The cutest babies of all

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“I am Skippy the Skimmer and I am the cutest one here.”

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“Me first.”

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“This is my fish.”

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“I’m Sparky the Skimmer and I am a little bit older. I’m starting to get color in my feathers and my beak is getting longer.”

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“Where’s my  Mom?  You’re not suppose to bother me, Least tern.” said the baby skimmer.  “But you look tasty and I’m hungry” said the juvenile Least tern.

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“Stay away from my baby!” said the adult skimmer.

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“You stay away as well”

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“I’m sticking close to mom”.

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“Who me? I’m not going anywhere.”

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“Mom, where’s my fish?”

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“I pretend to be brave but now I’m scared and running to hide under Mom.”

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“I’m Stanley, one of the oldest babies skimmers here. I’m almost grown up and just learning to fly. I’m also learning to brake.”

I didn’t make it to see the baby black skimmers until late July. I was expecting to see them all grown up but this was a late year and there were still many tiny babies.  The babies have a lot against them.  Between the tourists getting too close, the crows and laughing gulls trying to get a meal and the risk of high tide, it’s a hard knock life for a little bird. If the tiny babies wander away from the roped off area, a tourist could easily not see him blending into the sand and step on him. If we get another bad storm like Colin back in early June, the tide could get too high and the little babies can’t swim yet or fly away. But, hopefully most make it through.  I took so many pictures of these cute little guys so there are tons more to come.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

At the fishing pier

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These two female red breasted mergansers are still hanging around the fishing pier. They should be north for the summer by now.

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A ruddy turnstone on the rocks.

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A royal tern brings her a fish. Since she’s eating it, I guess they are an official couple.

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The laughing gulls are pretty this time of year.

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Having a conversation about something. All of the gulls are pairing up.

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The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.

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Two baby osprey on the smokestack tower nest.

 

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Someone got their snack stolen. Or maybe, the bird is being paid to advertise.

Saturday morning at Fort Desoto.

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Rainy stop on Gandy beach

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Royal terns coming in for a landing.

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A least tern on the beach.

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A banded royal tern. I think this is a juvenile.

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“Make room for me!”

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Taking a bath.

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A juvenile least tern. Probably born a few months earlier.

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Another one screaming at the parent to be fed. Even though they are flying now, they are still being fed by the parents.

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A least tern taking a bath.

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Flapping hard.

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Getting the underarms.

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Oystercatcher flying right over my head.

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Laughing gull coming in for a landing.

It had just stopped raining when I left for work in late June but still drizzling just a little. Since traffic was bad I decided to stop on the Gandy beach and see if there were any new shorebirds around. I figured the rain would have kept the people off the beach. There were a few cars on the beach but none were at the end near the walled off sanctuary. Nothing unusual there but there were a few of the baby royal terns and least terns. They were just starting to fly and will hang out on that beach for a while before they are gone for good. All grown up and somewhere to go.

Least and royal terns at Gandy beach

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Least tern with bands. He was born in 2009 on top of one of the industrial buildings close by Gandy beach.

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A least tern adult preening before bedtime.

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A baby least tern screaming for food. This one is old enough to fly but still getting fed by mom.

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The juvenile royal tern on the left is still begging for food. This is a common sight right now on the beaches.

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Another juvenile royal tern giving me the eye.

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“Can I get some deodorant over here?”

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“No? Then I’m outta here.”

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“I think I can fly anyway.”

Gandy beach is full of royal and least terns. At least when it’s raining and the beach isn’t full of people. The night I went looking for the white-winged scoter in the rain I stopped by the little beach before Gandy bridge and saw many of the above. All of these were taken from the car. The birds were skittish this night and would take off if I opened the door.

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Beach birds at Fort Desoto

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A marbled godwit digging around for food.

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Dowitchers doing the same thing.

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Willet scratching an itch.

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Teeny tiny plover watching me.

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Another dowitcher trying to sleep.

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Least terns are starting to show up on the beaches in the area.

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The little juvenile royal tern was yelling at his parent to go get him a fish.

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He looked at me like “What? I’m hungry.”

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I was standing on the fishing pier and zoomed in on one of the big ships coming into the bay.

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Two ships passing in the day. They were two dots on the horizon. This is zoomed in and cropped.

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Taken with my Iphone. You can see the storms moving in as I walked down the beach.

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From the fishing pier.

It was quiet at Fort Desoto in mid July. The storms were coming every day. I hit the beach early and there weren’t many people there. It was a nice walk down the beach. The clouds kept it a little cooler. The beach wasn’t full of shorebirds. Just a few at the north tip. I’ve since read there are tons of least terns there now so I think many trips are in my future for the rest of the summer.

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

More shorebirds on Gandy beach

A semipalmated plover

Royal tern flying by with a fish.

Sanderlings in breeding feathers.

Gimpy, the juvenile least tern with a limp. He was born this spring on top of one of the industrial buildings close by and was banded.  He was getting around pretty good.

Royal tern in flight.

The tiny walled off section at the end of the beach. You can see how close it is to a major road. This is the entrance to the Gandy bridge. Even with the concrete barriers and tons of signs to keep out, people still wander through there. I mean really, what do you think you’re going to see there?

Royal tern yelling at a boater, “Can’t you read dude? Slow down!” There are manatees and dolphins that live here.

There are almost always dogs on the beach. This one was really preoccupied with catching tiny minnows that were swimming along the shore. It was funny to watch him so focused. Of course, he didn’t catch anything.

Another stop along Gandy beach after work. I’ll probably keep heading out there at least once a week until it gets dark when I’m leaving work. If it’s not pouring rain, it’s just too nice to go home.

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

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention  for