Sometimes the best birds are the ones you find as you leave the beach!
On my last trip to Fort De Soto, I spent the morning wandering Outback Key. It was getting late in the morning when I decided to stop by the wading pools on my way back to the car. I’m glad I did – look at who I found!
American Avocets are regular winter visitors to Florida, but they seem to be getting harder to find. The last time I saw an Avocet was when I was helping with the Christmas Bird Counts in Lakeland. The best time to find them is in late spring, when they have molted into their pretty breeding plumage. In the wintertime they are mostly white, but in their breeding colors, they sport a beautiful red head. Occasionally I see posts of them at Fort De Soto, but I didn’t expect to find some myself!
Avocets are skittish, so I couldn’t get very close to them. I was thrilled to have my 100-500 when they flew right towards me, but I would have liked the Beast for some low-level preening shots. I followed these birds all the way back out to Outback Key, where they decided to have a party with the roosting gulls, terns, skimmers, and peeps.
Pretty soon these birds will fly north for the summer, where they will make their nests and raise their families in the northern Great Plains region. But they will always remember working on their tans at the beach, giving the photographer their best butt shots!
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!