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Donald Duck isn't the only bird to watch in Orlando!
Not everyone who visits the Orlando area likes to go to the Theme Parks…. some are interested in looking for a much more relaxing way to spend their valuable holiday time. The area around Orlando, with all its lakes and acres of forest, offers an abundance of wildlife and the feathered variety are present in their hundreds!
To enjoy a spot of relaxing bird watching, you need no special equipment at all, but if you have a pair of binoculars and a Field Guide, you will be able to see much more AND there is the added bonus of being able to identify what you have spotted.
If you cannot get out of visits to the Theme Parks, there will still be plenty to see when you are there. The Seven Seas Lagoon at Magic Kingdom, which you pass over on the way from the Ticket and Transportation centre to the park itself, has large numbers of herons flying to and from their roosts, and in the parks there are white ibis, gulls, eagles and vultures. Quite often you will see anhinga. This is a water bird, also known as the ‘snake bird’ as it often swims with its body submerged and only it’s long slender neck and head visible. Grackles are very common and are similar to starlings, which people in the UK are very familiar with. In all the Theme Parks, the birds are often very close, so if you like to take photographs, there will be plenty of opportunities. If you are the designated bag and coat holder, while the rest of your family are on the rides, it is easy to while away the time by seeing how many different species you can spot.
When you are not at the parks and attractions, and are relaxing by the pool, or driving round the area on the way to a restaurant or shopping mall, the chances are that you will see wild turkeys, buzzards, kites and hawks to name but a few.
A particularly good place for bird watching is Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, which is owned by NASA and includes the Kennedy Space Centre. There is an excellent six mile drive round ponds and lagoons where you can watch waders, herons and other marsh species from the comfort of your car. In other areas of the Refuge you will see ospreys, jays, pelicans, egrets and many species of raptors. If you take the Space Centre bus tour, your guide will enthusiastically point out a bald eagle’s nest, the size of a king-size bed!!
As you can see, the opportunities for spotting birds in the area are numerous. Once you get started, you notice more and more, and it is very relaxing to sit with a cool drink in your hand and watch an eagle, or a buzzard, soaring and gliding on the thermals…
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