|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 at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.|
|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.
|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.|
|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.
|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
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.
|Double-crested cormorant also in downtown Celebration.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.
|Blue jay at Bok Tower
Gardens. I have seen a Florida scrub jay on a previous
visit but not this time.
|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.
|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.
|Another egret or is it a heron seen at lakeside in historic downtown Kissimmee.|
|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.
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.
|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.|
|Black skimmers on Cocoa
|Sanderling on Cocoa Beach. I like the reflection in this shot.|
|Ruddy Turnstone on Cocoa Beach.|
|Willet on Cocoa Beach.|
|Royal terns and gulls
on Cocoa Beach
|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. I know they are common but
you usually see them at night.
|Look out for these
signs. This one was at Bok Tower Gardens notice the
oranges in the background.
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