I started this morning at Fort George Island hoping for a few migrants but so far migration has been incredibly slow for passerines. After an hour or so, I decided to head over to Huguenot and practice my photography some more. I spent the morning shooting in shutter priority mode and manually set the ISO and shutter speed; I still don’t quite know what I’m doing but I am realizing some good results so far.
As I pulled onto family beach area the two Whimbrels were really too far away to photograph very well, so I settled on this “Western” Willet.
I still think most people don’t spend enough time appreciating the differences in the Willet sub-species; they really are almost two separate species and distinctly different looking birds. We have “westerns” throughout winter here and most depart in late spring, leaving the “easterns” to breed locally. We rarely see a “western” coming into alternate plumage like the bird depicted above. I’ll try to get a similar shot soon of an “eastern” to compare.
After birding the lagoon I headed around the north point and was hoping to practice more on some gulls, but did not expect to find this Glaucous Gull sitting there! (I like to refer to them as “Glauczilla” due to their size).
Glaucous Gulls are pretty rare in Florida but they do occur at Huguenot at least annually (reports are from almost every year the last 20-30 years), but most records are from winter. Spring reports of the species include 4 April 1974, 24 May 1975, 8 April 1978, 5 May 1979, 23 April 2009, and 4 April 2014.
I then found my first Sandwich Terns of the year and am fairly happy with this image, which I shot from my truck. I am not happy with the band on one of their legs, but at least it’s a single small band and not the multiples we see on other species.
As I was leaving I watched this Great Blue Heron feeding along the lagoon.