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Since our Caribbean cruise started with a flight from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, this provided us with excuse to do some birding in Florida. We stayed 3 days in Orlando, 1 day with a friend in Cape Canaveral, and 3 days in Sarasota. The latter allowed me to re-connect with John Finch a high-school classmate I had not seen since high school. We had been fellow birders way back then and had both chosen careers in medicine.
The highlight of our Orlando trip was a visit to the aviaries of Discovery Cove. The resulting photos of many exotic African and South American birds justified a sub web site of it's own - see
Another surprise was the number of birds at Gatorland. At the far side of the facility was a long pond loaded with different species of egrets and herons plus Anhinga, Wood Storks, Black Vultures and others.
Also on the itinerary were the shore birds of Meritt Island and Solona Beach, the Florida Scrub Jay of Oscar Scherer State Park and finally the exquisite wildlife of the 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Preserve where it was possible to get White Ibis, American White Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Great and Purple Egrets all in one photograph.
Two years previously we had the opportunity to visit and photograph in the Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys. The Everglades is a great place for photographing unique looking birds. It is as though every bird with an outlandish bill applied for residency status there. We visited in September, not the best time for birding. No flamingos, no spoonbills. There were however, a plethora of adult and juvenile White ibis Eudocimus albus and Wood storks Mycteria americana. Both spend their time plunging their bills into the ground searching for food (see Movies – White ibis). We returned to Florida a third time for my 60th high school reunion.
We stayed on Longboat Keys and this provided even more excellent photos.
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