Florida > January 2006

Florida January 2006

Michael W Masters

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This was the second trip to Florida for bird photography, the first as a photo tour and workshop six years earlier.  This time wife, AKA Egret Herder, joined the trip.  Almost all locations were on the west coast, the exception being a visit to the Tallahassee area in the panhandle.  Locations visited and subjects photographed were:

  • Myakka State Park, where sandhill cranes were found

  • Venice Rookery, an Audobon Society artificial island for nesting herons and egrets

  • Placida Bay and its trove of attentive pelicans

  • Shark Valley, home of anhingas, waders, pond birds and alligators

  • Cape Coral for its burrowing owls and bald eagles

  • Ding Darling NWR for a variety of waders and pelicans

  • Selby Gardens, a collection of air plants from around the world

  • Tall Timbers, a forestry research station

  • Wakulla Springs, for a pontoon boat excursion through the swamp

    • Also included was a side trip to St. Marks NWR

  • And finally, people, places and sights from the trip

Venice Rookery  and Cape Coral both received more than one visit.  Lots of young great blue herons and great egrets at the Venice Rookery meant plenty of activity, including mating displays, nest building and birds in flight.  The burrowing owls at Cape Coral were a special treat.  By approaching low and very slow, it was possible to get so close that when the camera's autofocus locked onto the eye the bill was inside lens minimum focusing distance!

The 2000 trip was accompanied by a 500mm f4 lens.  This time we got a lot closer with a 600mm f4.  A 100-400mm zoom complemented the big lens.  Despite a camera with only 16MP, some of the close up bird images showed ample feather detail.

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Myakka State Park Venice Rookery Placida Bay Shark Valley Cape Coral
Ding Darling NWR Selby Gardens Tall Timbers Wakulla Springs People & Places
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