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Florida bird and animal identification books

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Old Tuesday 2nd November 2010, 03:31   #26
cledry
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For a small guide with clear images and just enough images I like "Birds Of Florida" by Stan Tekiela.

Larger and with illustrations rather than photographs, "Florida's Birds" by Herbert W. Kale II and David S. Maehr comes in handy.
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Old Thursday 4th November 2010, 09:41   #27
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Tony- an alternative to guide books is an app for your iPad/iPod. Audubon has one for birds of FL that includes bird voices. I found this to be a much lighter method of birding as you don't need Internet access to use it.
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Old Monday 8th November 2010, 12:48   #28
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I've always wanted the Smithsonian one:

http://www.amazon.com/Smithsonian-Ha...pr_product_top

..it has every bird ever reported in Florida (up to its printing of course).

But, being poor, I've made do just peachy with Sibley's eastern birds.
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Old Thursday 13th January 2011, 18:27   #29
Tony Knight
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Thanks for all the advice - flying on saturday so fingers crossed for lots to see and photo at;

sunday - wakod..../green cay
tuesday - Merrit island - any manatees this time of year ??
wednesday - quick early morning trip to joe overstreet rd??
thursday - corkscrew swamp
friday/saturday - Ding Darling & Marco(?) bay
sunday - big cypress/tamiami
monday - miami inc Brian Piccolo
Tuesday - everglades
wed - key largo
thur/fri - key west.

Can't wait !! Any last tips ??

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Old Thursday 13th January 2011, 19:17   #30
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Sounds like a good itinerary you've got - covering all of the bases. Another minor cool front dropped through last night, and those always help encourage more birds from up north to head down here - we've been seeing more and more at Green Cay/Wakodahatchee the past weeks.

If you're going to be at Green Cay and Wakodahatchee this Sunday, keep an eye out for a big guy with a goatee and a Sony DSLR with a big lens - I'll almost certainly be at both parks that day - I usually don't get there until noonish and stay to at or near sunset - often I start at Green Cay, then migrate to Wakodahatchee for the close.

Monday's a U.S. holiday, so I'll likely be at the two parks both Saturday and Sunday (sometimes I only go Saturday, so I have Sunday to do errands and tasks around home before work again on Monday).

As for manatees - it'll be hit or miss. There definitely here this time of year, but whether you see them can be just luck, or based on how cold it is. If you go to some of the warm water spots during the colder days, you can almost always find the manatees there - such as nuclear and power plant runoff water which is warm.

On Wednesday, if you only have the morning and Overstreet ends up being quiet, you might also try a swing over to Lake Toho, to see if they've got anything. When you're in Marco Island, a boat tour is usually best - they'll run out into the islands where you have a very good shot of interaction with dolphin, some manatee, and some bird spotting too.
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Old Friday 14th January 2011, 08:27   #31
Tony Knight
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Thanks Justin - we'll keep our eyes peeled. Prepared to be interrupted by a tall guy with a canon zoom (but pentax strap!) and wife who wants him to "hurry up" so we don't arrive at Orlando too late !!

Re the manatees - can you recommend any good places where there is nuclear/power plant water run off that would fit in with our itinerary (ie between orlando/tampa/miami and key west??).

thanks
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Old Friday 14th January 2011, 15:36   #32
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Florida Power & Light has a power plant in Riviera Beach (just north of Palm Beach) which has them all the time - just a few days ago when it got cold, I saw a few dozen of them crammed into the warm outflow. The one downside is that they've closed the nearby viewing area on property due to security concerns, so the only reasonable way to get a view of them is by boat. Don't know if you've got time to rent a boat or find a little tour.

Otherwise, the Ft. Pierce Manatee Center on Indian River Drive would be one of the best place to find them in your direction of travel headed north, and if in the Tampa area, Tampa Electric has a plant at Apollo Beach which has a viewing spot near their runoff. if willing to detour a bit, the Blue Spring State Park, half-way between Daytona and Orlando would be about a 60 minute detour from Orlando to the north is a pretty reliable wintering ground with good viewing areas, and the Homasassa Springs/Crystal River area about 70 miles north of Tampa is probably the most famous/popular spot in the world for manatee viewing, including one of the few spots in the world where you can swim with them.

