Reflections on Florida… Part I

18 Nov

Well I’ve been back from Florida a couple of weeks now and had chance to go through and identify pretty much everything we saw.

I should say that this wasn’t intended as a birdwatching trip by any means but I managed to pick up a lot of new species for me and had probably one of my richest hours of biodiversity in the wild at the encouragingly named “Alligator Lake” (more on this to follow in Part III). Also worth nothing that I didn’t lug my 500mm lens with me to the states so all images are take with (at best) a Tamron 300mm with 1.4x teleconverter!

My first hour or so out of the house was an opportunity for my 6 year old daughter to stretch her legs in a local playground a few hundred yards from our base in Lake City.

That hour gave me a taste of things to come…first bird up was a northern mockingbird singing his heart out in the bushes above a pair of american crows picking through the grass.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

Next up overhead the dark form of a turkey vulture gliding around, closely followed by several more and a black vulture in tow.

Black vulture

Black Vulture

Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture

A group of large-ish birds approaching from the North in a loose V formation gradually resolved into a group of 10 glossy ibis.

Glossy ibis

Glossy ibis

Then two birds I simply had no idea about… flying high with long black wings and a long black tail but a pale neck and head and long beak. It took me three days to work out they were anhinga. I’d never seen anhinga before and all the photos I’d seen seemed to show glossy black birds and it was the pale neck that had thrown me.

Anhinga

Anhinga

In one of the trees at the playground another mockingbird was in residence alongside the unmistakeable form of a blue jay which skulked in the depths of the tree. A tiny bird flashed in and out of view around the periphery – always managing to elude my camera but I eventually got a decent view of  a gold crowned kinglet.

A subsequent visit to the same playground also gave me my first views of the confusing juvenile little blue heron – confusing because it looks for all the world like a pure-white egret!

Little blue heron

Little blue heron

Parts II and III to follow

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2 Responses to “Reflections on Florida… Part I”

  1. Stephen G. Hipperson February 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    First time I saw anhinga it was swimming – now that looked weird! Great photos.

    • bedlingtonwanderer February 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Yes – very surreal birds – they just seem to sink like a submarine rather than diving like a cormorant or grebe!

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