Ruddy Turnstone and a Laughing Gull

Ruddy Turnstone with a Calico shellRuddy Turnstone with a Calico shell

Five years ago today I was laying in the warm wet sands of Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach as the salty water from the Gulf of Mexico soaked my skin while photographing a Ruddy Turnstone doing what they do best, turning things. The Ruddy Turnstone was turning this Calico Shell over to get at the bits of the creature that was still inside the shell. I was able to get a nice series of about 10 images before some beach walkers walked directly between the turnstone and me. Surely they had to wonder why a woman would be laying in the sand with a camera shoved against her face? I guess not because they continued on their way and the turnstone went the other.

Nonbreeding Laughing Gull with a Calico ShellNonbreeding Laughing Gull with a Calico Shell

As soon as the beach walkers and the turnstone left this Laughing Gull walked over and took the rest of the meat from inside the shell though unlike the Ruddy Turnstone it did not turn it over once.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Great birds!!! Fun, sun and cliok!

  3. What a handsome bird the Ruddy Turnstone is!

    People like the group who walked between you and the bird are too self-absorbed to realize or care what you were doing. I remember trying to shoot a mountain reflection on a glassy lake in Lundy Canyon just outside of Yosemite one morning a number of years ago, when a man walked up with two children and let the boys throw rocks in the water. I glared as hard as I could, then picked up my tripod and walked away from them.

  4. Mia, great shots of both the Turnstone and the gull! Have a happy weekend!

  5. Humming Bird lover

    Hi! Love them both! so cute! Have a great day!

  6. I saw my first Ruddy Turnstone last year, they are such beautiful shorebirds! I took a few photos, but yours is much better!

  7. Mia, I was out there Monday but chasing warblers in the woods. The North Beach was packed with people! Daylight is about the only time to be there!

    Superb photographs! Interesting to see the different approaches used by two different species.

  8. Jane Chesebrough

    So is that really how the Ruddy Turnstone got it’s name? What a great identifier! As for the people, sometimes I have missed a shot because of that and never got the chance again. It makes me appreciate even more the ones who are AWARE and CONSIDERATE enough to stop for me and I have thanked them.

  9. hoo, cute, i like the turnstone, very rare in my area, he is more present in noth of europe
    have a nice day mia ☺

  10. Both of them make beautiful photos, thanks Mia.

  11. How neat to see the turnstone developing its breeding colors!

  12. Outstanding shot of the Ruddy Turnstone, Mia!

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