In the keys, I find the best chances for Manatees being in the northern keys, around Largo to Islamorada. But it's hit or miss down there.

I'll keep an eye out for you at the parks Sunday. Happy travels.
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Old Friday 14th January 2011, 17:08   #33
Tony Knight
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thanks Justin.
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Old Monday 17th January 2011, 02:23   #34
Tony Knight
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Hi Justin

Well we made it to wakod (11.00 to 12.30)...and green cay (1.15 to 3.15) today - must have missed you at Green cay. What fantastic sites ! We were amazed at the number and variety at both sites - thanks again for highlighting how good these sites were otherwise we'd never have stopped off! Even got close up views of American bittern, screetch owl and painted buntings so a great day all round. Over in orlando now so will try to get down to joe overstreet(?) in the next 3 days then its off to corkscrew swamp.

cheers
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Old Monday 17th January 2011, 05:19   #35
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Glad to hear the spotting was good! I was at both parks, but we likely criss-crossed paths - I was at Green Cay from around noon to 2, then Wako from 2-4. You spotted more than I did - didn't catch the owl this time (did you spot the one at Green Cay, in the back tree stand?)...I've seen him before, but not today. The bitterns have been making a good show down here, and the buntings have been reliable too. I was happy to see the Wilson's Snipe back at Wako today.

Happy spotting up at Orlando - I'll look forward to more updates on your thread.
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Old Monday 17th January 2011, 23:00   #36
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I'm sure i saw less than you, its just that everything that moved was new to me...and so close ! The sheer numbers, variety and closeness was pretty mind-blowing - you just don't get a site like that back in the uk. Also saw the roseate spoonbill at Wako. The owl i saw was pointed out by someone else and was in the nest box a little further along from the seed feeder with the painted buntings. Just sitting there asleep with head sticking out of the nest box. The rains today have lost us a day here at Orlando so looks like I'll miss have to out on Joe Overstreet and hope to see the Caracara at Viera wetlands on wednesday after blackwater(?) drive and scrub jays on Merritt and a visit to the space centre.

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Old Tuesday 18th January 2011, 02:21   #37
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Tony,

Crested Caracara is very reliable at Viera Wetlands. You should be able to get them there with no problem. You probably mean Black Point Drive on Merritt Island -- I hear it is a bit dry now with low waterfowl numbers but probably good numbers of waders and some shorebirds.

Carlos
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Old Tuesday 18th January 2011, 21:46   #38
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thanks Carlos - any particular spot at Viera? I gather its quite a large site with a few different routes you can drive?

Also i read that its possible to see bobcat and river otter at Blackpoint drive - are these frequently seen ?

thanks
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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 00:58   #39
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Viera is large, but not too hard to figure out for driving as it's essentially a large square with a few inside routes...and it's pretty open so you can see your way around pretty well. The hotspots will vary, so just drive around slowly until you see something.

I'm not too familiar with Blackpoint drive myself, but in general, otters are fairly easy to spot throughout South Florida in almost any canals, and bobcats are generally rare spottings and more a matter of luck.
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Old Saturday 22nd January 2011, 00:00   #40
Tony Knight
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The roads were roped off at Viera and only had 30 minutes as had to drive over to Tampa for dinner that evening - however 2 caracara flew in and perched in the fir tree to the left as you enter, minutes before i left. Great views of florida scrub jay, roseate spoonbill and reddish egret at Merritt island....never thought i'd see a day when i was getting bored of seeing osprey !!

Since then;

Saw 100s of manatees at the Apollo beach site - thanks Justin.

Corkscrew swamp was really interesting but saw little - no painted bunting, no pileated peckers (despite someone saying they'd seen 3 in the same tree!), no yellow night herons, no brown backed nuthatches but a really interesting site. Did see a red shouldered hawk perched in a tree 10 feet away which just sat there for 30 secs while I took photos.

