“I caught one this big” said the osprey as he landed on his nest.
Actually, he was bringing in sticks to spruce up the nest.
It’s amazing what you see when you are standing around waiting for baby birds to wake up. This Prairie warbler flew right in front of me.
Turning around, the coast guard was sitting right off the beach.
I eventually got tired of waiting for the baby birds to wake up and headed over to North beach to see what was over there (I don’t have a lot of attention span and was also trying to get some exercise so I needed to keep walking). All of the usual birds were there.
On the fishing pier, Harry the hybrid (great blue heron x great egret) was having a scratch.
It was a beautiful morning in late February.
Not many people out early in the morning (just us photogs) and it was a little chilly.
It was a cold quiet windy day at Fort Desoto in early January. I walked out to the north beach and saw nothing as far as the eye could see. Then this flash of movement caught my eye. A lone female red breasted merganser. She didn’t stay long and neither did I.
I headed over to the fishing pier and found a ring billed gull with a snack. The laughing gull was trying it’s best to steal it away but he wasn’t successful.
This was a scene all over the park. Osprey getting ready to start nesting and were coupling up. They both were eating fish.
Far away I could see skimmers, gulls and terns flying around.
The Clipper was cruising by the fishing pier.
It was a little creepy out on the beach. I only saw a few other people. We were all bundled up this morning.
It was extremely low tide. The clouds were getting darker so I decided not to head out on the spit. Even with the low tide I’d have to slosh through some water and wasn’t up for having cold feet this morning. I still love the beach here even on a day like this.
Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.
Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.
A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.
The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.
A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.
It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.
It’s always fun to see Red breasted mergansers swimming around near the shore line at Fort Desoto. They are always bobbing for fish and stay busy preening themselves. There were several swimming around in a shallow lagoon near the north beach.
Then the reddish egret photo bombed my shot of the red breasted mergansers diving. He was strutting around like “Hey why are you taking pictures of those ducks when you could be taking pictures of me?”
Then I started taking pictures of the reddish egret.
And a tricolored heron photo bombed my last shot of the reddish egret.
Most days you can find cormorants diving for fish around the fishing pier.
I realized when I cropped this up, it was not a good sign. He must have stolen this fish from someone’s fishing line. I’m not sure if he swallowed the hook and bait.
This one was busy. He caught 3 fish in a matter of minutes.
A lone red breasted merganser floating close to the pier.
After preening, she was showing off.
Here’s something I’ve never seen before. A common loon already in his summer colors. This bird is a drab gray during the winter and I occasionally see them floating around piers. The common loon is the Minnesota state bird and this is how they usually see them. They look so much prettier here.
Above is how we usually see the common loon in the winter. I took this last winter. They are usually all gray except for those red eyes.
I thought it was going to be a quiet morning at Fort Desoto but seeing the common loon in his black and white feathers was different. All dressed up and ready to go. This was in mid-March so he was molting early. He was probably on his way back home to Minnesota and decided since it was still snowing up there to stay here in sunny Florida a little longer. I would too.
Are you a western tanager? No, just a yellow rumped warbler.
Of course, the western tanager would be much higher up in the trees and harder to spot. After two hours, she would not come down from the top of the trees.
This was the best that I got that morning. She’s now been there for a few weeks so I should go back and see if I can find her again.
Nice butt shot. There were at least 20 birders looking for this bird. After several hours she was spotted high up and stayed there. This is my western tanager.
After spotting the tanager in the trees by the parking lot, I headed over to the beach to see what I could find. I’m going with Forester’s tern on this one. He’s got the black “earmuffs” that a common wouldn’t have. Bill is slightly longer. Seagull Steve, let me know if I’m wrong on this. I followed your comparisons here.
Wilson’s plovers on the beach.
Are these semipalmated plovers? Those orange legs on the one in the back makes me think they are but they don’t have a lot of color in their face. Maybe the back one is a juvenile?
Stretching after a nap.
A royal tern staring at me.
Taking a bath in the salt water.
What’s this? This isn’t a tern or plover. There was a lone red breasted merganser walking up on the beach. Where were all of her friends? They usually aren’t alone. She preened for a few minutes.
And then took off down the beach.
Pelican flying by just as the sun was coming out.
It was a foggy morning at Fort De Soto in mid-January. I went down to the park looking for the western tanager. Anything else I found was going to be a bonus. Not much else at the park except the usual terns and pelicans. I did find the Franklin’s gull on this trip. The sun finally started coming out around lunch time. I was hungry so I headed for home.