A quiet night at Fort Desoto

Coming in for a landing.

Cute little plover looking for a snack.

Snowy egrets and ibis hanging around the marsh.

High up –  loggerhead shrike, kestrel and a starling.

Great blue heron posing on a light post.

One I helped save and one I couldn’t. The first one was walking around on the pier. I had a bait fish in my hand and he walked right up to me. He was all tangled up in fishing line with a hook on his wing. I was able to borrow clippers and a nice man was able to grab him as I was giving him the bait fish.  While he held the pelican I clipped off all of the wire and the hook.  He seemed okay so we let him go. He gave me one last look and took of into the sunset. The other pelican was sitting on the ferry boat. His feet were tangled up in fishing wire but he was able to fly and took off.

I was able to head down to Fort Desoto for a quick walk before sundown in late October before the time changed.  Now it’s dark after work. Can’t wait till April.

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On the beach in early August

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A great egret getting a fish.

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Sanderlings running around as usual.

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Willet taking off.

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There’s usually a reddish egret on the beach.

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Tiny plover showing off his crab breakfast.

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The beach was full of plovers this morning.

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A marbled godwit in the water.

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A black bellied plover.

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The oystercatcher couple was in their usual spot.

Nothing unusual at the north beach tip at Fort Desoto in early August. I had heard red knots were moving through the area but no sign of them on the morning I was there.  This was a quick visit. It was just too hot even with the sea breeze.

Mandarin Orange Monday

Early November birds at Fort De Soto

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Another plover on the beach.

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This short billed dowitcher didn’t even bother looking up.

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The palm warblers really like having their picture taken.

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Kestrel on a branch. I usually only see them on the utility lines.

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Hawk looking for something in the grass.

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One of the Fort De Soto eagles on top of the utility tower in the middle of the park. Two years ago their nest in the tree got knocked down during a storm and they moved to the tower. The nest is up high and it’s not a good view to get a picture. Both eagles have been seen hanging around lately.

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Yet another palm warbler shot. They have become as common as gulls now.

It was early November and a nasty storm came through on Saturday. The brave birders were out and saw several rare sightings at the park. I read about it Saturday night so I headed out Sunday afternoon. After searching for several hours with other birders, I saw none of the birds that were sighted there the day before. When am I going to learn to get out in the rain??? It seems like the only avocet sightings here are when it’s raining or just stopped raining. I can never seem to catch them. One of these days!

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Beach birds at Fort Desoto

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A marbled godwit digging around for food.

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Dowitchers doing the same thing.

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Willet scratching an itch.

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Teeny tiny plover watching me.

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Another dowitcher trying to sleep.

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Least terns are starting to show up on the beaches in the area.

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The little juvenile royal tern was yelling at his parent to go get him a fish.

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He looked at me like “What? I’m hungry.”

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I was standing on the fishing pier and zoomed in on one of the big ships coming into the bay.

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Two ships passing in the day. They were two dots on the horizon. This is zoomed in and cropped.

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Taken with my Iphone. You can see the storms moving in as I walked down the beach.

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From the fishing pier.

It was quiet at Fort Desoto in mid July. The storms were coming every day. I hit the beach early and there weren’t many people there. It was a nice walk down the beach. The clouds kept it a little cooler. The beach wasn’t full of shorebirds. Just a few at the north tip. I’ve since read there are tons of least terns there now so I think many trips are in my future for the rest of the summer.

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Beach birds at Fort Desoto

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When I first got to Fort Desoto it was windy and cloudy. I don’t see the water this choppy very often. I usually stay away from the beach when the weather gets bad.

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I found Big Red (reddish egret) in his usual spot at the north beach but he wasn’t doing any fishing.

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This lone oystercatcher had the right idea. A nap on the beach. It was the Saturday before the 4th of July so he was soon going to be overrun with tourists if he stayed in that prime spot.

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Things were quiet early that morning up at the north beach end. I found a few willets stretching and sleeping.

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Plover shaking it off.

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Marbled godwits trying to sleep standing up.

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Dowitcher cruising around the water.

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Ugly beach bug. I’ve never seen one of these on the beach before. I’m sure a gull will get him for lunch.

Quiet morning on the beach in early July. The day called for rain but I went out anyway. I got lucky. Mix of clouds and sun while I was there.

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Mixed bag at Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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Pond full of redheads before you enter Fort Desoto.

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Vultures on the grass at East Beach turnaround. I think they were just resting and getting a tan.

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Osprey flies over my head with a half eaten fish.

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A juvenile gull of some sort. It doesn’t look like a laughing gull.  I’m going with herring gull, maybe born late summer.

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Cormorant preening on the lightpost. Don’t stand under a lightpost on a fishing pier. You could get pooped on.

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Fish crow with some fish guts. Probably stole it from a fisherman.

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I told that black bellied plover not to try to eat the stick. He wouldn’t listen.

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Laughing gull taking a bath.

Just a handful of different things I saw on a weekend morning walk around Fort Desoto right before the holidays.

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Shorebirds at Fort Desoto on Thanksgiving eve

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Mixed bag of shorebirds sleeping together.

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Teeny tiny plover keeping an eye on me.

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I didn’t see the kildeer at first. I pulled onto the grass to take a picture of the kestrel on the utility wire and saw this guy run out into the road ahead of me. It’s the first time I’ve seen a kildeer at Fort Desoto, although I’m sure they’re around. He was just standing in the road. A car drove by and he flew off but came right back to the same spot. I wonder if he’s staking out a nesting spot. It’s a little earlier for them to nest but around here you never know. It’s been 80 degrees every day so maybe he’s looking to start early.

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Dowitcher searching for food.

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Least sandpiper running around.

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Sun going down on the shorebirds.

The weather in November was perfect. Although, it could have been at least 10 degrees cooler. I was able to sneak out of work a little early on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so I headed down to Fort Desoto. It was nice to get out before dark and I hadn’t been out much since fighting sinus infections since early October. I went down there with a purpose though. To look for the black scoter ducks that had been spotted there earlier that morning. I walked the entire beach length near where they had been spotted with no luck. I checked out both fishing piers and still no luck. Story of my life, 6 hours too late. It was still a beautiful night and nice to get out.

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