Escape to Fort De Soto


Rich and I took a much-needed day off from work last Friday and escaped to Fort De Soto for a weekend photography adventure.  We were glad we went Thursday night, which allowed us to get in one day of photography before the rains came.  And of course, we missed the terrific migrant activity that the storms brought later in the weekend.  Oh well!

Our first stop at Fort De Soto was the East Beach, which I love in the golden afternoon light.  The little shorebirds are so tame.  They don’t mind too much when they are followed by The Beast!  I was hoping to find some shorebirds in pretty breeding plumage, and they did not disappoint.  This little Semipalmated Plover’s black stripes are striking.

At one point I looked up to see that an American Oystercatcher had landed in the surf and started to take a bath.  After the birds bathe for a while, they shake out their feathers, giving you great action shot opportunities.  The East Beach turnaround area is great for birdie baths, since the the water is so shallow.  Look at those wings!

After I had photographed every single bird on East Beach at least a dozen times (well, according to Rich…), we headed to North Beach to catch the sunset.  Besides breeding colors and migrants, another one of my goals for the trip was to photograph breeding behaviors, especially of terns.  So I was happy to find a nice little flock of them on the beach near the conservation area.  Of course, as my luck went, they didn’t really get active until after the sunset…but they did give me some nice portraits in the sweet afternoon light.

As the sun went down, I was determine not to take the standard “shoot the sun on the horizon with nothing but the beach and the waves in the foreground” shot.  So I tried to find some birds for the foreground.  I really wanted to position a bird to silhouette in the setting sun, but the beach angles were all wrong.  I liked this shot, though, of the birds watching the setting sun…

After the sun disappeared, the terns started bringing in their last catch of the day.  They laughed at me as I left, saying “see what glorious scenes you miss by living in Orlando?” Smile

Want to learn more about nature photography at Fort De Soto?

Check out my Fort De Soto page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!