shore bird watching. What I didn't consider is that most of the beach is blocked off by high rise condos or very expensive private homes. There are a few small city parks and some almost-hidden beach access areas for us regular folks but they don't allow dogs on the beach. I did find a nature preserve with a small dog park attached so that's where we started.....
There is a little information area (with restrooms, that's nice) and it had displays on the importance of sea grasses to help stop erosion and maintain habitat. I'm sure the boardwalk would have been interesting but dogs were prohibited :(
From the gazebo where Daisey and I sought shelter from the sun, there was a nice view and these two particular plants did an attractive job of framing that view.
Whoops! I got the photos out of order a bit. I've always thought these street markers were more attractive than the normal green and white variety - the sunburst is the stop for public transportation (known as the jolly trolly) and the fish sign is a mile marker and they are placed all along Gulf Blvd.
Here's the dog section of the preserve. It was a bit small but very clean. There is no seperation of big and small dogs and when we arrived a mid-sizer intimidated Daisey. The fence is kinda low and only a single gate opening. Obviously not designed by a dog owner. No watering hole either. There is a retention pond on the end if your dog likes wading and you aren't not afraid of alligators.
This photo demonstrates my frustration today with finding a place to watch shore birds. I am in the picnic gazebo shooting toward the road and you can see a house and then a high rise condo - both on the beach. This park is on the intercoastal side of the street.
Comfy gazebo with nice plantings and a nice breeze to help with the heat and intense sun. There were a couple of these. Next we were off the Sand Key.
There is a large Pinellas county park at Sand Key. I still couldn't get to the beach because I had Daisey (no dogs in beach area) and parking was metered. I only had 45 cents in change and that got me 21 minutes, LOL. Sandy key had a dog area with a bigger dog park and sections for small and large dogs. Also has a double entryway so no one escapes. Had a nice cooling station to water your pet, and spray or bath them as well. Several poop disposal areas too.
Daisey was on the scent of something. She sniffed and sniffed around the area.
She enjoyed walking around a bit while I enjoyed the shade and coolness under this awesome tree.
Oh, I did sneak into the parking lot of some huge hotel or condo and was able to park where I could see the intercoastal tide flats. I stayed just outside the car and was still able to identify a new bird for my life list. It was a Wilson's Plover. I'm sure I have seen them before but without a field guide never able to distinguish them from other similar plovers. Today I was able to see the black beak and the color of the legs. I was so excited I bought a Florida birdwatching book to help identify good spots for birding.