Now I know people comment all the time on how good the birding is here in Florida during the winter months. I knew this when we moved back here in January and I wondered what we were going to do during the summer months when all the birds migrated back north?
Little did I know that during the summer months, we have even more birds than we did during the winter time. I guess many of the tropical birds migrate up to Florida from South America or other parts of the world to nest along the surrounding islands.
One of my goals for the past few years has been to see and photograph a baby pelican. After asking numerous times if anyone could show me a photo of one, and only getting smart-a$$ comments that there is no such thing, and everyone knows that Seagulls just grow up to become pelicans, we've finally found the mother load.
One of the neighboring islands, Seahorse Key, that is normally closed to the public has recently opened up. The place is a birders paradise. Too many birds to count, dozens of varieties to choose from and with a good zoom, they're all within reach from the shoreline on a boat as all of these were shot from.
Shooting from a boat required my wife and I to learn a few new techiques. Not having the ability to move anywhere you wanted to get the right background became frustrating many times when a shot could have been near perfect, if you could only have moved a few simple feet in one direction or another to remove some unwanted object from the background.
Especially when there were 3 of us on the boat, it meant for some heated growls/moans if you had a shot lined up perfect and one of the other photographers moved and started the boat a rockin'
You might have seen some of my wifes shots from her camera, Cindy's Post, so I thought I'd post up some of mine to go along with them. Funny we were on the same boat, but many times sitting back to back, we saw entirely different things.
The Day started with us landing on the deserted white sand beach before sunrise to try and find where the nests were.
One of the first things we saw was this Raven leave a pelican nest with a freshly stolen egg
The egg was so heavy, the bird could barely fly with it in its beak.
The amount of birds we saw was amazing, and the different types had me not even knowing what I was shooting most of the time.
For instance, this immature Ibis dont look anything like they do when they're grown and bright white with bright red beaks/bills
I thought I was shooting a Bittern when I shot this bird, but come to find out that its a Immature Black Crowned Night Heron, or a Yellow Crowned Night Heron which is even more rare. I guess the only difference is one has a thicker bill and shorter legs than the other, so it's hard to tell without having them side by side to compare
To watch the adults come back to the nests and feed the babies is downright primordial! The babies go ballistic and its hard to imagine they dont injure or kill the adults with how hard they're shoving their beaks down the parents throats
The noises the babies make sound very similar to a pig trough at feeding time, and if you were to be dropped off on this island at night, you'd be scared to death not knowing what these sounds are coming from. Who would think it's from a ugly, white bird?
I thought it was rare to see a Golden Eagle this far out into the ocean, we were a few miles away from shore to get to this island, but this one allowed us to get pretty close before it opened its freighteningly large wingspan and soared over us. This one sat about 3-4' tall and when it opened its wings, they were an easy 6 foot wide
Coming home with hundreds of shots to choose from, this one is one of my favorites and will be blown up for a friend of mine 24x36 for her living room. She wanted a shot of Heron's with a Cabbage Palm in the background as they're her favorite things, so I thought this trio fit the bill perfectly
Still have a bunch more photos to edit, and we're heading back out again this week, so hopefully I'll add to the post with some more photos as I collect them
Thanks for looking