Posts Tagged ‘Florida



The photos from our trip to Florida are now published here if you have the time to take a look.



Cat of many tales

My thoughts were transported back to a windswept headland in Cornwall. Two years ago in October as our ‘crew’ came off Scillies we stood together with others watching a small boggy patch of briars. Up popped a Grey Catbird. Another one of those common birds in Florida that manages occasionally to cross the Atlantic.

Almost symptomatic of every car stop in the ‘Sunshine State’ we heard the diagnostic meowing of Catbirds.


Once Bittern

The last time I saw an American Bittern it was sat in a ditch in Lancashire in the early 1990’s. That was some 30 years ago. The memories came flooding back a few weeks ago on a boardwalk in Florida.

A species that can secrete itself so tightly in a reedbed it can become the landscape and yet can cross open oceans is truly enigmatic.



Strike One!

I’m amazed at how shallow some of the people we have come across here in Florida have been (although always polite and never verbally rude). Never shallow in personality but shallow in the way they look at the world around them. They walk with closed eyes in a ‘fool before the abyss’ sort of way.

We were walking down ‘Snake Bite Trail’ in the everglades. It was hot and sticky. A heavy closeness made it ideal for mosquitoes and the warblers were taking advantage. Yellow Rumpeds, Parulas as well as Blue Grey Gnatcatchers were taking advantage of the ‘winter insect windfall’. However, it was not the warblers that had our attention. We came across a largish snake. Not the size of the big constrictor we had found a few days earlier but big enough, and right next to the path. The two vertical lines on the snout told us we had found a Cottonmouth; one of the four venomous snakes in Florida.

As I was cautiously photographing it a gent walked quickly between me and the snake. Normally this would have annoyed the hell out of me … as my daughter would have said … “RUDE”. This time however it alarmed me… but not as much as it did the Cottonmouth for it reared and prepared to strike. He missed being bitten by the breadth of a hair. Lucky for him. Lucky for me. I didn’t fancy carrying him back to the road … he was a big bloke!

The world is beautiful if you look in enough detail. If only people would open their eyes and see what is around them they would see it too and share an awareness and a respect. Is that asking too much?



Over the past week we must have seen over a hundred Ospreys. Within Florida they are not the scarce species they are in Britain; they are very common. That still doesn’t take anything away from their majestic appearance. We photographed this individual before topping off our day with Barred Owls and Fireflies in a large copse of Mahogany trees.


A crying shame and a sheer delight.

We saw the very best and the very worst of Florida on a single day this week.

Sitting within rocking chairs on the deck of a viewing platform we were taking in the dying rays of the warm Everglades sunshine. Staring out over still waters and the endless horizon hugging grasslands behind them we chatted about the coming weeks and watched Egrets and Herons of varying species preparing to roost. A noise in the rafters above us attracted our gaze. There picking out insects amid the spiders webs was a Yellow-throated Warbler. Regarded by many as the pinnacle of avian delight, the Nearctic Warblers are flying jewels and this bird was no exception.

We checked out a site on the way back to our hotel meeting two gentlemen birders in the process. Striking up a conversation with these two articulate gentle folk we learned of their misfortune. They had been robbed of a Swarovski Scope and a top of the range Canon camera. Some £8K of optical equipment. The excellent officer attending the scene was efficient and reassuring but it’s beyond me how people can disrespect others in this way. Being so close to Miami and the drugs that drive crime I suppose it isn’t such a surprise that this happens in the Everglades. However, it’s almost a contradiction that Heaven and Gomorrah can be in such close juxtaposition.

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Apr 2023


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