Friday, April 22, 2011

Florida Part Four - Saturday Morning

We had driven over on Friday to St. Petersburg where we were spending the weekend and staying at a Holiday Inn Express. our plans were early Saturday morning to drive to Fort de Soto, however, approaching the bridge leading into the park we were stopped by the sheriffs department because there was a triathlon going on and we could not get into Fort de Soto until after 9:30 AM. So we changed our plans and drove over to Indian Shores will we stopped at Seacoast Seabird Sanctuary and walked out onto the beach. Despite all the people on the beach, there were at least 50 to 75 black skimmers present along with laughing gulls, willets, pelicans and terns.

When I first tried to photograph the birds, I found a big problem; the lens was fogged due to it being all night in our cold air-conditioned room and now it was out in the warm humid air. Here is what the first picture looked like.
 fogged lens, it could have been taken in the fog


In order to get the better pictures, we got down onto the sand and photographed the birds at an eye level. They were mating rituals going on especially the laughing gulls and the Royal terns.

Sandwich Tern

Black skimmer in-flight

Royal terns in-flight
Snowy egret

Black skimmer

flight of black skimmers

willit

Royal terns courtship ritual

Royal terns copulating

One pair of laughing gulls copulated for at least 5 minutes with both of them making a lot noise.
laughing gulls copulating


In the water near the shoreline there was a number of fish jumping and moving around so the brown pelicans were feasting.
Brown pelican fishing

Brown pelican fishing

We then drove back to Fort de Soto and was able to get out on the North Beach where we finished the morning photographing the shore and Wading birds that were present. We photographed most of the birds from the water side, wading up to just below our mid-calf area.

yellow crowned night Heron, it close for us right on the sand

 Willit

marbled Godwit

American oystercatcher

short-billed dowitcher

lesser yellowlegs

white Ibis

Ruddy turnstone

reddish egret


We finished the morning at at the East beach area watching people Para-sailing.

para-sailing