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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 27 May 2012 (Sunday) 04:19
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catsith
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May 27, 2012 04:19 |  #1

Sorry I haven't been on of late guys, had chronic earache (fungal infection and perforated eardrum), but finally on the mend, and also away.
Qantas has a special to Orlando, next year, and I am thinking, yep, time has come to make a decision on where to go for holidays. My adult son travels with me, and we both want to come over. I had hoped to wait until my other son was entrenched in texas with his fiancee, but not sure when that will happen, so we are coming over regardless. The very last day I can come home is 9th april. I unfortunately have to choose between the best birding time, or missing the spring holidays,which are the last week of march in florida, and a week earlier in texas. I am flying via Dallas.
So, how long should I spend where? I thought 2 weeks in florida, one for my son to do the 'tourist' stuff, and one for me for the birds. I know one isn't enough for birds, but I can extend that, if there is enough to occupy him as well. And then how long in texas? and where? I did see (can't find the link), of a special place just for nature photography, with the hides dug into the ground.
Fee, did you say you were near Houston?
I will have a rental car, heaven help me having to drive on the wrong side of the road!
So thoughts would be very welcome.

UPDATE..have discovered I can actually fly a bit later, so april will be the main month. Am thinking I will just book return flights to Dallas, and then I can do internal flights from there, and book them at my leisure. So the thought is to then probably fly to Orlando, head east, then west, and fly out of Tampa. Fee, could possibly then fly to Austin, and make my way back to Dallas from there.


Tina

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Gary ­ Fairhead
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May 27, 2012 09:04 |  #2

Hi Tina

I can't answer any of your questions as Canada is not Florida or Texas,,But I can bump this back to the top for some exposure to those that might be able to help. Don't worry about the driving , just stay on the "right" side of the road;):)


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bcd01
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May 27, 2012 09:15 |  #3

Tina,

Obviously you like shooting birds and if coming to Florida, I suggest the Alligator farm in St. Augustine before the end of June. The birds are hatching in their nests and it makes great pictures. Then you can head south to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. When done there, head a bit west and go to the Orlando Wetlands center on SR50 out of Titusville. There is also Viera south off of I-95 and north of Melbourne.

If you need any help let me know, Bruce (Orlando)


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rick_reno
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May 27, 2012 11:17 |  #4

Tina, glad to hear you're getting better




  
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cfcRebel
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May 27, 2012 14:32 |  #5

Howdy Tina! Happy to hear your trip to the US has materialised. :D
Spring time is great. Although you will miss the Spring migration if you have to be home by end of 1st week of April, you'd still see a lot of bird species in these two states.
I live in Austin, about 2.5 hours driving, northwest of Houston. We talked about Brazos Bend state park near Houston last time. Another one is Brazoria national wildlife refuge by the coast. These two should be great places to get some bird photos. And of course, if you also decide to make a stop in Austin, as your guide i can personally guarantee you seeing at least 50 bird species there, and likely to get some great bird images too! :D If possible, arrange Texas towards the latter half of your itinerary. If San Antonio(historic city) is one of the cities your sons plan to visit, then I'll be your guide to Choke Canyon State park which is only 1.5hr south of there. Just went there 2 weeks ago (my 3rd trip there). Absolutely a treat for birders! The Brown Trasher almost let me pet her. :lol:

Wish i was more familiar with FL. I heard the Red-tailed hawks in FL is more approachable. :lol:


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acajun
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May 27, 2012 15:04 |  #6

Hello Tina, Glad you're on the mend. A friend of mine visited "Gatorland" (http://www.gatorland.c​om/ (external link)) and can't stop talking about it. It's already on my list of places to visit. Good luck and be sure to post pics.
Tony


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bcd01
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May 27, 2012 15:20 |  #7

acajun wrote in post #14492126 (external link)
Hello Tina, Glad you're on the mend. A friend of mine visited "Gatorland" (http://www.gatorland.c​om/ (external link)) and can't stop talking about it. It's already on my list of places to visit. Good luck and be sure to post pics.
Tony

The problem with Gatorland is their boardwalk back in the swamp. It is not real solid. Kids coming running through on it and if you're using a tripod, the motion is amplified through the tripod.


