This was a good year for migrant birds, but not so good for bird photographers. You see, when the weather conditions are right, the birds migrate overnight and the winds help them keep flying well inland. Birdcast estimates that some 400 million birds may migrate during a May night. That weather pattern is ideal for birds who are trying to get to their northern breeding grounds in a hurry. It’s not so great for bird photographers, since the birds just fly right on by us.
On the flip side, bird photographers love “fall outs”, where weather interferes with the migration and the birds are forced to land at the first opportunity. That’s great for bird photography, but really hard on the birds that survive.
This year had mostly good weather, so the migrant hunting was a challenge. I wrote about the migrants I found at Lake Apopka in mid-April. I made two visits to Fort De Soto and hunted in the migrant trap areas – East Beach woods, the Ranger’s house, and the North Beach woods. There was a very cooperative Chestnut-sided Warbler that spent a few days at North Beach, but I couldn’t go on those days. Here’s what I did find…
I couldn’t write about my migrant-watching without mentioning a special family. An Osprey pair built a nest over the mulberry tree area. As I watched for migrants, I listened to the calls of the Ospreys (and occasionally darted away to avoid a white splatter from above!). This nest was built into a tree with a great feature – a perch for Dad! So here’s the family shot with Dad, one of the babies, and Mom. :)
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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