On the beach at Fort Desoto

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A regular on the beach. About a year ago, this oystercatcher had some fishing line wrapped around his leg and was cutting off the circulation. Someone took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook and a team of people were able to catch him and get the line off. You can still see the ring around his leg just above his foot.

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Not a regular but a once in a while visitor, the piping plover.

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The great blue heron kept walking back and forth right behind this guy and kept getting closer. We finally got his attention and told him to turn around. By then the heron was too close for him to even get a shot.

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Someone on the beach told me this was a merlin. He was across the  marsh so this is extremely cropped. It could also be a cooper’s hawk. Anyone know which?

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A kingfisher flew over my head with a fish stuck on his beak. She took off into the woods to enjoy her snack alone.

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A juvenile night heron has a crab.

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Oh no, he dropped it.

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He got it back quickly.

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And gulped it down fast before it could get away again.

A quiet but perfect morning in mid-September at Fort Desoto.

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Plovers and terns and gulls, Oh my!

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Another banded piping plover. There’s been a lot of them hanging around Fort Desoto this fall. Several birders have been keeping tabs on them and reporting them as they travel through.

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I sat down on the beach and watched him go about his morning.

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He was eating something goopy looking.

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Portrait of a sandwich tern.

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I think this is a Forster’s tern in winter feathers, hanging around the boat ramp.

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Sandwich terns all lined up, waiting for boats to come back with bait fish.

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“Who let all of the sandwich terns into my park??” says the loud laughing gull.

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The spotted sandpipers are back for the winter, sporting their winter feathers.

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Laughing gulls lose their black feathers on their head during the winter.

Lots of little birds on the beach at Fort Desoto in early October. Nothing unusual though.

Camera Critters

Teeny tiny birds on the beach

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Look at all that jewelry the piping plover has on.

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They are so tiny.

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This one only has one anklet on. He looks sleepy. It was early in the morning.

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This one has no jewelry on.

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This one is a Wilson’s plover.

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A sanderling stretching after a morning nap.

It was a quiet morning at Fort Desoto in early September. Not much on the beach but I was excited to see several piping plovers. We don’t see them here often. They must be migrating through. It was a 4 plover morning: Wilson’s, piping, semiplamated and black bellied. Now if only I had seen a snowy. I haven’t seen one there in years.

Beach birds at Fort Desoto

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“What is that blue thing?” I asked the ruddy turnstone. “A piece of tourist trash’ was his response.

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Tricolored heron creeping along the edge. He thinks he’s sneaking up on the fish.

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Piping plovers in front of the sleeping red knots.

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He’s so tiny.

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A yawn and a big stretch from the oystercatcher.

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A few marbled godwits were with the red knots.

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A reddish egret guarding the “Keep out” signs.

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Another oystercatcher along the water.

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Up on the fishing pier, a flock of snowy egrets were waiting for the guy to drop his bait fish.

Nothing to unusual at the beach in mid-August. Piping plovers are pretty rare around here so those few were pretty exciting to see. They were all sleeping in front of the big flock of red knots. It was a beautiful Saturday morning but still not luck with sighting the brown booby that’s been seen there on and off for a while.

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Birds and birders at Fort Desoto

The resident long billed curlew was prancing around in front of a large group of birders. He’s almost too tame. He was walking so close to people that they were backing up to take pictures of him

Piping plover staring at something.

An osprey flew close to this huge flock of birds and spooked them into flying around. It was mostly laughing gulls, skimmers, royal terns and sandwich terns. I know these birds need their rest but it was a nice sight to see.

A small sampling of the large flocks of birds resting on beach. I didn’t notice until I got home and cropped the shot that I caught a fish jumping up in the back of the picture.

Just a few of the birders that were there on a recent Saturday morning. They were enjoying the big group of birds resting on the low tide spit in the north beach lagoon.

The above could be: a) male yellow warbler (common here lately and has the brown stripes on the chest.), b) Cape May warbler (one was sighted minutes earlier, adult male winter has the same colors) or c)something totally different.  Several seasoned birders there had different opinions on what this was.

I was told this was a first year male common yellowthroat warbler.

This was another one that was with the one above. I think both are same.

I almost didn’t go. I had been to Fort Desoto several weeks in a row with little luck. I decided to try one last time for that jaeger and I had several friends that would be there on an audubon walk. I headed first to the gulf fishing pier and found the jeager pretty quick. After taking a few hundred shots of it, I headed to the woods to catch up with the group.  The woods didn’t have a large assortment of little birds. Just the few above. Then we headed up to the north beach marsh where tons of birds were resting. It turned out to be a beautiful morning even though I didn’t get too many migrating birds.

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