Walking out on the beach this past Saturday morning seemed like any other Saturday morning. There wasn’t a smell (since the wind was coming from the east or other side of the park). At first glance the beach seemed clean but weirdly void of any people. As I got closer to the water, that’s when I saw the signs of red tide. Red tide is a naturally occurring thing that happens in the gulf when the algae blooms and releases toxins that kill the sea life. The last big red tide event happened here in 2005. It was devastating to the sea life that year. Beaches south of us in Sarasota and Fort Myers have had red tide issues since early this year. It just reached my beach in the last few weeks. I had heard mixed reviews on how bad the dead fish were at the beach so I headed out to see what was going on. The day before, the park rangers had cleaned up 6 miles of beaches full of dead fish but fish keep coming flowing back on the beach with the waves.
This was the first time I had seen so many different crabs on the beach along the water. These camouflage crabs will eventually make their way back into the water. The ranger told me that crabs in general are not as affected by the red tide but it was weird to see them on the beach.
Lots of different ones on the beach including this crab that had a barnacle living on it.
While our beach has had a mild case of red tide so far, many of the beaches south of us had record numbers of dead dolphins and manatees turning up this summer.
Hiding in hole. I was wondering if they nest in this hole.
Some of the shorebirds close to the trail, a ruddy turnstone and a black bellied plover.
I stopped by the fishing pier before heading home.
Far across the bay near Egmont Key.
Sailing past the pier, this old sailboat reminded me of my dad. He would have loved that boat. I turned it into a black and white photo so it would have looked like something he would have taken many years ago.
An immature male rose breasted grosbeak with mulberry juice on his face.
An ovenbird on the fountain.
A blackpoll warbler hanging around.
An indigo bunting.
There were still a few interesting birds moving through Fort Desoto in early May, heading north for the summer. It feels like that was so long ago. I’m just finishing editing those pictures and soon the birds will be cruising through again, this time heading south for the winter. So many birds, so little time.
I wonder if this is the same cardinal that I also see looking at himself in the mirrors or windows of cars when I have visited before.
I can’t stop taking pictures of the wild nanday parakeets.
Laughing gulls fighting over a dead bait fish.
A snowy egret having a bad hair day.
This was the first time I had seen a spoonbill at the fishing pier. He was hanging out on the light post. He had a snowy egret join him for a few minutes. Funny how they put up those steel fringe things to keep the birds of the posts but the birds don’t mind them at all.