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In 2011, I reported an unusual dolphin behavior that I likened to scrimmaging in football. The football metaphor was a useful way to describe how small groups of dolphins lined up side by side, faced each from several feet away, rushed at each other, and dove at the last minute before colliding.

At the time, I could not say what they were doing. I could only say what they were not doing. They were not fighting. They were not having sex. They were socializing in an apparently choreographed competition like “scrimmaging” without a football!

I got some pushback on that football metaphor. “Hrrumphf! Dolphins playing football. Bah! Our dolphin lady is a bit of a crack pot, eh?”
 ... Read More 
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With March only a few days away, we are already experiencing spring-like conditions throughout the region. Water temperatures are on the rise this week, now holding steady in the low 70s. Fish are moving around much more than a month ago.

Recent trips have produced good numbers of snook. As the water warms more, snook will continue to migrate their way out of the creeks to nearby flats to feed during the afternoon incoming tide.

The coveted “Inshore Slam” for our region is catching a redfish, trout and snook in the same trip, a feat that has been fairly easy this past week. We are catching more redfish lately primarily due to the presence of more snook on the flats. The snook are typically much more aggressive than the redfish and as they get excited, chasing baits, the redfish follow the sounds of the commotion and join in the frenzy.
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DUNEDIN - The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s next “Boating Skills & Seamanship” course will be taught in five two-hour sessions scheduled for March 6, 8, 11, 13 and 15.

Class times are 7-9 p.m. on week nights and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Saturday session.

Register by Feb. 27 to receive course materials prior to the class.
 ... Read More 
ST. PETERSBURG - Five Pinellas County sailors placed among the tops in their divisions in the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta that concluded Feb. 19 in St. Petersburg.

Jim Lindsey of St. Petersburg, skippering “Sight Seeing,” tied with Seth Rosenthal of Crystal Beach aboard “Shock Wave” to take top honors amongst five yachts in the J 24 division.

Raymond Mannix of Largo on “Semper Fi” bested eight other craft to take first in the PHRF 2 division, while Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg, skippering “Warrior,” came in second in a field of 11 in the PHRF 1 division.
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ST. PETERSBURG - The Garden Club of St. Petersburg will host several events in March. Programs are presented at 500 Sunset Drive S., St. Petersburg.

For information or to register, call 727-381-8920.

The following programs will be presented in March:
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, February 15
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LARGO - Walking through Eagle Lake Park in Largo, it’s easy to forget you’re in an oasis of green space located in the heart of bustling Pinellas County.

Wandering along the county’s 163-acre park’s crushed-shell trails and 2,000 feet worth of shaded boardwalks while observing dozens of species of flora and fauna, the speeding traffic on nearby Keene Road is reduced to a low hum, and the only congestion inside the park’s borders comes in the form of birdwatchers and nature lovers, joggers and dog walkers and kids playing at the playground.
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The good citizens of Gulf Boulevard may recall a local female bottlenose dolphin, Babyface, who was run over by a boater in July 2015. That instant blitz of a whirling propeller sliced her tailstock deeply in three places, leaving nubs of skin between brutal blows.

Miraculously, she survived to face more challenges from life at sea.

One development is so preposterous, you wonder what really goes on out there: a natural amputation! Shortly before Christmas, Babyface hunted in the shadows of the veterans hospital with schoolmates. She swims like they do now, which means she rarely shows her tailstock. You can watch her for a long time without seeing her signature scars.
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Spring cold fronts are really beginning to stack up, coming through every three days like clockwork. On the bright side, the cold air and rainy conditions brought in by these fronts won’t stick around long.

This is a typical pattern for this time of year and with rising water temperatures, fishing should quickly rebound after the cold front, giving us three, possibly four, good days out of the week to fish.

Sheepshead fishing is improving as schools of larger sized fish group up for their spawn. Pass bridges and jetties are places to look when targeting the bigger fish. Use fresh pieces of shrimp fished on either a jig head or a small hook with a split shot for weight. Also, now is a good time to have a few pompano jigs on hand. Especially when fishing in or near the passes, look for the pompano to stage up and feed on the strong part of the tide. The first thing in the morning or early evening is the best time to trick these tasty speedsters.
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LARGO - McGough Nature Park is the new home of two vultures. Vlad, a male black vulture, suffered a shotgun injury that broke his wing and the young female turkey vulture, Ember, was found in Michigan with a broken wing and was moved to Oklahoma.

Because of both birds’ injuries, they are no longer suited to live in the wild and have found a permanent residence at the Narrows Environmental Education Center.

The birds will join the park’s birds of prey program, which features several owls, hawks and an American bald eagle.
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TREASURE ISLAND - All seniors age 55 and over and their guests are invited to head to Treasure Bay Golf, 10315 Paradise Blvd., Thursdays at 4 p.m. to hit “Closest to the Pin” for cash prizes.

No preregistration is required; players just need to show up and register at 4 p.m. for an immediate tee-off. The more players, the more the cash prizes! Cost is $20 per player, cash only, and it includes both greens and entry fee.

Treasure Bay Golf offers a fun and challenging 9-hole, par-3 walking golf course overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, February 8
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LARGO - It’s long been understood that dogs are a man’s best friend. But Charlie Kemp and his Australian cattle dog, Molly, have taken that adage to the extreme.

Kemp, 47, and Molly, 1, recently became the first human-canine tandem to complete the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial, a 250-mile bike trek/endurance test that is difficult enough to complete for an individual, let alone a person toting more than 100 pounds of bicycle and supplies, plus his pooch in a trailer, across hundreds of miles of mixed terrain.
 ... Read More 
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Slow fishing throughout much of the region seems to be the common theme right now. Big weather swings over the last week and a half and the absence of strong moving tides are no doubt to blame. Good moving tides by the end of this week should get the fishing back on track to where it was just a couple of weeks ago.

With a full moon approaching, this weekend’s tides should provide some good action for redfish. Afternoon low incoming tides have been productive for reds all winter long and bigger high tides by the weekend should allow for plenty of time to pattern the fish. Targeting schools of mullet will put you in the right area; as the tide moves in pay attention to how fast the mullet are making their way up to the mangroves. This will let you know when it’s time to move up a little. Target no-motor zone flats throughout the Intracoastal as well as some of the expansive grass flats in the northern portion of Tampa Bay.
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Florida is home to five owl species, with a few other species as visitors from time to time. The smallest of our resident species, the Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio is just now beginning its nesting season in Central Florida. You will often hear its descending whistle call before you actually spot the 7-10 inch owl as they are very well camouflaged animals.

The Eastern Screech Owl is found throughout Florida in a wide variety of habitats from swamps to pine and oak forests, and urban and suburban areas. The tricky part about spotting Screech Owls is their feather pattern makes them very good at blending in with their surroundings. But, if you have a snag (standing, dead tree) in your yard or somewhere nearby, look for a large, circular hole, about 3 inches in size. If you find a tree with a cavity like this, it might be a woodpecker nest, or it could be the home of a Screech Owl!
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TIERRA VERDE - Tampa Bay Watch will host the fourth annual Bay Life art exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the organization’s Marine and Education Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde.

A collaborative art exhibit and sale, the exhibit will feature eight distinguished Florida wildlife artists. The center will be open to the public during the exhibit. Admission is free.

Guests can meet the artists and enjoy a live informational pastel demonstration by one of the Bay Life artists. There will be kids’ activities by the Morean Arts Center. Artists generously donate a portion of all proceeds from art sales to support the mission of Tampa Bay Watch.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News