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.
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.
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.
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.
A black bellied plover eating something gunky.
Some of the resident oystercatchers.
A sandwich tern flying by.
“Got a light?”
More laughing gulls.
Trying to get a fish.
Typical Florida shot.
Dowitcher looking for snacks.
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
A ruddy turnstone staring at me.
The usual oystercatcher walking along the water.
A willet walking by.
These godwits and willets were trying to sleep in the water.
I tried not to wake anyone up. They looked so peaceful.
The above are all black bellied plovers hanging around the marsh.
A sandwich tern fly by.
A handful of shorebirds that were hanging out at Fort Desoto in late September.
It’s always sad to see a one footed bird. This laughing gull seems to be doing okay though.
Take a “tern”. Royal terns and a sandwich tern.
The always present oystercatcher.
Dowitchers and willets taking a morning nap.
A baby laughing gull screaming for his mom to bring food.
Breakfast time for dowitchers.
Keeping an eye on me.
A few birds on the beach in the middle of summer.
Lots of black bellied plovers on the beach.
Tiny Wilson’s plover.
Gimpy, one of the resident oystercatchers was watching me as looked for food.
A pretty red breasted merganser coming up for air.
I think this is a white eyed vireo but I can’t tell for sure from this shot.
The only Cape May warbler I saw this spring.
Mom is all alone now that her kids have gone off to “college”. She’s getting some much-needed rest after raising two hungry owlets.
Crazy wild parrots flying around near the beach.
Some left over shots from a trip to Fort Desoto beach in mid-May.
I was standing on the beach in mid-December when I saw this oystercatcher fly right in front of me.
He was coming in for a landing on the beach.
Screaming the entire time.
I think he was just yelling for his mate to come over and join him.
He was looking for a good spot to look for food.
Which happened to be right in front of me so I sat down on the sand and watched for a few minutes.
He was picking through the seaweed and shells on the beach. I noticed the ring around his leg.
Back in April 2013, this oystercatcher had fishing line wrapped around his leg. The leg was swollen and it took several days for the rangers to catch him and take the line off. He would have lost that leg or worse if he hadn’t been caught in time. He still has the scar and is easy to spot if you can see his leg. He still shows up occasionally with his mate.
Such a beautiful bird.
His mate was keeping an eye on me.
I sat for while and watched them look for food. They slowly made their way down the beach and I left. I’ll always be on the look out for him.
Even though you don’t see any spots now, this is a spotted sandpiper. During breeding season (summer) this guy has brown spots all over his stomach. Isn’t that sexy?!?
I think these are least sandpipers.
A wood stork watching the fishing boats go by.
A face only a mother could love. They look prehistoric.
Cormorants swimming by.
An oystercatcher trying to take a morning nap.
This is a regular couple at the north beach tip.
I’m not sure if I would want to stand in water waist deep fishing all morning. These guys didn’t seem to mind. At least they stayed cool.
Just a few critters around Fort Desoto Park on a recent trip.
Linking to Saturday’s critters