The Birds are Back in Florida!
A snippet of life taken with a click of a shutter anywhere in the world can look like it’s from, well, anywhere in the world. I will often accompany “my Artie” on one of his birding adventures – but only if it’s within a reasonable distance.
Which brings me to my not-so-secret discovery of the many day trips available to photograph wildlife!
Anyone who is a birder or like me “birder adjacent”, will agree how exciting this time of year is, here in Southwest Florida. There are so many species that are found in this area which consistently bring people from all over the world to our little slice of heaven. Other states may have the changing of the leaves as a sure sign of fall, but we have the bird migration! Some of the birds have such brilliant feathers, they almost make up for the lack of the changing of the seasons!
Take for instance the Painted Bunting. I can only describe this brilliant looking bird as if Mother Nature threw a box of crayons at it and all the colors stuck. I have photographed these breathtaking beauties many times and yet the photos don’t seem to do them justice.
It is also mating season, which for me means an opportunity to witness the incredible actions of the Bald Eagles. Watching them building their nest means they are getting ready to expand their family. It is always a thrill to see these majestic birds in their natural habitat! With a little luck and a lot of patience, it is a photographer’s paradise!
There are countless parks from Venice to St. Petersburg where you can spend a few hours hiking. These are one tank trips from Bradenton or Sarasota. A small investment in a yearly pass will gain you unlimited access to our beautiful parks. Most offer camp sites and have Sheri approved restroom facilities. These are important factors in my world!
One place that is sure to satisfy any birder or nature photographer is Lake Morton in Lakeland. Located in the middle of town, this beautiful lake is home to countless species including the gorgeous Black Swans, Geese and the most beautiful bird, the Wood Duck. You’d think they were fake! It is a popular destination for families who enjoy getting up close and personal with the local fowl! They even have vending machines where you can purchase bird seed to feed the ducks! A word of caution – be prepared – for there are no nearby public facilities. (Not a Sheri approved destination but there are plenty of restaurants in town.)
Another great one tank destination is Highlands Hammock State Park which has camp sites, plenty of trails to explore, including a beautiful wooden walking trail with wildlife galore (including mama and baby gators) and Sheri approved facilities.
So, grab the kids, pack up the car and take a break from social media and visit some of our beautiful parks which offer lush landscapes and creatures all waiting to be discovered! One more place to find amazing wildlife and birds…your own neighborhood! Don’t forget to look around and look up while driving to these destinations!
Additional information is available on the web. Just google Southwest Florida State Parks.
Here’s a partial list of some of my favorite spots:
Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring
Manatee River State Park
Felts Audubon Preserve
Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park
Tom Bennet Park
The Celery Fields
Myakka River State Park
The Venice Rookery
The Venice Rookery
Ft. Desoto State Park
Sawgrass Lakes Park
Sheri & Art Nadelman Photos