Florida: A Birder’s Paradise

Who knew there were so many different kinds of birds in Florida?

Well, that’s a silly statement, isn’t it? I’m sure a lot of people did ― just not me. I learned a lot while I was in Florida by hanging out with some avid birders, and, with their help, I was able to spot 35 different species during my two weeks in the Sunshine State.

As I was ticked each species off my list, my photographer gene went into overdrive. And so, here are one or two photos to share with you.

First up are the shore birds I told you last post were so much fun to play with on the beach. The first ones I met were Willets.

Willet 1

Willet 2

Here is a Ruddy Turnstone …

Ruddy Turnstone

… and this one is a Sanderling. Sanderlings are tricky to photograph because they zip around at warp speed. Not to mention they blend pretty well into the background.

Sanderling

The Royal Terns were my favourite of the terns.

Royal Tern 1

When they turn their heads, it’s pretty obvious why they’re called “royal.”

Royal Tern 2

Here’s a bunch of them in formation: heads turned away from the wind and beaks tucked into their wings.

Royal Tern 3

This one’s a Least Sandwich Tern, which is smaller than the Royal.

Least Tern

One Black Skimmer …

Black Skimmer 1

… three Black Skimmers …

Black Skimmer 2

… and a whole flock of Black Skimmers.

Black Skimmer 3

A Laughing Gull An immature Ring-billed Gull on the beach …

Laughing Gull 1

… and a whole row of Laughing Gulls preening themselves on a fence.

Laughing Gull 2

I was really happy to meet up with my friends, the Great Blue Heron. I know when they leave Vancouver every fall they go somewhere ― it never occurred to me I’d find them in Florida. Here’s a male …

Great Blue Heron Male

… and here is a female.

Great Blue Heron Female

This Snowy Egret was kind enough to strike a pose for me.

Snowy Egret

The White Ibis (left) is being stalked by a Great Egret (right).

White Ibis and Great Egret

Here’s a better photo of the White Ibis.

White Ibis

These are Roseate Spoonbills. Apparently they aren’t so common and we were lucky to see them. If you look carefully at the beak of the second bird from the right, you can make out its spoon shape.

Roseate Spoonbills

This bald-headed fellow is a Wood Stork ― the only stork that breeds in North America.

Wood Stork

The Anhinga is quite the exhibitionist. Here’s one passing the time of day …

Anhinga 1

… and here’s one showing off. Anhingas stretch out their wings like this to dry off the feathers.

Anhinga 2

These are two juvenile Anhingas.

Anhinga 3

I don’t think a day went by during my time in Florida when we didn’t see vultures circling high above us. This Black Vulture is almost hidden by all the Spanish moss in the tree.

Black Vulture

Another frequently sighted bird is the Brown Pelican.

Brown Pelican

Here is a Double-crested Cormorant …

Double-crested Cormorant

… a Red-bellied Woodpecker …

Red-bellied Woodpecker

… and a Florida Scrub-Jay.

Florida Scrub-Jay 1

The scrub-jays will eat from your hand if you’re patient enough. (The surge of intense love I felt for this tiny creature as it stood on my hand was electric. No exaggeration.)

Florida Scrub-Jay 2

This Red-winged Blackbird kept me company one morning in the Keys while I ate my lunch.

Red-winged Blackbird

And I met this handsome fellow on one of my strolls through Key West. Chickens are everywhere in that town ― and I mean everywhere.

Rooster

I am sure I goofed up some of the identifications, so do let me know if I did. And, as if I need another reason to travel, I am now thinking that choosing destinations based on their potential for birdspotting is not a bad idea. Not at all.

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10 responses to “Florida: A Birder’s Paradise”

  1. Ciska says :

    Great photographs, Elizabeth. I will be sure to pass this on to Glenn to grade for accuracy – but it looked pretty correct to me.

  2. Glenn S says :

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I don’t know any master birders however, I believe the least tern is actually a sandwich tern (note the colour on the tip of the beak); and the first laughing gull is an immature ring-billed gull.
    Great pics.
    As for birding holidays – high on my list is Costa Rico…….. someday.
    Take care,
    Glenn

  3. Pamela says :

    Wonderful as always!

  4. Don Baxter says :

    Wow! Your photos are fantastic. Love the golden ‘slippers’ of the Snowy Egret. I’m sorry I never saw these photos earlier. I’d love to hear more about your Florida trip. Never been there.

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