After hanging out at the wading pools at Fort De Soto’s North Beach, I wandered out on Outback Key to explore. The birds are loving the tidal flats and the beach habitat that’s perfect for breeding.
This visit was in early May, when the Red Knots were staging for their spring migration. I spotted a flock of them flying in the distance…
…and then I came across a single Knot in breeding plumage in the tide pools.
Big Red was getting a little nervous. He’s used to being the star at Fort De Soto, and here were these little red birds stealing his show. He flew overhead to make sure I knew he was still the prettiest red bird!
Big Red apparently isn’t the only bird that knows the drunken sailor dance, either. This Willet was doing a remarkably good impression of it. He threw up his wings and hopped erratically around, casting his shadow at the fish below. He sure danced a lot, but I’m not sure if he ever caught his fish!
As I mentioned in my last post, it was another Five-Plover morning. I saw Black-bellied Plovers, Semi-Palmated Plovers, Wilson’s Plovers, Snowy Plovers, and this lone Piping Plover. I think it’ll be fall before that happens again.
The Black-bellied Plovers were staging for their migration. I’m not sure I’ve seen quite that many at Fort De Soto before, all in varying stages of breeding plumage.
This Western Sandpiper stood quietly in the sea grasses. He looked like he’d had a long tiring journey. He reminded me that while Fort De Soto is an exciting place to bird, it’s also an important stopover for migratory birds.
This last photo is a sneak preview for my next post. The Least Terns have set up a colony on Outback Key, and I had a great morning with them. You’ll have to wait your “turn” till my next post!