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bettyn
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May 27, 2012 15:38 |  #8

In Orlando, don't miss Gatorland. Try to make the fifty or so mile trip to Viera Wetlands and Merritt Island Refuge since you have access to a car. (Just don't let anything distract you from the road while driving and you'll be able to stay on the right side okay. Had to learn the left side when in England and also Thailand! :D) Rockport on the Texas Coast is a great place, but I think the Whooping Cranes might be gone by then. Agree Brazos Bend is a good spot, not only for birds, but other wildlife. It's near Houston. We lived there for 20 years and went there at least once a month. (There used to be a great astronomical observatory there which might be of interest if it's still open.)

I haven't been to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm yet, but from what I hear, it's a great site. If you want to go further south in Florida, Ding Darling Preserve, Little Estero Lagoon, and Corkscrew Preserve (all near Ft. Myers and Naples) are terrific spots. You'll have a great time at any of these sites. Wish I could get back to Australia sometime.


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Pauhana
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May 27, 2012 17:24 |  #9

If you want to make the drive Ft DeSoto in St Petersburg can be very good if we have some weather fronts move through. Depending on traffic normally about a hour-half to two hour drive. Would suggest you check the following website http://floridabirdingt​rail.com/ (external link) This will provide you with birding sites in the Orlando area. (and the entire state). If you come over to St Pete let me know. If I am on spring break from school would be glad to take you to some of the various locations in the area. Hey don't worry about driving down here. In March all the snowbirds are here and none of them can drive, even on the correct side of the road.


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catsith
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May 27, 2012 18:57 |  #10

Thankyou everyone for your input. Once I have my flights organised, I can then start to narrow down where I will go. I just wish it wasn't such a long flight!!!!

Gary Fairhead wrote in post #14490973 (external link)
Hi Tina

I can't answer any of your questions as Canada is not Florida or Texas,,But I can bump this back to the top for some exposure to those that might be able to help. Don't worry about the driving , just stay on the "right" side of the road;):)

Lol Gary, I do drive on the right side of the road!!:lol: Funny story, just picked up our rental car in downtown Edmonton, on our way to the mall, and went the wrong way. So did a u-turn in a quiet suburban street with no line markings, so went on the wrong side of the road to turn back into the busy 4 land road I just came from, and ended up facing the traffic!! I ended up having to drive onto the footpath to get out of the way in a hurry! Lucky is was very wide, with a big grassy area in front of some accommodation. Twas a guy standing there, can well imagine what he was thinking!!! So twas a bit of a scare to say the least, but the rest of the trip was rather uneventful thankfully. Though on some quiet roads, when turning out of the parks, I did drive on the wrong side. First time my ever helpful son said, 'ahem, we are not in australia", and I am thinking, 'doh, of course we aren't", until I twigged to what he meant! Told him next time be specific!!

cfcRebel wrote in post #14492024 (external link)
Howdy Tina! Happy to hear your trip to the US has materialised. :D
Spring time is great. Although you will miss the Spring migration if you have to be home by end of 1st week of April, you'd still see a lot of bird species in these two states.
I live in Austin, about 2.5 hours driving, northwest of Houston. We talked about Brazos Bend state park near Houston last time. Another one is Brazoria national wildlife refuge by the coast. These two should be great places to get some bird photos. And of course, if you also decide to make a stop in Austin, as your guide i can personally guarantee you seeing at least 50 bird species there, and likely to get some great bird images too! :D If possible, arrange Texas towards the latter half of your itinerary. If San Antonio(historic city) is one of the cities your sons plan to visit, then I'll be your guide to Choke Canyon State park which is only 1.5hr south of there. Just went there 2 weeks ago (my 3rd trip there). Absolutely a treat for birders! The Brown Trasher almost let me pet her. :lol:

Wish i was more familiar with FL. I heard the Red-tailed hawks in FL is more approachable. :lol:

Thanks Fee, will pm when I have a bit more of an idea of my movements. I have only one stop in Dallas, so it has to be either on the way over to florida, or on the way back, and at this stage was thinking of on the way over. Maybe if I sleuthed some more, I might find a good airfare that goes into april, but unfortunately the one I have ends in march for going over. How busy does it get during the school holidays? Anyway, at some point in time my son will move to Houston, and then I will be able to spend some more time in texas, so this time round I will be concentrating more on florida. Plus won't be going to Houston I don't think, just want to explore a reasonable driving distance from Dallas.

