It was February 28 of last year when I registered the domain photosfromflorida.net. I still haven’t figured out exactly what this blog is yet, and I know that I don’t write nearly enough during the school year, but I’m excited to move forward.
Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the past year with a few behind-the-scenes stories.
Green herons forage along the shore. They have long necks, but to get a good picture – especially close up – is pretty rare. My dad and I were walking the boardwalk at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers this winter. It had been a good day already. We saw baby gators as well as an up-close piteated woodpecker searching for grubs.
As we approached Otter Pond we couldn’t see or hear much. It was early in the winter and there was still deep water in the pond that evening. We looked over toward a protruding tree stump. “What’s that,” my dad asked.
“A Muppet?” I replied.
“That” was a green heron, neck fully extended with its crown fully out. Talking to naturalists later, we figure there must have been something in the lake – likely an alligator – that spooked the heron and caused it’s surprised look. Either way, we feel fortunate to have seen it in such a colorful posture.
(See below for what the green heron looks like with its neck tucked in.)
The first settlers arrived on Sanibel Island in 1833. Quick growth over the next 50 years sparked calls for a lighthouse to help with commerce. By the late 1870’s travel in the Gulf of Mexico demanded a lighthouse. The tower opened in August 1884. Since 1950, the U.S. Coast Guard property around the lighthouse has been a wildlife refuge.
As tourism season ends, something else is flocking to Florida’s beaches. It’s the time of year where coastal birds come home to roost and sea turtles begin to lay their eggs in the sand. There are some simple ways you can help Florida’s wildlife flourish.
Black skimmers aer nesting in Florida.
A pair of black skimmers fish on Marco Island.
Shorebirds nest on Tigertail Beach on Marco Island in Florida.
Up and down Florida beaches sea turtles are nesting right now.
Recently I sponsored a photo contest on FineArtAmerica.com. The winning photo, by Myrna Bradshaw from Bushnell, Fl., is posted below. Click the link to take a look at the “Preening Pair” of great egrets. Here’s how Myrna describes the photo:
This pair of White Egrets in breeding colors were busy preening each other and building their nest. Photo taken at Gatorland Rookery in Central Florida.
This started with a walk around the pond at our former apartment in Fort Myers. The water often teemed with life – turtles, fish, and the occasional ibis. There was a small gator once. This particular walk was obviously more prosperous than others. I saw the wood stork, a large threatened wading bird, from across the pond. This particular stork was walking through the shallow water. As I crept closer, I thought the stork would fly away. But as I walked closer, the wood stork waited, even as ibises pecked around it in the water. This photo was taken from about 15 feet away as the stork peered over the pond. After about 10 more minutes of walking though the water, the stork tired of that spot and flew off – but not before posing for a great picture.
Hello. My name is Ben. In the past year I quit my job as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland; moved to Florida, got engaged, and bought a house. In between I go places and take pictures. Then I put those pictures on Facebook and http://www.photosfromflorida.net. That’s why you’re even bothering to read this, I suppose.