My morning began before the sun came up, transforming the steel gray ocean into an aqua blue picture-postcard. I had fallen asleep the night before listening to the constant drone of the bird colony on Bush Key, reminiscent of the kittiwakes and murres  of the Priibilofs.  I grabbed my spotting scope, which had been used as an overnight perch for a migrating hooded warbler, who made his presence known by leaving droppings all over my scope.  I hear thats supposed to be good luck...?

 

I set up my scope to check out the noddies first. they were all backlit and looked black. That wouldn't do. So I moved inside the fort to see if any new migrants had arrived overnight. After crossing the most and entering the fort, the trees were alive with all notes of warblers, kingbirds, and indigo buntings. 

 

The rest of my story continues, but you'll have to wait for the book to come out! I will summarize the rest of my day in a photo story format, all photos have been taken with my iPhone. Hope you enjoy! 

Sunrise over bush key

Sunrise over bush key

A Brown noddy Preens early in the morning on the dock  

A Brown noddy Preens early in the morning on the dock  

This Digiscoped image almost makes it look like the pelican is flying in front of the sun or moon. I purposefully left the image uncropped because of the effect 

This Digiscoped image almost makes it look like the pelican is flying in front of the sun or moon. I purposefully left the image uncropped because of the effect 

Magnificent frigatebirds soar above the fort  this is the only breeding colony of the species in North America

Magnificent frigatebirds soar above the fort  this is the only breeding colony of the species in North America

A Willet feeds on the beach

A Willet feeds on the beach

I explored the inside of the fort a little bit, before the Yankee Freedom arrived flooding the island with tourists for the day

I explored the inside of the fort a little bit, before the Yankee Freedom arrived flooding the island with tourists for the day

Look at all those tourists! I definitely had a different perspective of the island as a camper, watching people come and go from the island each day. Experiencing the dry Tortugas for multiple days was a real treat! 

Look at all those tourists! I definitely had a different perspective of the island as a camper, watching people come and go from the island each day. Experiencing the dry Tortugas for multiple days was a real treat! 

A view over the parade grounds on the inside of the fort

A view over the parade grounds on the inside of the fort

Here is the view through my spotting scope of the sooty terns, and brown noddies

Here is the view through my spotting scope of the sooty terns, and brown noddies

A nice flyover of a nighthawk species- likely Common due to the pointy wings.  

A nice flyover of a nighthawk species- likely Common due to the pointy wings.  

I found a ledge where the peregrine falcons eat their prey- terns, noddies, and a cuckoo! (Not pictured) 

I found a ledge where the peregrine falcons eat their prey- terns, noddies, and a cuckoo! (Not pictured) 

The bird that really got me hooked on birds as a young guy!

The bird that really got me hooked on birds as a young guy!