Dancing red and pink

I found one of the reddish egrets feeding in a small lagoon out on the beach at Fort Desoto in mid-March. It wasn’t too hard to find. There were several other photographers already there. He was dancing around looking for fish and was quite entertaining for a while. They use their wings to cast a shadow on the water so they can see the liffle fishies better. The color on their faces are brighter this time of year during mating season.

I started heading north on the beach and saw another one fishing. His beak wasn’t quite as pink as the first one but he was still beautiful.

Several red breasted mergansers were also fishing and one got too close to the egret. The egret did his best eagle imitation and the merganser scooted off.

It’s easy to spend all morning watching these guys dancing around in the water.

I eventually pulled myself away from the egrets and headed for a long walk up the beach. It was super low tide and you could walk out forever. The beach looks pink when the tide is this low (assuming from the algea in the sand).

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Hunting for shells

The best spot in the Tampa bay area to look for shells is Honeymoon Island, out past the Dunedin causeway. Thanksgiving morning we heading over for a quick walk before the cooking began. It started off cold but warmed up quickly as the sun kept rising. The tide was super low and you could walk out pretty far in ankle deep water. I love mornings like this. Sunny and cool, low tide and very few people out.

My sister’s stash.

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The beach at low tide

It’s not often we see whimbrels around here. The pair at Fort Desoto have been very accommodating when you can find them. They were right when you walk out on the beach the morning I found them in late October, feeding along the grass line before the sand.

It was extreme low tide and the buoys were exposed. The ruddy turnstones were picking tiny crabs off of them for breakfast.

This willet also found some breakfast.

The little tiny shorebirds are so cute creeping around in the muck. A snowy plover and a sanderling.

Skimmers cruising by.

Something spooked the birds way out on the sandbar.

There’s something magical about being out on the beach at low tide early in the morning. There aren’t many people out and you can walk forever and feel like you are out in the middle of the gulf.

Dead Australian pine tree graveyard on the beach. The stumps have all been smoothed down by the water and have been bleached out by the sun.

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Dark and cloudy at the beach.

It was a cold quiet windy day at Fort Desoto in early January. I walked out to the north beach and saw nothing as far as the eye could see. Then this flash of movement caught my eye. A lone female red breasted merganser. She didn’t stay long and neither did I.

I headed over to the fishing pier and found a ring billed gull with a snack. The laughing gull was trying it’s best to steal it away but he wasn’t successful.

This was a scene all over the park. Osprey getting ready to start nesting and were coupling up. They both were eating fish.

Far away I could see skimmers, gulls and terns flying around.

The Clipper was cruising by the fishing pier.

It was a little creepy out on the beach. I only saw a few other people. We were all bundled up this morning.

It was extremely low tide. The clouds were getting darker so I decided not to head out on the spit. Even with the low tide I’d have to slosh through some water and wasn’t up for having cold feet this morning. I still love the beach here even on a day like this.

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All sand, no birds

Pano of the north beach tip at Fort Desoto during the extreme low tide.

It was cold and windy and a perfect day for a walk on the beach. There were a few other people here but I still felt like I had the beach all to myself. This was the lowest tide I have ever seen here. Someone told me it was because of the full Snow moon (the tides are lowest during the full moon in February). I came out to see if there were any shorebirds but I think the wind kept them hiding somewhere else.

The backside of Outback Key was exposed and all of those little mounds had live sand dollars hiding under them.

A few of them partially exposed.

I’ve read that the pink sand comes from microscopic animals in the water.

Textures on Outback Key.

Walking back to the parking lot.

The beach was littered with the above.

This one had a lot of things living on it.

My stash from the morning when I got back home and washed them off. The beach was covered in whole dead sand dollars. It’s rare to find them not broken. I like collecting shells with barnacles. I feel like it gives them personality.

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