It’s April and birds are heading north again through our area. Fort De Soto south of St. Petersburg, Florida is a “migrant trap” because they stop there on the way. If you’re a photographer or birder and you’d like to see many types of birds – now is the time to visit this wonderful place.
I went over last Saturday with Kevin M. and Lutfi E. There were a lot of other birders there as well as a few photographers. It was fun talking with the birders. They’re all helpful and I learned a lot from them. If you’re just starting out in birding, go with a knowledgeable friend (thanks, Kevin!), or check with your local Audubon group. They often organize field trips with an experienced leader. The Orange County Audubon Society has a trip planned for next weekend.
Migration at Fort De Soto – As a beginning birder, I was excited to photograph these 11 life birds on Saturday: Chimney Swift, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Merlin, Black-throated Green Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole.
In addition to the 11 life birds I managed to photograph, we saw many others including: Worm Eating Warbler, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow Throated Vireo, Northern Parula, European Starling, Black and White Warbler, Common Ground Dove, American Crow, Magnificent Frigate bird, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Laughing Gull, Sandwich Tern, Caspian Tern, Brown Pelicans, Eastern Kingbird, Ospreys, Cormorants, Anhingas, Vultures, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Snowy Egrets.
If you go, plan to get there early and stay all day. Fort De Soto is a big place and we couldn’t get to all of it on Saturday, so I’m sure there were many other species we missed.
You must be patient and quick to photograph these smaller birds. They move fast and flit in and out of trees and bushes so catching them out in the open is tough. A long, fast lens helps too!
This is also a beautiful place for landscape photography because there are both sunrise and sunset views. Here’s a photo I made last year:
The end of the day at Fort De Soto – Looking southwest toward Egmont Key from the base of the bay pier. The ferry to the Key is on the left.
You can see larger versions of these images on Flickr by clicking on them. And I have a few more photos from Fort De Soto in this set. You can also see Kevin’s Fort De Soto photos in this set.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.