I had not been out to Roosevelt Wetlands since last summer. I forget what a cool small reserve this is. I had heard there were some new birds there so I went for a short walk in early May. The raised trail down the middle of the pond is full of Indian blanket flowers and they were in full bloom.
I immediately saw a bunny right on the trail.
The sun had been up for a while and I could see an osprey sitting on the platform nest ahead of me.
I could hear him yelling as I passed the platform and turned around to see the juvenile staring right at me.
This Momma moorhen was busy with 2 little ones.
There were several young little blue herons along the trail. They were just started to get their blue feathers in.
An adult little blue heron shaking it off.
A least tern flies by.
I also saw several spoonbills.
A kildeer was walking in front of me and then disappeared into the flowers.
I did find those new shorebirds that were here but more on those later.
One last look at the purple martins at the Dunedin marina. After this trip in late May they have left the condo. The babies were flying around the marina but still landing back on the nest house to be fed. Next year I’ll have to remember to stop by here earlier before the babies are fully grown.
House sparrows were taking a dirt bath below the purple martin nest box.
After walking around the marina I left and stopped at the nearby long fishing pier at Weaver Park. Looking north I could see the drawbridge up at the causeway bridge. This was a common sight back in the “old days” along the intercoastal waterway. Now as older bridges are being replaced, they build them up high so a drawbridge isn’t necessary anymore. This is one of the last remaining drawbridges in the area.
A few guys were fishing at the end of the pier and this great egret flew in looking for a handout.
After hanging around the fishermen for a while, he must have gotten tired of waiting for a handout and started getting his own snacks.. He was leaning over the floating dock and catching the bugs on the side of the dock to eat. Yum!
A least tern takes a break from diving into the water for his fish.
Earlier that morning when I was walking around the marina, some of the houses close by had these cactus vines growing in their yards. These cactus, night blooming cereas, only bloom at night but I was able to catch a few closing up early that morning. I’ve heard they are really beautiful and smell great when they are in full bloom but I would need to be here around midnight for that.
There were a few marbled godwits at Fort Desoto Park.
I think this is a juvenile sandpiper.
Lots of plovers running around including the Wilson’s plover in the first picture and piping plovers with orange legs.
Soon the skimmers will be gone. They are rare to see in the winter at the park.
“I am Skippy the Skimmer and I am the cutest one here.”
“This is my fish.”
“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.”
“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.
“Stay away from my baby!” said the adult skimmer.
“You stay away as well”
“I’m sticking close to mom”.
“Who me? I’m not going anywhere.”
“Mom, where’s my fish?”
“I pretend to be brave but now I’m scared and running to hide under Mom.”
“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
These two female red breasted mergansers are still hanging around the fishing pier. They should be north for the summer by now.
A ruddy turnstone on the rocks.
A royal tern brings her a fish. Since she’s eating it, I guess they are an official couple.
The laughing gulls are pretty this time of year.
Having a conversation about something. All of the gulls are pairing up.
The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.
Two baby osprey on the smokestack tower nest.
Someone got their snack stolen. Or maybe, the bird is being paid to advertise.
Saturday morning at Fort Desoto.