This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.
A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.
A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.
Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.
Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.
An immature male rose breasted grosbeak with mulberry juice on his face.
An ovenbird on the fountain.
A blackpoll warbler hanging around.
An indigo bunting.
There were still a few interesting birds moving through Fort Desoto in early May, heading north for the summer. It feels like that was so long ago. I’m just finishing editing those pictures and soon the birds will be cruising through again, this time heading south for the winter. So many birds, so little time.
Male rose breasted grosbeaks were all over Fort Desoto in mid-April. They were eating the mulberries while resting up before their migration up north. Most of them had mulberry juice all over their beaks.
A few females and juveniles were also munching on the berries.
Catbirds were eating as well.
I only got a brief glimpse of the Baltimore oriole before he took off.
I only saw one indigo bunting on this trip but more would pass through later in the month.
A small portion of the crowd at Fort Desoto during spring migration in mid-April. It felt like there were more people than birds that morning but at least there were a lot of eyes looking out for the birds. There wasn’t a lot of variety there but it was still early for migration.
A very young Baltimore oriole way up high in the tree. He didn’t have all of his adult feathers in yet.
A black throated blue warbler.
A black throated green warbler.
A few blackpoll warblers in the mulberry bushes.
I think this is a female black throated blue warbler.
Brown thrashers were eating the mulberries.
Summer tanagers were in the oak trees.
This is either a female scarlet tanager or a summer tanager.
A lone indigo bunting.
Spring migration felt a little slow this year. It was much harder to find the birds at Fort Desoto. It felt like there were more people than birds in the woods. It was still a fun morning out. No new birds this spring but there’s always next year.
A female something. I was told this is a female blue grosbeak. It looks like it but it also looks a little like a female indigo bunting.
People were saying this was a blue grosbeak. It looks just like an indigo bunting to me. In my Stokes Birding Guide, the blue grosbeak has brown in his feathers.
Another blue bird. Grosbeak or bunting?
Female blue grosbeak?
This one is easy. A male painted bunting on a rusted fence.
I’m going with indigo bunting on both above and below.
More pictures from spring migration at Fort Desoto. These little blue birds are throwing me off. There was flashes of blue everywhere. Both indigo buntings and blue grosbeak with a few painted buntings thrown in. People were saying this and that was a blue “something”. They all look like indigo buntings now that I have gone back and looked them up. The female indigo doesn’t have the darker brown feathers that the female blue grosbeak has so I’m pretty sure the females are grosbeaks. Way too much work for a hobby. Anyway, most of the migrating birds are gone. Now all we are left with are the usual summer birds.
I was told this is a Tennessee Warbler. It looks like it from my Stokes Birding Guide.
If so, it’s a lifer for me.
White eyed vireo singing in the morning.
He was chirping away.
This was my last indigo bunting sighting of the season. These were taken in mid-April.
I saw this guy for a flash of a second so this was all I got. It was the only time I saw a hummingbird at the feeder during all of those trips to the park this spring.
Swallowtail on the flowers.
This guy was jumping around while we were trying to take pictures of the bunting.
This has been a long drawn out migration season. Last spring there were tons of birds in two weekends and then nothing. This spring it’s been a small handful of birds each weekend starting at the end of March and fizzling out near the end of April. I saw a few new birds this spring and met a ton of new people. It’s amazing the bird traffic at Fort Desoto. People come from all over the country during April for a “bird vacation”. Most of the travelers I spoke with were hitting parks all around Florida. At least at Fort Desoto, when you walk out of the woods, you’re on the beach and your “bird vacation” can become a few hours of a “beach vacation”.
I think the indigo bunting was my favorite bird of the day. Last spring I could not get a decent picture of him. When I first got the woods I saw a flash of blue and didn’t see him again for a while. Later, while standing in front of the fountain talking to some other birders, he landed right on the base of the fountain. He bounced around for at least 10 minutes from branch to fountain.
I totally blew this shot out. I had been taking pictures of birds deep in the bushes early in the morning and had my ISO too high. When I drove over to the other section of woods, as soon as I got out of the car I saw the scarlet tanager in the tree and immediately started snapping. Then I realized he was in full sun and I hadn’t lowered my ISO. A second later he flew off. So the shot overall is too bright but I’m just glad I got him.
This one I took right into the sun and then had to blow out to get the details. I think this is another scarlet tanager but we had heard there were summers around and I was hoping it was a summer instead. I can’t really see his wings in this picture to tell. Any experts have an opinion?
Later in the morning, when I came back to the mulberry bushes, they were full of orchard orioles. I only saw males while I was there. They were all busy eating the berries.
Another one with berries pieces in his beak.
Not a good picture but it was the only one I got of an american redstart.
Is this a gray kingbird or an eastern kingbird? People were calling it both. All About Birds does not even show a gray kingbird in their list, only the eastern. He was flying back and forth between the mulberry bushes with some lunch left on his beak.
My first red eyed vireo.
I thought this was a red eyed vireo at first. I’m thinking it’s the same bird as the picture before it and that I just couldn’t see it’s red eye. It also looks like a female redstart.
The very common gray catbird. The mulberry bushes were full of them. This one had red all over his face from eating the berries. What a feast.
The mulberry bushes at the trails have signs posted saying “Do not pick the fruit.” Just in case a tourist wanted to have a snack and wipe out an entire bush. The birds migrating through in spring count on these bushes for fuel to get them home up north. They are exhausted and hungry when they stop by Fort Desoto for a rest. The bushes were full of birds in early April. They were all busy eating and most birds had a little berry juice stained on their beaks and faces. Most of these pictures were taken standing in front of the big mulberry bushes or at the water fountain so I didn’t have to travel far. Just stand in one place and have patience (which I don’t have a lot of).
I don’t know what this is. It looks bigger than a yellow rumped warbler. It was bathing at the fountain. Could it be a female American redstart? It looks like one from the Stokes Birding Guide. If so, it’s my first one.
Orange eating an orange. Baltimore oriole at one of the fruit feeders.
I think this is a wood thrush. He was sitting on the bottom of the fountain.
My first and only indigo bunting shot. I saw a few others from really far away but this was the only one that got close to us at the fountain.
Starling taking a bath.
I was told this is a yellow warbler. This was my first sighting of one. I agree with Deb’s comment on this one. It looks more like a female hooded warbler than a yellow one. It’s still a lifer either way.
About a tenth of the crowd that was gathering at the mulberry woods at Fort Desoto. There’s a small open field with a short stone fountain in the middle. Everyone was standing around waiting for birds to land on the fountain. I only had my long lens that morning so I could only get a small smattering of the crowd that was there.
I can say I was there! Two weekends during the 2012 spring migration at Fort Desoto. I met tons of people. Learned a lot of new little birds. And took thousands of bad pictures. Ron at Pinellas Birds said the week before Memorial Day that it was winding down. There were still a few late migraters coming through though so I’ll still head out and keep my eyes open. Now I can’t wait until fall migration.