Feeling cold and crotchety in mid-February I decided I should take the cure in Florida. My friend was amenable so off we went, first to her family condo at Delray Beach. The sun was shining and it was warm and we enjoyed a pleasant few days there. We justified the cocktail hours with a little work, redoing a stepping stone path from the lanaii to the lawn with its sunset bench by the lake.
One of the highlights of the area is the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. This excellent project of Palm Beach County’s Utilities Department is a fifty acre meadow traversed by three quarters of a mile of boardwalks through and around marshes and ponds and thickets of nesting and resting bird life. We visited it last year (see Wakodahatchee Wetlands) and it was great even without my long lens. This year I brought the lens (100-400mm) and I was pleased with the results.
There is the usual array of Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and Anhingas.
Great Blue Heron
A fun capture for me was this Red-winged Blackbird. I’ve heard them in the fragmites and other shore foliage all my life, and watched them flit between hiding places, never pausing long enough to be captured. This one did, and I was pleased to find the splashes of yellow under the red.
From Delray Beach we headed across Alligator Alley to another favorite place…Sanibel Island. After a few days on the beach there I began to think that maybe I could get into this Florida-in-February thing. It is a quiet, laid back life pretty much focusing, for us, on the beach, the wildlife refuge, the competitive shelling, and looking for the green flash. The opening scene above was taken early in the morning on our adjacent beach. Here’s another scene illustrating what’s referred to as the “Sanibel Stoop.”
The Sanibel Stoop
As the above scene and the one below suggest, the weather wasn’t splendid every day but it didn’t get in our way. One morning started this way but eventually cleared enough for a float-boat ride with a naturalist through the mangrove thickets of Tarpon Bay.
We also went through the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge three times including once with a guide which was worthwhile. And, we toured the excellent educational visitor’s center. On the refuge trail I managed to capture something new for me: juvenile ibises, long legged, long billed wading birds.
On our last day on our way off the island we took one final swing through the refuge. I was thrilled to capture this Yellow Crowned Night Heron. They don’t come easy; they’re named Night Heron for a reason. This one, however, was locked in on something, never flinching as I got close enough for the capture. The feather detail and colors are beautiful and the yellow stripe and its head spike-feathers are high-five sporty.——————————————————————————————–
Waiting for the green flash. An evening ritual.