Saturday, March 28, 2009

Florida - Day 1 - 27 Mar 2009

Robin and I flew into Orlando International Airport this Friday morning to bring her mom back home after 3 mo. in Lakeland. I was hoping to get a little birding in before we drove to Lakeland, so I did a bit of studying beforehand (Bill Pranty's "A Birder's Guide to Florida"). I found a location in nearby St. Cloud that was supposed to be reliable for Snail Kites, so we planned to stop there on the way to Lakeland.

Unfortunately Avis Rental Car had computer problems, so we were delayed almost 1.5 hrs before we could get a car. We ended up w/ a Mitsubishi Eclipse, a cute little 2-seater that is NOT a birder's car. Luckily, this Red-shouldered Hawk perched atop the power line long enough for me to contort myself enough to remove the camera from the back seat.

We drove to Kaliga Park along Lakeshore Blvd. at the base of Lake Tohopekaliga. A scan of the lake failed to produce any Snail Kites, the marsh reeds lining the shoreline make for perfect habitat for the Apple Snails that the Kites prefer. Though we failed to find any kites, I did get pics of Fish Crow, White-faced Ibis, Common Moorhen, Northern Mockingbird, and a cooperative Loggerhead Shrike. I didn't attempt to do any digiscoping since the winds were blowing so strongly, so the D300 and Sigma 400/5.6 worked well on a monopod.

As I walked back to the car a Little Blue Heron bulleted past me, and provided a couple nice fly-by shots.

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