Entries in Travelog (4)
We drove from Miami down to the Florida Keys on the 16th November, getting to our hotel on Marathon at dusk. The next few days were to spend some time exploring the Keys and spend most time with just a digital point-and-shoot camera...although I did get the DSLRs out on occasion.
Next day, we got up late for a leisurely morning, when I looked out of the window to see a Manatee swimming alongside the dock behind our room! The people staying on one of the boats dropped a freshwater hose in the water and the Manatee started to drink from the hose - one way to get fresh water I guess! This is only my second encounter with this large marine mammal, having glimpsed the back of one a couple of years ago, I was amazed how confiding this one was.
We spent the rest of the day touring the more Northern Keys, seeing another Manatee with calf, before finishing up at Marathon for Sunset.
After that, we headed into Key West proper for an afternoon of tourist
We spent the 19th November on the keys between Marathon and Key West...mainly searching for White-crowned Pigeons and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.
Finally caught up with 2 White-crowned Pigeons on a dead-end road in the middle of some mangrove...somewhere...
We spent the 20th November driving to Sanibel Island, via Flamingo in the Everglades NP. Short-tailed Hawk, Snail Kite and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher were the birding highlights...to be continued.
92 species (108 trip total)
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Black-backed Gull
American Herring Gull
Rock (Feral) Pigeon
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
I recently realised that I mentioned we were going to Florida and that I might wave my camera at some stuff but then didn't write or show any of the images...doh!
So, here is part one...
We flew into Southwest Florida Airport on the 13th November and then drove East, straight across Florida to Boca Raton where we were to spend our first few days.
I know that sounds like a dumb thing to do but we were finishing up on Sanibel Island and wanted to have an easy last day, rather than a trek across Florida.
And we flew Jet Blue - they are competitively priced with more leg-room. That extra inch or so is worth the slight extra in price...and we managed to get the emergency exit row on the way down.
During the 14th and 15th November, we visited Green Cay Wetlands (where I was joined on one morning by Lance Warley, who had kindly offered to show me around his local patch - thanks Lance!), Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Loxahatchee NWR and a park in Cooper City.
We saw pretty much all the birds you would expect over those couple of days (full list below) with the highlights being the Limpkins, obliging adult Roseate Spoonbill and the Burrowing Owls.
On the 16th we headed south to the Florida Keys for the next few days of our trip....to be continued.
Don't forget you can click on any image to see it bigger with more information.
65 Species (65 trip total).
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
American Purple Gallinule
Palm Warbler At a Rest area
OK, my bad...its been over a month since I posted anything. I've been busy...shorebirds and autumn colour have been very time consuming subjects, learning about Lightroom and new features in CS3, parents visiting from the UK, the dog eat my keyboard (only kidding)...
This is my first full fall season in New England - last year I had only just arrived in the USA, was busy purchasing household essentials (you know, 40" LCD TV, DVD player etc) and waiting for the slow boat containing most of our furniture.
This year I am trying to make up for it and see a lot of colour in a lot of places. I am trying to get some images too.
I started with a trip to central Vermont during the first week of October where the colour was pretty patchy with most colour on the higher ground in the center of the state. I was clearly too early but decided to try a few locations as I was there.
A quick check of the iconic Jenne Farm as I drove past Woodstock showed that the maples didn't have enough colour to make a dawn shoot worthwhile so pressed on to Rutland, having randomly picked Chittenden Reservoir on the map as an alternate spot for the following sunrise.
Up at 05:00 and drove off into the dark, trusting my TomTom to get me to the right spot...let me start by apologising to the residents of Chittenden...I had no intention of driving repeatedly up and down the main street, turning into short dirt roads that turned out to be private driveways nor driving the mile up a single track road to find it was a dead-end with no turn around...all between the hours of 05:30 and 06:00 in the morning.
Thanks TomTom, that was a really special morning treat for everyone concerned.
Resorting to traditional navigation with a Delorme mapbook, I finally arrived at Chittenden Reservoir with enough time to set-up to catch the first light of the day at Lefferts Pond. As I was waiting for the sun to light a group of trees, I was stunned to see a Beaver swim right up to me. It was like it wanted to see what I was taking pictures of!
I then took advantage of the sun and vibrant colour around the shores of the main reservoir where a Common Loon (Great-northern Diver) took an interest in what I was doing on the shore coming close enough for a few environmental shots with a bare 70-200.
When I returned to Lefferts pond - the Beaver had been replaced by three Otters, one of which climbed up onto a log and proceeded to eat some kind of large shell thing. An amazing end to a glorious morning - it doesn't get much better.
I spent the rest of the day searching for more colour and rural scenes further North but the clear skies prevented any further photography and I ended up back near Rutland. I found a nice small pond surrounded with colour, so whilst I waited for the wind to drop and the sun to lower, I headed up a small, tumbling stream surrounded by green moss and ferns...
Whilst standing on a rock in the middle of this stream looking for an interesting composition, I slipped and fell backwards...luckily I didn't get wet because I landed on some nice, hard rocks...and my camera didn't crash into the same rocks because I grabbed the tripod with my left hand. Of course, this twisted my little and wedding finger to an unnatural angle and I am only now, 10 days later, getting enough strength in them to type.
That little fall ended my chances for more photography and I decided to cut my trip short...but I still enjoyed it and it is experiences like the Beaver, Otters and Loon that keep me exploring and finding new places - its all about just being there.
(and finally, thanks to Max for the title to this post)