Saturday morning at Fort Desoto

The red breasted mergansers were still swimming around the pier in early April at Fort Desoto Park.

I found the whimbrels again. This time they were hunting for food around the stone edges near the fort. The tide was low and they were picking off some type of black bug.

A great blue heron standing on the roof at the end of the fishing pier.

This ruddy turnstone had a bite and I realized he was also missing a foot.

A ruddy and a laughing gull feeding on the beach under the pier.

Watching the ibis fly by on a perfect Saturday morning.

SkyWatch Fridayc


A windy morning at the beach

I had just walked out on to the beach when these two oystercatchers flew by and then circled around and landed in front of me.

A juvenile ring billed gull flew by.

Something spooked the sandpipers and they all took off.

I found the pair of whimbrels that have been sighted hanging out nearby the gulf pier. They were not skittish at all as shell collectors walked right past them. Of course the willet was trying to get in on the pictures as well.

Students from nearby Eckard Collage have been volunteering to help with hooked birds on the fishing pier. They were just arriving with their gear on this cloudy windy day. There’s a huge problem with birds getting caught in fishing line. Not just at this pier but other busy piers as well. Pelicans, cormorants and gulls are just some of the birds that get hooked while diving close to the people fishing. If people cut the lines, the birds fly off with tangled fishing line and get trapped in mangroves and starve to death. The girls are here to help show the fishermen how to reel in the birds and take the line off or the hooks out.

Meanwhile up at the east beach turnaround, the kiteboarders were out in full force on this windy morning.

SkyWatch Friday

A new bird – Whimbrel

“I can’t get this crab out. Sorry for the butt shot lady, but I’m hungry.”

“Is she gonna follow me around all morning?”

“I’ll try to sneak past her.”

“Oh wait, another crab.”

“Still no luck. Maybe this lady will feed me some crackers.”

On a slow bird morning in early November at Fort Desoto, I saw this bird from across the beach. At first I thought it was one of the resident long-billed curlews. I walked across the beach and plopped down on the sand and watched him walking around looking for crabs.  After a few minutes, as he got closer I thought “His bill doesn’t look that long.” and “I don’t remember the curlew having quite definite stripes on his head.” I realized I had finally found the elusive whimbrel. They are not a common bird here but I had read of sightings of them on and off. I’d been keeping my eye out for one for at least two years and finally I’m sitting here watching him walk around.  He was a little more skittish than the curlews. They will walk up to you so close that you have to back up to fit them in the picture. I sat there watching for about 15 minutes, then tourists started to file out on the beach and the whimbrel moved quickly down the beach. I left and headed over to the woods to look for some rare palm warblers.

Camera Critters