Beyond the Backyard

Springtime Bird Photography at Fort De Soto

Posted on
Red-Breasted Merganser

April is my favorite time to visit Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The sandy beaches are beautiful, the spring winds are cool, and my toes get to wiggle in the ocean water as I photograph the birds molting into their breeding plumage.  An April visit always has the possibility of a fallout, where migratory birds are caught by rainstorms as they cross the Gulf of Mexico, so they land at the first opportunity – Fort De Soto!  But even if it’s a slow day for migrants, the North Beach springtime bird photography opportunities are spectacular. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I love to start a good morning at Fort De Soto with a sunrise, even though that means getting up early enough to drive from Orlando and still arrive 30 minutes before sunrise.  Yep, I’m crazy, but at least I’m not the only one.  It was great seeing Michael, Donna, Susan, and Daniel at the park this morning.  We all had the same problem with the sunrise – lens fog!  My early shots were long exposures with my ND filter, but I didn’t move into position with the palm trees in the foreground until well after sunrise, […]

Beyond the Backyard

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

Posted on

The Black Skimmer colony that I posted about yesterday is at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a non-profit bird hospital. I enjoyed walking around and seeing the birds that are under treatment there. They have so many pelicans! Black-Crowned Night Herons hung around all over, offering nice photo ops. When you walk out to the beach, there are birds everywhere. There’s the skimmer colony, but the skimmers are just some of the crowd. The gulls and terns practically cover the beach. I had to laugh as I watched the Laughing Gulls strutting up and down the beach in their fading summer plumage. Their black heads look so scruffy as they molt! All the times I’ve visited Fort De Soto, I’ve wanted to get pictures of the Willets in flight. They are so common as they walk up and down the shore, but they fly very quickly. Normally I have the tripod-mounted Beast and by the time I see the bird and get set up, I miss the shot. At the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary beach on Sunday, I was using my 70-200 + 2x TC combo, and my reaction time was faster. I finally got my sharp flight shot of a Willet.