The beach has reopened.

On the trail at Fort Desoto. A butterfly and some kind of fruit that I have never noticed before. The red really stuck out in all of the green right on the trail.

A snowy egret trying to steal a snack from a fisherman.

Some of the birds near the fountain includes a loggerhead shrike, a female summer tanager and an ibis.

Dolphins were swimming around the pier.

Looking across the lagoon, lots of different shorebirds. The  middle shot has black skimmers in the front and the bottom picture shows red knots.

It was the first week in May and the park had just recently opened. I got there early and was leaving before 10am and shot this from the pier. The beach was filling up fast. Time for me to head home.

SkyWatch Friday

The ladies were out at the Botanical Gardens

This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.

A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.

A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.

Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.

Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.

My Corner of the World

All the colors of the rainbow passing through.

A not very common Swainson’s Thrush.

Summer tanagers. The bottom one is an immature male.It’s cool to see them when they are half yellow and half red.

Gray birds: a wood pee wee and a catbird.

I think this is a female Orchard Oriole.

Baltimore Oriole.

Beautiful blue indigos.

Red eyed vireos.

Magnolia Warbler

A bay breasted warbler was hiding high up in the trees all morning.

Lots of different little birds at Fort Desoto at the end of April.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World. 

A rainbow of birds at Fort Desoto

Painted buntings were all over the ground.

Summer tanager.

Scarlet tanagers have black wings.

Lots of prothonotary warblers.

An immature male orchard oriole. He’ll turn a burnt dark orange after his next molt.

Above are female orchard orioles.

A rare Kentucky warbler.

An immature blue indigo looking back at me.

Fort Desoto Park in south Pinellas county is known as a hot spot for birds migrating through in the spring and fall. The birds seem to be more plentiful in spring vs. fall migration. All of the above were seen in a 2 hour period in mid-April. Just standing quietly in the bushes watching them fly in and eat the mulberries with 20 or so other people. All with our long lenses and binoculars. I was using my 300mm lens with a 1.4 extender to zoom in. These are also cropped up so we were all pretty far away.

 

 

Going home with “warbler neck”

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Summer tanagers were posing for the crowd.

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Black and white warbler with a bug.

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Redstart hiding in the shadows.

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Blue gray gnatcatchers eating bugs.

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A rare yellow billed cuckoo was the star of the day. I had seen one once before at Circle B Bar Reserve but there were many birders there that had their first sighting of one. He was high up in the tree but everyone was able to get a good shot.

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The one of many palm warblers that hang out here in the winter.

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White eyed vireos will be common to spot this winter.

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I was told the two above were Nashville warblers. Can anyone confirm?

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A brief glimpse of a Tennessee warbler.

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My first Philadelphia Vireo. He was hanging around the cuckoo.

“We got fall out!” was the term used on the bird forums.  Fort Desoto Park was covered in birds that had stopped for a rest on their way south for the winter in early October. I got to the park around 8am and many people already looking up in the oak trees at the picnic area. I spent several hours taking tons of pictures and had “warbler neck” from staring straight up into the trees for so long. A nap after lunch got rid of that. It’s not often you get a day where you can stand under a tree and see so many different birds.

More birds passing through

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A very young Baltimore oriole way up high in the tree. He didn’t have all of his adult feathers in yet.

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A black throated blue warbler.

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A black throated green warbler.

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A few blackpoll warblers in the mulberry bushes.

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I think this is a female black throated blue warbler.

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Brown thrashers were eating the mulberries.

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Summer tanagers were in the oak trees.

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This is either a female scarlet tanager or a summer tanager.

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A lone indigo bunting.

Spring migration felt a little slow this year. It was much harder to find the birds at Fort Desoto. It felt like there were more people than birds in the woods. It was still a fun morning out. No new birds this spring but there’s always next year.

Just passing through

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Yellow bellied sapsucker.

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Lots of indigo buntings including the juvenile in the last picture. He hasn’t got all of his blue feathers in yet.

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The scarlet tanager has black wings.

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The summer tanager is the only all red bird in America (according to All About Birds)

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Female red breasted merganser.

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And a pretty cactus flower just for fun.

These were taken at Fort Desoto in early April when spring migrating birds were stopping by for a rest before heading north for the summer. There wasn’t a ton of birds but a few good ones.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

A rainbow of birds at Fort Desoto

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A scarlet tanager looking at me. Maybe he thinks I’m after his berry.

