Plovers stop over, gannets on the way

Now that the fall and winter seasons are approaching, this means we’re seeing much more shore bird activity out at the Fort, as well as sea bird activity en route to and from the Park. I saw a flock of about forty northern gannets feeding out by Ballast Key this evening, and managed to snap a shot of this adult in flight.

Northern gannet feeding in the Gulf near Ballast Key, one of a larger flock seen today.

I’ve seen two winter-plumage piping plovers together, trying their best to be inconspicuous on the south coaling pier platform. Note the lack of black banding that is more characteristic of the breeding plumage birds. If you manage to see them up close at the Fort, listen carefully for their little whistle-like alarm calls.

Two winter-adult piping plovers, note the bright orange legs, stubby black bill and lack of black neck bands.

I also captured a nice shot of an adult male resident frigatebird flying overhead with a piece of nesting material; this was one of several I saw today exhibiting similar behavior.

Male frigatebird carrying nesting material.

The windy days have been blowing in some interesting birds, including a flock of 300 + turkey vultures that took refuge in the Fort last night to roost. They were gone early this morning.

Keep your eyes to the skies.

Happy birding,

–Chelsea B.

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