The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): February 16-21, 2013 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): February 16-21, 2013

Left to right and top to bottom: Brown Pelican at sea level, Little Estero Lagoon. Red Knot flock in flight at sunset: film!, Little Estero Lagoon. American Oystercatcher in condo reflections, Little Estero Lagoon. Brown Pelican silhouette–I was up to my neck in the Gulf!, Little Estero Lagoon. Great Egret with pinfish, Sanibel Causeway. Snowy Egret landing in early morning light, Little Estero Lagoon. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron with fiddler crab, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Snowy Egret swallowing baitfish, Sanibel fishing pier. White morph Reddish Egret in mega breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon, Turkey Vulture, flash flight, Sanibel Causeway.

The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): February 16-21, 2013

The SW FLA IPT: FEB 16-21, 2013. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7pm on 2/15/13. Six Full Days: $2999. Limit: 10/Openings:6. Mention the BAA Blog when you send your deposit check and we will gladly apply a $200 discount to your balance.

Most folks from the north and those visiting from overseas are often stunned by the tameness of the birds that we encounter on the Southwest Florida IPTs. Great Blue Herons land at our feet in search of nesting material. Both Brown and White Pelicans enticed by fish fly to and fro and pose for head portraits even with short telephoto lenses. And the same goes for Great and Snowy Egret and White Ibis among others. Burrowing Owls, tiny and too- cute, stand at their nest entrances posing for us. In recent years we have even found a dependable location for Black-bellied Whistling Duck. We have great chances with a variety of birds capturing and holding fish or other prey items; subjects with prey might include Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, several shorebird species, and all the regular heron, egret, and other wading bird species. On the 2010 IPT we had great chances at Ding Darling NWR with both Pied-billed Grebe and Double-crested Cormorant holding pretty big fish. Though the glory days of Ding Darling are long gone there is always a chance of getting to photograph Roseate Spoonbill on our visits.

Barring unforeseen circumstances we should get to photograph Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret (both white and dark morphs), Tricolored Heron, Little-blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Brown Pelican, White Pelican, Mottled Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Royal Tern, Forster’s Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull, Osprey, and Burrowing Owl. Likely shorebird subjects include Black-bellied Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Snowy Plover, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Red Knot, and Western Sandpiper.

The following species range from probable to how-lucky-can-you–get?: Black-Crowned Night-heron, Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Lesser-black-backed Gull, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Palm Warbler, Fish Crow, Roseate Spoonbill, Great White Heron (the white form of Great Blue Heron), and American Alligator.

Though there is never a formal itinerary on this IPT (or most others for that matter) we usually visit the following spots: Venice Rookery, Placida/Boca Grande, Little Estero Lagoon—which has been great in recent years, Cape Coral, and several locations on Sanibel including Ding Darling NWR, Blind Pass, the East Gulf beaches, and the fishing pier. If a morning forecast is for fog and drizzle we will likely head to Corkscrew Swamp & Sanctuary.

Our tentative plan from the prior evening is always subject to change as are the afternoon plans that we make in the am; the weatherman in not always right. Ensuring that the group is in a location that will maximize the photographic opportunities is much more important to me than sticking to a plan…. Having visited each of these sites many times over the past two decades I know where to be when and in what weather. I know the light and the winds and the affect that each will have on our chances. On all IPTs we think out loud. When we choose a location or opt to make a move we will let you know why. That way when you get back to your home patch you will be able to apply the lessons learned on the IPT so that you too wind up in the right place at the right time.

That said it is nature photography and sometimes the birds do not read the book. I often tell my groups, “Don’t praise me too highly when the birds are great or trash me on the rare day when they do not cooperate. All that I can do is put you in the right place every morning and every afternoon; if the birds do not show up look forward to the next day. And the same goes for the weather. Over the decades I have enjoyed the best weather karma of anyone I know of . We do love Happy Campers and all are required to pass the Happy Camper test before we cash their deposit check.

