April is a time of changes at Fort De Soto. The local birds are getting serious about nesting. The migrants are passing through the area, captivating the photographers with their vibrant colors. The winter birds are saying goodbye as they head home to their summer breeding territories. The activity is awesome.
One species that is getting ready to head home is the Piping Plover. I am surprised to find a few of these small shorebirds hanging around during my mid-April visit. They are coming into their breeding colors and starting to look quite spiffy.
I find this pair at the far north end of North Beach, on the new sandbar. I spot one bird, then two, then three! Then I realize some funny business is happening. One bird is crouching low and chattering to the second bird. I’m not sure if it’s an invitation or a warning…
The next thing I know, we have a little sandbar squabble going on. The birds charge each other, scatter, and then continue foraging along the shoreline.
I continue walking along the beach, enjoying the feeling of the water around my ankles and the sand between my toes. Next I come across a banded piping plover. I can’t make out the numbers on the tag, but most of the Fort De Soto plovers come from the Northern Great Plains population, like these banded plovers I reported a few years ago.
This last image shows why I’m already planning my next visit to Fort De Soto. Look at the clean white and and the gorgeous blue water of the gulf. Then think about how this tiny bird is getting ready to fly two thousand miles to get to his summer breeding territories. Birds are pretty amazing!
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!