It was a quiet morning on the Dunedin causeway and I noticed a lot of sleeping shorebirds. After my walk I got my camera out of my car and started snapping the shorebirds. I found a lone black bellied plover mixed in with a lot of dowitchers. When I cropped this up I noticed the little dunlin on the right.
I usually only see large flocks of laughing gulls here so it was great to see all of the dowitchers sleeping together. Some were trying to nap and some were feeding. There were a few dunlins and ruddy turnstones mixed in as well.
My camera could only catch a small portion of them at a time.
Some were flying in and out of the sleeping group.
A little farther down the beach I found a lone skimmer.
I’m still going through my pictures from Fort Desoto in late October. So many shorebirds there at that time. Tons of gulls, terns and skimmers. The 2nd shot is of red knots, feeding before their trip south for the winter.
Many of the birds were taking baths before it got dark.
An uncommon herring gull.
Not sure what kind of snack this laughing gull has.
Some of the smaller shorebirds. Yellowlegs, dowitcher, a black bellied plover and a tiny snowy plover that was smaller than this pile of sand.
It’s weird to see turkey vultures on the beach. They were really in the muck at low tide. The one on the right had a small piece of fish under his foot that he was eating.
Great egret flyby.
This kid was throwing his frisbee into the birds. Why is it so fun to watch the birds flush? Someone walked over to him and asked him to stop and explained that the birds needed their rest before they migrate for the winter. He really just didn’t know. He stopped and went back to his family.
Heading home back into Tampa right before dark, I saw the moon coming up and had to stop and take a picture.
Black bellied plovers at different stages of molting. The one in the top picture has more black feathers and is still in his summer colors. The bottom one has lost most of his black feathers. He’ll be mostly white through the winter. The middle one was chewing on something yummy.
The ruddy turnstone also had something yummy to eat. The ruddy in the bottom picture still has his summer feathers.
It was strange seeing the osprey in the water with the laughing gulls. I caught him as he was finishing taking a bath. After a few minutes he took off.
A dowitcher walking the shore line.
Birds on the beach and fishing pier at Fort Desoto in late September.
I made a quick trip to Fort Desoto one night after work. I got there right before dark and the shorebirds were already trying to sleep. The sun was going down and they were settling in for the night. The east beach was full of dunlins, dowitchers, sanderlings and the usual terns and gulls.
A marbled godwit trying to sleep in the middle of dowitchers.
A lost oystercatcher. “Excuse me, can someone tell me where the restroom is?”
A few willets mixed in.
Giving me the eye.
A shorebird convention.
“Can you please keep your peeping down? Us oystercatchers are trying to sleep.”
A young laughing gull.
A “loud as usual” laughing gull.
Dowitchers busy looking for breakfast.
Taking a break from the crowd.
I think this is a Forester’s tern in non-breeding colors. Could also be a common tern.
Shorebirds are starting to move through the area. For the past month, there’s been almost no birds at the north beach marsh at Fort Desoto. When I went in late July, the marsh area was starting to fill up with birds. Mostly dowitchers, willets and marbled godwits. It was the usual hot sunny perfect morning on the beach.
An oystercatcher couple were feeding along the shoreline right when I walked out on the beach.
Upclose. He was digging pretty deep.
A dowitcher also digging for food.
It was dig deep day at the beach. Even the ibis were doing it.
A snowy egret cruising for tiny fish.
Turtle nests were everywhere at the park. I’ve never seen so many nests there before. The rangers keep them roped off and has even relocated a nest if the turtle lays the eggs right in the middle of a main tourist area. Taken with my Iphone. Update – on 7/20, the park reported having 86 turtle nests there. This is a record!
A busy day for some photographers. I think they were shooting a great blue heron. When you fly down from across the country, you’re out there concentrating and getting the most for your day. Kind of like what I did when I was in Arizona for vacation. Every day was packed. It’s nice to know I can stop by here for a leisure stroll and get pictures if I happen to see something fun. The guy in the bright blue shirt is the famous photographer, Moose Peterson. I have his book Captured and love it. I stayed away from his group since I knew they were busy but I have chatted with him before in the parking lot a few years ago.
Before I left the park, I stopped by the fishing pier to see if anything interesting was going on. There’s always snowy egrets chasing after dropped bait fish.
A great blue heron staring down at me from the shelter.
Someone had asked me how I had gotten the close up pictures of the bird’s face looking down at me. I took the above with my Iphone. There are several rain shelters on the pier and the birds hang out on the roof. You can walk right up to the edge of the roof and they stare down at you. They want to know if you’re going to throw them some food or fish.
Crazy cormorant on the light post was giving me a big yawn.
Overhead, a frigatebird flies by.
“Sailing takes me away…”
Off into the wild blue yonder! The view from the end of the pier.
Another perfect hot sunny morning at Fort Desoto park.
“Excuse me, are you guys Franklin’s gulls?” I said to these two. One gull said “Almost. Franklin’s gulls have a white chest and more black on their head.” The other gull said “And they have a little shorter beak than we do.” “Yea, we’re just plain ole laughing gulls that haven’t grown up yet.”
“Excuse me, can you stop preening so I can see if you’re a Franklin gull” I said. He said “I’m not one either lady.”
I kept looking in the big flock of birds on the beach. “Hey, you look different” I said to this one. He was half asleep.
“Hey Franklin gull, wake up. This lady’s been looking for you” said the laughing gull.
“Another fan. How boring.” said the Franklin gull.
“Okay lady, get your picture.”
I said “Can’t you at least stand up for a minute?” He said “Nope, I’m going back to sleep.”
At least the big herring gull stood up for me.
This juvenile herring gull was picking at a dead fish.
“Don’t take my breakfast, lady.”
A ring billed gull flies overhead.
Not a gull but a dowitcher. There were a lot of these on the beach.
It was a foggy Saturday morning. I went down to Fort De Soto because I heard there was a summer tanager and a few western kingbirds hanging around the parking lot area near the fishing pier. I got down to the park around 8:30am and there were already a lot of birders looking for both birds. No sighting at that point. We all walked around for at least an hour with no luck so I decided to run over to the beach and see if by miracle the Franklin’s gull was there. This was my 4th time looking for that silly gull. I didn’t see him anywhere near the pier. I walked back over to the wooded area where the other birds were seen and the tanager had just been sighted (more on that one later). We were all standing there staring up in trees when someone said they had just seen the Franklin but he was much farther down the beach. After taking a handful of pictures of the tanager, I drove down to the other end of the beach and walked around looking for him. This time I got lucky. A huge flock of gulls were sleeping together and there he was with his dark head. It was nice that the sun came out for a second right when I saw him. By then it was lunchtime so I snapped a bunch of pictures and headed home.