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.
It’s always fun watching a skimmer taking a bath.
Splashing around like a kid in a bathtub.
“Clean your underarms” I told him.
Face in the water.
That’s a little too close.
Royal terns are showing up on the beach with their summer hat on. During breeding season the top of their head is all black. During winter, they have mostly white on their head with a little gray on the sides.
Willet shaking it off.
Marbled godwit digging for snacks.
I think these are dunlins in non-breeding feathers.
Oystercatcher taking a nap. It’s amazing how they can sleep on one foot. I couldn’t sleep on one foot much less standing up.
Just a few birds I found out on the beach in early April when I was waiting for the baby owl to decide whether he wanted to fly or not. I know people stand there for hours waiting for “that” shot but I have to get out and walk around.
Little sandpiper creeping around in the fog.
Dowitchers watching me as they walk by.
Where did his head go?
There were a lot of dowitchers on the beach that morning. I usually only see a few.
The usual black bellied plover.
Taking a bath in the back.
It’s weird to see a palm warbler on the beach, walking around in the sand like he’s a shorebird.
A few dunlins mixed in with the dowitchers.
They were digging around in the old dried up seaweed on the shore.
This one had seaweed all over his beak.
Another windy, foggy, cloudy morning. Which meant the kiteboarders would be out.
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.
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A black bellied plover with an actual black belly. In early May there were a few with the breeding black belly at Fort Desoto. The weird thing is that I’ve been seeing a lot of them standing on the busy bridge that I drove over to get home from work going into Tampa. How do I have time to notice the little shorebirds on the bridge you say? It’s because I’m usually sitting in traffic on the bridge going nowhere from 0 to 5 miles an hour.
Dunlin in breeding feathers. I don’t see these guys very often.
It’s common to see a Wilson’s plover on the beach.
Mostly willets with a ruddy turnstone in the middle. They were trying to sleep.
A group of black skimmers were sleeping on the sliver of beach in between the lagoon and gulf. You think “Oh, what a beautiful place for a nap.” But, in another hour or two every inch of this spot will be filled with beach chairs and kids running around.
This is now a common sight on the beach.
I thought this was a cute couple so I snapped the picture quickly. Later, when I cropped it up I noted he was missing a foot.
I love to watch the big ships go by. Wondering where they are going and glad I’m not on it because I know I’d be so seasick out there once they hit the big ocean. This one was pretty far out in the gulf.
The usual stuff on a beautiful Saturday morning at Fort Desoto. Now that spring migration is over I’ll be hitting the beaches more. Looking for shorebirds and getting the sea breeze.
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A yawning dunlin in breeding colors. It’s not very often I see them with that black belly.
Short billed dowitcher looking back at me.
Great blue heron getting a bite. He was stalking a guy that was fishing in the water. He kept a close eye on the unsupervised net.
Barge leaving the bay. It’s fun to watch the big ships go by.
Things were pretty quiet at Fort Desoto on my quick stop after work. It was a nice night before dark and I wanted to look for the whimbrel that has been sighted at the east beach turnaround. I still haven’t seen him yet even though I keep reading reports of him being there. I’ll keep checking.