July 19th - Black Terns are still being seen regularly at Gandy Beach, but the Brown Booby reported last week at Clearwater Beach has not been reported again - though Bobby O'Link and the lovely Anne Hinga, and she is lovely, looked for it this morning.
Interestingly, Sue Tavaglione photographed a Northern Cardinal this morning at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and after reviewing her photos found that it was banded! Anyone know of any cardinals banded in Pinellas? Her photo, bottom left.
Yesterday Dick Cissel photographed a banded Least Tern at Fort De Soto Park. Dr. Beth Forys advised him that the bird is probably one she banded at the Regency condo building at St. Pete Beach back in 2009. It fell off the rooftop one time, four stories, yet survived! See Dick's photo, below right.
July 20th - Pete Plage reported 320 Least Terns and 32 Black Terns along Gandy Beach late this morning. At Fort De Soto Park Mark Burns found a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and also noted a Northern Flicker, a species not often found at the park. Below is what Sue Tavaglione wrote about the picture she sent us, at right.
"This morning we watched an adult Limpkin teaching a young one the finer points of hunting. The offspring would busy itself finding little snails while the adult would do more serious hunting further off. Three times in a row, when the adult found a good sized snail or mussel it hiked back over to the youngster, making sure it caught the young one’s eye along the way. Rather than just giving the snail to the juvenile, it would bury the snail in the muck at the bottom while the juvenile looked on, then the adult would watch as the juvie retrieved the snail. When it brought the mussel over, the parent watched intently as the juvie pried the bivalve open and got the food from within. It was really interesting to watch the care and patience shown by this parent."
July 21st - Do you want to see a Black Tern? Go to Gandy Beach or go to the Courtney Campbell Causeway. They are there and more are arriving daily. So why are so many here? Part of the reason is that we have a very healthy Tampa Bay. Where there's food, there's birds. Even veteran fisherman we've spoken to have commented that the fishing in and around Tampa Bay right now is as good as it has been in many years. Plenty of small baitfish are available for both the birds and fish. (Photo below left- Dale Goebel. Photo below right- Sue Tavaglione.)
We've also received a report and photos of an adult Great Black-backed Gull seen on Sunday north of the Redington Long Pier and south of the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, an adult and a 1st-yr bird, were present by the seabird sanctuary on Saturday.