Birding in Florida

I’ve often wondered how a person becomes a birder. Or is it bird enthusiast? Maybe it’s something you inherit. Birding genes. I’m thinking that’s what happened to me. I grew up with pet birds and my mom always fed the birds outside too. We had bird identification books and binoculars right in our breakfast nook.

Well, it’s fun! No matter where we go, Matt and I will often look at each other and say, “I wonder what kind of bird that is?” Recently, we were at the Myakka River State Park and a park volunteer approached us inquiring, “Are you birders?”At first I wasn’t sure how to answer. Did we qualify? Was there a definition somewhere that I should read before I committed to this? “Yes,” I daringly exclaimed.

So, now we are birders. Not very good ones, that’s for sure. We keep trying, but one time we’ll arrive at the birding location with binoculars, but not the camera. Another time the camera and tripod, but not the binoculars. And we keep forgetting our field guide! With all that preface, I’m going to share some of my bird photos anyway. It wouldn’t be a trip to Florida without seeing Great Blue Herons.DSC_4934 2

And watching him as he hunts. It looked like he came up empty. But I did see him swallow.DSC_1165 2

We haven’t see the Little Blue Heron quite as often but here he is.DSC_4990 2

My favorite of the herons is the Louisiana Heron although here in Florida I have only heard him called the Tri-colored Heron. We watched this pretty one for quite awhile. He sat perfectly still then suddenly exploded into action. The reward was a little minnow in it’s beak. Supper!DSC_1149 5

One more heron: the Green Heron.DSC_1127 3

The next birds were quite a surprise. As we walked along in the Celery Fields of Sarasota, we saw flashes of pink. Were there flamingos here? And yet, they didn’t look like flamingos. This was one instance where I wished I had a better lens for bird photography. Of course, the lens you need always seems to be the one you don’t have! These beautiful Roseate Spoonbills were quite a distance from us, but I got this shot.DSC_5021 2

Seems I always catch the Egrets flying.DSC_1112 2

We’ve noticed birds that aren’t water birds too. In fact, Matt usually spots them first. He is so observant! As we walked into church on Sunday, he said, “Is that an eagle on top of that really big flag pole? Or just a statue?” It could have been either. Of course, we didn’t have our binoculars with us. But as we stood there staring at it, another eagle flew up to it and the first left. The new eagle took it’s place with the perfect stance. It was like the changing of the guard! We enjoyed the sight and headed off for church. Afterwards, it was still there! Matt said, “Too bad you don’t have your camera.” But I did! DSC_1077 2

Then he spotted a Red Shouldered Hawk.DSC_1084 2

While at Myakka River State Park, we enjoyed the Bird Walk. A large bird flew over as we approached. We both thought it was a hawk of some kind. It landed in some far away brush and didn’t come out. We could see it’s face though. It was a Marsh Hawk also known as a Harrier.DSC_1044 2

Some birds just amuse me…like Pelicans.DSC_4923 2

And Limpkins. What a name!DSC_1015 2

And these Sandhill Cranes.DSC_5012

Then there is the comical Pied-billed Grebe. it kept diving down into this murky water. Such inquisitive eyes.DSC_1123 2

The Loggerhead Shrike was a new one for us. DSC_1087 2

As well as the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Aptly named, I’d say.Florida 2014

Well, we are keeping a list of new birds for us, so I guess we are birders. But aren’t we all? Who doesn’t love listening to a Mockingbird’s song or chasing beach birds?DSC_0690 2

Or enjoying a beach sunset with little bird friends. Yes, birding in Florida, it’s wonderful, even if you don’t know what you’re doing!DSC_0732 2

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13 thoughts on “Birding in Florida

  1. Thanks for the pic of the Little Blue Heron…I’ve never seen one before. Is that a young one or is it full grown. I love Great Blue Herons. My daughter took me on a bird watch boat tour. We had the best time. But like you and your mom…we have fun no matter what it is we might be doing.

  2. Janine,
    You are definitely a birder. LOL Your pictures are wonderful and Florida is one of the greatest places to be for birding. I love the Roseate Spoonbills, and I enjoyed all of your pictures. The great blue heron spooks easily, and you sure got some nice pictures of that bird, too. I have yet to use my tripod for birding, but a tripod can definitely help when birds are on the move!! Dom and I often leave our field guide in the car, too. LOL So we aren’t always the most prepared either. I think that the important thing is to love what you are doing. I am becoming better at bird identification and being interested in them also makes me think about birds and wildlife conservation. I think that my love of birds was inherited from my grandmother. She is the one who taught me about bird identification, when the birds came to eat at her bird feeder in Dallas, PA. When I find a bird that I have never saw before, I feel like I have found a gem!! Sometimes it is a challenge to identify them, and my husband is better at that then I am. God must love birds because he sure made lots of them, and they can be found nearly everywhere….. and all over the world. Happy Birding!!

    • Well, I’m glad to hear that you and Dom have some of the same problems as we do when it comes to birding! lol. I’ve spent quite a bit of time searching through the field guide, so I’m getting better at identification too. There are so many birds that this hobby will surely keep us busy the rest of our lives! 🙂

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