Florida

More than 35 years ago I made my first birding trip - to Florida.  I was living in Oregon and Florida was about as far away from Florida as I could get in the United States.  I had started to list birds (something I gave up a decade and a half ago) and Florida was a good place to run up the tally.  I have travelled through much of the state and have found only the southeastern metro area to be truly noxious.  Many fine birds and many good memories.

The video portfolio,  The Birds of the United States and Canada, contains bird species recorded in Florida.

A general topic photo gallery of photos I have taken in Florida is part of the Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi photo gallery on this site. 

The following video covers the bird species seen on a trip through the southeastern United States.  It contains video of the following bird species: Great Blue Heron, Snowy Plover, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, White-throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Cowbird, Pectoral Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Wild Turkey, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Forester’s Tern, Snowy Egret, Loggerhead Shrike, Semi-palmated Plover, Eastern Kingbird, White-faced Ibis, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Laughing Gull, Pied-billed Grebe, Great-tailed Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-winged Blackbird, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Ruddy Turnstone, Brown Thrasher, Sora, Green Heron, Cave Swallow, Great Horned Owl, and Lesser Prairie-Chicken.


On my first birding trip to Florida I saw my first Anhinga.  It is so long ago that the details are lost in time, it is early spring, it is the Everglades. The event is my first Anhinga.

I have ventured east to see some of those eastern North America species that we lack in the West. Where better to see a lot of new eastern species than the Everglades.  Wood Storks at Corkscrew, an Ovenbird on the trail a few moments ago, and now an Anhinga.

I have not been birding for that long -- in fact, I believe that I am birdwatching -- the term “birding” is unknown to me. I am just starting to list and a trip to Southern Florida promised a big count.

“That’s why they call it a snake-bird - it really is different from a Cormorant.” Fascination at one of those basic colored but oddly shaped birds. I stood by a small pond and watched one swim, and one dry its wings, for a long time. Long enough to soak up the impression (even if the details would fade over time).

This is why I have always enjoyed “independent birding”, I like to soak the bird up. It is one of the reasons I stopped counting species somewhere beyond 2,000. The list became less and less important and the impression more and more important.

The start of this process started here, by a small pond in the Everglades with an Anhinga. I would continue listing for years but gradually my love of photography, and later video, became a conduit to channel my desire to capture the impression and the detail.

Later I would head deeper into the Everglades to fight mosquitoes and add a few species to my list but I had begun to morph - I just didn’t know it.

The excitement of a new species or a different plumage of a species will never go away. I just want to hold onto it forever.

During a visit to the Everglades during May I was swarmed by mosquitoes.  I one point I had killed all of the mosquitoes in the tent, they are all over the netting -- outside. My thinking at the time?  Motivate, got to go film, I don’t want to go out there.  Later, driving along looking for the photo op -- windows are up because of the hoards and the air conditioner is off because I am going slow and the engine is overheating, it is hot, sweat is running down my forehead. This is not a place I enjoy.  Or, I might except for the mosquitoes.



© Robert Barnes 2015-2019