Marco island today between the rain - great views of 2 burrowing owls just off kendall drive. Lovely pelican shots and waders.

Ding Darling tomorrow....
Big Cypress/Tamiami drive sunday
Then Miami on monday - maybe Fairchild tropical gdns for humming bird....

cheers
Tony

Last edited by Tony Knight : Saturday 22nd January 2011 at 00:10.
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Old Monday 31st January 2011, 14:22   #41
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Tony,

Sounds like your trip was a great success! Sorry, I did not manage to answer your question in time. Viera Wetlands is large but you can see across it fairly easily. Also, as you noticed, the Crested Caracaras are usually right near the entrance!

Carlos
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Old Monday 31st January 2011, 19:25   #42
Tony Knight
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Hi Carlos

yes certainly was!
i plan to upload some photos and do a brief summary of what i saw/photoed but might be few weeks to sort out. Funnily enough the last week produced only a few new birds with the strong winds reducing the number of birds on show at the keys and everglades. However did see frigatebirds and superb close up views of osprey and manatees in the keys....plus the amazingly accomodating burrowing owls at Marco island (just off kendall road, a small right turn just before going over a bridge). Biggest disappointments - not seeing a pileated woodpecker despite visiting so many sites where they are "common", missing mangrove cuckoo and missing a photo of the male painted bunting at green cay.

thanks to everyone for their help.
Tony

Last edited by Tony Knight : Monday 31st January 2011 at 19:30.
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Old Monday 31st January 2011, 20:09   #43
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Birdings a funny old game. I've been to Florida twice over the last decade. Seen plenty of Pileated Woodpeckers in many different areas. However, I dipped Burrowing Owl at every single place I tried! (and I tried all the reliable sites).

I'll look forward to the report.
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Old Monday 31st January 2011, 20:44   #44
Tony Knight
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Guess thats what makes it such a fascinating hobby. The owls were standing guard at their burrow entrances within 30 feet of eachother and showing down to about 6 feet at midday - dipped on the 2 noted sites on kendall rd but saw these 20 seconds away on what is probably Clifton ct.

At corkscrew swamp i even had someone walk up to me saying he'd just seen 3 pileated peckers "in the big tree in the field round the corner" - were they there when i got there ? No chance!

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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 07:53   #45
Tony Knight
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I dont suppose i could enlist a little help with identifying a few birds from wako ?

see attached, heavily cropped in some cases;

are 1&2 both boat tailed grackles - both dark and light irises?
is 3 a gray cowbird?
are 4-7 all palm warblers?
any idea for 8 & 9 ??

[can only upload 5 at a time so will split photos over 2 posts]

thanks
Tony
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 07:55   #46
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rest of photos for above post....
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 07:57   #47
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...and a couple i do know !!
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 12:07   #48
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Nice shots! I think you're right on all of them. Lucky you - I still haven't had a catbird. And the bittern shots are a coup!

8 I believe is a female red winged Blackbird.
9 I don't know, will be interested to see what others think.
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 15:24   #49
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#4 looks to be a yellow-rumped warbler...all the others look like palms.

I agree on #8 being a female red-winged blackbird.

#9 I can't say. It really seems to have the look of a grackle, but the colors are all wrong.

I believe you are correct on your grackle IDs and the cowbird.

Congrats on the bitterns - even for those of us who frequent these two places, the bitterns can be a harder find.
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Old Tuesday 1st February 2011, 17:47   #50
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incredibly lucky with the bittern - someone else was on it and pointed it out where it was well hidden, at which point it immediately strode out into the open though never giving a perfect side-on view.

Could #9 be, what's the word, a part melanistic/albino grackle ? Though interestingly it was in the reeds by the boardwalk well away from the bushes where the grackles were hanging out....

glad to hear one of the warblers might be something other than a palm ! Got the feeling the c30 warblers I photoed over the whole of Florida will turn out to be c30 Palms ! Though did see a common yellowthroat and yellow throated warbler at the Miami Hilton !

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