There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.
A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.
Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.
Royal terns in the air.
The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.
A few monk parakeets were flying around the parking lot.
It was low tide on the beach and very few people were there so the shorebirds were napping. Although, something kept spooking them and they would all take off flying in a circle and then come land in the same spot.
There were two white pelicans floating around in the area around the beach. They were hanging out with a bunch of cormorants. They stayed pretty far out in the water so these were all extremely cropped.
I rarely go the tiny beach next to downtown St. Pete. It’s usually pretty busy and there’s a big public swimming pool in the parking lot. I was in the area so I stopped and talk a quick walk in the sand. It was fairly early in the morning so there wasn’t anyone on the beach. The paved trail along the side of it was packed with people walking, jogging, biking and walking their dogs. It was a normal weekend rush hour traffic on the trails.
How comfortable does this look? He was trying to sleep in this soft sand.
This one was still getting protection from the parent.
Do you think they realize those wooden decoys are not real?
“Hey, a parent’s gotta eat too.”
The baby above was hiding under the Gatorade bottle.
“Hey lady, can you open this bottle? I’m thirsty.”
“No? Then I’ll just hide behind it.”
Scrawny bottom. This little one was so cute standing like that.
“Someone turn the light out. I’m sleepy.”
“I caught one this big.”
No, I did not pick up trash. I was not going to cross the ropes even for trash. It will get picked once the birds are all gone. Someone might have left it sitting on their blanket and the wind blew it over. There were a few trash items in the roped off area. These were a few of the older babies that were born first. They are probably about 3-4 weeks old when I took these in mid July. Soon they’ll be walking over to the water and practicing skimming. I’m going to try to get over there when they are all much older.
I quickly found the mandarin duck couple at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. I had heard the city had received two mandarin couples for the lake. I only found one of the couples but did not know there were two until later after my visit.
They were napping while I was there but something up in the sky caused them to look up for a few minutes. Hawks and eagles sometimes cruise through there so they might have seen something high up in the sky.
Lake Mirror has a small floating deck in the middle of the lake which is probably used for seasonal decorations. The two fake owls are there to keep the real birds off the deck but you can see how much the real birds pay attention.
I headed over to Lake Morton, a couple of blocks away to see if any of the swans or geese were nesting yet. I found this funny looking mallard. I know he’s saying “Stop staring at my funny feathers on my head.”
There were two swan couples building nests.
The usual “limpkin with a snail” shot.
The black swans were posing for me.
And staying busy preening since mating season was starting.
The light birds are sanderlings. I think the darker birds are dunlins. They were all sleeping on the sand.
The little beach was full of shorebirds sleeping.
A car drove up and spooked them.
Marbled godwits trying to sleep. The one in front is yawning.
For the most part, these birds were not moving. They were taking advantage of the dark cloudy morning to sleep in.
A handful of skimmers came by looking for a spot to land.
Ring-billed gull towering over a few common terns.
Black bellied plovers watching me.
This tiny little beach at the end of the causeway on the Clearwater side of the bay is a catch 22. If it’s sunny and warm outside then the beach is full of people and the shorebirds are pretty scarce. They go further down the water in front of the water treatment plant. If it’s a cloudy day, then not many people are on the beach and the shorebirds take it over. But the light is bad so it’s harder to get decent pictures. You can drive on this little beach so people like to launch their wave runners here. The early morning I stopped, there were only two other cars around so the beach was full of shorebirds sleeping. Tons of ruddy turnstones, semipalmated plovers, sanderlings and dunlins covered the beach. There were a few ring-billed gulls, godwits and dowitcherss mixed in as well. I didn’t see anything really rare there. I was hoping to find a few horned grebes which hung out there last winter but it’s still early.