Florida, USA

16th December 2011 - 4th January 2012

Lake Kissimmee Area

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

There are numerous good spots for photography around the Lake Kissimmee area.  On the west side, Lake Kissimmee State Park is well worth a visit, and I wish I had spent more than one day there as there are over 20 miles of hiking trails to explore or you can rent kayaks there and explore the lakes and their connecting creeks from the water (but beware of lunatics on airboats.  Apart from being incredibly noisy a couple of these hideous contraptions were piloted by incredibly inconsiderate and stupid people who think it is funny to try and swamp your boat...). 

On the trails, woodland birds seemed more numerous than any other place I visited in Florida, although I didn't have much luck in trying to photograph any of them.  I was even more disappointed that I also failed to get photos of both the Bobcat that walked across the trail in front of me or the Coral Snake I spotted slithering through the grass beside the path.

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

On the east side of the lake there are numerous good spots for photography, including several public boat ramps that allow views of the lake shore.  Apart from Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area (where I didn't have any luck and didn't take a single photo during a 5 hour visit), I had a decent amount of success at most of these.  Lake Marian, Joe Overstreet and Cypress Lake boat ramps were the best, with the usual selection of Florida waterbirds being present.  There is also a chance of Snail Kite in this area, although I only got distant flight views of one at Lake Marian.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

It is well worth it to drive slowly along the 5 mile access road to the Joe Overstreet Boatramp and to use your car as a hide for photographing any birds close to the road.  Birds you are likely to encounter along there include Crested Caracara, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, and numerous Red-shouldered Hawks, Eastern Meadowlarks and Killdeer.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Sandhill Cranes are very approachable along Joe Overstreet Road.  Some that I encountered feeding on the roadside verge were so close that all I could take were headshots (see photo at the top of the page).

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Eastern Meadowlarks are common in the sod fields bordering the roads and were often close enough for good photos.

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)

On one evening, I found a flock of Turkeys feeding beside the access road to Cypress Lake Boatramp.  These allowed a very close approach and, again, I was restricted to taking headshots in the fading light...

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Kissimmee Prairie State Park Back to map Merritt Island