Sunday, April 24, 2011

Florida - the Last Day

I started the last day photographing in Florida by taking pictures of the sunrise over Tampa Bay. Beside just the sunrise, I obtained a picture of a great blue heron silhouette in the early morning light.

We then went back to north beach at Fort de Soto and obtain more pictures of the reddish egret fishing. Black-bellied plovers were roaming the shoreline and double crested Comerants were fishing. We met another photographer Rosemary Harris who now lives in Florida but is from Canada who recommended that we go back down the beach to obtain photographs of the long-billed Curlew and that we ought to make a trip to the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve since there is a Groove-billed Ani there who loves to be photographed.
black-bellied plover

black-bellied plover in transitional plumage

reddish egret feeding dance

"skipping through the water"

double crested Comerants eating a fish

We did locate the long-billed Curlew and I just sat in the wet sand and let the bird come to me rather than trying to chase the bird down the beach. Most of the time sitting on the beach and remaining relatively still, the shorebirds and other birds will walk right past you allowing you to obtain the photographs that you want. Besides the Curlew pictures, I obtained pictures of laughing gulls courtship and mating rituals.
Long-billed Curlew within itch

Long-billed Curlew eating a crab

laughing gulls courtship

laughing gulls mating

We then traveled to the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, which is situated within the city of St. Petersburg and is a city park. The preserve is in unsung sanctuary of 245 acres with 3 miles of trails and boardwalks. It contains hardwood hammocks, sand pine scrub, pine flat-woods, willow marsh and a shoreline on Lake Maggiore. There is an entrance fee of $3. At the education center, the people they knew by looking at us and our cameras that we wanted to find the groove-billed ani and very kindly gave us a map with directions on where to find it. Walking down to where the ani was, did come across the raccoon looking for food in the stream and lent itself to a picture.
raccoon in the stream


We did meet a birder who traveled with us looking for the ani. By utilizing a call, the ani came right out and looked at us saying okay kick up some food for me. It has learned that people walking on the scrub get insects to move and therefore making it easier to obtain a meal. While we were photographing the ani we were joined by two more birders, who were there also to get a look at the ani. One of the new birders was from Cape Cod and I believe we had previously met onto Brookline bird club pelagic trip. A crow, also learned that food would be kicked up and came down to join the ani in eating.
groove-billed ani
American Crow
the group looking at the ani-picture taken by Ken Blye
water hyacinth there are many other other objects to look at at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

old stone bridge

I would recommend the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve as a place to visit when you are in the St. Petersburg area. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 7 PM, Saturday 7 AM to 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM. It is closed on Monday.