Close Encounters with Florida Birds

By Vladimir Brezina

I am still sorting out my hundreds of photos of birds from our Florida trip back in February. But this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme, “Close”, has prompted me to marvel at how closely I was able to approach many of the birds.

I rented a kayak and paddled through the mangroves. The birds perched in the tree tops—some of the trees were absolutely festooned with birds, like some kind of fruit—and looked down at me nonchalantly.

Other birds stood on low branches projecting strategically out over the water. These two just looked at me stolidly, even though I was so close that my kayak was actually bumping into their branch. I could have picked them up with my hands.

And so I was able to get some good shots of the various birds. I have a reasonable idea of what many of them are—some are unmistakable!—but identification by experts would certainly be appreciated!

Some other bird photos from that trip are here, here, here, and here.

68 responses to “Close Encounters with Florida Birds

  1. The photos just kept getting better and better as I scrolled down the page! I felt like I was at home on the river in Ecuador, where all of those species gather enhance my day! The mangroves, herons, ibis, egrets – wow, I was right there in the kayak as well! Thanks, Z

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  2. You have the camera for ccloseup shots! I will be doing a FL based BLOG this week as well nice to see others point of view

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    • Well, most of these photos were taken with a telephoto zoom lens zoomed out to 300mm. That was great insofar as I could capture the details of the birds well. But there was often some fuzziness about these shots taken from the kayak, but not those taken from land, making me think that at that magnification the motions of the kayak interfered—as you would expect, even though the water was pretty calm.

      I will look out for your FL post!

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  3. Photos 2 and 3 are of Yellow crowned night herons , 4 and 5 are immature yellow crowned night herons . I love watching the herons fish ,stealth is their game : ) . The Cajuns used to harvest them for their breast meat but I believe their a protected bird now . Nice details in the photos .

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  4. Fantastic shots. The last one is my favorite. The brown feathers on its neck look so soft. I wonder what it was thinking.

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  5. Your photos make me glad I got an iPad!

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  6. What a great assortment of bird close-ups! Just wonderful!

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  7. The second picture is of blue herons. The 9th photo is a great blue heron.

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    • Thanks, Gayle! I believe the second photo in fact shows two adult yellow-crowned night herons… but the later photo is definitely a great blue heron! They were pretty common thereabouts…

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  8. Vlad, these photos are wonderful, thanks for sharing,MJ

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  9. Vlad, these are great! Years ago I was canoeing in Florida. As you’ve shown, the birds are wonderful! Thanks for the lovely photos and for giving me some good memories!

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  10. I love them all. I once painted a picture like the white bird. After seeing yours, my bird has a big neck. I think I will throw my painting away now. I used to watch those birds all the time when I lived in Florida.

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  11. These pictures are simply gorgeous! Loved the heron … Wish I’d been there :)

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  12. perfect portraits of these characters!

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    • And they did have their own individual characters—where each type of bird liked to perch, how it moved, how closely it would allow me to approach before it got nervous and flew off… After three days I began to discern these characteristics quite well…

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  13. Great avian portraits!

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  14. Wow, they let you get really close! Lovely shots :)

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  15. Beautiful! Have you seen some alligators, too?

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    • No alligators, although we were in some prime alligator territory. I was hoping! In fact, I haven’t seen an alligator in the wild yet. But I did see three manatees, and a number of dolphins of course.

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  16. Oh my God!
    You are so lucky to have had the opportunity of being so close to them.
    Great photos, with amazing details!

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    • Thanks, Pablo! That part of Florida is pretty densely populated (by humans), but there are also many little mangrove islands where the birds are left completely alone and where they feel pretty safe. So they were not too worried when I got close…

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  17. Great shots of the yellow-crowned herons and juveniles. And you even captured a roseate spoonbill! And have to love the pelican-on-piling shot. Well done. Nice way to see Florida.

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  18. Stunning photos of these birds!

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  19. most beautiful pictures, they are a delight to look at

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  20. Each bird was striking a pose like a pro…:) I enjoyed these photos very much!

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    • Nothing very special: a Nikon D80 with the AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm lens, mostly zoomed out to 300mm… and a kayak, for getting really close!

      And I do like your cherry-eating birds! Thanks!

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  21. Incredible pelican shot!

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  22. Beautiful photos, especially the really close up ones!

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  23. Pingback: Capture the Colour | Wind Against Current

  24. Pingback: More Florida Birds | Wind Against Current

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