A Foggy Morning at Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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“Don’t bother me. I’m eating breakfast.”

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“Yuck!”

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“Maybe it needs ketchup.”

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“Or maybe I should just leave and not eat it.” said the Great Black Backed Gull.

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The above ring billed gull always seems big until I see it next to the great black back gull.

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My 2nd Great black backed gull sighting and I just stumbled upon him. He didn’t even notice me. He was busy picking at a fish. He’s the largest gull in the world and fairly rare in central Florida. There’s been one hanging out on a beach not to far away and last spring I made the trip there to find him. It was a foggy morning on the beach in early March. Before stopping to check on the baby owls, I had stopped by the beach to see if anything was there. This was a weird foggy morning. You could barely see when I first got there. When I got to the owl’s nest the fog was starting to lift and the sun was peeking out. Right before lunch, this creepy thick sea fog rolled in and it felt like I was in a shower. It hung around for a while and then cleared up after lunch. You just never know around here. 

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My first great black backed gull

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I thought I was going to have to walk up and down the beach for a while to find him. I walked out from the parking lot and there he was standing. Right in front of me. I took a couple of quick shots before a jogger was heading for him and he flew off.

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Up close. He’s really pretty! I have read that it’s been documented that he has visited this beach every summer for the last 5 years. I finally made it over there to look for him.

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After the jogger scared him off, he flew far out into the gulf.

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Close by, a juvenile royal tern was taking a nap.

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There was a small flock of them right where the black backed gull was standing.

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An adult flew in with a fish. He did not give it to that begging juvenile but took off with it in his mouth.

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Another adult landed with a fish and was offering it up to his mate. It seemed late for flirting. Nesting season was mostly over and the babies were all flying by now. Maybe these were late lovers? It’s funny the way they do this dance with their wings. She did not take the fish. They both flew off together. Maybe they were getting a room?

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This guy was all by himself. At first I thought it was a juvenile sandwich tern but usually they have a little more beige in their beak. Unless he’s a little older. Any ideas?

After missing out on the brown booby and the common eider, I thought I would try for the great black backed gull. I found him right away so after leaving that area I decided to try again for the eider. There were several other birders looking for him with no luck before lunch. Someone there told me a guy finally saw him on his 8th trip. It was only my 2nd time looking. Maybe I’ll try a third time. Is it “three times a charm” or “three strikes and you’re out” when it comes to looking for a bird?

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for