On a cool morning in early November we drove out to Fort De Soto. The chilly breeze kept most people off the beach, except for the family taking photos with an empty picture frame prop (it was harsh lighting, and pretty windy, but perhaps they didn’t have another chance, and it’s not like the conditions were stopping me either). We caught sight of several dolphins hunting offshore.
Several of these birds, I think sanderlings, were running about at the edge of the waves. Sanderlings migrate long distances, breeding in the High Arctic and “wintering south to South America, South Europe, Africa, and Australia.” They “feed on invertebrate prey buried in the sand in the upper intertidal…. When the tide is out these crustaceans live in burrows some way beneath the surface. When the tide comes in, they move into the upper layers of sand so as to be able to feed on the plankton and detritus that washes over them with each wave. They then burrow rapidly down again as the water retreats. They leave no marks on the surface so the sanderlings hunt for them by plunging their beaks into the sand at random, consuming whatever they find.” [wiki]
Retreating inland a bit to escape the wind, we took a trail through the mangroves that unfortunately had plenty of mosquitoes that kept us from taking many pictures pictures. A hawk, although I find them hard to identify any further, watched us for a while from the trunk of a dead palm before flying off.
Off a side trail to a tiny beach, we found a reddish egret wading in the shallows.
And several pelicans flew by.