Windy day at the beach – Skywatch Friday

DSC_4262

Little sandpiper creeping around in the fog.

DSC_4254

Dowitchers watching  me as they walk by.

DSC_4266

Where did his head go?

DSC_4253

There were a lot of dowitchers on the beach that morning. I usually only see a few.

DSC_4270

The usual black bellied plover.

DSC_4308

Taking a bath in the back.

DSC_4272

It’s weird to see a palm warbler on the beach, walking around in the sand like he’s a shorebird.

DSC_4292

A few dunlins mixed in with the dowitchers.

DSC_4285

They were digging around in the old dried up seaweed on the shore.

DSC_4311

This one had seaweed all over his beak.

DSC_4276

Another windy, foggy, cloudy morning. Which meant the kiteboarders would be out.

DSC_4315

These guys were not at Fort Desoto. They were taking off from the beach along the Sunshine Skyway bridge, across the bay. Based on the direction of the wind, it was a better spot to kiteboard in.

A quiet morning at Fort Desoto since the weather was yucky.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Looking for a new gull.

DSC_2301

“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.”

DSC_2289

“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.”

DSC_2439

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.

DSC_2434

“Hey Franklin gull, wake up. This lady’s been looking for you” said the laughing gull.

DSC_2429

“Another fan. How boring.” said the Franklin gull.

DSC_2423

“Okay lady, get your picture.”

DSC_2412

I said “Can’t you at least stand up for a minute?” He said “Nope, I’m going back to sleep.”

DSC_2419

At least the big herring gull stood up for me.

DSC_2320

This juvenile herring gull was picking at a dead fish.

DSC_2314

“Don’t take my breakfast, lady.”

DSC_2267

A ring billed gull flies overhead.

DSC_2260

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.

Early November birds at Fort De Soto

DSC_8345

Another plover on the beach.

DSC_8349

This short billed dowitcher didn’t even bother looking up.

DSC_8380

The palm warblers really like having their picture taken.

DSC_8420

Kestrel on a branch. I usually only see them on the utility lines.

DSC_8369

Hawk looking for something in the grass.

DSC_8458

One of the Fort De Soto eagles on top of the utility tower in the middle of the park. Two years ago their nest in the tree got knocked down during a storm and they moved to the tower. The nest is up high and it’s not a good view to get a picture. Both eagles have been seen hanging around lately.

DSC_8449

Yet another palm warbler shot. They have become as common as gulls now.

It was early November and a nasty storm came through on Saturday. The brave birders were out and saw several rare sightings at the park. I read about it Saturday night so I headed out Sunday afternoon. After searching for several hours with other birders, I saw none of the birds that were sighted there the day before. When am I going to learn to get out in the rain??? It seems like the only avocet sightings here are when it’s raining or just stopped raining. I can never seem to catch them. One of these days!

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention  for 

Shorebird soup at Fort Desoto

DSC_5214

I’m going with common tern on the above.

DSC_5213

“This is what I think of you lady.” says the tern as he’s shaking his bottom at me.

DSC_5192

Another common tern? He looks smaller than the first picture but his legs are a little more orange. A Forster’s tern would have longer legs.

DSC_5232

Marbled godwit preening.

DSC_5218

It’s funny to see a dowitcher and godwit sitting so close together.

DSC_5222

Black bellied plovers in non-breeding feathers running around. There were a lot of them on the beach that morning. By a lot, probably 20. Usually, we see one or two at a time.

DSC_5223

Another black bellied plover still in his breeding feathers with the “black belly”.

DSC_5247

Juvenile sandwich tern showing some attitude. Not at me, at his parent. See below.

DSC_5246

“I said go get me a fish!” The adult flew off. I didn’t see him bring back a fish.

DSC_5201

Shorebird soup. A menagerie of birds hanging out on a sandbar together.

Just a few things on my morning trip to Fort Desoto in the blazing heat of mid-August.

Camera Critters

Beach birds at Fort Desoto

DSC_3727

When I first got to Fort Desoto it was windy and cloudy. I don’t see the water this choppy very often. I usually stay away from the beach when the weather gets bad.

DSC_3705

I found Big Red (reddish egret) in his usual spot at the north beach but he wasn’t doing any fishing.

DSC_3730

This lone oystercatcher had the right idea. A nap on the beach. It was the Saturday before the 4th of July so he was soon going to be overrun with tourists if he stayed in that prime spot.

DSC_3631

Things were quiet early that morning up at the north beach end. I found a few willets stretching and sleeping.

DSC_3638

Plover shaking it off.

DSC_3715

Marbled godwits trying to sleep standing up.

DSC_3723

Dowitcher cruising around the water.

DSC_3710

Ugly beach bug. I’ve never seen one of these on the beach before. I’m sure a gull will get him for lunch.

Quiet morning on the beach in early July. The day called for rain but I went out anyway. I got lucky. Mix of clouds and sun while I was there.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

Shorebirds at Fort Desoto on Thanksgiving eve

DSC_6995

Mixed bag of shorebirds sleeping together.

DSC_7002

Teeny tiny plover keeping an eye on me.

DSC_7039

I didn’t see the kildeer at first. I pulled onto the grass to take a picture of the kestrel on the utility wire and saw this guy run out into the road ahead of me. It’s the first time I’ve seen a kildeer at Fort Desoto, although I’m sure they’re around. He was just standing in the road. A car drove by and he flew off but came right back to the same spot. I wonder if he’s staking out a nesting spot. It’s a little earlier for them to nest but around here you never know. It’s been 80 degrees every day so maybe he’s looking to start early.

DSC_7018

Dowitcher searching for food.

DSC_7024

Least sandpiper running around.

DSC_6990

Sun going down on the shorebirds.

The weather in November was perfect. Although, it could have been at least 10 degrees cooler. I was able to sneak out of work a little early on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so I headed down to Fort Desoto. It was nice to get out before dark and I hadn’t been out much since fighting sinus infections since early October. I went down there with a purpose though. To look for the black scoter ducks that had been spotted there earlier that morning. I walked the entire beach length near where they had been spotted with no luck. I checked out both fishing piers and still no luck. Story of my life, 6 hours too late. It was still a beautiful night and nice to get out.

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for