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A summer tanager with a bug hanging out of his beak.

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Another scarlet tanager with a beak full.

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A female and male painted bunting.

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He has mulberry juice on his beak.

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She’s got mulberry pieces hanging out of her mouth.

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These birds were chowing down.

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Another tanager posing.

So many pretty birds at Fort Desoto during spring migration. The mulberry trees were full and the birds were hungry. We all just stood in a line and quietly watched them eat. The big prize of the day was the painted buntings.There were several at the park that morning. This is the first decent picture I’ve gotten of one. I also took a ton of blue birds More on those later.

We got fallout – Skywatch Friday

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My first cedar waxwing of the year. There were several in the bush and this was all I got.

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I think this is a female orchard oriole. With berry stains on her beak, looking at me.

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Same as above.

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One of the few male summer tanager sightings I saw.

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Another yellow bird. I’m still going with female orchard oriole.

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Same as above.

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An immature rose breasted grosbeak with berry stains on his chest.

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An immature male orchard oriole.

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Eastern kingbird all covered in berry stains.

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A male orchard oriole.

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A summer tanager with a bug in his beak.

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Hooded warbler with a bee in his beak.

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A prothonotary warbler so busy eating he didn’t even notice us.

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A few seconds later he looks up, all covered in berry juice.

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A crow chasing all of the little birds away from the fountain.

What a busy morning. In mid-April we got spring migration fall out at Fort Desoto. We had storms earlier in the week but the birds stayed put through the weekend. I was expecting to show up at the park and only see cardinals.  Birds were busy hopping from bush to tree and back. Most were eating the mulberries but some were also eating bugs. You really had to pay attention to get pictures for the few seconds they sit still which is hard to do when you keep running into people you haven’t seen since last spring migration and you want to catch up. There were a lot of people on the trails but everyone was nice and pointed out what they were seeing. There were lots of bird experts there and I was going to try to take notes but I was afraid I’d miss something if I stopped to write something down. April was a busy month so I’ll have more little bright bird pictures. If I got any of these wrong, please let me know.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Rainbow of birds for spring migration

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I think the indigo bunting was my favorite bird of the day. Last spring I could not get a decent picture of him. When I first got the woods I saw a flash of blue and didn’t see him again for a while. Later, while standing in front of the fountain talking to some other birders, he landed right on the base of the fountain. He bounced around for at least 10 minutes from branch to fountain.

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I totally blew this shot out. I had been taking pictures of birds deep in the bushes early in the morning and had my ISO too high. When I drove over to the other section of woods, as soon as I got out of the car I saw the scarlet tanager in the tree and immediately started snapping. Then I realized he was in full sun and I hadn’t lowered my ISO. A second later he flew off.  So the shot overall is too bright but I’m just glad I got him.

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This one I took right into the sun and then had to blow out to get the details. I think this is another scarlet tanager but we had heard there were summers around and I was hoping it was a summer instead. I can’t really see his wings in this picture to tell. Any experts have an opinion?

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Later in the morning, when I came back to the mulberry bushes, they were full of orchard orioles. I only saw males while I was there. They were all busy eating the berries.

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Another one with berries pieces in his beak.

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Not a good picture but it was the only one I got of an american redstart.

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Is this a gray kingbird or an eastern kingbird? People were calling it both. All About Birds does not even show a gray kingbird in their list, only the eastern. He was flying back and forth between the mulberry bushes with some lunch left on his beak.

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My first red eyed vireo.

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I thought this was a red eyed vireo at first. I’m thinking it’s the same bird as the picture before it and that I just couldn’t see it’s red eye. It also looks like a female redstart.

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The very common gray catbird. The mulberry bushes were full of them. This one had red all over his face from eating the berries. What a feast.

The mulberry bushes at the trails have signs posted saying “Do not pick the fruit.” Just in case a tourist wanted to have a snack and wipe out an entire bush. The birds migrating through in spring count on these bushes for fuel to get them home up north. They are exhausted and hungry when they stop by Fort Desoto for a rest. The bushes were full of birds in early April. They were all busy eating and most birds had a little berry juice stained on their beaks and faces. Most of these pictures were taken standing in front of the big mulberry bushes or at the water fountain so I didn’t have to travel far. Just stand in one place and have patience (which I don’t have a lot of).

Check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for