birds, Cranes, ducks, Florida wildlife, nesting, perseverance, photography, pond creatures

I got stood up…

I guess he’ll grow into them, those feet that is…

4-24bigfoot4-24bigfoot24-24bigfoot34-24kidsreduxI was all set up yesterday morning.  On a lawn, sort of behind a tree.  Keeping a low profile so as not to disturb the cranes as they headed out from the lake.  I heard them sounding off like a couple of roosters, but it seemed to take them longer than normal to come into view.  The plan was that I could get pictures of them walking towards me across the neighbor’s lawn, and then across the street to the pond behind mine.  And finally they did show up and walk towards me, but then headed away from me and up the street.  I was stood up.

But when I parked the car I had noticed that there were ducklings on that little pond one street over from me.  There are seldom ducklings on my slightly bigger ‘lake’ so it was a treat to see them.  It was too dark to get pictures of them when I first saw them, but after the cranes were gone I took another look.  That is quite the brood to keep track of.  There are eight ducklings, but I couldn’t get an eighth one in any of my pictures.  Rowdy bunch, or maybe it’s just one wanderer…4-28ducklingsA neighbor said he heard a commotion out on that pond the day before. Turned out that Mama Duck was fighting off a hawk who had swooped in after a duckling. Mama drove him off, but that little wanderer had better watch out!

friends, fun, go with the flow, photography

Racing redux…

It was back to Tampa Bay Downs today, on a gorgeous, sunny, Florida day.  The members of the group were enthusiastic, more so than the horse below who seemed to want to do anything but what the trainer wanted him to do.4-28calmdown4-28calmdown24-28whoa4-28whoa2

This horse and trainer seemed to be on the same wavelength however.4-28coolingoff

A handsome horse…4-28horseface

Racing is a dirtier business than I realized…4-28intheturn

After a dirty race it’s time to cool off.4-28coolingdown

Snuck in a photo of a few of the group members doing their thing.  Seems only fair, but of course I hate being on that side of the camera myself…4-28raceday1



backyard visitors, birds, blessings, coping, Cranes, dogs, healing, home, life goes on, nature, photography, sunrise

Tomorrow, tomorrow…

Well, the sun did come up.  The cranes came out.  New visitors sat out on the post on the lake.  Ozzie is moping, but I’m glad he saw, and thoroughly sniffed, Zoe before she left us, because he doesn’t seem to be looking for her.  Zoe raised him, really she did.  Easiest dog to train ever since he’d follow her around and try, not always successfully, to pee wherever she did.  He’s just subdued, he usually makes a total pest out of himself and now he is keeping a low profile.  I don’t know if I’m complaining about that or not.


dogs, grief, growing old, losing battles, memories, photography, responsibility


The vet tech had an explanation for it.  “It” being the fact that the dog I had brought in, the one that had required me to hoist her back end up off the floor every time she wanted to get up for the last 48 hours, was repeatedly getting herself up off the tile floor at the vet’s office yesterday.  It was because even though there were no other dogs there to witness her struggles, she still could smell them, and no dog wants to let herself be seen as the weakest one in the pack, so the adrenaline rush she was having was serving as a pain reliever.  Or so they said.  I had told myself that the thing I didn’t want to do was to take her in and spend a whole lot of money, knowing what the outcome was really going to be in the not so distant future, and knowing that my Zoe was going to suffer while I fought to justify my decision of what to do.  But in the vet’s office she looked like a different dog from the one I’d had at home.  Needing help getting up was relatively new, and while she had needed me to help her for a day or two recently, she had seemed to recover and I told myself that she had strained something and it was all better.  And the confusion in her face when she couldn’t get herself up was heartbreaking.  But she seemed to be in not so dire of a condition while we were there, so it was pain meds, joint supplements, and see her in two weeks.

Except once I got her home she was trying to not use her right back leg at all.  That she was in distress was obvious.  I brought the water bowl to her and she drank, but she wouldn’t eat.  She cried and wanted to get up, so I’d hoist her up, and then she’d stand there not knowing what she wanted to do next.  I thought about how I’d learned to help my mother, and then my husband, when they couldn’t get out of a chair.  I’d lean in and hug them to me, and use leverage to just lift them up.  It worked perfectly.  Not possible with Zoe, and I was already feeling the strain in my back from lifting her.  

I’m writing this at 4 AM while I listen to Zoe’s breathing.  She is finally asleep.  We have been up for hours, she was crying, it actually sounded like a low growl, and nothing I could do for her except sit with her and pet her seemed to help.  Sweet, easy-going Ozzie was determined to put himself between Zoe and me, so I had to put him in the bedroom before he hurt her, or me.  It was the pleading in her eyes that got to me.  Just like when it’s been raining for hours and the dogs want to go out, and they look at me  wondering why I’m letting it rain when they know that I’m in charge of the world and I could stop it if I wanted to.  Zoe’s eyes tell me that she is pleading with me to make it stop, not the rain, but the pain…4-26onelasttime

backyard visitors, birds, Cranes, live and learn, nature, photography

Sibling squabbles…

I was getting ready to go to a meeting, and, like any good dog owner would do I let them out first.  And then I got them right back in again because I had no idea that the cranes were right outside behind my neighbor’s house next door.  The dogs wouldn’t attempt any harm, but those cranes would have gotten upset.  And having the chicks so close was too good of a photo op to pass up, so I hurried up and got out there.  These five photos were taken in a span of 8 seconds according to the photo data.  I spent an awful lot of time watching the cranes last year, and never spotted an interaction like this one.  What really amused me was that Mom paid absolutely no attention at all.  Including the last picture that I would bet was one of them ratting the other one out, “Mom, he’s being mean to me!”


birds, bluebirds, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Bluebirds leave home…

My uncle says that photography is a lot like fishing, in that it involves a lot of patience.  He said that when I was out front of his house waiting to see the bluebirds feeding their young in the birdhouse.  And there I was exactly a week later hoping for one more photo op before they left home.  They had been going back and forth to the house all morning, I was told, but I wasn’t seeing any bluebirds at all, so of course I looked around and started panning for birds in flight, and got a turkey vulture.  And then I looked at the birds on the wires more closely.

There was a female cardinal, a Northern Mockingbird, actually several of them.  And lots of Great Crested Flycatchers also.4-23cardinal4-23mockingbird4-23yellowbird

And then I spotted a little bird on the carport of the house next door, and then another one in the grass.  I realized that these two were the baby Bluebirds, and it was upsetting to see them on the ground.  The little guy in the grass was able to fly out of sight.  He flew low to the ground, but he flew.  The other little guy kept trying to fly and going only a foot and landing on the ground again.  4-23bluebird4-23bluebirdchick2

Thankfully I spotted the adult Bluebird close by, and I had to hope that the parents would continue to feed this baby for as long as it takes for it to fly.  I hated to walk away but I felt that I couldn’t interfere.  Let Mother Nature take charge of the situation.  But it was hard to do…4-23mommy