I had such a good morning at Fort De Soto a few weekends ago, and it’s taken me that long to finish going through my images! I had four lifers that day: Common Loon, Red Knot, Lark Sparrow, and my first non-captive Great Horned Owls, with baby! Combine that opportunity with the awesome light at North Beach, and you get a happy photographer with a full memory card. :)
The tidal pools by the concession stand were quite productive that morning. I was hoping for Snowy or Piping Plovers, but they didn’t want to give me any more lifers for the day. Instead this Great Egret gave me nice flight opportunities…
This Snowy Egret posed in his breeding plumage. He didn’t fluff up his plumes for me, but look at that bright yellow lore!
The next to come by was this Wilson’s Plover. He’s fast! He scurried by, then found a snack in the sand.
A bunch of Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, and a couple of Sandwich Terns stood in a group. Then a group of Black Skimmers flew in. Everybody looked so snazzy in their emerging breeding colors. It was a little early for breeding behavior, but that will be happening soon…
Although Red Knots are fairly common, I’ve never seen one before. Or if I have, I didn’t know it. I have trouble identifying the shorebirds, especially in their winter colors. They all look the same to me.
As the sun got higher, we headed over to the pier to look for the Lark Sparrow that has been wintering in the area. If you look at the range map for this bird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you’ll see how far out of its range this little guy is. He hangs out in a bush near a pavilion. A friendly birder pointed him out to us. I probably looked pretty silly when I stretched out on my stomach to photograph him, but he was pretty tame and I got much better images down at his level. :)