Yesterday was another gray day here in Utah so I worked on processing some of my older images, these are from September 12, 2008. Hurricane Ike was churning out in the Gulf of Mexico heading towards the Texas coast and although Florida escaped the brunt force of the storm we did get some strong winds and wave action. The sky was clear when I left home and headed towards Fort De Soto’s north beach but I could feel the wind blowing as I drove to the county park. The wave action was destructive to the shoreline but it also pushed bait fish towards the shore. Tossed around in the waves, injured and probably dazed bait fish appear to be easy catches for sea, shore and wading birds.
There were quite a few Laughing Gulls on and near the shoreline, a few Ring-billed Gulls and two Reddish Egrets hunting on the beach that day. I always have great fun watching the reddish egrets hunting, they dance in the waves, dash back and forth at near break-neck speed, wings flying in all different directions. At times they look graceful and quite often comical.
Because of the wave action that day there were plenty of bait fish where the waves on the beach are shallowest and the reddish egret was in its full glory. The laughing and ring-billed gulls seem to instinctively know if they follow the egret around they may get a chance to steal some prey from them. It was amazing to observe and photograph these gulls and the egret dashing around.
None of us liked how Hurricane Ike affected the beaches of Fort De Soto, it was without a doubt damaging to everything in or near its path. It did; however, create some amazing conditions for photographing these birds.
Have a great day.