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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk 
Thread started 07 Oct 2014 (Tuesday) 04:08
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2 weeks Florida, February 2015. Where to go?

 
Brummel
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Oct 07, 2014 04:08 |  #1

First of all: Sorry for my English, i am German. I will try my best to write understandable :)

I am planning a two week vacation in february or march 2015.
It will be a roundtrip in Florida with a rented SUV and booking motels for staying overnight.
My last visit in Florida was in 1994, so i dont have much information where to go and what to do any more.

Reason and main plan for the trip is photography of birds and wildlife.
I will carry a EF 500/4L IS and EF 70-200/4L IS with teleconverters on a 7D together with a stable carbon tripod and monopod. So i will be able to hike to locations and interesting spots, transporting the equipment with a backpack.

I am free to go everywhere within the two weeks, only Cape Caneveral (was closed 20 years ago) and the Keys are set as destination.

So i am asking for some tips, hints and links with useful information for my trip.

- is February a good time to go to Florida and wildlife photography?
- anyone made a similar trip and has a routeplan?
- are there any usefull guides (printed or online)?
- what are "must see" locations?

I saw the latest thread in the birdsection. But this is about going to Florida in fall and only the south.

Kind regards from Germany :)
Wolfram


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RikWriter
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Oct 07, 2014 21:48 |  #2

Circle B Bar ranch and reserve outside Lakeland, FL. February would be a perfect time for birding.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 08, 2014 13:33 |  #3

I know of a really good spot for Whitetail Deer. They rut very late in Florida, and in February you should catch the rutting action at its peak. The deer in this location are habituated, and therefore will allow you the opportunity to capture good images. Despite the deer's tolerance for human proximity, this is a location that allows the deer to roam wild and free, and is not a captive, fenced in "preserve". Send me an email for info. My email is tomreichner@yahoo.com (external link)


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Nov 07, 2014 15:18 |  #4

Since you will be going to Cape Canaveral make time for Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is very close to the Cape. A little further down the east coast I would suggest the Viera Wetlands, near Melbourne .... also Loxahatchee further south down the east coast

Across the state is Ding Darling refuge and further north on the west coast try Fort Desoto park .... I also agree on the Circle B as a destination

http://www.fws.gov/mer​rittisland/ (external link)

http://floridabirdingt​rail.com …Viera_aka_Viera​_Wetlands/ (external link)

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Dec 01, 2014 17:44 |  #5

In Feb. you want southern Florida. In March, northern Florida. For southern Florida, the 'classic' locations (and they are good) are Anhinga Trail and Shark Valley Loop in the Everglade National Park. Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Palm Beach County (north of Miami/Ft. Lauderdale). In Feb. the great egrets will still have mating plumage and the Great Blue Herons will have young chicks. Slightly further north and a 'must shoot' location is Blue Cypress Lake, where several hundred osprey will be mating in Feb. btw, in March, they'll have chicks and be bringing fish in left and right, but that said, Feb. is still amazing. Be there for sunrise. Rent boat with or without guide at Middleton Fish Camp (http://www.middletonsf​ishcamp.com/ (external link)).


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Dec 01, 2014 20:01 |  #6

I live in SW Florida Naples. Ft. Myers area if you plan on visiting this area let me know.

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Dec 02, 2014 00:45 |  #7

Another vote for Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge. This big fellow was sunning himself near one trail.


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Brummel
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Post edited over 4 years ago by Brummel.
     
Jan 05, 2015 14:29 |  #8

Thank you for replying my post :)

I booked my Lufthansa flight to Miami last week, so my vacation will start soon :)

I will arrive february, 17 afternoon at Miami Airport. First i will pickup an SUV at Alamo and then drive to the booked motel at Dania Beach.
I will stay two days here, not sure what to do here.
Next stop is Cocoa Beach, three days. On the way to Cocoa Beach i probably stop at Clue Cyprees Lake, looking for Ospreys. At Cocoa Beach i want to visit the Space Center and Meritt Island.

Then i get stuck in planning my next stop. Is it worth stopping one or two days around Orlando? Or passing Orlando and drive directly to Westcoast, Tampa?
I dont want to visit Disney, SeaWorld or Universal Studios. Did that several times in California and 25 years ago in Florida. Any tips for Orlando?

