Lots of oystercatchers at the north beach at Fort Desoto. Including the first one that has the TO bands on his legs. I have pictures of him as far back as 2011.
A ruddy turnstone still in his summer feathers.
Two little plovers. A piping plover on top and a semipalmated plover on the bottom.
A mom and juvenile sandwich tern.
An almost grown black skimmer taking a break on the sand.
Pelicans resting on the shore.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
I stopped by St. Pete beach in mid July thinking that all of the skimmer babies would be almost grown up and starting to fly but there was one little baby still remaining. They were outside the roped off area near the seaweed line. The baby stayed close to Mom.
There was one other baby that was bigger but still staying close to Mom. All of the rest of the older babies were down along the water line practicing their wing flapping.
One of the laughing gulls had gotten a hold of a snack from someone and all of the other gulls were chasing him trying to steal it. Not even a cheese cracker is safe on the beach.
I stopped at Sand Key park on the way home and there were several eastern kingbirds near the beach.
“I am Skippy the Skimmer and I am the cutest one here.”
“This is my fish.”
“I’m Sparky the Skimmer and I am a little bit older. I’m starting to get color in my feathers and my beak is getting longer.”
“Where’s my Mom? You’re not suppose to bother me, Least tern.” said the baby skimmer. “But you look tasty and I’m hungry” said the juvenile Least tern.
“Stay away from my baby!” said the adult skimmer.
“You stay away as well”
“I’m sticking close to mom”.
“Who me? I’m not going anywhere.”
“Mom, where’s my fish?”
“I pretend to be brave but now I’m scared and running to hide under Mom.”
“I’m Stanley, one of the oldest babies skimmers here. I’m almost grown up and just learning to fly. I’m also learning to brake.”
I didn’t make it to see the baby black skimmers until late July. I was expecting to see them all grown up but this was a late year and there were still many tiny babies. The babies have a lot against them. Between the tourists getting too close, the crows and laughing gulls trying to get a meal and the risk of high tide, it’s a hard knock life for a little bird. If the tiny babies wander away from the roped off area, a tourist could easily not see him blending into the sand and step on him. If we get another bad storm like Colin back in early June, the tide could get too high and the little babies can’t swim yet or fly away. But, hopefully most make it through. I took so many pictures of these cute little guys so there are tons more to come.
Linking to Saturday’s Critters
I always love watching skimmers take a bath.
The royal terns are pretty funny as well.
I think this is a young herring gull.
Another ruddy turnstone missing most of his toes.
They were all busy preening early in the morning.
Shorebirds I found hanging around the beach near the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.
It’s always fun watching a skimmer taking a bath.
Splashing around like a kid in a bathtub.
“Clean your underarms” I told him.
Face in the water.
That’s a little too close.
Royal terns are showing up on the beach with their summer hat on. During breeding season the top of their head is all black. During winter, they have mostly white on their head with a little gray on the sides.
Willet shaking it off.
Marbled godwit digging for snacks.
I think these are dunlins in non-breeding feathers.
Oystercatcher taking a nap. It’s amazing how they can sleep on one foot. I couldn’t sleep on one foot much less standing up.
Just a few birds I found out on the beach in early April when I was waiting for the baby owl to decide whether he wanted to fly or not. I know people stand there for hours waiting for “that” shot but I have to get out and walk around.
He wasn’t quite sure at first but then it was lift off!
He was flying right at me. This must be one of the first skimmers born this spring. Already flying a few months later.
This one was ready for a nap.
This juvenile was still getting fish from his parent.
This may be one of the first-born. He seemed pretty confident as he flew by me. He’s already got a lot of black in his wings and his beak is changing.
I didn’t see him get a fish but it was fun to watch him skimming.
I had not planned to go back and visit the skimmers again this spring but I happened to be nearby one morning with hubby and we decided to stop in. I saw a few of the baby skimmers old enough to fly. It was mid-August and the oldest ones were probably born sometime near the end of June. It was right before lunch and the beach was already busy with people walking by and playing so it was a little crazy. I was hoping to see more babies down by the water but the foot traffic kept them closer to the roped off area. I was able to see one baby skim along the water but he was so close to me that I couldn’t fit him all in. I’d like to say this is my last trip until next year but you never know.
Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday
Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for
“This sign is about me.”
“This is a comfy hole.”
“Soon I’ll be flying.”
“I’m the oldest.”
A parent skimming for fish.
I don’t know what they were chasing each other over but this is a common sight over the skimmer colony.
High up in the air they were yelling at each other.
A view from the back of the roped off area. As the babies get older, the skimmers start to spread out. Many of the families now hang out between the roped area and the water.
This was late July. I thought this would be my last visit to the skimmers but I ended up back there on a Sunday morning in early August to see if I could catch any of the babies flying. I was able to catch two flying so I’ll post those later.