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January 2010 Florida

                    Eagle I didn't do much dedicated bird watching but just took pictures of what I came across so many of these "wild" animals are actually in a sanctuary or similar. EG this bald eagle that had just taken a bath was at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland just North of Orlando in Florida. They are open most days (not Monday or public holidays) and they charge for entry. The birds they have are either for eventual release after medical treatment and "training" or if that is not an option then they keep them for display and education.

It does mean you can see the birds up close. They had several owls, American kestrel, osprey, merlin,
snail kite, red-shouldered hawk, red-tailed hawk, caracara, plus black and turkey vultures... I've put a link to there website at the bottom of this page.
Merlin Merlin at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.
Sandhill Crane I could claim this was in the wild but three sandhill cranes came into my hotel car park most mornings and were very tame. I think it was parents with one young as one of the birds was a little smaller with a dull red patch.
Sandhill Cranes I enjoyed seeing these large wild birds so close on several mornings and it was a pleasure to see them flying around and calling to each other. Not sure if a diet of white sliced bread is good for them but I didn't feed them.
Red-Shouldered Hawk I went to Disney Celebration "planned community" where I snapped this red-shouldered hawk close to the downtown area. they are a common bird but good to see in an urban area. As the Florida population rises wildlife that can adapt will do well but I worry about the rest.
                    this is a young hawk but not sure what it is? At Disney Celebration I also got this shot which I love. It was only about 50 yards from downtown across the street from the town hall. I'm not sure which bird it is but maybe a sharp-shinned hawk? My impression was that it was smaller than a red-shouldered or red-tailed hawk. Sharp-shinned hawks are often seen in urban areas as they will wait near a bird table to grab a smaller bird.

I went back a couple of days later and it was sitting on a house roof close to downtown but when I stopped to try and get another photo it flew off.
                    this is a young hawk but not sure what it is? Double-crested cormorant also in downtown Celebration.
                    Boat-tailed grackle Male boat-tailed grackle at downtown Celebration. They are very tame as they are fed by the locals. I like this picture because I got the reflection of the bird.
male Boat-tailed grackle Black swan nesting in downtown Orlando right by the cafe and near the open air stage at Lake Eola. Nice urban wildlife shot with the buildings in the background.
                    Boat-tailed grackle Also at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando where these white ibis. I assume this is winter or immature plumage as they have a bright red bill in the summer.
                    Boat-tailed grackle Red cardinal at the bird table by the hide at Bok Tower Gardens. They also had red-winged blackbirds, common grackle, rufus-sided towhee, a wren (but I don't know which species), anhinga, blue jay, etc. I could hear a woodpecker but didn't see it.
                    Boat-tailed grackle Blue jay at Bok Tower Gardens. I have seen a Florida scrub jay on a previous visit but not this time.
male Boat-tailed grackle Osprey on post at the lakeside near historic downtown Kissimmee (this is not the same place as Old Town Kissimmee.) Osprey are very common in Florida but I still like to see them.
egret This was also at the lake shore in historic downtown Kissimmee. Not worked out which egret it is yet but just like the focused way it is hunting just a few feet away from me.
egret Another egret or is it a heron seen at lakeside in historic downtown Kissimmee.
Roseate spoonbill Roseate spoonbill in Florida Aquarium (in Tampa) where they also had black-necked stilt, American oyster catcher, ruddy ducks, green-winged teal, white ibis, great horned owl, hooded merganser, various egrets and herons... Think they were mostly rescue birds that were not fit enough to release.
spoonbill Yellow-crowned night heron at the Florida Aquarium. I'm not sure if I have ever seen one of these before. Again I could claim it was in the wild as you can not see anything man made in the shot.
                    skimmers on Cocoa Beach Flock of black skimmers on Cocoa Beach where they also had various gulls, royal terns, sanderlings, ruddy turnstone, brown pelican, willet, etc. All birds I've seen before but still enjoy.
                    skimmers on Cocoa Beach Black skimmers on Cocoa Beach.
Sanderling on Cocoa Beach Sanderling on Cocoa Beach. I like the reflection in this shot.
Ruddy Turnstone on Cocoa
                    Beach Ruddy Turnstone on Cocoa Beach.
Willet on Cocoa Beach Willet on Cocoa Beach.
                    Terns and gulls on Cocoa Beach Royal terns and gulls on Cocoa Beach
                    anhinga Male anhinga at Disney Marketplace by the Lego shop. I like this shot as you can see the Lego in the background and it shows how easy it can be to see wildlife in Florida.
Raccoon in Lori Wilson Park behind Cocoa Beach Raccoon in Lori Wilson Park behind Cocoa Beach. I know they are common but you usually see them at night.
                    Florida Birding Trail sign Look out for these signs. This one was at Bok Tower Gardens notice the oranges in the background.



More of my photo's

great florida
                birding trail logoIf you want to do some more concentrated bird watching then look up the Great Florida Birding Trail which includes about 350 sites to visit. Some of the places I went to are on that list but that was not generally the prime reason for visiting or I was going for a two for one where I would see say a nice garden and maybe some birds. There's some "gateway" sites such as Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (near the Space Centre) which I have been to on previous trips where they have a visitor centre and you can get advice on where to go?

Bok Tower Garden

Florida Aquarium

Lori Wilson Park

Cocoa Beach Pier

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey


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