Birding in Florida

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On Monday, March 17, 2014, I flew to Orlando, Florida, at the invitation of one of the most technically astute and talented photographers whom I know, Larry Jordan.  There, we were joined by Larry’s longtime friend and college roommate, Phil Perry who drove in from Wilmington, North Carolina.  For two days of shooting, we were also joined by a photographic associate of Larry’s, Charlie Galloway.  All are very accomplished photographers and, like me, Nikon shooters.

Monday, March 17, & Tuesday, March 18:     On Monday afternoon we visited Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and, after spending the night in nearby Titusville, returned both in the morning and early afternoon to the Refuge.  Birds seen that included: great blue herons; roseate spoonbills; little blue herons; snowy egrets; white egrets; turkey vultures; ibises; and white  pelicans; among other species.  Alligators were in abundance; and I have it on good authority that there is one alligator in every body of water in Florida.  I saw nothing to dispel that theory during my visit.  Later that afternoon, we drove to the best county park that I have ever visited in any state, the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County.  We arrived at 6 PM in time to hike for an hour an a half, view numerous birds and alligators on Lake Hancock, and watch a glorious sunset.

Wednesday, March 19:     The next morning we were up well before sunrise, drove to the park and met Charlie.  Then, we hiked in the fog along Shady Oak Trail and Alligator Alley Trail prior to the sunrise in order to view the golden orb peak its head over Lake Hancock with birds flying all around and gators with fixated eyeballs sizing up breakfast.  Viewing sunrise from an observation deck just above the lake was spectacular.  Then, we hiked some more, with numerous stops to raise our cameras to our eyes, and stopped by the time our shadows had grown shorter than us to break for lunch.  Following a respite at nearby Anna’s Diner, we returned to the park for our afternoon’s hike and more wildlife viewing.

Thursday, March 20:     After spending the night in Lakeland, the second of two there, we  headed to Lake Kissimmee State Park in hopes of hiking the North Loop Trail with the chance of seeing crested caracaras.  On arrival, we found the Norht Loop Trail scheduled for a prescribed burn and, therefore, closed.  Plan B was to hike the Gobbler Roost Trail.  We did so, but the caracaras decided not to show themselves.  However, we were treated to sighting five wild boars, two of which were young.  Fortunately, they were offset to us and passed by at a trot, which did not make for any good shots through the high grass.

"Anhinga with Speared Fish"

“Great Blue Heron – Lake Hancock, Florida”

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