Beyond the Backyard

Shorebirds Returning to Florida’s Beaches

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Sanderling

Although it’s still really hot outside, fall migration is underway, and the shorebirds are returning to Florida’s beaches.  Most of our shorebirds fly to places like Alaska and northern Canada to breed.  They leave in May looking all spiffy in their breeding plumage, fly to their breeding grounds, raise their kids, and return to Florida in late August.  Hard to believe, huh? Rich and I spent some time at the East Beach turnaround at Fort De Soto over Labor Day weekend.  That’s always a good place to look for shorebirds in afternoon light.  I took my groundpod and crawled around in the mud to get eye-to-eye with the birds.  Yes, Rich assured me that I was crazy.  But I had a good time! These little Sanderlings are bright white in their winter plumage.  They are tricky to photograph because they never stand still!  They are always running about, sticking their little beaks into the mud as they search for food.  They got used to me lying on the beach, though, and this one came running right up to me. I saw five or six Black-bellied Plovers at the East Beach turnaround, all in various stages of molting.  Some were already […]

Beyond the Backyard

They’re Ba-ack!

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While I haven’t been out to see them myself, reports from Birdbrains indicate that the shorebirds are starting to arrive back in Florida for the winter. Yes, winter. It’s July! These birds are incredible. They get all spiffy-looking in their breeding colors in May, fly to the Arctic, have their babies, and arrive back in late July with those spiffy feathers well-worn from their long trip. Amazing, huh? We’re happy to welcome them back to the Sunshine State. Hopefully later this weekend I’ll have an opportunity to get back out to photograph some of them! :) This Least Sandpiper was molting into his breeding colors when I photographed him back in April. He will have lost the pretty brown tones by now. PS – If you had trouble playing the Squirt video in my last post, try again. I wish that the various browsers would standardize a way to stream video!! I’ve now tested it in IE, Firefox, and Safari.