Pauhana wrote in post #14492518 (external link)
If you want to make the drive Ft DeSoto in St Petersburg can be very good if we have some weather fronts move through. Depending on traffic normally about a hour-half to two hour drive. Would suggest you check the following website http://floridabirdingt​rail.com/ (external link) This will provide you with birding sites in the Orlando area. (and the entire state). If you come over to St Pete let me know. If I am on spring break from school would be glad to take you to some of the various locations in the area. Hey don't worry about driving down here. In March all the snowbirds are here and none of them can drive, even on the correct side of the road.

thankyou for the link. I am avoiding the spring break though. Have discovered I can actually fly a little bit later on the cheaper fare. Thanks though. Lol, what are snowbirds?


Tina

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cfcRebel
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May 28, 2012 15:02 |  #11

catsith wrote in post #14492811 (external link)
Thanks Fee, will pm when I have a bit more of an idea of my movements. I have only one stop in Dallas, so it has to be either on the way over to florida, or on the way back, and at this stage was thinking of on the way over. Maybe if I sleuthed some more, I might find a good airfare that goes into april, but unfortunately the one I have ends in march for going over. How busy does it get during the school holidays? Anyway, at some point in time my son will move to Houston, and then I will be able to spend some more time in texas, so this time round I will be concentrating more on florida. Plus won't be going to Houston I don't think, just want to explore a reasonable driving distance from Dallas.

There should be some state parks in the Dallas/Fort Worth areas. I don't expect those parks to be too busy during the Spring Break holidays. Young kids have different interest and normally head to theme park or beaches. Disney World would be very busy during Spring Break week.
Yeah, FL is a great state for birders. It's good to concentrate on FL. Ding Darling is famous. My birder friend told me the birds at Ding Darling are not as skittish. They are very used to visitors i guess. :)


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catsith
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Jun 03, 2012 04:59 |  #12

bettyn wrote in post #14492241 (external link)
In Orlando, don't miss Gatorland. Try to make the fifty or so mile trip to Viera Wetlands and Merritt Island Refuge since you have access to a car. (Just don't let anything distract you from the road while driving and you'll be able to stay on the right side okay. Had to learn the left side when in England and also Thailand! :D) Rockport on the Texas Coast is a great place, but I think the Whooping Cranes might be gone by then. Agree Brazos Bend is a good spot, not only for birds, but other wildlife. It's near Houston. We lived there for 20 years and went there at least once a month. (There used to be a great astronomical observatory there which might be of interest if it's still open.)

I haven't been to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm yet, but from what I hear, it's a great site. If you want to go further south in Florida, Ding Darling Preserve, Little Estero Lagoon, and Corkscrew Preserve (all near Ft. Myers and Naples) are terrific spots. You'll have a great time at any of these sites. Wish I could get back to Australia sometime.

Many thanks Betty. Am making a list of places to go. Need to get myself a map, and start marking them in.

.
Well, I have now booked my tickets, have 4 weeks in april. Closer to the time I will finetune, but any more tips, or more specific details of locations will be greatly appreciated!!


Tina

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Joe52
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Jun 03, 2012 05:21 |  #13

Some useful info, regarding good spots here Tina -

http://www.birdphotogr​aphers.net …/32-United-States-Florida (external link)

http://www.birdphotogr​aphers.net …-of-the-Mississippi-River (external link)


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catsith
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Jun 05, 2012 06:14 |  #14

that's a great couple of links Joe, thankyou very much!!


Tina

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