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.
Even though some impressive thunderstorms rocked Southwest Florida this week, the Six Mile Slough Cypress Preserve in Fort Myers is a dry, dry place. This might sound like a bad thing, but it’s a natural part of life in Florida for the slough’s wildlife. Around this time of year the ponds get very shallow and there’s no place for the fish, crabs, and other water creatures to hide from the birds and alligators. This creates a “feeding frenzy” where dozens of birds gather in small ponds to feast. (Read on for a photo gallery from the feeding frenzy!)
The website DrBeach.org has confirmed news that will be no surprise to Southwest Florida residents. The site has named Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs as the second-best beach in America for 2015. The Florida gem trailed only Waimanalo Bay Beach Park in Oahu, Hawaii. Here’s how Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a well-known coastal scientist who compiles the list, describes Barefoot Beach:
This beach in Southwest Florida is 8,200 foot long and located in a 342 acre park. The surf is gentle with waves generally being measured in inches, and the water is very shallow, making this a great beach for bathing and swimming for families. The sand is fine and contains many small shells.
The Roseate Spoonbill is one of Sanibel Island’s most famous residents. It’s rares, however to see one outside of the shallow swamps of the island or the shoreline and lagoons. A pair of spoonbills made a surprise appearance at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers – several miles inland.
They weren’t alone. Along with the spoonbills, nearly 20 other birds – great and snowy egrets, little blue herons, tricolored herons, ibises, and black crowned night herons – packed Otter Pond at the slough.
Even on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with highs touching 90 degrees and bathwater blue-green water, there were maybe 100 people on Bowman’s Beach. The birds and dolphins took advantage to enjoy their day at the beach.
The black crowned night heron is a very familiar bird in Southwest Florida. This heron nests around the swampy waters and hunts at dusk in inland lakes and pond. In the Southwest Florida area they are common, especially at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve.
Southwest Florida is a haven for finding exotic birds. Here’s a collection of some of the best shots collected in the past few months. Most of these were taken at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve or the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Click below to check out the video.
The white pelican is an frequent visitor to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. This bird, which can have a 9-foot wingspan, comes to the refuge to feed and fuel up during the winter for its yearly migration. The white pelican migrates north toward Canada during the summer months. You won’t see the large white pelican diving into the water. Groups of white pelicans work together to herd fish and scoop them up with their distinctive beak.
One of my favorite parts about living in Southwest Florida is the ability to see nature up close. This pileated woodpecker put on a show for visitors to the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida. This woodpecker was surprising unfazed as onlookers watched him devour several insects, including a large grub. Check out the video below for a closer look.