rare florida wildlife

March 20, 2011 Photography  One comment

As most wildlife photographers do…I have a ‘list’ of ‘wants’.  This past January I was blessed with my biggest want of all time, the Florida Panther.  Still on the list is a coyote, a Florida bear, the Everglades Mink and a few others.


I have also been able to capture some other rare things over the years that I was able to knock off the list…here’s a few of them.


The Skunk.

We all know the smell of a skunk, but have you ever seen one?  I would have thought that I would have seen a skunk in the wild YEARS ago.  The only time I’ve even seen a skunk in captivity was a pet albino skunk.   I mean, you drive down the road and smell them…but you never see them!  Luckily, I was out one day shooting with my friend, John and we saw one…it was amazing to finally see one up close, although I didn’t get THAT close.  I wasn’t taking any chances.


What Is That?  A Plastic Bag?


The King Rail


He’s a fairly rare bird, and when I saw this guy for the first time I had no idea what it was, but I took the shot anyway.  I found out later, though another flickr friend, Frank that this was a King Rail


King Rail


The American Bittern


I guess these were considered rare awhile back, but it seems they’re making appearances more and more and there’s lots of photos of them popping up on Flickr now.


American Bittern


The Bobcat


These guys aren’t exactly rare, but you don’t see them all that often.  I was lucky enough to spot this guy on the other side of a canal by noticing the white on him standing out in a sea of brown grasses.


Bobcat


The Crested Caracara


This bird is not rare around where I live in southwest Florida, but it is rare in other parts of Florida.  It’s a much sought after bird of wildlife photographers.


Crested Caracara


The Barn Owl


There’s a lot of these guys all over the state of Florida, although they’re hard to spot because they’re usually only out at night.  I saw this guy as I was heading home one night and was lucky enough to have my camera with me.  I’m hoping someday I’ll be able to photograph one of these beautiful owls in much better light.


Barn Owl


The Purple Swamphen.


Not to be confused with the Purple Gallinule.  This bird is actually a non-native species.


“This introduced species can still be found at the wetlands near Southeast Regional Library, on the north side of Sheridan Street, 1.2 miles west of I-75 in Pembroke Pines. Another location is Silver Lakes North Park, on the south side of Sheridan Street, 0.3 mile west of the library. Swamphens are now common at Water Conservation Area 2-A, accessed from Markham Park, and at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA-5) in Hendry County. “
“The Purple Swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. The birds rapidly multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida’s avifauna.
The Florida birds are mostly or entirely of the gray-headed race poliocephalus, native to the area around the Caspian Sea.
The most common call from the Florida birds is a loud, high-pitched “creek,” often doubled.”
“Threats to natives:  Although they are primarily vegetarians swamphens have also been recorded preying on mollusks, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, bird eggs, and small birds (Pranty et al. 2000). They may also impact the plant life of the wetlands and the native species that depend on it.
Species Account: The birds in Broward County probably come from 2 aviculturists near Silver Lakes, but 8 birds did escape from the Miami Metro Zoo’s “Wings of Asia” exhibit in 1992. Most of the adult swamphens at Pembroke Pines have grayish heads and are thought to be Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus, which is native to Turkey and the Caspian Sea east to southern Asia. There is also a blue-headed form seen at Pembroke Pines that represents another subspecies.”

“This introduced species can still be found at the wetlands near Southeast Regional Library, on the north side of Sheridan Street, 1.2 miles west of I-75 in Pembroke Pines. Another location is Silver Lakes North Park, on the south side of Sheridan Street, 0.3 mile west of the library. Swamphens are now common at Water Conservation Area 2-A, accessed from Markham Park, and at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA-5) in Hendry County. “
“The Purple Swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. The birds rapidly multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida’s avifauna.
The Florida birds are mostly or entirely of the gray-headed race poliocephalus, native to the area around the Caspian Sea.
The most common call from the Florida birds is a loud, high-pitched “creek,” often doubled.”
“Threats to natives:  Although they are primarily vegetarians swamphens have also been recorded preying on mollusks, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, bird eggs, and small birds (Pranty et al. 2000). They may also impact the plant life of the wetlands and the native species that depend on it.
Species Account: The birds in Broward County probably come from 2 aviculturists near Silver Lakes, but 8 birds did escape from the Miami Metro Zoo’s “Wings of Asia” exhibit in 1992. Most of the adult swamphens at Pembroke Pines have grayish heads and are thought to be Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus, which is native to Turkey and the Caspian Sea east to southern Asia. There is also a blue-headed form seen at Pembroke Pines that represents another subspecies.”


Purple Swamphen



The Black And White Warbler.


Ok, so this bird isn’t exactly rare, but it’s a darn hard bird to get a photo of!  They’re tiny and fast and will test your patience every time.  Luckily I was able to get photos of this little guy who had just caught a little bug on Jane’s Scenic Drive in Fakahatchee.


Black And White Warbler - series of photos


The Nighthawk


Another one that’s not really rare, but is hard to photograph!  When these birds start to appear in my yard I know summer is here.  They swoop and dive at amazing speeds catching bugs in the air.  The only way I was able to get any photos of these birds was to keep a close eye on them to see where they’d land.  And when they DO land, and it’s in a pine tree…if you don’t see exactly where they perch you’ll never see them because they blend in so well!  I was lucky enough to catch this guy who was out fairly early as the sun was still setting.


They're Back!


The Flicker.


For me these birds aren’t rare, I see them constantly in my yard burrowing into the pine trees.  I welcome any kind of woodpeckers because they eat the pine beetles that kill off the trees.


Flicker on Flickr


That’s about it, hopefully I’ll be marking more animals and birds off of my list soon ;-)


One comment to rare florida wildlife

  • Eliminating Skunk Odor UNITED STATES  says:

    Hmm…just want you to know that in the future skunks are nocturnal and most often when you see a skunk during daylight hours it means that skunk has rabies.

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