It’s February and the birding / nesting season is moving into full swing in Central Florida. In the last three days I’ve been to four of our local birding hot spots. If you’re into birding or bird photography it’s time to get your gear out and get out there! Here’s a short status report on what’s happening at the sites I visited.
(Note: click on any of the photos below to go to Flickr, where you can see them larger. You can also read posts I’ve done on each of these places. Go to the index page to find them.)
Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Friday, mid-morning.
Spoonbills are the main attraction – they were everywhere. The best place I found was in the pool just behind the parking area near the rest rooms, where several were putting on a show, posing and sweeping their bills through the shallow water. There were also the usual herons, egrets, etc. and I made one nice photo of an egret eating breakfast.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Friday, late morning
There’s some construction going on at the Alligator Farm. They’ve rebuilt part of the boardwalk through the rookery, and when I was there Friday, they had a backhoe going digging out and moving concrete from one area. I hope that all the noise doesn’t keep the nesting birds away. I did see one pair of Great Egrets building a nest and several other birds roosting in trees. The alligators of course, are there and quite happy to pose for photos. I made this one where you can see me reflected in its eye if you enlarge it to full size.
Orlando Wetlands Park, Saturday, early morning
Orlando Wetlands closes for the winter and just re-opened in February. This year, they have many activities planed for each weekend. Last Saturday the Education Center was open with an exhibit of Orange Audubon Chertok Photo Contest winners, tram and hiking tours as well as videos showings about the park. As a result, the park was as busy as I’ve ever seen it. Perhaps all the people are making the birds skittish – I had a hard time getting very close to any. There’s supposed to be a White Faced Ibis at the park and although I did not see it, many people did. I like this landscape I made which shows how pretty this park is on a calm morning.
Viera Wetlands, Sunday, early morning
I only discovered Viera Wetlands this year and I continue to be amazed at the quantity and diversity of the birds you can see there. Today was no exception. We saw an American Bittern, a Wesley’s Snipe and many other varieties. The Great Blue Heron’s are nesting and some already have chicks. One Great Blue Heron couple put on a show for us with the male fetching sticks for inspection and use by his partner.
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