“I caught one this big” said the osprey as he landed on his nest.
Actually, he was bringing in sticks to spruce up the nest.
It’s amazing what you see when you are standing around waiting for baby birds to wake up. This Prairie warbler flew right in front of me.
Turning around, the coast guard was sitting right off the beach.
I eventually got tired of waiting for the baby birds to wake up and headed over to North beach to see what was over there (I don’t have a lot of attention span and was also trying to get some exercise so I needed to keep walking). All of the usual birds were there.
On the fishing pier, Harry the hybrid (great blue heron x great egret) was having a scratch.
It was a beautiful morning in late February.
Not many people out early in the morning (just us photogs) and it was a little chilly.
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.
“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.