Marbled Godwit and Dowitcher friendsMarbled Godwit and Dowitcher friends

Some days I miss the sound of the Gulf of Mexico lapping up on the shoreline and the gentle sea breeze caressing my cheeks while I soak in the sights around me at Fort De Soto. I miss the flocks of birds that changed species throughout the year.

Semipalmated Plover warming in the sunSemipalmated Plover warming in the sun

Some days I miss sand crawling and laying in it with the warm sun on my back while little plovers and sandpipers dart around in front of me and watching the antics and behavior of the dainty shorebirds through my lens.

Greater Yellowlegs at sunriseGreater Yellowlegs at sunrise

I miss slipping quietly into the lagoons and moving at a snails pace until the birds are comfortable with my presence and relax while I take hundreds of images of them. I miss being able to observe my subjects closely while the saltwater swirls around me.

Foraging adult American OystercatcherForaging adult American Oystercatcher

Some days I really miss the shorebirds that I don’t see here in Utah, like American Oystercatchers. I still dream about them even after four years of being here. I miss using my stalking skills to get as close to the birds and get frame filling images.

Ring-billed Gull lifting off from the Gulf of MexicoRing-billed Gull lifting off from the Gulf of Mexico

I see plenty of Ring-billed Gulls here in Utah but I miss seeing them foraging for prey in the Gulf of Mexico and some days I really miss the fantastic colors of blue in the Gulf and the tidal lagoons.

Juvenile Black SkimmerJuvenile Black Skimmer

Some days I miss hearing the nasal barking yip of Black Skimmers coming onto shore after skimming for fish in the waves and seeing those long, odd shaped bills. I miss walking and shooting handheld unfettered by being in a vehicle with clear views around me at a full 360 degrees.

Roseate Spoonbill resting in a lagoonRoseate Spoonbill resting in a lagoon

Some days I miss the vivid pinks and carmine reds of Roseate Spoonbills, their bright red eyes and their spatulate bills. I miss having them approach me until I can no longer focus on them.

Hunting Great EgretHunting Great Egret

Some days I miss seeing Great Egrets catch pipefish and struggle while they try to get the wiggly little things in their bills or when they catch a large Mullet that they have trouble swallowing.

Great Blue Heron just prior to sunriseGreat Blue Heron just prior to sunrise with the Earth shadow

Some days I miss getting to the north beach before anyone else and sitting in the still warm sand while to the west I can see the Earth Shadow that lingers until the sun rises. I miss watching these birds wake up.

Brown Pelican adult floating on the Gulf of MexicoBrown Pelican adult floating on the Gulf of Mexico

Some days I miss seeing Brown Pelicans floating on the waves just off shore or seeing them plummet from the sky to catch fish.

Some days I find myself missing Fort De Soto so much it hurts, the birds I found there and the entire experience of just being there. It is just such an amazing place, how could I not miss it?