Bath Time for Shorebirds at Fort De Soto

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In mid-May I went to Fort De Soto to enjoy the cool water, breeze, and of course, the birds! A flock of terns was hanging out near the shore. They would wander out leg-deep in the water and splash around. If you’ve spent any time around shorebirds, you’ll know that a bath is followed by a photogenic wing-flap. Click-click-click goes the Beast…

Common Tern
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern Joint Take-Off
Sandwich Tern Joint Take-Off

Tiny Sanderlings scurried along the edge of the waves, searching the sand for breakfast. These birds are mostly white in the wintertime. It’s fun to see them put on their rich brown feathers as they prepare to breed.

Sanderling
Sanderling

I heard the distinct call of the American Oystercatcher as he flew in and landed a little distance away. This tolerant bird didn’t mind me as I got closer, laid down in the sand, and photographed him from a variety of angles. I reminded him that I’ve never seen a baby oystercatcher. He winked and made no promises. ;-)

American Oystercatcher
American Oystercatcher

I was surprised to see plenty of Black-bellied Plovers still hanging around Florida. Most of them had left by that point, off on their long flight to the Arctic tundra to breed and raise their babies. A few of them were sporting nice black bellies. Others hadn’t quite gotten their breeding plumage yet. But everybody enjoyed splashing in the water!

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover Take-off
Black-bellied Plover Take-off

This Dunlin noticed the silly photographer sitting in shallow water and decided to wander close to her lens. He’s got his breeding plumage black belly, too!

Dunlin in Breeding Plumage
Dunlin in Breeding Plumage

I looked up and noticed a Magnificent Frigatebird flying overhead. They were very active that morning at the duck pond on Tierra Verde. It was fun to see one up close.

Magnificent Frigatebird
Magnificent Frigatebird

All together, it was a great morning to be out in the sunshine. The Royal Terns said goodbye as they continued to splash in the waves.

Royal Tern
Royal Tern

“Come back soon!” said the terns.

I will! :)

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!

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