A lot of flirting going on.

The usual shore birds were at the fishing pier in early April. There was a large variety of them hanging out together including those large ring billed gulls in the middle. They make the other birds seem so small.

There were a lot of royal terns on the beach. The two above with the orange beaks looked like they were flirting. They were standing at attention among the sandwich terns, common terns and willets.

They were definitely flirting. Walking back and forth together, almost like slow dancing. Their little black toupees were standing up.

Then we knew for sure they were flirting. The poor couple didn’t have any privacy although the willets weren’t really paying attention. It looked more like a game of leap frog than actual mating though.

They danced around again for a while as that kittiwake was keeping an eye on us.

They tried again but I don’t think she was really in the mood.

As I was leaving I noticed the crowd had thinned out. Everyone was here to see the kittiwake but there was so much more going on.

The sea fog rolling in.

I love being out in the fog so when I peaked out the window in mid-February I got ready quickly and headed out the door for a walk on the Dunedin causeway. It kept getting foggier as the morning went on. I guess the sea fog was rolling in. The tide was super low which made it even cooler.

I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out to get some shots of the oystercatcher couple that was feeding along the causeway. Someone walked up behind me and spooked them to fly to the other side of the causeway.

A few of the other birds included a sanderling, a snowy egret, a marbled godwit and a young ring billed gull feasting on a dead fish.

Later I saw the oystercatchers again and snapped a few more pictures before leaving. They seemed to be having a lot of luck with whatever they were eating (tiny crabs?).

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

The beach at low tide

It’s not often we see whimbrels around here. The pair at Fort Desoto have been very accommodating when you can find them. They were right when you walk out on the beach the morning I found them in late October, feeding along the grass line before the sand.

It was extreme low tide and the buoys were exposed. The ruddy turnstones were picking tiny crabs off of them for breakfast.

This willet also found some breakfast.

The little tiny shorebirds are so cute creeping around in the muck. A snowy plover and a sanderling.

Skimmers cruising by.

Something spooked the birds way out on the sandbar.

There’s something magical about being out on the beach at low tide early in the morning. There aren’t many people out and you can walk forever and feel like you are out in the middle of the gulf.

Dead Australian pine tree graveyard on the beach. The stumps have all been smoothed down by the water and have been bleached out by the sun.

My Corner of the World

Lots of little birdies on the beach

There were a few marbled godwits at Fort Desoto Park.

Least terns

I think this is a juvenile sandpiper.

Lots of plovers running around including the Wilson’s plover in the first picture and piping plovers with orange legs.

Sleeping sanderlings

Soon the skimmers will be gone. They are rare to see in the winter at the park.

Fort Desoto in early January

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.

SkyWatch Friday

Early April at Fort Desoto

Pretty flowers on the trail to the beach.

A few of the usual birds on the beach.

I looked back as I was leaving the parking lot and saw the cardinal checking himself out on my side mirror.

A northern parula was the only bird in the woods in early April.

An osprey checking me out.

A pelican flying by and a common bird soaring over the beach in the summer, a frigatebird.

The storm clouds were moving in at Fort Desoto.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Broken shells and shorebirds

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Sanibel Island has a reputation for having a lot of shells on the beach. People come to visit to go shell hunting. We must have been there during a down time because all of the beach looked like the above. Mostly small broken shells. I guess all of the good ones get taken during the summer or you have to be there very early in the morning right after a storm. I did  manage to find a few small ones though.  The sanderlings and black bellied plovers spent a lot of time digging through the shells for tiny critters to eat.

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The willet wants to know who left their shoes on the beach. I told him they weren’t mine. I don’t think he believed me.

All of the above were taken from my beach chair.

End of summer at Fort Desoto??

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A sanderling in the sea grass at low tide.

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Black bellied plovers at different stages of molting. The one in the top picture has more black feathers and is still in his summer colors. The bottom one has lost most of his black feathers.  He’ll be mostly white through the winter. The middle one was chewing on something yummy.

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The ruddy turnstone also had something yummy to eat. The ruddy in the bottom picture still has his summer feathers.

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It was strange seeing the osprey in the water with the laughing gulls. I caught him as he was finishing taking a bath. After a few minutes he took off.

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A dowitcher walking the shore line.

Birds on the beach and fishing pier at Fort Desoto in late September.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing