Beyond the BackyardFort De Soto

Magnificent Frigatebirds with my Dad

My dad recently had a birthday, and what better way to celebrate than a birding trip with his daughter?  We headed to the beach to escape the inland heat and scout out a few beaches for breeding shorebirds.  Our first stop was at Fort De Soto, where we came across a small flock of Magnificent Frigatebirds circling over the Tierra Verde “Duck Ponds.”  My dad was so excited.  He’d never seen a Magnificent Frigatebird before!  Later in the morning we came across some more birds in good light.  We both had fun taking pictures of them. :)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Male)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Male)

This is a male bird.  Look at the fork in his tail!  The Magnificent Frigatebirds are birds of the ocean, kind of like the Atlantic Puffins that I photographed in Maine last summer.  The frigatebirds fly over the sea, swooping down to grab fish to eat.  They only come to land to breed.  If you look closely you can see a red patch under the male’s chin.  During the nesting season, that patch turns into a big red balloon under his chin.  I hope to be able to photograph that in 2015! :)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Juvenile)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Juvenile)

This is a juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird.  His head is all white.  Females have a white tummy but a dark head.  I love how this bird is looking down as he flies overhead.  I wonder if he was watching the happy photographers below?  Click, click, click!