We spent several days in Florida last week taking bird photos at several locations, enjoying the beaches and nature areas and attending a wedding for our nephew. We visited the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, the Venice Area Audubon Rookery, the 'Celery Fields' wildlife area near Sarasota; saw Burrowing Owls at Cape Coral, and visited several other state and county parks and Gulf beaches. (The weather was cold the entire time that we were there.)
Click here to see lots of Florida bird photos
- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
- About Me
Burrowing Owls - Cape Coral, Florida. Burrowing Owls have nesting burrows in yards and fields all over the city. As we drove around the residential areas of the city we saw many areas in yards, empty lots and city parks where the owl nesting areas were marked with stakes and short crosses for perches near the burrows. However the streets were narrow and there was no on-street parking anywhere we went, so no place to stop and take photos. We started at the public library where there was a parking lot and there were a number of owl burrows marked with white stakes by the library to identify their nesting area and to let people know to stay away. Apparently the owls do not come out much during the day, but may be seen late afternoon and evening or early morning before the sun gets hot. The second photo was in a city park where there was a small parking area and a sidewalk right next to the nesting area. The photos were taken at dusk as they poked their heads out of their burrow, with a telephoto lens to maintain distance from the owls. [Click images to see larger]
Some years the North Shore of Lake Superior is frozen over or has huge ice flows by now, but despite several days of below zero weather the lake was still open when I was there last weekend. I like how the water washing up on the shore freezes on the rocks, creating an icy shore-line environment. Watch your step.
[Click the images to see larger.]
I've been to the Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota (northwest of Duluth) five times to photograph Great Gray Owls and other birds and wildlife. I have hoped every time to photography a Northern Hawk Owl, but have struck out the first four trips, until this past weekend. I've been following the Sax Zim Bog group on Facebook and seen numerous postings of Northern Hawk Owls every week since November. I finally got up there and found a couple near the road. It was -7 F degrees the first day I was there and -12 F the second day, yet, there were dozens of photographers and bird watchers with the same idea as me. I didn't really locate the birds myself. I found a dozen or more cars stopped on one of the roads with lots of big lenses pointed up in the trees. There are no pull-outs on the gravel county roads where these birds tend to hunt for food, so birders and photographers must stop on the road to take photos. The owl will sit on a branch or the top of a tree to get a good view to watch and listen for voles (their main food) under the snow, then launch off of the branch driving their talons in the the snow with amazing precision to grab a vole that was under the snow. But, how long do we have to wait in the sub-zero temperature to see them hunt? It could be minutes or hours, or the bird could just decide to instead fly off in to the woods and take a nap deep in the trees. I was lucky this time to see the owl catch three wild voles and quickly eat them. I did not photography any Great Great Owls on this trip (darn) but I did get a few other birds and mammals - see below.
[Click images to see larger]
Other birds and animals at the bog.
There are several places where there are bird feeders that attract many birds and other wildlife. Below is a female Pine Grosbeak (a first for me), a Common Redpoll (I didn't see any Hoary Redpolls), a Gray Jay, and a chatty Red Squirrel (marauders of the bird feeders). These are just a few of the many Winter residents of the Sax-Zim Bog, plus one more below these photos.
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.