FLORIDA … IT’S FOR DA BOIDS

Image 08

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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.

Image 11

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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.

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There is the usual array of Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and Anhingas.

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

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Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Anhinga

Anhinga

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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.

Image 01

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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

The Sanibel Stoop

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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.

Image 05

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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. 

Image 06

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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.——————————————————————————————–

Image 07

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Waiting for the green flash.  An evening ritual.

Waiting for the green flash. An evening ritual.

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For more scenes from the trip please click here.

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18 Responses to “FLORIDA … IT’S FOR DA BOIDS”

  1. Ken Curtis Says:

    Nice boids, Ralph. Sounds like Florida in February is going to become a ritual for you. Guess we’ll have to call you a snow bird!

  2. Kathleen Says:

    Ahhhhhh, that was an awesome set of BOIDS thanks Ralph!!!!

  3. Tom and Jeanne Says:

    The night heron is my favorite (an amazing bird and photo).
    We have always loved Ding Darling and would love to return
    sometime. Maybe next year. Thanks for the memories.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Jeanne. Looking forward to getting together with you soon. From what Tom told me about T.F.’s new store I think we should schedule a trip down there this spring.

  4. bob williams Says:

    You picked a hobby that we all enjoy thru your lens..Our Pelicans are now in full Spring maneuver, something to do with mating I think, and flying in groups that can reach into the thirties. Come May 1st, we too migrate north. See you then. Bob

  5. Sheila Schneider Says:

    Wonderful!

    Sheila

    _____

  6. Bonnie Says:

    Wonderful shots Ralph, especially the night heron. I’ve never seen one, so thank you.

  7. denisebushphoto Says:

    A really nice collection of images Ralph. My favorites are the first panorama, the Ibises and the Yellow-crowned Night Heron!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, De. The panorama was from a crop (as you probably figured) which was done to emphasize the line of birds rising. I like them all but acknowledge that the lake and the sunset are postcard shots. I’m partial to the palm tree against the clouds though I have to get rid of the building corner lower right.

  8. Linda Smith Says:

    I had never really considered the red-winged blackbird a pretty bird, but it really is your photograph.

  9. MikeP Says:

    I can feel their pain… I have the backyard stoop, cleaning up for spring and summer. Looks like a very nice area with an abundance of…. birds. Thanks for letting me get out of Jersey for a bit.


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