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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Midwinter Boating and Birding In Florida


Finally we get some real Florida winter weather - the reason we bear those hurricanes. Although it was really too early to go up the river for birding, I had not been up there since Hurricane Charley hit, and I wanted to check it out before I took some groups there next month when the birds (mainly wood storks) are there in huge numbers for breeding. I was also anxious to do some boating since the Florida winter so far has not been very good for boating. We were fogged in early, but by 11:00 AM, great weather in the low 80's set in. MOST PHOTOS ENLARGE WITH A LEFT MOUSE CLICK.

The water is so low in spots the only boat we could use was a pontoon boat. We still went aground and touched bottom 3-4 times. Here I am in the driver's seat along with my friend, Ted, who is a serious amateur astronometer, software developer, and a teacher of embedded computer software and hardware applications.

We left Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda Isles seen in the lower left and headed northeast under two sets of bridges and up the river. The Peace River is only a few hundred feet from civilization, but it seems to boaters to be the middle of the Amazon when you leave sight of houses. The Tarzan movies of the 1930's were filmed on this river, and the vegetation is tropical jungle. I think anyone who comes to Florida for birding, boating or fishing has to become an environmentalist of sorts.

Typical tropical vegetation alongside the river.

A pelican swims by as we head up river.

One of Florida's many vultures looking for a meal.

There are three or four small mangrove islands that are natural bird rookeries. We are approaching one here.

If you look closely you can see a couple of dozen wood storks and a few herons here early. Next month there will be hundreds of storks, herons and egrets.

A closer look at a couple of wood storks.

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4 Comments:

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Joe Alves said...

Such beautiful photos, Russ. I really envy anyone being able to get out on the water, this time of the year. Although, I've been able to take advantage of some warm days and have been doing some kayaking on the Taunton River about every month so far. My big thing is beach combing with my dog Penny. Penny is pretty good in the kayak. She sits very still and seems to enjoy the trip. We usually pack a lunch and bring the camera along. Last week, I was quite surprised to find out that they are patrolling the river in the winter months. While we were walking on the shoreline of the river, a patrol boat came by and appeared to be watching us. About ten minutes later, a helicopter flew over by them. The power plant is in that vacinity, and they are always on the alert for terrorists.

 
At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the georgous photos. Thanks for sharing.

jo bartha

 
At 12:49 PM, Anonymous steve said...

I agree, thanks for sharing.
Glad to see it's not all about the hurricanes!

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Online Degree Adviser said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Cheers,

www birdwatching

 

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