Royal Tern Over
Royals Terns make amazing dive bombs for their prey which are usually small baitfish running close to the surface and sometimes if you are lucky you get to see them “Tern Over” in mid air. This tern is really shaking off the water it soaked up after a dive for prey but it also does make it difficult to tell which way is up!
This was taken on a cloudy morning, man I wish it had been “Sunnyside up”.
~I’m out of town but will be back soon, please feel free to share this post with your friends and family!
Ruddy 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 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.
First of the year Brine Flies
Yesterday while near the marina on Antelope Island State Park I spotted my first of the year Brine Flies warming up on some of the rocks in the water. You might wonder “why” am I so excited about flies?
It is because I know how many birds feast on the little buggers! If the brine flies are out it won’t be long before the shorebirds that eat them arrive. Last week there was ice on this water, how quickly things change. The image above was taken yesterday.
California Gull in a thick mass of Brine Flies
This image was taken last year when the brine flies were thick, all of those little dark dots in the air, on the rocks and in front of the California Gull are Brine Flies. With billions of them in just a small area it is easy to see why the birds that devour them like the area of the Great Salt Lake. The California Gulls are already here and they appear to be eating the flies along the causeway.
Franklin’s Gull with Brine Flies
It won’t be long before the first of the Franklin’s Gulls arrive too and for a short time the Bonaparte’s Gulls will feast on the flies too before heading further north. All those dark flecks on the water? Brine Flies.
California Gull with Brine Flies in flight
I do get excited about seeing the first Brine Flies because I know that their presence brings on the birds and the feeding frenzies that follow!
Sandwich Terns – Love is in the air – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
I can recall clearly the day I took this photograph of Sandwich Terns mating, I was sitting very low in a tidal lagoon on the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park in Florida, it was very warm and the water of the lagoon felt great on my skin when these two terns started a breeding display. When the male mounted the female and I filled up my buffer a few times while photographing them.
Love is in the air.
Happy Valentine’s Day!