April 5, 2019
Yesterday I took my last picture walk of our Florida vacation. Today, we packed up our things and tomorrow we start on our long journey back to Michigan. I had needed one last picture walk before we left so, at the end of a very long day yesterday, I drove down to the beach hoping to find some of the shorebirds I had seen a few days ago–when I didn’t have my camera in tow.
The lighting on the water was perfect and the birds were plentiful. It was amazing, I thought, just how many different birds were actually gathered in one small stretch of beach near downtown St. Petersburg. At first glance, all I saw was this big mess of little brown birds! But as I started taking pictures, it became abundantly clear that there were actually several different varieties of shorebirds running about.
By day’s end, I had seen Mottled Godwits, Sanderlings, Semi-palmated Plovers, Least Sandpipers, Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Willets, Ring-Billed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Black Skimmers, Lesser Scaups, Cormorants, Reddish Egrets, Pelicans, and a Great Blue Heron. But since I’m more of a photographer than a birder, I welcome any corrections if my labels on these birds are incorrect!
I was trying to ‘shoot’ everything I saw—the swimmers, the waders, the dabblers and the skimmers. It was so hard for me to stay focused on just one! Then, I tried to get the flyers! But, oh my goodness that was hard to do! They’d zoom in and zoom by so fast that I ended up with a lot of pictures that were out of focus! Surprisingly, though, a few actually turned out– and I was quite happy about that!
My biggest thrill for the day, though, was seeing ‘my’ Reddish Egret again. I had gotten some really good shots of him a few weeks ago along this same shoreline, but yesterday the lighting was even better than before and his antics even sillier—twisting, turning and jumping erratically like a ballerina on steroids as he tried to catch a fish. What an entertaining performance to watch!
Eventually, though, my ‘golden hour’ of sunlight faded and I reluctantly headed back to the house faced with the daunting, but exciting, task of sorting through the nearly 800 pictures I had taken!