As you may have noticed from my previous posts, I had a great time at Fort De Soto in mid-April. With my Five-Plover morning and the Snowy Plover family, I was off to a great start. There’s more to come!
The day started off at East Beach, where I watched the sun peak out over the horizon. It’s always a pretty scene with the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background.
My next stop was North Beach, where I headed out along the shoreline to say hello to the shorebirds. I’ve never seen so many Piping Plovers! They were clearly migrating. Some were in their beautiful breeding plumage already, others were not.
A Brown Pelican flew by in the cool morning breeze. He’s also in breeding plumage, with beautiful colors on this face.
The Laughing Gulls are beautiful at this time of year, with bright black faces and dark orange beaks. They nest on the small keys near Fort De Soto.
The gulls aren’t the only ones with families on the mind. This pair of Royal Terns wasn’t at all shy about starting their family!
The most common shorebirds seemed to be the Sanderlings. They were molting from their all-white winter colors into their brownish-red breeding colors. I caught several of them in flight as they startled when a boat went by.
The Dunlin were also out in full force that morning. Most were starting to show their breeding colors. They made me want to return in a few weeks, in early May, when the birds are the prettiest just before they migrate.
I’m pretty sure this next bird is a Western Sandpiper. Shorebirds in their tricky molts can be hard to identify! This bird hunt out quietly by himself, as if he was tired after a long migratory flight .
As I left North Beach, I found one of the Reddish Egrets fishing in a small pool near the parking lot. He was not at all timid! It’s been too long since I laughed at the antics of this drunken sailor.
Here’s a final Piping Plover to help you wait for my next post… ;-)
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!
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