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Recent bird photo ops on west coast of Florida

Earl Harrison , Feb 18, 2007; 10:42 a.m.

As I sit here in central Ohio looking out on my snow-covered yard, I'm looking forward to 3 1/2 days on the west coast of Florida on March 3-6 for bird photography. I'm having trouble deciding between staying in Tampa (where I fly into) and doing Ft. DeSoto, etc, or driving the 150 miles to Ft. Myers Beach and doing Estero & Sanibel. I would appreciate information on recent bird activity in these two areas. I'm most interested in shorebird photography, but would also like to get burrowing owl & scrub-jay. I use a Canon 10D & 400 & 500mm lenses. Thanks very much.

Responses

Robert Hinkle , Feb 18, 2007; 10:53 p.m.

While I realize that it's across the state, Merritt Island on the east coast near Titusville is one of the premier bird photography locations in Florida. Check out the web site for the "Space Coast Birding Festival" for local specialties and details. Many of the access roads out near the spaceflight center allow very close approach to rather fearless (usually) waterbirds. Also check locally for manatees, as there is a fresh water inlet nearby that hosts over 100 of them when the weather becomes a little chilly. One of my friends has a condo down there and just came back last week... fabulous photos! If you're heading south towards the everglades, remember that much of it is still heavily damaged from hurricanes. The town of Flamingo, at the end of the road through the park, is still largely shut down. Eco Pond, one of the best birding spots in the everglades area, is filled with Gulf mud and has been destroyed. Not sure about Corkscrew Swamp. Anhinga Trail in the glades was another good photo spot, check with the National Park web sites for recent information. Sanibel was also heavily damaged.. I don't know what the current conditions are. Good luck down there... we're not enjoying the snow and cold here in Cleveland either! Cheers... Bob

Ray Dove , Feb 19, 2007; 04:59 p.m.

Was at Sanibel last week.Still lots of birds but not as many as before Charlie a couple or three years ago. Most notable were the white pelicans and the spoonbills. Saw more racoons in daylight than I've ever seen before there.The Scrub Jays were still plentiful at Oscar Scherer SP near Venice.There were plenty of birds at the rookery at Venice but they were not flying much the morn I was there, probably because of a cold snap that day. I didn't get to Cape Coral this year but I've always seen burrowing owls there in previous years. Hope this helps. Ray

Howard Knauer , Mar 04, 2007; 03:59 p.m.

Well, I'm at Merritt now and the water is pretty low. Not that many waders and they seem to be more skittish than when I was last here in December, especially the tri-colors. Long Pond Road has a lot of birds but be prepared to shoot from the car. Shiloh Road can also be productive, but again, stay in the car. Biolab seemed to have a few pockets of birds but i was there late in the morning.

I am going to tryout Hatbill Park this afternoon. If anyone out there has some more suggestions, send them on since I am going to be here 2 more days.

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