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Tuesday, 21 September 2010 22:28

Florida X - Egrets and Herons

 

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Florida is a country of sun, oranges and Egrets and Herons. These birds are everywhere. If you check your birding guidebooks, you may find out that Florida regularly hosts 12 out of 13 Egrets and Herons that can be found in USA. How many can you see during short visit of Florida? Count with me:

 

1. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

For met he most beautiful Egret of Florida – rather small, pure white Egrets that use their shiny yellow legs plunged to the water to lure the prey. Wind blows their feathering often in a way that they look like punks…

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2. Great White Egret (Egretta alba)

The larger cousin of Snowy Egret is the Great White Egret, the elegant long-legged lady with a flapper of fine feathers falling down from its back as a silk scarf. This particular beauty at Fort Desoto Island passed some 2 meters from me and investigated my photo-bag for a while…

Great White Egret (Egretta alba)

 

3. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Cattle Egrets were everywhere but not in the places you would expect them to be – as wading birds one would expect to find them close to the waters. I remember Cattle Egrets wandering in front of the entrance of Cape Coral Library and one bird blundering around at one very busy road in Fort Myers. The wetlands seem to be rather overnight spots for these Egrets – this picture was taken at one of such places in Wakodahatchee shortly before sunset.

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4. Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

This Little Blue Heron was the very first bird I have made a picture of in Florida. Right after arrival to Miami I hit for the famous wetland called Green Cay and shot there as crazy – from the elevated boardwalk everything had quite bad perspective but I was so amazed to see the Heron from so close that I just could not help myself and made lots of pictures.

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5. Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Already one hour later I was at the other famous spot nearby Green cay – Wakodahatchee – see the separate article Florida 2010 – III – Wakodahatchee, all in one. Here I have seen Green Heron for the first time – the bird that resembles Bittern due to its body shape and movements.

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6. Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Tricolored Heron is one of the most colorful Herons of Florida. It has quite inconspicuous behaviour and one can easily mistake it for the Little Blue Heron. As majority of Egrets and Herons, this bird can most often be found in wetlands foraging in the shallow waters.

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7. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron is the largest North-American Heron and it resembles the European Grey Heron. In spite of its size this Heron is very elegant and builds its nests at the bush tops so it is favourite subject for many wildlife photographers.

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8. Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)

Reddish Egret is one of the most beautiful Egrets of Florida and watching it during foraging is quite a spectacle. It has got its name from the reddish colour on the head and neck, which looks like combed with very coarse brush.

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9. American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

I has always been my dream to watch or photograph Bittern – although in this case I have observed American Bittern, I was very pleased to make few decent shots. I have got this picture the second day of my Florida trip - from Miami I speeded north towards Meritt Island with its famous Cape Canaveral. The vary late evening drive on the famous Blackpoint Wildlife Drive road produces little photographic opportunities but the highlight was this Bittern appearing for a while on a bank of one pond shortly before disappearing in the swamp again…

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10. Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)

Least Bittern was the cutest Heron of Florida for me – with its nearly 30 cm of size it is hard to spot in the reeds and I had to wait till the very last day of my Florida trip to really enjoy the view of it. The first encounter with Least Bittern at the famous Anhinga Trail in Everglades went in vain after a group of Spanish speaking people came to me while I was staring down to the reeds and while doing mess and saying “look at that strange bird down there” the bird quickly disappeared – I was angered! Fortunately the second chance came in Wakodahatchee some 2 weeks later – this particular bird was catching the afternoon sunbeams for ca. half an hour so I had enough time to take few nice shots…

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11. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Although the name is little different in USA, it is actually the same species as the Night Heron we know in Europe. I have seen many pictures of this bird at internet but watching it in Florida was quite a task! The only encounter with the adult bird was at J.N. Ding Darling but the Heron retreated into the mangroves before I could even take my camera out of the bag. So it was again Wakodahatchee wetlands, which showed to be the really god place for all kinds of birds – this young Night Heron perched in the bushes right at the entrance to this park.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

12. Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

In contrary to Black-crowned Night Heron I have seen the Yellow-crowned Night Heron only in J.N. Ding Darling reserve at Sanibel Island. This bird stayed at the same perch for about 3 hours so it was more than enough time to crawl down from the road bank and make some pictures.

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So if you counted with me, I w have seen all the 12 species found in Florida during three weeks. Besides the Herons and Egrets there are some other Wading birds that can easily be found in Florida, these are:

 

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

 

So, do you already plan trip to Florida? It really is worth doing!


List of relevant articles about Florida

Florida 2010 – I – Anhinga, the snakebird

Florida 2010 – II – Pelican the bomber

Florida 2010 – III – Wakodahatchee, all in one

Florida 2010 – IV – Osprey, Florida`s fisher

Florida 2010 – V – Waders – not a simple task!

Florida 2010 – VI – Florida`s woodpeckers

Florida 2010 – VII – J.N.D. Darling and chilly tropics

Florida 2010 – VIII – Little Estero Lagoon

Vultures of southern USA

Florida 2010 – IX – Sebastian Inlet State Park

Human – a friend or enemy?

Florida XI – close-up

Florida XII – Fort Desoto

Florida XIII – some more birds

Birds of Florida - Portfolio (article)

Portfolio - birds of Florida (photos)

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:00
 
Comments (39)
  • Pavel Zamrazil

    pěkně pojatý článek a fotky jako vždy super. Florida by mě velice lákala, ale je to dost z ruky :-( . Ať se daří. Pavel

  • Jirka

    Ahoj Pavle, je to dost z ruky ale je to zazitek! Podle me by kazdy wildlife fotograf alespon jedno v zivote mel navstivit nejake prirodni Eldorado - Florida je jednim znich, popr bych uvazoval o nejakem work****u napr v Kostarice (Ondra Prosicky).
    BTW. diky za link na Tve stranky - zajimave, pekne to rozjed, tesim se na dalsi fotky!

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