Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

Usual things at Fort Desoto

Lots of little birds on Outback Key at Fort Desoto. After a morning of looking through all of these little birds for anything unusual with no luck, I headed over the fishing pier to see what was going on there.

My friend TOTO was hanging out near the fishing pier (he is tagged with a band that has TOTO on it). He’s been around for years.

A snowy plover was skipping around in low tide.

Sushi for breakfast.

Pelicans were also diving for their sushi breakfast.

“Whatta you want lady?”

I think that’s a piece of apple in this crow’s beak. At least it’s not a chip.

What is he doing up here? I have never seen a reddish egret hanging around the fishing pier. They are usually feeding along the shoreline.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

Little birds on the beach

A perfect morning out at Fort Desoto wouldn’t be complete without seeing an oystercatcher. This one with the red band is a regular at the park. Someone out on the sandbar walked by and he came flying right by me.

A sandwich tern making a landing.

A  tiny snowy plover on the exposed sand.

Piping plovers have orange legs.

A great egret cruising by.

A young red knot.

Lots of different shorebirds at Fort Desoto in early October.

A new bird in late October

I had heard he was there for a over a week before I made it down to Fort Desoto. I headed down to the park early one Saturday morning in late October thinking it would be a needle in the haystack story. As I drove into the park I saw several people with binoculars in a field near the boat ramp. After walking through ankle deep ant infested water (the field was flooded due to recent rains) I found the Vermilion Flycatcher. He was out in the open buzzing from tree to tree so it was pretty easy to spot that flash of red unless you weren’t paying attention and thought it was a cardinal. It was the first time I have heard of one being in the Tampa bay area so there were a lot of people coming through that morning looking for him. He’s a beautiful bird and totally worth enduring the over 50 ant bites.

Otherwise, there were just the usual migrating birds at the park. This female rose breasted grosbeak was very accommodating.

The white pelicans are back but they were across the lagoon. You can tell how much bigger they are than our resident brown pelicans.

Osprey have taken over the park. They are everywhere.

Shorebirds near the fishing pier.

TOTO is still hanging out at the park. He’s got a band on his legs with TOTO. I’ve been taking pictures of him for over 8 years. He’s always there with his girlfriend.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Little birds on the beach.

Lots of oystercatchers at the north beach at Fort Desoto. Including the first one that has the TO bands on his legs. I have pictures of him as far back as 2011.

A ruddy turnstone still in his summer feathers.

Two little plovers. A piping plover on top and a semipalmated plover on the bottom.

A mom and juvenile sandwich tern.

An almost grown black skimmer taking a break on the sand.

Pelicans resting on the shore.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

Fort Desoto in early January

Little birds along the shore at Fort Desoto Park.

Weird sea slugs that were on the sand at low tide. The muck was full of these.

The tide would be coming in soon to wash this guy back into the water.

A very large raft of ducks far out in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I think these were mostly ring neck ducks.

Scenes from the beach.

In early January I was walking the trails and noticed an owl sitting in an old osprey nest.

Not a bad way to be stuck in traffic. On my way home I got stuck on the bridge for a few minutes while the bridge was up waiting for some tall boats to pass underneath.

SkyWatch Friday

Birds at the downtown Tampa coastline

Willet, laughing gull, oystercatcher, young blue heron and cormorants can all be found along the water at Davis Islands, a small island next to downtown Tampa.

Loggerhead shrikes are most prevalent there. They were in the bushes next to the boat ramp, in the trees that lined the yacht basin and on the fence that lined the airport. The ones on the fence were a parent and young one that was still being feed.

Mangroves line the yacht basin and the sea grapes in were in full bloom.

At first glance, there aren’t a lot of birds at the south end of Davis Islands where the small private airport and yacht basin meet up. There are lots of bicycles, joggers, walkers, and dog walkers along the road, most are not paying attention to the birds. People look at me like “Why is that girl staring up in the tree?” When you look along the shore line and up in the trees you see lots of things.

Linking to Wednesday Around The World.

Summer at the beach

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A black bellied plover eating something gunky.

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Some of the resident oystercatchers.

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A sandwich tern flying by.

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“Got a light?”

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More laughing gulls.

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Trying to get a fish.

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Typical Florida shot.

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Dowitcher looking for snacks.

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One of the red breasted mergansers is still hanging around the fishing pier.

Stuff at Fort Desoto in early June.

 Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Birds on the beach at Fort Desoto

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A ruddy turnstone staring at me.

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The usual oystercatcher walking along the water.

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A willet walking by.

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These godwits and willets were trying to sleep in the water.

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I tried not to wake anyone up. They looked so peaceful.

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The above are all black bellied plovers hanging around the marsh.

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A sandwich tern fly by.

A handful of shorebirds that were hanging out at Fort Desoto in late September.

Saturday's Critters

Napping and breakfast in the morning

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It’s always sad to see a one footed bird. This laughing gull seems to be doing okay though.

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Take a “tern”. Royal terns and a sandwich tern.

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The always present oystercatcher.

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Dowitchers and willets taking a morning nap.

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A baby laughing gull screaming for his mom to bring food.

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Breakfast time for dowitchers.

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Keeping an eye on me.

A few birds on the beach in the middle of summer.