'scene' along the way, adventure, brainstorms, bucket list, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, unintended images, weather

The Unexpected…

Upon arrival at the Merritt Island Visitors Center we stopped in for a map, and advice as to where to see the Painted Buntings and Spoonbills. I didn’t really have to ask because the volunteer there was already giving instructions to other new arrivals. But what he seemed most excited to talk about was the Space X launch that was scheduled for 1:13 PM that very day (last Thursday). Go to the beach he said, and stop at the 3rd parking area (I think), and if that is full go to the next and next for the best view of the launch. I didn’t want to be distracted from my mission of finally exploring Merritt Island, so we quickly stopped at the feeders there and then headed to Blackwater Drive. I was afraid to spend time waiting for the launch only to see it cancelled, but that was a silly concern on an absolutely perfect day. Over the last couple of days I’ve posted the pictures I took as we drove through the park, but as we drove I kept an eye on the time, and at about 1 PM I saw a place up ahead where we would have an unobstructed view to the east. But when I turned to look I was surprised to see the missile, so big, and right there! The sight came first, the sound came later.

I counted 75 pictures of the launch in my camera, all of them looking pretty much like this.
As it rose higher and higher I zoomed out to record what it actually looked like.
And then I zoomed in again to watch some more.

The timing of this trip had everything to do with the upcoming weather reports and absolutely nothing to do with rocket launches. But from now on if I think I’d like to go back I think I’ll check to see what’s happening at the Kennedy Space Center, and maybe I’ll decide to jockey for position to see the launch pad itself.

Obviously we had already had a lot of fun that day, but there was one more surprise photo op awaiting us as we drove back to the hotel. We found kite surfers at a beach along the road! On a Thursday afternoon when some of them anyhow should probably have been at work. I guess that perfect day with nice wind was just too much for them to resist. It looks like so much fun… for a few seconds and then I remember how old I am. So I take pictures…

This guy never stopped, just jumped into the air as he reversed direction and kept on going.
They jumped much higher in the sky than this photo shows.
I don’t think that the kite in the picture belongs to that skier. The skier and his own kite proved too far removed from each other for one photo.
They skied at the very edge of the water, making for fun photography.

That’s it for this trip to Merritt Island, I’ve come to the end of my photos. A very successful trip I thought. It won’t be our last…

The remnants of the space shot. I loved seeing this and then forgot to include it!
'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, blessings, bucket list, exploring new places, facing facts, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology


It was a toss up really. Which did I want to see more, Painted Buntings or Spoonies? This trip to Merritt Island was instigated by a gal I talked with when I was unsuccessfully shooting the eagles the other day. It was unsuccessful because I never saw the eaglets that day, but also because when I changed to my biggest lens I somehow upset the settings in the camera and had a hard time getting everything back to normal. As we talked about where to go and what to see she said that she saw ‘hundreds’ of Spoonies at Merritt Island a few weeks before. That statement was what sent me home determined to take a trip soon, like the next day! The fact that the weather was going to be absolutely perfect cemented the deal.

The Blackpoint Drive was the place to see them, stop #11, she said. And she was right! There they were, right on cue. Not hundreds, just a few. And once you are there and seeing them there is only a limited variety of poses that you can get. Standing there looking pretty, with a lovely reflection because you don’t seem to see them on land, is one pose. And the other pose is with their beak in the water, swishing back and forth. That’s about it, so I got a lot of identical shots. But the other shot I’ve seen online is with them flying, their feathers looking gorgeous in the sun. So I was torn when they took to the air, I was disappointed that they were leaving, but I kept shooting.

I couldn’t get over the deep red color on the wing. And what I assume is the ear hole (?) which sometimes shows prominently in the pictures.
As they swish their bill back and forth they unearth small snails, fish, insects, shrimp, crabs, and some plants. Shrimp is what causes their pink coloring.
In looking up their diet I discovered that there are 6 varieties of Spoonbills and they are common all over the world. But the Roseate Spoonbill is the odd ball due to it’s coloring.
I love the ruffled feathers in this shot.
Did I want him to leave? No, but I happily clicked the shutter as he took flight.
Pointed ‘toes’, graceful feathers…
Up, up, and away.
It was the end of the trail, and the next day we didn’t see them except in the distance.

It took me two days to get the courage to look at my spoonie shots. After shooting all day I realized that I hadn’t quite gotten my camera back to normal. It was shooting jpeg photos, not RAW, and I was worried that none of the shots would be decent. But what that really means is that the geniuses who create the algorithms that edit the photo as you take them know what they are doing. And there was nothing much for me to do except crop. Whew. Another adventure in Florida. At this moment I have no clue what’s next, but that’s okay, it’ll be a surprise to me too.