Southwest Florida bird photography (page 13)
Flamingo at the south end of the Everglades National Park

This is located at the most southern point in Florida, and the most southern point in the continental United States.  This area was severely hit by a hurricane Wilma in 2005.  As a result and due to inattention by our park service, much of the facilities here continue to be in a state of disrepair.  Frankly it amazes me and embarrassing as well to visit a national park like this in our country and find boarded up buildings and a temporary visitor center in a somewhat decrepit state, while at the same time this country finds the money to spend hundreds of billions dollars on wars that will go nowhere, killing thousands of people, only to feed some war mongering egos and the corporate welfare of our military-industrial complex. 

Okay, now that I have got that rant of my chest, concerning the birding here, there some nice vistas overlooking the ocean with a number of birds out in the distance.  Although I didn't stay for the sunset here, I imagine it could be pretty good from a landscape photography perspective.  As far as close-ups are concerned, your best luck will be out at Eco Pond just a bit down the road from the visitors center location. But Eco Pond was also severely impacted by the 2005 hurricane, taking out much of vegetation which is just getting a new foothold again.  According to some other birders and the local ranger, many roost on a chunk of land in the middle of this pond for the night, departing in the morning about 1-2 hours after sunrise, by around 9 AM.  While there, we also noticed a couple Osprey nests that were within reasonable photography range with a 500 and 1.4x tele-converter on a cropped sensor body.  The reports I got on photographing flamingos are that when you can seem them, they tend to be further out on the open water, and thus difficult to get quality close-ups.

Florida Birding Trip Summary

In summary, the trip to Southwest Florida was fruitful for bird photography.  Having come from Northern California, there were many new species to add to my life list and bird photo collection.  There were also a number of opportunities to get some quality compositions and good close-ups.  Having visited at the end of January was also beneficial from the weather and mosquito standpoint.  The mosquitoes that I have heard so much about were not a problem, as I didn't ever need to break out repellant at any time on the trip.  The weather was very mild, only starting to get a tad on the humid side in the Everglades, but never exceeding the high 70's fahernheit temperature-wise.  I could see taking future trips to this area to further improve on my photographic results and in attempt to capture some other interesting species such as a snail and swallow tailed kites, flamingos, skimmers, and skuas found further to the south in the Key West area.  If you have not photographed in Southwest Florida before, then it is well worth a visit.

Rock creek pass
Highest spot in the Everglades
Everglade morning
Everglade morning
White cypress
White cypress

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