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.
There is an actual fort at Fort Desoto Park. The fort was finished in 1900 and was used until after World W 2. Pinellas county bought the fort and surrounding area later and in 1963 it opened as a park. I don’t usually spend a lot of time there but one day in late October I wasn’t quite ready to go home for lunch so I thought I would climb the path to the top of the fort to see if there were any birds around.
You can rent bikes next door and I thought the bright colors popped against all of the green and blue.
Looking around the fort area, it reminded me of a picture I had seen looking through the old family photos.
Apparently I had been there when I was just a tot running around. It must have not been opened as a park long when we went because I was born in 1963. I must have less than a year old.
After the fort, I stopped by the fishing pier to watch the dolphin show.
At this point a storm was moving in and it was starting to drizzle so I quickly headed back to my car.
Back in mid-September when things were quiet at Fort Desoto, I stopped by the pier to see if there were any dolphins swimming around. There wasn’t any dolphins this morning but the pelicans were diving for fish and the gulls were driving them crazy trying to steal a fish from them.
Harry, the usual great blue heron/great egret hybrid, was hanging out on the roof on the pier panting in the heat.
The royal terns were having a feeding frenzy at Fort Desoto in early August. The parents were busy trying to keep the juvenile ones fed.
I found another Harry the hybrid (great blue heron and great egret) at the north beach lagoon. I had heard there were two hybrids at the park but I had only seen one at the fishing pier. This one has more beige and grey than the one at the pier which is more white.
Birds cruising by at the north spit. You can see the boats far off at the tip of the spit already anchoring to party for the day.
Flowers near the parking lot.
Lots of activity going on around the park. It was going to be a busy afternoon.
Built in 1936, this historic lighthouse boat was renovated and was up for sale earlier this year for only $5M. We didn’t hear if it sold.
Views from the northern end of the harbor include the USS Constitution ship build in 1797. It’s docked at the former Charlestown Navy Yard and you can tour it but we never made it over there (gotta save something for the next trip). It’s exactly what I pictured would be sitting in the harbor here.
Bright yellow leaves in front of the North End.
Another view from the back of the boat.
A view heading into Charlestown from our trolley tour.
Hiding in hole. I was wondering if they nest in this hole.
Some of the shorebirds close to the trail, a ruddy turnstone and a black bellied plover.
I stopped by the fishing pier before heading home.
Far across the bay near Egmont Key.
Sailing past the pier, this old sailboat reminded me of my dad. He would have loved that boat. I turned it into a black and white photo so it would have looked like something he would have taken many years ago.
Right after Hurricane Irma came through someone had posted that they had seen a golden plover at Fort Desoto. I have never heard of a golden plover being anywhere near here and someone else had said they are never seen in Florida so this one must have gotten blown way off course from the storm. Everyone was questioning it until some expert birders had gotten pictures of it. After a couple of days I was able to run down to the park after work one night. I had about an hour before it got dark to find it. The bird was easy to find and close to were people had seen it days before. It was feeding along the rack line so I sat down on the beach and took some shots with my 300mm and extender. The little bird seemed curious and kept getting closer to me. I kept getting up and backing up. He looked okay and was running around feeding but I couldn’t help wondering if he was trying to tell me something. A few days later a rehabber picked him up and he’s been recuperating since then. I last heard he was doing much better and should be released soon. We get a lot of black bellied plovers in the same area. See below for recent pictures of those.
Two black bellied plovers above. The top is during the breeding season and the bottom is in the winter. The golden plover has a lot of brown on his head that shines.
A few things I saw near the golden plover that night. The tide was so low that you could see the crabs in the crab trap.
So many different things to see around the tip of Davis Islands where the small airport and yacht basin ends the island. From tiny boats, really big boats and tug boats the variety can keep you busy watching the sights all morning.
In one corner of the island, there’s a small dog beach next to the private airport. There wasn’t many dogs on the beach early one recent Saturday morning. I think it was just too hot. Even the water was warm.
I think this is my favorite. This sailboat had a handmade boat lift for it’s own rowboat.