After singing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ to my grandson (age 20, and he’s the oldest of the little kids, as I’ve thought of them), I found myself 3 miles from Sunset Beach when it was time to head for home. The sky didn’t look promising but I drove over anyhow, and then nearly gave up when I found that I had to park way down the road and walk up to the beach.
I confess that I haven’t ever found an ice cream man at any other sunset stop I’ve made. That photo alone made me happy that I’d stopped for a little while. Then it was time to head home.
Saturday night’s sunset was gorgeous, what little I got to see of it. I ran out the door barefooted and took a picture with my phone. When that happens it always makes me want to head out for the sunrise the next morning, as if the color from the night before will somehow make the sunrise just as pretty. I didn’t work, at least the other ladies who happened to be at Bayport taking pictures were complaining that it wasn’t what they had hoped for. ‘Thank goodness for the full moon’, they said. I didn’t disagree, but at the last minute, once the sun was up, the sky did get pretty, and yes, thank goodness for that full moon.
It was obvious from the moment I pulled onto the parking lot that they weren’t going to be as busy at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday as I’ve come to expect them to be. But I had noticed that there was a big day of racing planned for the next day so I wasn’t that surprised. It meant for slightly less competition at the rail when it came time to try for photos, a boon for the shorter photographers among us. Namely me. This is one of the few photo walks from my group that is still happening in this pandemic, and I think it will happen only once more before the heat becomes too much and they stop racing for the summer.
Is it any wonder that those horses need to be hosed down after the race, as you see in the feature photo? There was a nice breeze blowing so those of us who spent most of the day standing in one place and talking didn’t get all that hot, but we didn’t quite last the whole day in the sun either, and headed home a little early. I wondered how much money was being won or last on a ‘slow’ day like this one seemed to be, then we heard a guy behind us declare that he’d just won over $700 on the last race. We checked the board and you only won $5 for every $2 bet, so you’ll have to do the math because it’s beyond me. Another nice day, probably nicer for that guy…
This park is just lovely, but I usually don’t stop to admire it’s green and shady peacefulness. My usual process is to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise and then head to the park to see the owls, and once I’ve gotten those pictures I’m ready to drive the hour home again. But I did take a few moments to take some pictures of the park the other day. I love the stonework of the retaining walls and the path that zig zags its way down the slope to the water. As I took the feature photo I saw a bird fly through my shot, you can see it just below the horizon line towards the right hand side of the photo. I thought to myself that I hoped it would look good in the shot, but what took me by surprise was the big splash I heard a second later. I thought it must have been a pelican since they aren’t graceful when they hit the water, but I was surprised to see an osprey with a fish flying up and away. You know I took pictures but they were all too blurry to bother with.
As I approached the car to go home I saw a photographer under a tree near my car, shooting up into the branches. There had been a group there earlier also, and I was told that there was a screech owl up in that tree. I have a hard enough time seeing the much larger great horned owls so I stuck to my guns and got my owlet shots, and then my shots of the park, so I made one last stop and discovered that the osprey had chosen that tree to stop and have his lunch.
Now I was ready to go home, but I stopped to talk with a woman who asked me about the owls. I walked her over to the spot where I had stood to take my pictures and couldn’t spot the owlets, or the mom, and the entire lighting seemed very different. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.
Thank goodness for sunrise reflections, because sometimes that’s all you get. That and a truck speeding through your shot when you are loving the birds on the wire against the pretty clouds. And another day begins…
Don’t ask me to explain why the color in the water is deeper than the color in the sky…
For someone who got up at 4 AM I’m not sure how I managed to be too late getting out of the house to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise. But my ulterior motive for going there was to see the owlets at Philippe Park again before they leave the nest, and it wasn’t too late to see them so off I went. As usual there were photographers busily clicking away, and soon I was too. The first of the owlets was in view, and his light coloring on top of his head allowed me to spot him pretty quickly.
I heard comments around me that indicated that there were two owlets there, but I couldn’t see a second one, not while I was taking the photos.
Mom was nearby and it took a lot more looking on my part for me to spot her. And is it any wonder? Nature is amazing, look how camouflaged she is! Crows were making pests out of themselves again today but for some reason it didn’t cause much commotion. The first owlet, however, did flap it’s wings and it moved over to the right where it was almost completely hidden by the Spanish moss. Maybe that left room for owlet #2 to pop up, and #3 was right there too. This was such a treat for me. I had heard that there were three in the nest, but I told myself to be happy to get shots of one at least. What a day!