No reservations were received for this outing. It was pretty quiet at the Crystal River Archeological Site. So, Ken Spilios and Rey Wells migrated out to Fort Island Beach. A rare bird had been continuing there and was usually seen on the rock jetty at the right end of the beach.
When we arrived (at high tide) and approached the water, a number of small shorebirds were at the shoreline. There was one darker bird that was stationary and facing toward the water. We repositioned for a better look. It turned out to be the rare bird, a Purple Sandpiper. According to reports, this is the only one to EVER be seen on the west coast of Florida! While some have been seen on the east coast of Florida, most winter further north than any other shorebird. They breed in the high Canadian arctic and along the coasts of Greenland. As for the name, light purple can be seen in the photo. It spreads and deepens somewhat for breeding season. Also, the base of the bill becomes much yellower as breeding season approaches. Photos of non-breeding adults on allaboutbirds.org show much more yellow at the base of the bill than this bird exhibits. This one might be an immature.
In another area of the shore, there were many larger shorebirds together. They including Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls, Royal Terns, and Black Skimmers. Here’s one of the Skimmers with its bill in skimming/fishing configuration.
A few Common Loons were well out from shore. Shortly before leaving, we spotted this female Bufflehead Duck that was just outside the rock jetty. It’s keeping an eye on us while swimming away in a hurry. In all, twenty-six species were identified at Fort Island Beach.