Everglades: Anhinga Trail Songbirds – Flycatchers

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) - Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) - Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida

Anhinga Trail is known as one of the premiere locations to photograph Anhingas, herons, egrets, Wood Storks, and more.  The place is so well known that on Saturday evening I witnessed well above $100,000 worth of lenses and camera equipment pointed at a single Great Blue Heron.  It’s a popular place and I have been there so many times, I am much pickier where I point my lens these days.  On Friday morning, I decided to focus on the often ignored songbirds of Anhinga Trail.

The marsh and reeds that line the edges of the canals can be extremely productive for a number of songbirds.  On most visits, I see at least several species of warblers, a couple flycatchers, a couple blackbirds, and typically a handful of other species.  Most photographers simply ignore these birds as they look for the charismatic herons and egrets.

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) - Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida

Today I’ll share with you a few of the flycatchers that can be seen hunting and calling around the boardwalk.  The first, and most common one, is the Eastern Phoebe.  There are always at least a couple individuals that winter along the trail and seem to have their own preferred hunting areas.  I spent a few minutes observing this particular bird’s favored perches and then set up in a good position where I could photograph several of the perches.  After that it was just a matter of waiting and making the image when he landed on the perch.

Great-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) - Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida

While I was waiting for the phoebe to land in the right spot, a Great-crested Flycatcher flew into range.  These much larger birds are a little more difficult to photograph though you can hear them calling on a regular basis.  I find they only like to sit low enough to be photographed for a brief period of time before moving back to the taller trees.  Because of this you have to work fast and make do with what he offers.  In this case, he used a couple perches in this area but this was the only clean shot I had.  I would have preferred to have him perched on one of the tall reeds but again, I’ll take what I got.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the different warbler species I have seen and photographed at Anhinga Trail.  Next time you are there, pay attention to the smaller birds hopping in the reeds above the heron you are photographing.

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