Raptors of the Everglades

     The late Steve Irwin aka The Crocodile Hunter, thrilled audiences with his love of nature, and fearless approach to dangerous species such as crocodiles, pythons, and all sorts of creatures. I got to spend a few days with Florida’s own Irwin version by the name of William Steele, a naturalist, alligator wrestler, snake handler, falconer, dive expert, and bird and wildlife photographer extraordinaire. William is a true born and bred Florida naturalist, and runs his own company called Brother Nature Tours.  Recently I spent a great weekend with him in the everglades of South Florida and got to see some species of raptors I had never seen before. And best of all I met a wonderful new friend.

     Per the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, The Peregrine Falcons are the largest falcon found over most of the continent. “Powerful and fast-flying, the Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. They were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century. After significant recovery efforts, Peregrine Falcons have made an incredible rebound and are now regularly seen in many large cities and coastal areas. “ William and I saw a number of these beautiful raptors. The other major highlight was the capture of a few photos of a rarely seen White-tailed Kite, which is only found in extreme Southern Florida and the west coast in the US. Bald Eagles, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks were seen about the area in abundance. My favorite rented lens autofocus feature malfunctioned on me when I tried to capture a photo of a male Snail Kite also but I salvaged a few shots. I totally missed my only close opportunity of the illusive “Gray Ghost” or male Northern Harrier. Perhaps another time my ghostly friend.

     We all regret missed opportunities I am sure. But that challenges me to make up for it. Don’t wait too long though my friends. We may never pass this way again. Be blessed. Harry

Peregrine Falcon Profile

Lift off of a young Peregrine Falcon

The second  largest of the Falcons and favorite of many falconers..eye on the prey

This was my favorite capture of this magnificent raptor

White-tailed Kite, note the red eyes...

Lift off of White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite..wings up on fly by..

One of the many Red-tailed Hawks we saw...lifting off..

Caracara looks for road kill..

This Caracara is mainly a feeder of carrion or road kill

I hope to capture some better photos of this Snail Kite on an upcoming expedition..It is holding an Apple Snail, its favorite food.

Snail Kite male in flight with apple snail snack..

A Meadowlark mimics Willliam's bird call in the morning light..

Glossy Ibis with snack..

Turkey Vultures were very much in abundance...and they make great birthday photos for friends and relatives..

Loggerhead Shrike profile.

Although I missed my "Gray Ghost" shot, I got this beautiful wild "Wiley Coyote" stopping to smell the flowers...and observe us watching him..

email: selsorhd@me.com

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