'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, foggy sky, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, technology

Eagle watch…

The thing of it is, when you know of an eagle nest that you can visit you have a short window of watching the eaglets as they are being raised.  So after my errands I went to check the nest yesterday and then had to delete all my photos.  Late in the day the light is behind them leaving them in silhouette, which meant that today I would be sure to go early.  There were a few photographers watching this morning, all of us arriving by 8 AM, and then we waited.  One eagle was in the tree above the nest and we were anticipating the second eagle arriving with breakfast.  Eventually an osprey started the action.01-29ospreywithfish

Not this one, this one showed up later and tempted fate by flying over the nest with it’s fish in it’s talons.  No, the first one perched up the street on a snag and the eagle in the tree took off to chase it off.  But the eagle didn’t give chase, he/she perched in a tree that gave us a nice view of him as well as the nest.  And we waited.01-29-20waitingeagle.jpg01-29-20waitingeagleyawn.jpg

Even the eagle was bored enough to yawn.  Finally this eagle took off and we all were excited for when it would return and we would see the babies.  So we waited some more and sure enough, he/she eventually returned.01-29-20flyingeagle2.jpg01-29-20chick#1.jpg01-29-20momand#1.jpg01-29-20momand#2.jpg

Even the elusive second chick put in an appearance.  But the two of them are like whack a mole, when one’s head is up the other one is down.  But we saw them both stretching their wings.  Way more wing spread than I would have assumed.01-29babywings.jpg01-29-20chick#2wings.jpg01-29-20chick#2.jpg

Here they are, both in the same shot, even if the eaglet who is usually much more visible took this moment to be looking the other way.  The clouds rolled in the longer we waited.  A far cry from the nice blue sky and puffy clouds when we first arrived.  Photography may get me out of the house, but it doesn’t offer much exercise when you spend a couple of hours standing in one place waiting for something to happen.  Not that I’m complaining.  And I have to admit that I have learned to stop expecting a bird that I see in the sky, soaring on the wind currents, to be an eagle.  Whenever I do see an eagle in flight it seems that the are focused on someone, flying with a purpose in mind.  01-29-20flyingclose01-29-20flyingclose.jpg

'scene' along the way, a second look, cats, foggy sky, moments, perseverance, photography, sunrise


Aripeka again.  I approach from the south these days, which means that the first bridge I get to is the one I failed to realize was there for quite a long time.  Even on a day that didn’t turn out to be so pretty, as the sun comes up it lights up the faces of the houses even when the sky isn’t as dramatic.

01-28-20to thewest.jpg01-28-20daybreakfeature

This little bait shop always catches my eye when I arrive at what’s now the second bridge.  It isn’t always as well lit as it was today, and that lighting is what drew me over to take a picture as soon as I got there.  I didn’t see the kitty until I was getting the camera ready and I was sure he’d move before I got the shot.  How nice of him to stay put.01-28-20aripekakitty.jpg

And a little color in the sky before I left.  The sun was rising too far to the right of my view for the best color.  I found better color on the way home with no way to stop for a photo, but that’s okay.  Tomorrow is another day…01-28-20throughthefronds.jpg

adventure, Camping, Florida landmarks, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, nature, pelicans, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends

Egmont Key

Thursday of my silly little, chilly little, spur-of-the-moment trip to Fort DeSoto was the day with the promise of the best weather.  So when I saw that a ferry trip to Egmont Key was available from the park I decided that Thursday would be the day I would go.  We had a pelican keeping us company as we waited to board the ferry, and I couldn’t resist taking yet another picture of the Egmont Light, even though I knew I’d see it up close in just a little while.unnamedunnamed-1

We landed right at the weather-worn lighthouse, and we were told to take the trail to the beach across the island, and that we should be sure to see the ghost town also.unnamed-2.jpgunnamed-3.jpgunnamed-4.jpgunnamed-20.jpgunnamed-6.jpgunnamed-16.jpg

The day was warm and sunny, a nice change, and a nice day to walk on the beach.  While I was preoccupied with taking pictures of the birds and shells my fellow travelers were finding sand dollars and shark teeth.unnamed-7.jpgunnamed-9.jpgunnamed-10.jpg0-6.jpegunnamed-15.jpg

The ghost town turned out to be ruins of defenses constructed to defend Florida during the Spanish American war. unnamed-5.jpgunnamed-17.jpgunnamed-18.jpgunnamed-19.jpg

And ruins on the beach too.unnamed-8.jpgunnamed-13.jpgunnamed-12.jpgunnamed-14.jpg

In just two hours it was time to head back to the park, bringing our treasures, and pictures, and memories with us.unnamed-21.jpgunnamed-11.jpg

I have a friend that we tease with ‘butt shots’, so I made it a point to take this photo of the Willets on the beach.  Little did I know that it would be my best photo of them.unnamed-22.jpg

Even with the chilly weather this was a fun trip.  I didn’t know a soul when I arrived at the park, but there were four people to give me a hug goodbye.  Everything I heard about camping and campers has proven to be true.  I wonder where I’ll end up next?


'scene' along the way, a second look, Camping, foggy sky, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Second sunrise…

Thursday was my last day at Fort DeSoto, and even though I’d enjoyed an amazing sunrise there on Tuesday I headed there again.  Or maybe it was because that sunrise had been so pretty that I hoped I’d see another one as nice, or maybe even better.  And when I arrived I was excited to see the bridge lit in red this time, but the low fog was rolling in and in minutes it washed out the bridge and the whole sky was more gray than anything else.  The feature photo was taken at 6:28 AM.  Ten minutes later we had this…0.jpeg

And at 6:490-3.jpeg

At 7:08…0-4.jpeg

And at 7:12…0-2.jpeg

These are all iPhone photos, pretty much straight out of the camera.  I wanted to see as much of that sky as I could because the entire sky looked like this as far as I could see.  I never did see the sun at all that morning, and I could barely see the bridge as the sunrise progressed and that fog took over.  It wasn’t the sunrise I’d hoped for, but I have to say that that sky was incredible.  I think Forrest Gump was onto something.  Sunrises are also like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.



