If you read Bill Pranty's "A Birder's Guide to Florida", it mentions that Black-hooded Parakeets can be found in a couple of locations right in St. Petersburg, FL. They were a nemesis bird for me on this trip, so we drove down to Boca Ciega Bay to see if we could find some. We dipped.
Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Laughing Gull, Willet, American Golden Plover, and Osprey. Turkey Vultures were in the area, so a couple of close fly-overs were a nice treat. A Great Blue Heron hiding in the shadows provided some nice portrait shots from inside the car.
Osprey that was finishing its lunch. We pulled up and got some images of it from the car, then watched as it launched itself (and lunch) into the air and off for open water.
Northern Mockingbird and several Eastern Phoebes.
Forster's Terns and Brown Pelicans cruised and dove near the pier. A couple of birders pointed me in the direction of a female Black Scoter about 50 yds out from shore. Nice! We would pick up a Common Loon off the far end of the pier a few minutes later.
Ruddy Turnstones were common on the pier in front of us, as were a couple of Great Egrets perched on the roofs of the small sheds. A Snowy Egret foraging on the rocks made for a nice challenge in the early morning wind.
Nanday Parakeets (formerly Black-headed Parakeets)! Score! We got some stunning looks at the pretty green birds with their brown/black hoods and red feet feathers. They were high overhead, so I was practically laying on my back while digiscoping them.
And even better news? The ABA has officially recognized the Nanday Parakeet as a countable bird! The population has spread sufficiently to be sustainable.
Loggerhead Shrikes appeared just a few feet away, and provided some great digiscoping opportunities. I was able to get some nice portraits in the early morning sunlight.
American Oystercatchers were resting next to the surf, while farther up a pair of Willet were doing the same. An American Golden Plover was also enjoying the surf.
Red Knot foraging nearby. I was able to digiscope the bird from about 20' in near-perfect light, getting some great portraits and feeding shots.
Long-billed Curlew! We headed over to the bird and were able to get wonderful looks (and images) as it gracefully walked the shoreline past us.
Marbled Godwits were foraging in shallow waters to our left. It was a great opportunity to compare the strikingly-similar plumages of the godwits w/ the curlew.
flushed and flew across the lagoon to another secluded spit. We were flipping a coin to see who would beat the little *%^?# to death...
too close to digiscope. I had to settle for the trusty 300/2.8 VRII.
With a great morning of birding behind us we headed back to the apartment and enjoyed a WONDERFUL dinner of roast duck, cooked onions and wild cherries and the Avengers! Thanks for an amazing Thanksgiving Holiday, Shell. We Love You!