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 of the regulars at the pier; the famous great blue heron/great egret hybrid, a ruddy turnstone, a reddish egret, lots of snowy egrets always looking for a handout and great blue heron and reddish egret fighting over space on the railing.
Skimmers were skimming the bait fish.
This reddish egret was bored with me.
Shots of a beautiful morning at the pier. These were taken in early September, before Irma.
More pictures from my visit to the skimmers on St. Petersburg beach this summer. These little babies have so much personality. They are very brave, trying to take on the world. Then they grow up and spend the day sleeping on the beach.
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.
The baby skimmers are all grown up. I stopped by the beach where the skimmers nest in late July and these babies were all grown up. A few were already flying around. Not to far but they were moving pretty good. A few of them walked down to the water and it looked like they were trying to imitate their parents. It’s always fun to watch these birds grow up.
I caught a few adults skimming by. Now that they are empty nesters, they’ll be heading out to their winter homes.
The fishing pier at Fort Desoto was busy with everyone trying to catch fish. The tiny bait fish was all around the pier creating this blanket of fish layering the top of the water. People were coming in close to the pier on their boats and throwing their nets to catch the fish. The birds were also there, filling their beaks. Gulls and skimmers were hovering over the water and scooping up the fish with their beaks. Pelicans weren’t even diving for the fish. They were just floating there and sticking their heads half way under water and filling their pouches with fish. I don’t know if the people fishing were catching any bigger fish. I didn’t see any that morning.
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.