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.
A lone marbled godwit on the beach with a snack.
He’s cruising the shoreline looking for more snacks.
Another one flies in.
At first, the original godwit tries to chase the intruder away but after a few seconds they find their own space and both start looking for snacks.
A black bellied plover was also looking for snacks. I think that’s a sand flea. Yum…
Farther down the beach I find some dowitchers trying to nap.
The laughing gulls are getting frisky.
An old shell on the beach. It was still alive so I moved it farther into the water.
I had a rare Friday off in mid-April and headed to Fort Desoto to see if there were any birds migrating through. I was really too early since a storm was just starting to move through. It was drizzling on and off most of the morning but it was still fun to be out at the beach, even in bad weather.
Birds were diving in the water to catch the tiny fish near the pier.
The usual great blue herons and pelicans were flying close to the pier.
A lone frigatebird was hovering right over the pier. They usually stay high up in the sky but this one was right over my head. She just kept hovering in the wind. The above are not cropped at all. I felt like I could almost reach out and grab her.
Before leaving I hit the back trail and caught this nanday parakeet peeking out of a hole in a dead palm tree. I think they nest back here but I rarely go back this far in the summer since the bugs will attack no matter how much bug spray you use.
My first blue winged warbler with a snack.
Lots of indigo buntings at the park this year.
Female indigo buntings don’t have any blue at all.
Scarlet tanagers have black wings.
A rare western kingbird.
A painted bunting foraging for food on the ground.
We had great fall out the 3rd weekend in April for migrating birds. After a storm on Friday afternoon, I headed out to Fort Desoto park to see if any of the spring migrating birds had stopped by for a rest. Everyone else had the same idea. Even though there were a ton of people at the park there were lots of birds as well. It’s always fun running into old friends at the park in the spring and having more eyes to spot birds.This was the busiest weekend this spring and I spent most of the day there with lots more pictures to come.
The beautiful and rare great blue heron/great egret hybrid that lives at Fort Desoto. Harry (as I call him) can usually be found at the gulf fishing pier. In the spring during mating season his face turns blue.
Harry is the size of a great egret which is smaller than the great blue heron behind him.
A great blue heron landing on the shelter on the fishing pier.
Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.
Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.
A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.
The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.
A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.
It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.
In late April I was walking along a trail near a golf course when I saw an eagle flying over my head. The eagle came flying back but this time he had an osprey chasing him. I’m assuming this is a territorial chase. There are a lot of osprey nests in the area and several had new babies on the nest. It only lasted for a few seconds and the eagle took off.
The next day Brett and I were out on the beach at Fort Desoto just hanging out in our beach chairs when an eagle flew right over us.
A few seconds later an osprey shows up and starts to bother the eagle. They chased each other across the sand dunes then then the osprey took off. There was an eagle nest close by in a utility tower but the babies are already grown and gone. There are also many osprey nests all over the park.
The eagle made a few more passes over our beach chairs and came really close at one point. The above is not cropped although I had my 300mm lens on my camera.
After the eagle left, an osprey also flew by.
A common sight far out in the gulf, an osprey grabbing a fish.