Monday, February 8, 2010

Terns, Gulls, Sanderlings, Willet, Northern Gannet on the shores of Sanibel Island

Our next stop was Bowman's Beach. We sat on the sand and watched the procession of birds before us.

Adult non breeding Sandwich Tern with the characteristic yellow-tipped black bill

Bad hair day for these Royal Terns

Adult non-breeding Royal Tern

Sandwich Tern and Royal Tern

For size comparison, Sandwich Tern and Royal Tern

Adult non-breeding and first cycle Laughing Gulls - these are the most common gulls in the Gulf


A Sanderling found a juice morsel  and is taking off running, hotly pursued by another Sanderling. Note the shells on the beach for which Sanibel is famous.

A Western Willet working the surf; it looks like it's mollting

Notice the clear drop hanging of the bird's bill. This is concentrated salt water produced by the nasal glands, a common way of salt excretion in sea birds

Lastly a big surprise: a huge white and black bird came flying low over the water and dove in for prey. Only after looking at the photo did I realize it was a Northern Gannet that was spending the winter months here.

.... to be continued


  1. Those are fabulous shots, I especially like the Terns.

    I think a lot of birds look better if they are highly exposed, as long as they are not blown out. I like these very much.

    Cheers, Harold

  2. Lovely birds on a lovely beach! I didn't know the Gannets showed up on the gulf side of Florida. Sounds like you had a terrific day!

  3. Very nice - and isn't it great to be someplace where there are birds to see! ... and warm to boot!

  4. Ah Ah, I am going there next week!!!! I would love to see the Gannet!!! (lifer?!!?!)

    I will be at the estero laggon in Fort Myers, but will probably go for side excursion on Sanibel and Corskrew!

  5. @Laurent I checked BirdsEye: within the last couple of weeks sightings of NG have been reported at the Naples Pier, at Big Hickory Island and Bunche Beach in the Fort Myers/Naples area. Wish you good luck! Hope you'll see lots of good birds. Birding Florida is an excellent guide. In addition I found the Florida Gazeteer map helpful.

  6. They are lovely and so exotic looking. I'm not usually a fan of foreign species (i.e. those not found in my backyard!), but I'd love to take a trip to see those birds!

  7. Thank you all for stopping by.
    @Susan: it is my ambition to get a photo of every species of bird found in North America. This will keep me busy for many years to come.

  8. Exceptional photo of the Willet and good info on drop of water from its bill. I had not known that.


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