New birds in the muck

Roosevelt Wetlands is a small reserve right next to the waste plant. It has a great trail that runs across the lake and is usually quiet. Just don’t go when the wind is blowing towards the reserve. I got there pretty early and first saw 2 skimmers skimming along the lake.

It looks like this moorhen bit off part of a lily pad.

A kildeer flew close by.

Some wintering birds were still there in early May. A sora rail and a spotted sandpiper.

Cute duck family.

A lesser yellowlegs was creeping around in the muck.

Two new birds in one shot. A white rumped sandpiper on the left and a semipalmated sandpiper on the right. These aren’t super rare birds for this area but for some reason I kept missing them. They were also creeping around in the muck.

A least sandpiper was also with the new birds. I had not seen one of these since 2012.

Another shot of the white rumped sandpiper.

A little sandpiper party.

Another shot of the semipalmated sandpiper.

I finally saw the gull billed tern. He flew by really fast and this was the only shot I could get of him. He circled around the pond and then left. He isn’t an exciting bird but a new one for me.

The only new bird I didn’t see that was sighted there before was a stilt sandpiper. Maybe next time.

On the road to spring migration – Skywatch Friday

I heard the birds were here. After work I headed for Fort Desoto to get in an hour or two of looking for spring migration birds. Of course, I get stopped on the bridge waiting for a sailboat to pass. While waiting, I pulled out my camera and shot the above from my car window. Sunshine Skyway bridge is pretty far away.

I first stopped at the East Beach turnaround. I had heard the mangroves there had some migrating birds. I only saw a few shorebirds including the one above. I think this is a least sandpiper.

This female red breasted merganser was strutting the beach. She should be heading north by now.

My first tree barn swallow picture. There were tons of these flying high around the turnaround. For the first time I actually saw one land in the bushes. Thanks, Michael and Steve for the correct id.

Big barge heading under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I didn’t stay long at the turnaround. I quickly headed to the mulberry bush woods to see if there was anything there I hadn’t seen before. Boy, was I in for a treat. More to come…

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday Skywatch Friday

My friend Michael mentioned that it was 32 years ago yesterday when an outbound freighter hit the original Sunshine Skyway bridge causing it to collapse and close for good. Thirty five people lost their lives.  The new bridge was opened in 1987 and part of the old bridge was taken down in 1990. Part of the old bridge is used today as a fishing pier. The above picture was taken sometime in the late 80’s by my dad with both bridges still up. I found his old picture this past weekend when I was looking through his  slides that I had scanned to digital.