It was a quiet morning at the boat ramp at Fort Desoto Park. Even thought the weather was perfect in early October very few boats were going out. The seabirds were taking an early morning nap on the floating dock railings. They barely glanced at me as I walked up but I’m sure they wouldn’t have been happy if I had started to walk down the ramp and caused them to move. Most of these are sandwich terns (with the yellow tips on their beaks) and a few laughing gulls in the mix.
Over at the fishing pier, the laughing gulls were harassing the snow egrets that were all lined up. All fighting over bait fish.
Lots of shorebirds on the beach at Anna Maria Island. Since we were in between tourist seasons, there were more birds than people on the beach. Mostly royal terns and sandwich terns with a lone juvenile ring billed gull towering over the terns. Young royal terns are still begging for food from their parents even though they look old enough to get their own food.
“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.