birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, photography, sunrise

A Christmas for the birds…

I went out for the sunrise on Christmas morning.  As I drove to the Hammond’s Creek bridge I checked the rear view mirror, and again, streaks of red in the sky way ahead of what Siri swore to me was the time that the sunrise would happen.  Pretty sunrise, and an Egret joining me for a change.  Our one-footed heron friend was also there, but on a dock too far away for the wide-angle lens to catch him.


Then it was off to Palm Harbor in search of a Roseate Spoonbill.  Unfortunately I was too early for the spoonbill, I hear he’s an afternoon visitor.  But there were lots of birds at these retention ponds, which turned out to be a much prettier setting than I had imagined.


An Anhinga, also known as a snake bird (according to Merlin).  They dive underwater and spear fish with their dagger-like bill.  Sometimes they swim with only their head and neck out of the water.  This would be a female since it’s brown, males are black.  They perch in the open and spread their wings to dry.  I saw lots of perching and wing-spreading going on.

1225woodstork1225woodstork2And a Wood Stork or two.  They are hard to miss with their bald heads.  And I loved how lush that area of retention pond looked.  I didn’t adjust the color on that, it really was that intense.

The reddish looking bird in the feature photo above is actually a Glossy Ibis.  A new bird for me.  With a two-footed Great Blue Heron, or possibly not, I guess I’m assuming things here.

Except for the period of time in which I thought I’d lost all the photos that I took today, it was a good morning.  Followed by another delicious dinner with my wonderful neighbors.  I feel like part of the family now.  Christmas was an exhausting, even if it was fun, sort of day for so many years.  This year it was peaceful and calm, and that is a good thing…




blessings, faith, flowers, photography, technology

Merry Christmas…

This blog was started without a lot of forethought on my part.  I took a class on how to start a blog and the framework was in place by the end of the class, so I began to write.  And write some more.  What I have neglected to do is thank each and every person who has read the blog, and especially those of you who have taken time to like and/or comment.  I do thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.  Technology is sometimes the bane of my existence, and yet I am amazed to see that my words and pictures have found their way to people in many more countries than I could ever imagine.  That is mind boggling to me, and humbling.

May we all find peace and love in our hearts this Christmas season, and may the new year be good to all of us.  Merry Christmas…


birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, home, Ibis, nature, photography, Tricolored heron

More feathered neighbors….

The Tricolored Heron that spends time on the lake out back every day is a tricky little guy to photograph.  He is never still, he flits from place to place, and stays hidden in the weeds most of the time.  I think he’s gorgeous.


And the Ibis is present all the time, lots of them actually.  I hardly notice them because they are out there so often.  Zoe loves to run through the flock of them to make them fly.  They are too pretty to be ignored.


But the most exciting thing going on out back is that I think it’s official, we have a nest.  Well, the Sandhill cranes do at least.  They return to the neighborhood in the afternoon, and you know this because they announce their arrival as only they can.  Yesterday they wandered for a while, and then one flew to the nest site and the other one waded over to join him.  They rearranged for a bit, and they spent the night.  This morning they sounded like a couple of roosters out there, announcing the sunrise.  Will we have chicks eventually?  First we’ll need eggs, and then it will take a month.  Stay tuned…


birds, bluebirds, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Got my wish…

It wasn’t my wish to see a Northern Mockingbird, but this one flew into my shot so I figured he wanted his picture taken.  And I obliged.

No, I had seen bluebirds when I walked the dogs, and ever since I got the 600mm lens I’d been wanting to take more photos of them.  They were around the corner from my house, on the electrical wires as they always seem to be.  So I got the camera ready with the big lens and extender, and loaded all my equipment into my car.  While I was out I thought I’d drive around until I found something photo worthy.  Then I opened the garage door and there were the bluebirds, right out front of my house as they frequently are.  But I’m not usually all ready with the camera.  They always seem to retreat into the trees right across the street from my house, I suspect they nest there.  One of them stuck around while I got set up.  And peered at me curiously like he was wondering what I was doing.  I might go out for the sunset later on, but the cute little bluebird made my day.


This is the cutest little bird ever.  I’ll take his picture anytime I get the chance…

Bayport, birds, dogs, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, learning, old dogs new tricks, photography, sunrise, technology

Back to basics…

There I was at Jenkin’s Creek, after a lovely sunrise at Bayport.  I pulled into the parking lot and could see a large bird in the ‘wood stork’ tree, but I honestly couldn’t tell what it was.  Lucky for me there was another photographer there, Tony, and he said that it was a juvenile eagle.  I would probably have to have used Merlin to be sure what it was if he hadn’t been there.  I suppose that I look like I know what I’m doing, what with the tripod (which he said isn’t sturdy enough for my lens), as well as the gigantic lens itself.  So Tony got out his phone and was going to play eagle sounds in an attempt to get this eagle to fly for the sake of the photo op.  So, said he, ‘you probably want to increase your shutter speed.’  Nothing will fluster me more than something like that statement, because I still fumble to make those sorts of changes in the camera settings.  I admitted that I’m a rank amateur with this stuff, and because of that we both managed to miss the shot.  Bet he was glad I showed up.  He said he had gotten some good portrait shots at least.


So I decided I needed to work on my camera skills, and off I went to the dog park.  And I easily upped the shutter speed to account for the action I was hoping to capture.  It’s a lot easier when there are no witnesses to my fumbling.  Maybe I’m getting better at all of this after all.

1221doggie1221doggie21221doggie3Obviously the dog in this last picture has zoomed out of the focus point I set, but what I like about the photo is that the leaves he kicked up are perfectly in focus.  That made me smile.  Note to self, perhaps you ought to increase the focal area next time.

And the sunrise.  I never get tired of going out for the sunrise, and sunsets for that matter.  This one got prettier than it looked like it would with the fog.  And it was foggier when I got home than it was when I left.  Practice, practice, practice…


birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography

To nest, or not to nest…

My new lens and extender had come too late on Monday to go out and take photos.  And Tuesday was accounted for with work and an appointment, so I told myself that I could wait until Wednesday, a day off, to go out and experiment with my new toys.

But Tuesday morning came and I  couldn’t resist going out into the fog to check out the new wide angle lens.  And I’m quite happy with it.


When I was finally home that day I thought I’d be able to wait to try the extender, but the dogs wanted to go out, and when we went out the back door we caused a ruckus out there.  The cranes were back.  I had been afraid that I had spoken too soon about the possible nesting activity out there, based on the fact that they hadn’t seemed to be around after I had taken pictures the other afternoon.  But there they were, and they seemed to be hard at work again.  But one of them stopped to pose, after the dogs were back in the house that is.  I thought that was nice of him.