Lake Kissimmee — Birding Hot Spot

January 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm (Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature) (, , , , , , )

Snail Kite

Snail Kite

There are places that birders cherish and dream of returning to, and the Joe Overstreet Landing on the eastern shore of Lake Kissimmee, Florida is one of those for me.

In spring 2008 – a disastrous year for my art show business and the beginning of the Great Recession  – I visited this well-known birding spot.  Driving past sod farms and cattle pastures, I was greeted by singing meadowlarks, caracaras, sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, kestrels, and other birds celebrating the beautiful day.

I decided to take the airboat trip from Kissimmee Swamp Tours to see the snail kites, and I am so glad I did.  These endangered raptors (although they are common in Latin America) need the native apple snail to thrive.  However, habitat loss jeopardizes this food supply, which limpkins also rely upon, and the because the snail kite is only found in southern Florida, it can be difficult to find them.

However, I wasn’t so lucky this time around (January 2014), even though six of them had been seen that morning.  The rain squall that came through right before we boarded the airboat may have had something to do with the no shows, but there were still some great birds, and a lovely sunset.

I had so many photographs from both trips that I decided to make a slide show out of them.  It’s about four minutes long, but if you want to see what is awaiting you if you go here, it is worth the coffee break.

Tent camping is $10 a night, and since I sleep in my mini-van, I was snug as a bug in a rug.  Be aware that some exits (such as exit 240) off the Florida Turnpike require you to have a SunPass, which many tourists don’t, so you may want to find an alternate route.  (Grrrrr…..)

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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