When I was at Fort Desoto in early September looking for the flamingoes I couldn’t help but notice the reddish egret adult and the juvenile (in all gray) that was learning to catch the fish from his parent. There was a handful of photographers standing along the water line waiting for the lone flamingo (that was far out in the water) to move around and feed. The reddish egrets walked right in front of us and started showing off. The juvenile appeared to have caught on quick and was catching as many fish as the parent. They really put on a show and would not be ignored.
The juvenile sandwich terns were still screaming at the parents to bring them some fish.
This royal tern brought his young one a fish. The juvenile was probably old enough to get his own but won’t until the parent stops feeding him.
A lone lesser yellowlegs strutting around.
Terns flying high.
I was heading to the beach on the Gandy causeway early one morning looking for a new bird. A gull billed tern had been spotted there for several days. I parked and walked along the sand closely looking at every gull or tern. Was the above the new bird? I couldn’t tell when they were preening but when they stopped I saw that yellow tip on their beaks and knew they were just sandwich terns.
I know this little cutie is a black bellied plover.
Also not the bird I was looking for. This was a juvenile least tern.
A least tern out taking a bath.
The laughing gull is easy to spot. He was taking a bath in a puddle on the beach.
It’s past nesting season for least terns but these guys were trying to get the other tern to take the fish. The lady in the bottom was not interested.
Another least tern chasing after an adult with a fish.
I did not find the gull billed tern. I was a day late. But it was still a beautiful morning. The sun was coming up high towards Tampa and it was time to head home.
Looking towards the gulf the storms were starting to move inland.
The sandwich terns are flirting.
And taking baths.
A young ring billed gull is hanging out in the water.
A juvenile herring gull is eating a scary looking fish.
It’s been summer here for a while. The shorebirds are on the beaches (but so are the tourists). When is winter again?
Snowy egrets waiting for a handout from a fisherman.
Cormorants keeping an eye on things from up high.
The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.
The usual oystercatcher couple trying to stand out in the crowd.
A sandwich tern taking a bath.
A young sandwich tern still screaming for Mom to bring a snack.
A laughing gull with a shell.
Lots of different birds hanging around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.
Sandwich terns completely ignoring me.
“Hey guys look over here.”
Junior on the left is yelling at Mom to go get some fish.
Here is where you can find some bait fish. A net that hasn’t been completely emptied yet.
The laughing gulls were getting some fresh bait fish.
The water around the fishing pier was full of tiny fish.
Even the snowy egrets were getting snacks.
A sandwich tern coming up empty.
A pelican flies in to the jetty next to the pier.
“Lady, you’re not going to catch any big fish right there. And keep that fishing line away from the birds.”
Busy Saturday morning in early October at the fishing pier.
“Mom, pay attention. I’m hungry.”
“I said stop ignoring me and get me some fish or I’ll throw a big tantrum.”
“Oh brother, are they flirting?” says the juvenile sandwich tern in the back.
“We are family!”
“Make room for me!”
“Dad, mom said for me to tell you to go get me some fish.”
“Please!!!” says the juvenile on the right.
“Can we get some peace and quiet around here?”
“Here comes a dog. We’re outta here.”
The beach wasn’t covered with shorebirds since it was sunny when I got to Gandy beach after work. There was still a few people out walking around and swimming. I did manage to see a small flock of sandwich terns hanging out together. They were busy preening and bathing and wasn’t paying much attention to me sitting in the car. You would think a lot of drama was going on by the way they were yelling at each other. There were a few baby terns from this spring but now they are as big as the adults. Their beaks and legs aren’t as black as the adults yet. They can fly but I think they are still being fed by the parents. Soon, most of them will be gone heading south with the other migraters.