Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Palm Beach County Vacation

I just returned from a week down in Palm Beach County Fl, and while I only added 1 new species to my photographic tome I got a lot of great photos of species I've seldom seen.  More importantly however I was able to really immerse myself in nature and marvel at a pint sized Green Heron fishing feet from my kayak or sit still as a gator basked itself along the banks of a canal soaking up the Florida rays.

I'll start this blog post off with the only new species I nabbed - the Red-headed Woodpecker.  While this bird does live in New York and has been seen on Long Island, it's a rare event.  I was fortunate enough to have three of these birds actively looking for food in midday at Cypress Creek Park.  The photos of course didn't come out too well thanks to that sun but I'm happy none-the-less.

Pelican's were everywhere - as were Osprey.  It is funny how a species that is so coveted (the Pelican) in New York as a fall rarity is so prevalent a few thousand miles south and how quickly one becomes bored of photographing them.

While kayaking the Loxahatchee River at River Bend Park, I encountered a Green Heron, Limpkins and a juvenile Little Blue Heron in the white plumage which I'd never had the pleasure of photographing before. It was astonishing how close approach the birds allow.  I could have reached out and touched any of these birds - and they were all photographed with my 18-200mm lens instead of the usual 500mm focal length of my other bird images.

At Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge (the eastern fringe of the everglades) I was there at midday which wasn't best for birds but there were still a few around including Little Blue Heron, Limpkin, Pied-bill Grebe and some raptors (Northern Harrier and Red-shouldered Hawk of the florida race [lighter colored plumage than other RS Hawks).

The last bird of note was a Cooper's Hawk who I spotted briefly after the Red-headed Woodpecker and whose presence was given away by an incessant Blue-jay alerting the whole neighborhood.

On the non-bird front I was surprised to not see any snakes but there were plenty of other reptiles including Turtles (not sure on the species) and the big and always intimidating, American Alligator whose presence was made known at several spots.

I missed out on River Otters (but hey, they're always tough to find), Spoonbills, Woodstorks and any of the Kite species but there is always next time and it gives me something to really look forward to.

If you are interested in the birds of Florida, or are headed down there in the near future, check out this book: National Geographic Field Guides to Birds: Florida (National Geographic Field Guide to Birds)


  1. All beautiful shots but nothing says "I had a great Florida vacation" like that first one! Love the redhead too. I've only seen them in Atlanta, never in Florida.

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  3. I'm reposting because I messed up some grammar . . you know these keyboards.

    You've got a great touch with the camera. The colors are so rich. Was in south Florida myself in Nov, and I posted some on my blog, as well as some from trips past. I'm sure you had some excitement with all the Long Island rarity action this fall; Didn't get down to see any, but was intrigued.
    Again, love your blog and work.