I’m still going through my pictures from Fort Desoto in late October. So many shorebirds there at that time. Tons of gulls, terns and skimmers. The 2nd shot is of red knots, feeding before their trip south for the winter.
Many of the birds were taking baths before it got dark.
An uncommon herring gull.
Not sure what kind of snack this laughing gull has.
Some of the smaller shorebirds. Yellowlegs, dowitcher, a black bellied plover and a tiny snowy plover that was smaller than this pile of sand.
It’s weird to see turkey vultures on the beach. They were really in the muck at low tide. The one on the right had a small piece of fish under his foot that he was eating.
Great egret flyby.
This kid was throwing his frisbee into the birds. Why is it so fun to watch the birds flush? Someone walked over to him and asked him to stop and explained that the birds needed their rest before they migrate for the winter. He really just didn’t know. He stopped and went back to his family.
Heading home back into Tampa right before dark, I saw the moon coming up and had to stop and take a picture.
All above were taken from our balcony at our hotel in Colorado Springs. As I was taking a picture of the mountain with the fog rolling in a magpie flew on to the balcony above us. I leaned over to get a blurry shot of him with a big bug. I then realized the trees near us also had magpies in them. This was my first timing seeing these. They are in the crow family but are much prettier than our fish crows back home.
I took a quick walk around the property before we headed out for the day and saw all of the above.
I had read that there was lots of wildlife on the hotel property but when I got to the lake there were the same ole birds I see at home. I thought “Really, I flew halfway across the country to see gulls, mallards and cormorants?” I get those in my backyard at home. But I did see a few different things over the week.
I spent an early Saturday morning looking for a smooth billed ani. I eventually found it but while I was looking around the crazy Nanday parakeets came flying into a tree near the area. I could hearing them screaming as they were flying in from across the field.
I walked over near the tree and these three above were busy preening each other. I guess three’s not a crowd.
Some of theme were hanging around.
Off in the distance I could see birds out on a sandbar.
You would think these guys never get fed. People around Lake Morton in central Florida come to feed the ducks and birds here every day. On the weekends, there are people all around the lake feeding them. Someone pulls out one slice of bread and the white ibis, coots and gulls come flying over and fight over every scrap. A lot of the regulars to the lake do feed them corn or bird seed instead of bread which is much better for the animals. The white ibis are pretty harmless and aren’t very aggressive. It’s the geese that you need to watch out for. They will attack if you don’t give them food. Once before I was taking a picture of a swan and felt a hard banging on my foot. I looked down to see a goose wanting food. I usually stay far away from those guys.
“Excuse me, are you guys Franklin’s gulls?” I said to these two. One gull said “Almost. Franklin’s gulls have a white chest and more black on their head.” The other gull said “And they have a little shorter beak than we do.” “Yea, we’re just plain ole laughing gulls that haven’t grown up yet.”
“Excuse me, can you stop preening so I can see if you’re a Franklin gull” I said. He said “I’m not one either lady.”
I kept looking in the big flock of birds on the beach. “Hey, you look different” I said to this one. He was half asleep.
“Hey Franklin gull, wake up. This lady’s been looking for you” said the laughing gull.
“Another fan. How boring.” said the Franklin gull.
“Okay lady, get your picture.”
I said “Can’t you at least stand up for a minute?” He said “Nope, I’m going back to sleep.”
At least the big herring gull stood up for me.
This juvenile herring gull was picking at a dead fish.
“Don’t take my breakfast, lady.”
A ring billed gull flies overhead.
Not a gull but a dowitcher. There were a lot of these on the beach.
It was a foggy Saturday morning. I went down to Fort De Soto because I heard there was a summer tanager and a few western kingbirds hanging around the parking lot area near the fishing pier. I got down to the park around 8:30am and there were already a lot of birders looking for both birds. No sighting at that point. We all walked around for at least an hour with no luck so I decided to run over to the beach and see if by miracle the Franklin’s gull was there. This was my 4th time looking for that silly gull. I didn’t see him anywhere near the pier. I walked back over to the wooded area where the other birds were seen and the tanager had just been sighted (more on that one later). We were all standing there staring up in trees when someone said they had just seen the Franklin but he was much farther down the beach. After taking a handful of pictures of the tanager, I drove down to the other end of the beach and walked around looking for him. This time I got lucky. A huge flock of gulls were sleeping together and there he was with his dark head. It was nice that the sun came out for a second right when I saw him. By then it was lunchtime so I snapped a bunch of pictures and headed home.