Then two days Westcoast anywhere arround Tampa (maybe Bush Gardens?), later 5 days in the area of Ft. Myers.
Two days then arround Naples for visiting the Everglades and finally driving to Cutler Bay (Flamingo Everglades).

Any complains or suggestions on my thoughts? :-D


I will carry a Feisol 3472LV tripod with Benro GH2 Gimbal head or a Gitzo GM 5561 monopod. Or is it better to bring both? Are there long walks to the interesting spots (more than 5 miles to walk)?

Sorry again for my poor English.


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Richard ­ G
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Jan 07, 2015 08:07 |  #9

Have a look at Boggey Creek Airboat Rides, just south of Orlando. When we there 4 years ago we paid to have a private guide - he found us Bald Eagle & Snail Kite.

The road down to the site was pretty good for stopping & grabbing photo opportunities as well.

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Jan 07, 2015 08:32 |  #10

You'll pass right by the Viera wetlands, now officially the Ritch Grissom memorial wetlands. It is just north of the Melbourne exits on I-95 at the N. Wickham road exit. To get to it you head west on Wickham until you are past the sewage treatment plant. It is a very short distance. Access is limited to foot traffic--there is a area where you can park-- and I read recently that they have closed some parts of it to walkers. However you don't even have to walk 100 feet to see an amazing variety of wildlife, including otter and many, many birds. Despite the fancy name, it is really a sewage plant water settling pond or series of ponds that produces rich vegetation, fish and water life that attracts all the herons, Ahingas, etc.
Of course, you already know about Merritt Island. There is a fee to take the wildlife trail. They do a nice job of attracting songbirds to feeders at the visitor center. It is also a good time to vist Orange City and Blue Springs state park where many manatees congregate in cold weather. It also offers bird and alligator shots.


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Jan 07, 2015 09:17 |  #11

Great suggestions so far. Here are some spots to add to the list.

Near Titusville: Orlando Wetlands Park
Near Orlando: Gatorland
Near Sarasoto: Celery Fields, Laurel Landfill, Venice Rookery
Near Ft Myers: Little Estero. (in my opinion, Ding Darling and Sanibel are only worth 1/2 a day)
The Keys: Wild Bird Center at Tavernier.

There are many more places too that may or may not be productive, but I think you have a pretty good list now.


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Jan 29, 2015 07:20 |  #12

I second Circle B Bar. Easy walking. Tons of wildlife and usually a permanent nesting pair of Bald Eagles.

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Jan 29, 2015 14:17 |  #13

HannahsDad wrote in post #17405404 (external link)
=Hannah'sDad;17405404]​I second Circle B Bar. Easy walking. Tons of wildlife and usually a permanent nesting pair of Bald Eagles.

QUOTED IMAGE

I was there this morning. Certainly lots of wildlife but more dispersed than at the big hotspots. Also, at B Bar, the wildlife seems more skittish than elsewhere. A good place but requires more time and work than, say, Merritt Is or Everglades locations.


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Jan 29, 2015 17:50 |  #14

Archibald wrote in post #17405897 (external link)
I was there this morning. Certainly lots of wildlife but more dispersed than at the big hotspots. Also, at B Bar, the wildlife seems more skittish than elsewhere. A good place but requires more time and work than, say, Merritt Is or Everglades locations.

I've only been there once but I was expecting a bit more. It was a nice walk but I see more birds at La Chua Trail every time I'm there. I saw the eagles from what seemed like a mile away. A guy I was walking with had an 800mm lens and he couldn't get a decent shot. By the time we got closer, they flew away.

Anyway, I hope you have a great time here, Archibald.


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Jan 30, 2015 00:01 |  #15

Phoenixkh wrote in post #17406197 (external link)
Anyway, I hope you have a great time here, Archibald.

Thanks for the well wishes. I love Florida and its wild places.

I have been going every January for a few years now. Each year I think there are fewer birds than the previous year. This year especially it seems like the bird population is down. Is my perception an illusion? Or is it for real? Are there folks that keep scientific track of these things?


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2 weeks Florida, February 2015. Where to go?
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