Bright colors on a Saturday morning.

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.

Photographing New Zealand

 

Like a kid in a candy store – spring migration.

My first rose breasted grosbeak.

Not my first black and white warbler. I have seen a couple in that past but there were quite a few flying around at Fort Desoto.

My first scarlet tanager. There was a few there but they stayed high up in the trees.

My first Baltimore oriole.

My first eastern wood-pewee. At first I thought this was a phoebe but the bill is a little lighter.

I thought I had missed the boat. Saturday, 4/21, a nasty storm moves through the Tampa bay area. I did chores and ran errands. Sunday morning I woke up to sunny skies so I headed out to a park. I thought that since there were extremely high winds at Fort Desoto, it might not be a good place to go since water birds tend to be scarce on windy days. I decided to go inland to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. It was a nice morning and I saw some cool things. Later that night I was reading Pinellasbirds.com and just found out how little I knew about birding. The sky was falling with birds at Fort Desoto. Record numbers of migrating birds had landed there. I knew I had a long work week ahead so my heart fell. But all was not lost. I was able to leave work at a reasonable time on Tuesday night and headed straight for Fort Desoto. I headed first to the east beach turnaround and then to the mulberry bush woods at the ranger’s house. There were birds flying everywhere. All colors flashing by. I was so excited I didn’t know where to start. I just stood there and started snapping away. My friend Pam and her hubby met me there because they wanted to see what all the excitement was about. We stayed until the sun went completely down and it was dark driving out.  More to come tomorrow.