Scenes from a beach on Memorial Day weekend – Skywatch Friday

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A lone red knot on the beach.

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And then there were two.

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As I was sitting on the sand shooting the red knot, I looked over and saw this Wilson’s plover watching me.

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He grabs a small crab and was showing it off before he gulped it down.

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He cruised by me while keeping an eye on me.

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The park rangers having a meeting in the roped off bird sanctuary area. Since this was the Saturday morning before Memorial Day, they had a busy weekend ahead of them. Sometimes I think they must have a cool job but it must be hard being out in that heat all day not to mention every holiday. Dealing with drunk people (yes, no alcohol is allowed in the park but duh, people bring it anyway). I once heard a man who was slurring his words argue with a ranger over having his dog on the main beach where there are clear signs that say no dogs  on this beach. There is a separate beach for pets. The guy would not leave with his dog. If I was the ranger I would have wanted to taser the guy. The rangers at this park work hard!

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Great blue heron posing on a light post on the fishing pier.

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Yellow eyeballs on a snowy egret.

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A group of people kayaking around the fishing pier.

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Rush hour traffic in the shipping lanes.

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The dolphins were out in full force.

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Looking back from the end of the fishing pier.

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Zoomed in on a ship going by.

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A tourist had a nice stash of shells she was collecting. It’s not usual to find a big one like this on the beach. She was digging around out in the water near the fishing pier.

You know it’s going to be a packed park on a holiday weekend. I got there early Saturday morning and was home by lunch time. I could have stayed later and taken pictures of all the people packed in on the beaches but that would only make me crazy. It was nice to get out on a sunny morning and walk the beach and fishing pier before the crowds. After a long nap at home, I was ready to do chores.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Park rangers are heroes

I see these two park rangers walking out of the dead mangroves. She’s carrying a pelican.

Someone had called in to the ranger’s station that they had seen a pelican trapped in the mangroves. The rangers came right out and found the pelican.

This pelican had a big fishing hook and fishing wire all wrapped around it’s wing and foot. It had gotten caught in the mangroves and would have been trapped there if he had been on a spoil island where no one could see him. You can just barely see the fishing lure hanging underneath it’s foot.

The rangers worked quickly and the pelican never seemed in stress.

All free, she’s careful letting the pelican go so that big beak doesn’t get her in the face.

He’s off but doesn’t go too far.

He stops and looks back at them.  What was he thinking?

Free of line and tackle, he finally takes off.

It’s really a thankless job. At least the birds can’t talk. Out at the north beach of Fort Desoto with my friend Pam, we saw a park ranger truck pull up near the end of the beach and wondered what they were doing in bushes. We realized they were rescueing a trapped pelican. We stayed back while they worked so as not to crowd them or spook the pelican. They had him free of the fishing line pretty quick. Later, we asked them how often they get these calls and they said on average several times a day on the weekends. This is above and beyond the other millions of things they have to get done at the large park each day with tourists, campers and fishermen filling the park.

Big thanks go out to Billy and Kathy and all of the park rangers at Fort Desoto!