Shorebirds in November.

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I always love watching skimmers take a bath.

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The royal terns are pretty funny as well.

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I think this is a young herring gull.

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Another ruddy turnstone missing most of his toes.

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They were all busy preening early in the morning.

Shorebirds I found hanging around the beach near the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.

Right before spring break at the beach.

 

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The laughing gulls were pairing up. Chasing each other and fighting over the ladies.

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Young herring gull with a snack.

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Blurry picture of a barn swallow. These guys rarely sit still. I saw him from across the lagoon.

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The dolphins were active this Saturday morning.

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Heading towards the pier.

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One of the bird steward volunteers at the park. He was checking out the roped off area for nesting birds. They work on keeping the tourist out of the nesting area and answer questions about the birds.

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Rush hour  traffic in the bay.

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Having fun on a boat ride.

A few things at Fort Desoto Park in mid-March.

 Skywatch Friday

It finally looked like spring at Fort Desoto

 

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I didn’t want to rub it in too soon but spring hit down here in Florida a while ago. The end of March and into April was beautiful and 75 degrees. It’s short-lived though. Now it’s just hot. In late March, the yellow daisies were everywhere at Fort Desoto park.

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Bees were buzzing around.

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Spiders were popping up on all of the trails.

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Even the wild parrots were enjoying the weather, snacking on the pine trees.

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This one was trying to take an early morning nap.

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At one point a small flock flew down and started feeding on something. I totally blew this shot out. I had my camera set to take pictures in the trees which is usually darker. I snapped this quickly but they took off again before I could reset and re-shoot.

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“Would you eat this lady?” says the juvenile herring gull.

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On osprey was eating a fish right on a branch over the trail. He was doing his “Don’t steal my fish” flap. I walked by pretending that I didn’t care. After yelling a few times he calmed down.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in late March. It felt like it had been a long time since the sun was out. The park was busy with bugs and birds but spring migration hadn’t started yet so I spent the morning looking for stuff to shoot. I did notice how parts of the park were covered in yellow daisies and the grass was growing up over the trails. Yes, we only had spring for about two weeks and then went right into summer.

Shine the Divine

Looking for a new gull.

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“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.”

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“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.”

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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.

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“Hey Franklin gull, wake up. This lady’s been looking for you” said the laughing gull.

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“Another fan. How boring.” said the Franklin gull.

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“Okay lady, get your picture.”

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I said “Can’t you at least stand up for a minute?” He said “Nope, I’m going back to sleep.”

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At least the big herring gull stood up for me.

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This juvenile herring gull was picking at a dead fish.

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“Don’t take my breakfast, lady.”

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A ring billed gull flies overhead.

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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.

Sunset at the fishing pier – Skywatch Friday

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The famous osprey nest at Fort Desoto. It’s on top of the old smokestack right at the fishing pier and snack shop. It’s a very visible nest. I think they have the best spot in the park to watch the sun go down every night.  It looks like they have eggs. It’s very high up so the babies will have to be pretty big to see them looking over the edge. It looks like the one in the middle was already sleeping.

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Pelican before the sun goes down.

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“Someone turn out the light.” yells the royal tern.

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I think this is an immature herring gull.

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Who’s going to win this race? I think they were both heading back in before dark.

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Sun going down at the fishing pier.

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It was a perfect night.

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All of the gulls lining up for bed.

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Almost dark.

It was a perfect night when I ran down to Fort Desoto after work to look for little birds migrating through in early April. After searching the woods for an hour, I headed to the fishing pier for sunset. This has to be one of the best places in the area to watch the sun go down.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Baby great horned owl at Fort Desoto Park

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My first sight of the baby owl. Sitting in front of mom with his mouth wide open. He only popped up for a moment then tucked back down again under mom. I have to say, the morning I was there, there were a lot of photographers standing around (behind the fence) watching. Everyone was very quiet and barely moving. Just standing still, watching and waiting for the baby to make an appearance. I’ve since read there are two babies. Both seem to be doing well.

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Laughing gulls on the beach.

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Ruddy turnstone eating something squishy.

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Herring gull with a fish.

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Reddish egret doing his usual morning dance.

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I was at the fishing pier when I saw this pelican flying towards me. I realized he had a fish in his beak. After I cropped it up, I could see it was a shark. It was missing the body so the head must have been thrown out by a fisherman and this pelican caught the prize and took off.

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This was a common sight that morning. I think these were blue wing teals flying overhead.

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It was a perfect morning in late January for a walk on Fort Desoto beach.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday  Our World Tuesday Graphic

Check out more birds pictures at Paying Ready Attention  for