Busy beach in August.

The royal terns were having a feeding frenzy at Fort Desoto in early August. The parents were busy trying to keep the juvenile ones fed.

I found another Harry the hybrid (great blue heron and great egret) at the north beach lagoon. I had heard there were two hybrids at the park but I had only seen one at the fishing pier. This one has more beige and grey than the one at the pier which is more white.

Birds cruising by at the north spit. You can see the boats far off at the tip of the spit already anchoring to party for the day.

Flowers near the parking lot.

Lots of activity going on around the park. It was going to be a busy afternoon.

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Summer at the beach

I got to Fort Desoto Park early on a Saturday morning in late July.  The clouds were starting to roll in before the people got here.

I could see it raining over to the far left and was debating on how far to walk out on the Outback Key spit. I had my umbrella in my backpack but wouldn’t want to have to walk back half an hour with lightning.

I walked out a little ways but the storm was moving in quick.

I stopped in the little lagoon near the parking lot to get pictures of a spoonbill. It was drizzling on me but the sun was behind my back and I could see a faint rainbow.

Minutes later the storm had moved away and I headed over to the bird sanctuary.

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Fort Desoto in July

Skimmers cruising by trying to catch fish in their beaks.

This gull’s fish could barely fit in his beak.

Snowy egrets hovering over the light poles on the fishing pier. Different perspective which is a reminder to not stand under one of these poles if there’s a bird on top or you’ll get a bird poop shower.

Harry the hybrid looking pretty with his blue breeding face.

A few of the dolphins swimming around the pier including the Mom with her baby close by.

Looks like some construction far out in the bay.

I rarely see shrimp boats in the bay. It reminds me of vacations with my family in the panhandle. We saw them often up in north Florida.

Pretty vines growing on the sand.

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Bait fish thieves

What were all of these snowy egret doing on the roof of the shelter at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto?

They were waiting for some clueless guy pulling up bait fish and dumping it on the pier before putting it in his bucket. The guy dumped out the fish and then turned his back on the fish to get something out of his cart before he was going to put the bait fish in his bucket. The birds swooped down and had a feast before he realized what was going on and scared them away. There was still plenty of fish left but it was funny to watch.

After the snowy egrets left, Harry, the hybrid great blue heron and great egret, decided to swoop down and grab a fish before they were all picked up.

“You’re in my spot”

It was fun watching the snowy egrets running around trying to catch the little bait fish along the shoreline at Fort Desoto.

At some point they started fighting over the best fishing spots.These two chased each other for a while. Or, maybe they were flirting. Nesting season is almost over so I’m sticking with fighting for the best spot.

Not only was it the best spot to catch the little fish, it was a great spot to watch the clouds roll in, even from the sandbar. Early in the morning in June it was quiet for a while.

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Out on the beach

Lots of shorebirds at Fort Desoto in early June. It felt good to be out stretching my legs  along the shoreline. Even though it was hot there was a good breeze coming off the gulf.

It’s always fun to see marbled godwits with those pink toothpick beaks.

The crow was mistaking the trash for food.

A crab coming up on shore when the tide went out. He made it back in though.

Jump! A great blue heron taking off from the roof of the pier cover.

A nice morning to be outside.

I heard this cicada screaming from the mangroves near the pier. I found him pretty quickly. Such a weird loud critter.

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Are they red or knot?

It’s rare to see red knots in their bright red breeding colors here in central Florida in mid-May. About a third of them were already in breeding feathers. They usually stop over somewhere in Florida to rest during migration. They fly from the tip of Argentina to the Canadian arctic and then back again each year. They have one of the longest journeys of all migrating birds. We’re lucky to see them here at Fort Desoto although this was the first time I had caught them in several years.

Some were napping early in the morning and some were feeding along the shoreline

Although there wasn’t many people near the area, something kept spooking them and causing them to flush. It could have been an eagle that was cruising the area. These guys really need their rest so it’s important that kids or dogs don’t chase after them.

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A few birds in mid-May

A female scarlet tanager getting a snack from the fig tree.

The male was not too far away.

I had heard this was a veery. I don’t remember seeing one before but everyone said they aren’t that rare.There were several in the oak trees.

I don’t remember what this was now. A female something?  It was also feeding in the fig tree. Might have been an immature tanager.

Another femaile tanager hiding in the bushes by the fountain.

You can always find a ruddy turnstone on the fishing pier.They look really cool right now in their calico colors.

That dolphin photo bombed my “pelican on the broken tower” picture.

Cruising close to the pier.

A beautiful day for just being out.

I love the drive leaving the pier.

Fort Desoto Park was one of the first closed parks to open in early May. I made it there in the middle of the month and it was good to be outside at the beach. We had missed most of the migrating birds that had come through in late April but there was still a few hanging around the morning I was there.

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The dolphin show is back open.

I wouldn’t want to be walking around down there right now with that big stingray cruising around. It’s time to do the stingray shuffle in the water so they scoot away and you don’t step on them. Although it’s really the little ones you have to worry about because it’s hard to see those little guys half buried in the sand.

There were lots of dolphins swimming around the fishing pier in early May. It’s hard to catch a fish here when the dolphins are chasing after your catch. They usually steal it before the fishermen have had time to reel the fish in.

From the bay pier you can see dog beach. Zooming in, I could see the dogs running in the water. The dogs were probably happy to be back out at the beach again after the park being closed for 8 weeks.

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The beach has reopened.

On the trail at Fort Desoto. A butterfly and some kind of fruit that I have never noticed before. The red really stuck out in all of the green right on the trail.

A snowy egret trying to steal a snack from a fisherman.

Some of the birds near the fountain includes a loggerhead shrike, a female summer tanager and an ibis.

Dolphins were swimming around the pier.

Looking across the lagoon, lots of different shorebirds. The  middle shot has black skimmers in the front and the bottom picture shows red knots.

It was the first week in May and the park had just recently opened. I got there early and was leaving before 10am and shot this from the pier. The beach was filling up fast. Time for me to head home.

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