Sunday, February 5, 2012

Birding Florida - come on down!

Lucky us, we're spending the winter in Florida, an excellent place to bird, especially this time of year. If you haven't tried it, there are awesome birds and the photo ops are tops. Here are some of my favorite birds that you can see in FL. Above is a Roseate Spoonbill, an outrageously pink wading bird who feeds by swinging that spoon-shaped bill through the water and snatching up small fish, crustaceans etc. Look for them in places like Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL.

Florida Scrub-Jays are a FL endemic (found only in FL) and listed as federally threatened. They inhabit rare scrub habitat that has greatly diminished due to development. One of the best places to see them is in Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey, FL.

This is the oooh-aaah bird that graces the cover of our new The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Painted Buntings are a sought-after species that winter in southern Florida. A reliable place to see them is at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, near Naples, FL.

American White Pelican, a species I cannot get enough of! I photographed these in Ding Darling NWR. A largely western breeding species, they winter in southern areas including FL. We have seen hundreds at Ding this winter. I am always explaining to visiting birders and tourists that these are birds that are just here in the winter, unlike their common relative....

the Brown Pelican, who breeds here. I think I could spend a whole winter photographing almost only Brown Pelicans, they're such a graphic-artist-inspired subject.

Magnificent Frigatebirds are, well, magnificent! Widespread in the tropical Atlantic, they soar silently and are known to pirate fish from other birds. We have seen lots of them here in this unusually warm (for here) winter. The males (as above) have red throats.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls are something to write home about, if you're a birder, and we're seeing a fair number of them on the Sanibel beaches.

Shorebird city, that's Ding Darling NWR and other FL birding spots, where you can see thousands of wintering shorebirds and hone your shorebird ID skills.

Have I convinced you to come on down?


  1. Tem umas cores magnificas. Foi um passeio de meter inveja.
    A natureza é realmente fantástica e o olhar do fotografo é bem atento.
    Com todo o esplendor, abraços

  2. Spectacular photographs of beautiful birds! Florida is one of my favorite places to bird.

  3. Fantastic birds and photos of them. I really need to get a trip planned down there.

  4. ...Ding Darling is one of my favorite places!! Your photos are always so beautiful. I love the spoonbill especially!