Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review of Photographing and Identifying Birds in Florida Wilderness Reserve

egrets and ibis photo by mbgphoto

I enjoy watching and photographing birds and most of the year I do that in my own backyard in Missouri.  During  March we travel to Florida and this year we stayed in Palm Beach Gardens where there was a nature reserve just steps away from our condo.  Every day I would walk back to the reserve and was rewarded with some wonderful sights.  There were a wide variety of birds and ducks and I saw several turtles and an alligator. 

Identifying Birds

I like to know the kinds of birds I am photographing so I spend a bit of time online finding the names and species of the different birds.  I find the website for Florida Audubon at  to be very helpful in identifying the birds I photograph.  Here are the varieties I have photographed in the nature reserve.
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Red-winged blackbirds
  • Doves
  • White Ibis
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Anhinga
  • Blue Heron
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Tri-colored Heron
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Roseta Spoonbill
  • Whistling Duck
  • Wood Duck
  • Cormorant
  • Wood Stork


Ducks in the Wilderness Reserve

The first day I walked into the reserve I noticed some interesting looking ducks.  They stood tall and had rather long necks for a duck.  I found out that these were called Whistling Ducks.

Whistling Ducks Flameless Candle

During the next weeks, I observed these ducks each time I visited the reserve.  Sometimes they would sit very still, but one day I heard them making a loud racket and then a pair of them would fly up off the ground.  This scenario would be repeated by several different pairs of ducks.  I'm not sure what they were doing but it was sure interesting to watch.

ducks in florida wilderness photo by mbgphoto
I also saw some Wood Ducks at the reserve.  They are such colorful ducks.
wood duck photo by mbgphoto


Roseate Spoonbill

One bird that I had never seen before was the Roseate Spoonbill.  This bird is easily identified by it's rosy color and flat spoon-like bill.  It stood still often so it was easy for me to photograph.

Roseate Spoonbill photo by mbgphoto

Roseate Spoonbill perched on a tree branch photo by mbgphoto


Wood Stork

One day I noticed these rather large white birds in the distance.  When they flew the underside of their wings were lined in black.  They were quite impressive in flight, but when they settled down they looked quite unusual.  I took a photo and went back to my computer to identify them.  I easily found a photo and determined them to be a Wood Stork, they are the only stork that breeds in the USA.

Wood Stork photo by mbgphoto
Wood Stork photo by mbgphoto


anhinga photo by mbgphoto

The Anhinga is a large water bird found in the warmer waters of the southern Americas.  It is sometimes called by several other names: snakebird, darter and water turkey.  

I found these birds to be very interesting.  They are able to stay underwater for quite some time and I observed them diving for their prey and then resurfacing quite a ways down the stream.  At that time only their head and neck would appear above the water before they took another dive into the water.  After a while I would see them on the bank drying out their feathers as in the photo above.

I believe the bird in the photo above to be a male anhinga and the one in the photo below to be a female.  Males have a black neck and white at the tip of the tail and the female has a beige colored neck and breast.

anhinga photo by mbgphoto

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane photo by mbgphoto
I saw several sandhill cranes during my visits to the reserve and I even saw one walking down the center of the roadway near our condo.  They are tall birds and quite tame.  They were easy to take photos of since they did not frighten easily.
Sandhill Crane photo by mbgphoto

Close-up photo of the head of a Sandhill Crane photo by mbgphoto

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  1. As always, your photographs are delightful and tell an interesting story. I lived in southern Florida for awhile, but never learned about the birds native to the area, so it was fun to have them identified for me by you with your wonderful photos, Mary Beth. I especially like those whistling ducks.

  2. I always enjoy looking at your photos and reading about the subject. Since we don't have any of these birds in our area, it was especially interesting to read your article today. What a wonderful visit to the reserve and so many great photos. All of your photos are lovely, but your wood duck photo is my favorite. So very beautiful!

  3. I always love seeing your photos. I don't often see waterbirds here, except for a few seagulls and herons. I don't get to the ocean shore much, and at the lake I see mostly loons, ducks, and geese. I didn't know Zazzle made those candles. I can't keep up with all their new products. Your smokeless candle looks really nice.

  4. Gorgeous photos as always. I had never heard of a Roseate Spoonbill before, but I do love photographing the Spoonbills that I see as they do always seem to pose for me :D


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