Thursday, 23 April 2015

Manatees!!




We've been seeing a few glimpses of manatees in the channel/lake behind the villa that we're staying in for a few days.

Today we hit the jackpot with at least 3 in very close to the boat jetty.

One very big one which I estimate was about 9 feet long was right under the end of the neighbours jetty and we were able to photograph it as it came up for air every 10-15 minutes. It had an old scar on its side so we were able to see it under the murky water and watch as it surfaced.

Another great treat for us all, to be within 1 metre of this huge mammal and photograph it with a wide angle lens!...... fantastic!






 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Pileated Woodpeckers.....birds of the day!


Pileated Woodpecker
Just as we were driving back to leave Sanibel Island I spotted a bird fly across in front of the car into a palm tree..... almost immediately I knew it was a Pileated Woodpecker and fortunately there was a parking area nearby.

Both Hans and I jumped out of the car leaving our wives dumbfounded as we raced to get some photos.
Luckily where we'd parked had a lot of nice shops for the ladies to look around whilst we tracked down the bird.

The next bonus was that it was a "buy one get one free" photo opportunity as there were 2 birds and they were chasing each other up and down and around the tree trunks.




I've still not worked out whether these are a pair, 2 males or 2 females..... need to do some more reading as my book shows the male as having a red crest right over the forehead and also a red moustachial stripe which I don't see on these.

What a treat as they came really close to us.



Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Alligators & Raccoon at Corkscrew Swamp.



Alligator


A visit to the Audobon Society reserve at Corkscrew Swamp this morning turned up very few birds as the area was very dry..

Fortunately there were a few other things to see in the searing 91degree F heat.

Several alligators and a lone raccoon were the stars of the show and part of me did wish the two met face to face as I had in my mind an image of the raccoon in the gator's teeth!


Alligator

Alligator
Raccoon


Raccoon hunting for fish using its front paws

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Herons & Egrets at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery



Great White Egret returning to nest


A visit to the world reknown Venice Area Audubon Rookery at Venice Florida yielded some great results.

This is a place I've longed to visit for many years!

It's only a tiny island in an urban setting but is home to many nesting herons, egrets, anhingas & cormorants.

Below is a small roughly edited selection of photos.....


Great White Egret feeding 2 large nestlings

Great White Egret 


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron 


Night Heron

Black vultures at the back of the supermarket!



Great place to photograph black vultures at the back of the supermarket just a few hundred yards from where we're staying here in Cape Coral, Florida,

They were lining up on the top of the garbage skips and then jumping in to grab anything edible.

Others just looked at me from the top of the street lights..... eyeing me up as potential prey.





Saturday, 18 April 2015

Birds at Sanibel Island, 16.4.2015

Yellow crowned Night Heron with crab prey


A few photos from our tour around Sanibel island in Florida yesterday.

The Willet & the Snowy Egret were on the island causeway and the Little Blue Heron & the Yellow crowned Night Heron were in the famous Ding Darling reserve amongst the mangroves.


Little Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Willet


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral, Florida. 14.4.2015




Well, Burrowing Owl was my main target species for photography on this trip to Florida and boy did we get them good this morning!

At one time we were standing in the suburbs of Cape Coral and could see 5 separate owl burrows in different directions.

They are well protected and each nest burrow is visibly marked so that the grass cutters and local works personnel don't mistakenly disturb them.

We saw at least 2 burrows in the central reservation of a dual carriageway, which does beg the question to the mortality rate due to car collisions!

Anyway here are a few rough edits of this mornings pics and they represent 3 different nest sites within a 200 yard radius.


The female owl at right looks out from the burrow.