I hope that you can join us on the upcoming SW Florida IPT. It is for good reason my bread and butter/can’t miss trip: folks just starting out can learn the basics from the best while advanced folks will pick up the fine points that you just will not find in any book; escape winter’s icy grip and come on down to photograph lots and lots of tame birds!

Left to right and top to bottom: Great Blue Heron, Venice Rookery. Roseate Spoonbill, Little Estero Lagoon. Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral. Great Egret with baby blowfish, Little Estero Lagoon. Wood Stork and Great Egret, pleasing blur, Little Estero Lagoon. Back of American Alligator, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Brown Pelican–in the water up to my neck again!, Placida. Gulf sunrise feeding spree silhouette, Little Estero Lagoon. White Pelican face portrait, Placida.

I do hope that you can join us for this great Instructional Photo-Tour.

For additional details or for more information, please e-mail. If you are good to go send your $500 non-refundable deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris”) along with the completed paperwork that you find here to us as follows: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call us at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. (Note: we prefer a check for deposits; IPT balances must be paid by check.)

Left to right and top to bottom: Great Blue Heron squawking, Little Estero Lagoon. Black-bellied Whistling Duck, South Venice. Mark Hardymon and Great Egret, Little Estero Lagoon. Great Egret in mega-breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon. Tricolored Heron, high key, Little Estero Lagoon. Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral. Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage, Venice Rookery. Brown Pelican swallowing fish, Placida. Pied-billed Grebe with fish, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel.

Note: the Mark Hardymon photo just sold to a National Geographic book project.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

Click here for the current BAA IPT Schedule.

17 comments to The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): February 16-21, 2013

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Those who want to learn about all the great spots within and hour or so of Fort Myers, FL they can get a copy of our SW Florida Site Guide here.

  • Gail bisson

    I was a participant in last year’s IPT and really enjoyed it. Great teachers and opportunities for various birds. It is a very intense and busy workshop so be prepared! Early mornings and late suppers but all good! I highly recommend wearing waders for Little Estero. Gail

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your kind comments :). We just wrapped up a killer Nickerson/JBWR IPT :).

  • Faraaz


    I have a similar question to Renato – I’ll be in Ft. Lauderdale for the first week in September. I have no idea as to where would be good spots close by. Won’t have a car, so the closer the better. Shorebirds are my favourite, but at the end of the day, any convenient spot would pay off handsomely :-).

    • Renato Fernandez

      this place has been recomended to me: Wakodahatchee Wetlands

      It is in Delray Beach, but I do enjoy the benefit of having a car.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Sorry; been busy finishing up the killer Nickerson IPT. Yes, Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Green Cay can be excellent. Both would be better in late fall and better still in winter. And both are great in spring. Loxahatchee NWR is nowhere near as good as it was two decades ago….

  • Charles Scheffold

    Renato, get the SW Florida site guide from the BAA online store – well worth the price and it will save you a lot of time. Next best thing to the IPT 😉

    • Charles Scheffold

      Sorry – I just realized you said you were going to be in Miami with only one day off. Not really possible to get to SW FLA with those time constraints. Maybe next time!

  • Renato Fernandez

    No problem, I should have told you initially that I am travelling next week. I have Friday off…thanks, Renato

  • Renato Fernandez

    Wading birds would be best…Renato

  • Renato Fernandez


    I will be visiting Miami on business and have a day off. Can you recommend a site to go a do bird photography? I am most interested in shore birds. I am from Guatemala, and want to take advantage of this opportunity.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Shorebirds or wading birds? artie

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Renato, See my comments to Faraaz above. Been swamped :).

      • Renato Fernandez

        Artie, thanks, I’ll let you know how it went. Will have to schedule something for the fall or winter. We are planning on going to the Space Coast Bird Festival next year…hopefully will be able to visit several exciting places…take care and happy clicking…Renato