The star of the spring migration weekend at Fort Desoto was the rose breasted grosbeak. They were everywhere, eating in the mangroves and not shy at all.
The blue winged warbler was also not shy.
More shots of the Tennessee warbler although we think there were several there.
A prothonotary warbler hopping around.
I had to take some phone shots of the crowd. “What are you guys looking at?” was what we heard from people passing by. We were in the far corner of the park so there wasn’t a lot of traffic. It was actually a lot of fun with people calling out what they see. Everyone was quiet and friendly.
A secluded spot at the park.
Fall out is an exciting term for birders. It means a storm came through earlier and the birds stopped to spend a few days in the park resting and eating before finishing their trip back up north for the summer.
This laughing gull was trying hard to flirt with his mate. He brought her several fish and continued to yell even as they were being stalked by a ruddy turnstone who was probably trying to get a fallen piece of fish.
He tried to mate but she wasn’t not having any part of it and knocked him off.
He brought her another fish and at that point people were walking down the fishing pier so they flew off.
In late April, Brett and I decided to head down to Naples for a couple of days. We had not been to this part of Florida before and always passed the signs to get off when we’re driving over to Fort Lauderdale to visit his family. It’s only a little over 2 hours away so it was nice to throw a bag in the car and be on vacation so quickly. Naples is very different from the beach area in Tampa bay. Much more quiet and secluded. Except for our first night there, we decided to go to the public pier after dinner to see the sunset and since it was a Sunday night, so did everyone else. I’m glad we went since it was cloudy the remaining nights we were there.
Summer Tanagers only come through the Tampa bay area twice a year during spring and fall migration. The only place I can usually find them during that time is in the woods at Fort Desoto. In mid-April the woods were full of them including young ones that were just starting to turn red and still had some of their yellow baby feathers.
Female summer tanagers are all yellow.
A few of the orange and black birds were there including the orchard oriole and the American redstart above.
The female orchard oriole is also all yellow.
A cute little wood pewee.
A Tennessee warbler.
Also flying in the mangroves.
Most of the birds on this particular Saturday morning were feeding in the mangrove bushes along the road. Huge crowds had gathered to see the birds and the people who were coming into the park to fish or hit the beach were slowing down trying to figure out what we were all staring at. People would stop in their cars and ask us what we were looking at. “Birds” was the answer. They looked at us like we were crazy. It was a fun morning to be crazy.
Tricolored herons are always fun to watch. They are really pretty when they are ready to mate. I mean, how many other animals have their legs turn from gray to bright pink in the spring?
Snowy egrets are always making a fuss.
The great egrets were also showing off with those red eyes.
This is a sad story but happens in nature. There was a nest near the boardwalk with three almost grown babies that had apparently been abandoned by the parents. Maybe something happened to the lone parent? Meanwhile, a mean adult snowy egret decided it wanted that nest instead of building her own and she was going to steal it from the babies. She spent all morning trying to push the babies off the nest. One had been poked in the face and was bleeding. The sad thing is that if the original parents did not come back, those 3 babies were probably going to starve. They are too young to feed themselves. They were sticking together and fighting off the intruder. She eventually left that morning but may have come back later to try again. Gatorland won’t interfere because it’s common for this to happen in nature. I’ve seen it happen before in a park where we couldn’t reach the nest. It’s a tough life out there for these birds.