6PM, meet at the Courtyard Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch Area, FL, 8305 Tourist Center Drive, Bradenton, FL 941-360-2626 Bring your cameras with you to the meeting, we go over and set up best camera settings, discuss techniques, and schedule for the next morning shoot.
Early AM departure from our base hotel to the Venice Rookery. Begin shooting at first light continuing throughout the morning. This action packed location, features nesting egrets, Anhingas, and Great Blue Herons on a small island just off shore. The Venice Rookery is a spectacular location for Great Egrets in full breeding plumage, lots of interaction in and around nests including the feeding of young chicks. We commonly capture great flight shots as Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Anhingas taking off and landing right in front of our lenses. With so many birds nesting so close together there is territorial squabbling and fighting action to keep it interesting.
- Depart Venice Rookery mid-day for lunch at Lashley’s Crab House, Punta Gorda
- Afternoon highlights various Burrowing owl locations in Cape Coral
- Late afternoon filming active eagles nest nearby.
- Photograph Circle B Ranch in best afternoon light until sunset!
Sunrise shoot at circle B Bar Ranch. Beautiful location for foggy vistas of giant live oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. Walk on foot to various locations for birds, lagoons, and lots of alligators. This may be one of the best locations in Florida for great Limpkin photos. The diversity in this wetland is amazing. We photographed osprey fishing, Red shouldered Hawks, huge alligators, snakes, turtles, bobcats, and several varieties of perching birds.
Depart Circle B Ranch mid day and drive to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. In route we stop for a fun shoot at Cruickshank Sanctuary, noted for extremely tame scrub jays. So tame, they often land on photographers cameras, and even your head. Once everyone has captured great scrub jay images, we head on to our final hotel in Titusville, FL.
- Depart circle B Ranch for lunch in Lakeland, then driving on to Titusville Hampton Inn.
- Afternoon filming at Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge, Dinner at Dixie Crossroads
Full morning exploring and photographing the amazing concentration of bird life found here. This National Wildlife Refuge offers wide-open wetland environment. With an easy drive through, the refuge is ideal for stopping for interesting, often action packed photos. It’s not uncommon to see Reddish Egrets dancing about with wings spread, as they engage their fanciful fishing tactics. The refuge is also a great location to photograph skimmers as they glide inches above calm lagoons skimming their lower beak in the water in graceful flight.
The diversity at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is amazing: In recent years the refuge has become one of the must see locations for bird photographers. Last year we saw and photographed: Eagles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Glossy Ibis, Limpkin, Purple Gallinule, Warblers, Green back Herons, Blue Herons, Whistling Ducks, Anhingas, Cormornats, Osprey, and Kingfisher.
- Lunch locally, afternoon shoot at Cruickshank Wildlife Sanctuary and Viera Wetlands.
Morning filming at the Apopka Bird of Prey center. He have a session reserved for us to photograph raptors in flight for exciting opportunities.
- Afternoon: Either Apopka Wildlife Drive or Circle B depending on conditions and activity level at either location.