Sunday, December 27, 2015

Yearly Birding Stop at Ft. DeSoto

My father and I left dark and early to get to Fort DeSoto and the Tierra Verde Duck Ponds to try and find anything. I always try to get over here at some point when we visit at Christmastime. We stopped by the ponds first so we got to the Loop a little late but there was still a nice sunrise going on with our 3rd sundog of the weekend.

Sunshine Skyway Sunrise

I was really hoping to find a Franklin's Gull somewhere. We missed the one that was here last year and many are being seen on the Atlantic side of the state. Unfortunately, all we could find were Laughing Gulls.

Laughing Gull

Ospreys are nesting now and thy often fly by in search of a meal.


We enjoyed watching the large flock of Brown Pelicans on the rocks next to the pier.

Brown Pelican

Just after we pulled into the North Beach parking lot I spotted a bird off to the right. It was an American Kestrel that actually stayed put after I got out of the car. That never has happened before!

American Kestrel

Not too long ago (OK, maybe a couple years) I heard that Pinellas County was going to try and get rid of all the non-native Australian Pines. You could the difference right after we parked. The whole wind-break before the beach was gone and once we got to the sand all we found were stumps.

Australian Pines

They cut those larger trees but it looks like they are just poisoning the smaller ones. Sorry, I have a soft spot for Australian Pines. I recall growing up along the shoreline and listening to the wind going through the branches. A wonderful sound to me.

Australian Pines

We continued walking and there was this single Ring-billed Gull out that just wanted to have its picture taken. OK, with me.

Ring-billed Gull

On the way back I decided to test the macro function on the new camera. My first subject was a chunk of Sand Dollar.

Sand Dollar

I spotted this grouping of Mangrove stems sticking out of the sand on the way out and the shadows just pulled me down for a close shot.


Tiny shells sit above ripples caused by the waves.


Suddenly a Forster's Tern got near and was feeding along the edge of the waves. It finally was in a pretty good position to try for a shot.

Forster's Tern

We headed toward the duck ponds again but that will be in another post. When we got back to the house I was trying some more macro shots when this silly Northern Mockingbird popped its head out from a bush.

Northern Mockingbird

Stay tuned for the duck story following soon!

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