Shore Birds

Wave Dodgers 

Walk along any Atlantic Coast beach and you are likely to see Sanderlings – small grayish birds with white bellies and short black legs running back and forth in the surf zone. Sanderlings sprint behind receding waves to  probe for and pluck worms, small crabs and invertebrates  from the wet sand. When the next wave […]

Bounty on the Beach!

    Sitting on the shore in Cocoa Beach Florida, my senses take in the sights and sounds of the Atlantic Coast. Today strong northeast winds cause an angry sea. Waves crash on the sandy beach drowning out the sounds of children playing on the beach. The wave outflow forms a swash of water that carries […]

No Stone Left Unturned

Walking along the shore of Cocoa Beach, I see a bird foraging in the wake of the waves washing up on the sandy beach. It is the beautiful ruddy turnstone. In the shallow wake water it flips shells, small pebbles and natural debris to find mollusks, worms and other invertebrates. Although you can find this […]

The Skimming Black Skimmer

Black skimmers are  common on many Florida beaches. When this bird forages, it flies near the ocean’s surface with its longer knife-like lower mandible slicing the water to snatch small fish to eat. When its lower bill comes into contact with a fish, the upper bill snaps down seizing it. Sounds like a good science […]

Laughter at the Beach

If you were a paranoid person, you might mistaken the high pitched laughs at the beach for a women making fun of you.  In reality, you are hearing the LOL of the laughing gull, a medium sized gull of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Dozens of these medium sized gulls hang out in the shallow […]

Skimmers Galore!

Florida hosts many species of birds in the winter due to its mild climate. For some birds the Florida peninsula is the gateway to South American wintering spots. For others Florida is the place to be. One of my favorite local places to see winter migrants is a tiny beach on the Gulf Coast – […]

A Warm Winter’s Day in Florida

Anne and I woke up on this January morning in Florida to temperatures in the low 70s. This is even unusually warm for a Florida winter. We decided to take advantage of the nice day by heading over to the Gulf coast to Fort Island Gulf Beach. Wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts, we grabbed […]