As a bird watcher and a weekend wildlife photographer, I’ve long wished to live in Florida. Until the opportunity arises, I’ll have to satisfy myself with the occasional, hurried romp through the glorious Sunshine State. Last year I spent a delightful two weeks traipsing up and down the peninsula in search of great bird photos (you can see the photos I took on that trip here). This year I was able to spare only 11 days. Though that’s not much time to explore an entire state, through a focused search I was able to obtain a decent number of reasonably acceptable photos of Florida birds during that abbreviated jaunt. In this blog I describe the sites I visited and the techniques used to obtain these photos. (For an exhaustive discussion of techniques and equipment issues, see my free, online textbook, Secrets of Digital Bird Photography).
Yes, this pelican really landed on my camera. Fortunately,
I had a second camera I could use to document the event.
(1/500sec 70mm f/5 ISO100)
The map shown below depicts the main sites visited during my trip. My route led south to north, from the Florida keys in the south to Orlando and Merritt Island in the north. This year I visited a few new sites, and also skipped a few I had visited last year. I also learned about several other sites that I didn’t have time to explore, which I plan to visit next year.
Below is the “trophy case” from this year’s “safari”—a showcase of the some of the better photos obtained during the trip. The following pages describe the trip in detail and include more photos taken at each site.
This year’s trophy case is smaller than last year’s. That’s partly because I found myself trying to get photos that weren’t too similar to last year’s—i.e., I didn’t just want to get “more of the same”. That proved difficult. Also, this year’s trip was later in the season than last year’s, and I found the overall abundance of birds to be much lower. Next year I plan to go earlier. The histogram below shows how many “trophies” (see photos below) came from each site:
Number of “trophies” obtained at each site. Fort Desoto was (predictably) the most
productive stop on my trip, both in terms of numbers and diversity. Shark Valley came in
second primarily because of the gallinules, Cape Coral primarily produced only burrowing
owls and cattle egrets, and the keys produced little more than egrets and pelicans.
The Trophy Case is below—be sure to click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized versions. You can also view these photos as a slideshow.
click any thumbnail to zoom
There are more photos on the individual pages of this trip report. Click the link below to begin reading the blog.
Skip Directly to an Entry:day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | day 7 | day 8 | day 9 | day 10 | day 11
Skip to a location:
| Key Largo | Everglades |
| Shark Valley | Estero Lagoon | Cape Coral | Lovers’ Key | Venice Rookery |
| Celery Fields | Myakka River | Oscar Scherer |
| Fort Desoto | Merritt Island | Gatorland |