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Happy endings…

Waking up in a camper with no heat on the coldest morning in 7 years wasn’t as bad as it sounds.  The heated mattress had kept me cosy all night, and I plugged in the ceramic heater (with only one available plug-in at a time it was a deliberate choice) as soon as I woke up.  I left for the day intending to take the feature photo, the line-up of rental kayaks and canoes at the (closed) rental shop.  There has been very little activity here these last cold days.  And that probably explains why the campground that is normally booked up months in advance seems to have a lot of empty slots available.  

Then it was on to the actual fort which lent it’s name to Fort DeSoto State Park.  The sign explains the significance, and all that information was news to me.1-22-20forthistory1-22-20hikerguy1-22-20ruinsfromabove1-22-20beachruins

There is a raised walkway with a view which I may have missed if I hadn’t noticed a creature with a very, very long tail enjoying lunch in a very sparse tree.  No, not an escaped monkey from the zoo, which from a distance was my first thought, but a squirrel.  Not seemingly too different from your general, run-of-the-mill-squirrel, other than it’s tail.1-22-20squirrel11-22-20squirrel21-22-20barge1-22-20northbeachshop1-22-20edgemontkeylight1-22-20pinkflower

The day before Joe had been working at the snack bar at the campground when I wandered in and asked him what was on the menu.  Nothing, was his reply since it was close to closing time.  But come and see me tomorrow at the Gulf Pier and I’ll make you some grouper.  I’d been eating the almonds, clementines, apples, and animal crackers that I’d brought from home so that sounded divine.  You can sit outside on a stool and enjoy the sun and the view while you eat, was his further comment, which at that point didn’t sound like a good idea at all.  But on this new day by lunch time the sun felt great, and some nice grouper outside was enticing.  And delicious.  Up on a nearby pole I saw an osprey eating a fish and wondered it he also was enjoying grouper.  And as I sat there I half expected an osprey to swoop down and steal my lunch.  The sky was full of them.  But I didn’t have to share and it was great.1-22-20grouper1-22-20ospreywithfish

While I was at the Gulf Pier I had noticed an empty dog crate, and the posted information with it was all about what to do if you catch a bird with a fish hook, and how to take care of it so that it can be rescued and recover from any wounds.  I didn’t expect to see this situation in action so quickly, but I had moved on to the Bay Pier just in time to see a rescuer leaving the pier with a wounded pelican.  She said that the pelican had caught a fish and hook as the fisherman reeled it in, just as I recently saw happen back home in Aripeka, but in this case the fisherman got the hook out and the bird just needed to have it’s wound heal.  And to be fattened up.  She said that the young pelicans are starving because these cold temperatures have driven the fish into deeper waters and food hasn’t been as plentiful for them.  I was glad to see this pelican have a chance for a good outcome from his adventures.1-22-20birdrescue1-22-20pelicanrescue

I love a happy ending, and didn’t know that there was one in store for me too.  A chance conversation with fellow campers not only got my electrical issue fixed, but I was also assured that when I leave on Friday I will be able to make the turn onto the one-way road with the trailer in tow and it would would clear the surrounding trees just fine.  Yes, happy endings all around!

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The power of suggestion…

It was the power of suggestion that got me.  When I got here to Fort DeSoto campgrounds I told the ranger that I’d seen pictures of owls and eagles that were taken here in the park.  He suggested that my best bet for either bird would be the Arrowhead area.  Take the nature trails he said, so I headed there the next day.  A self-guiding nature trail, what could possibly go wrong with that, I asked myself.  And there were lots of signs, signs announcing what flora you might be seeing, like the long needled pine trees who’s needles were carpeting the trail I was on.  Or the Cabbage palms that seemed to be everywhere.  I wanted to see the Prickly Pear cactus because I liked the name and the flower, but didn’t notice any cactus anywhere. 1-21-20longneedlepine1-21-20cabbagepalm1-21-20cactussign

Signs saying ‘trail’, and with an arrow, pointed the way.  One of the last signs I noticed was one announcing that the fauna lining the trail at that point was mostly Poison Ivy!  Not good news.  But still I walked, and walked, and then realized that I hadn’t seen any signs for a long while.  No signs announcing the wildlife or plants, and most alarming, no signs pointing the way.  And it was about then that I realized that my left leg was really itchy.  So I scratched, and walked some more, and the trail seemed to be becoming narrower, and narrower still. 

1-21-20intothewoods1-21-20intothewoods1 I then decided that maybe retracing my steps was probably a good idea.  I saw no eagles, or owls, or people, on the walk, and eventually my leg stopped itching.  But as I drove away I did finally find the water and stopped for pictures.


On the way back to the campgrounds I decided that I should stop at North Beach.  I had stopped there for the sunset on the first night here, and found pounding surf and a fishing pier.  But North Beach had been named one of the best beaches in the country more than once, and it got top honors a couple of years ago.  So I wanted to see the actual beach that had inspired such rave reviews.  But in this cold weather it was empty.  Totally empty.  I would have loved to have seen rows of colorful umbrellas, and children chasing the waves in and out.  If I had seen them I might have wished to see less people, wished to see the scene as nature had created it.  I will visit again another time, and maybe the weather will be warmer.  Beach weather.  That would be nice.1-21-20northbeach11-21-20northbeach2