And it begins…

We have a new crop of babies for 2022. I only saw wood stork chicks, and only in the two nests that were highest up in the shrubbery. Another photographer there said that those two nesting spots are the most prized, and the eggs laid there are always the first to hatch. I have no reason to doubt her.

I think these are the cutest little chicks.
They grow into such odd looking adults, but they start out cute at least.
Do I see a third chick?
Egrets are such elegant adults. Soon we’ll see their chicks, which I don’t find cute at all.
When I took this shot I thought I was looking at the little blue heron. My friend took the same pictures at the same time, but his looked more like a reddish egret. I checked on Merlin and it offered both as possibilities.
A pile of snowy egrets.
The supervisors.

I always have all my camera equipment in the car, or so I thought. I intended to use my bigger lens at the rookery, only I left the camera bag back at the house. Perhaps it’s just as well. Last year I stopped for pictures and then stood beside my car putting the camera away, and drove off leaving my heavy tripod I bought to go with the heavy lens behind. One of these days I’ll have to buy another one if I ever hope to use that lens again.

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You just never know…

The current obsession among the photographers here are the rookeries that we are lucky enough to have in our area. Nesting birds have been busy building nests, and sitting on eggs, and now we have the pay off in the first hatchlings of the season being captured by the camera. We were at a rookery yesterday, along with a few other photographers, and we happily clicked away as we saw little heads bobbing up and down. But on the way home, me as the passenger, and with the camera in my lap because I had been reviewing the photos to see if I got any decent pictures, I saw a hawk land on a post as we stopped for a red light. So I rolled the window down and got a couple of pictures, and then he took off. I didn’t see the lizard until I got the pictures into the computer. I went through the pictures in the camera and did find some ‘baby’ pictures to use, but when these last few pictures popped up I felt like these were the cherry on top. You just never know what’ll happen when you head out the door.

“Oh shoot,” I thought when I came to this picture, “I missed him.”
“Oh good.”
“All right!”
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Much ado in the gardens…

We were promised a weekend of perfect weather and that came true, but with spring break in full swing, an AirFest at McDill AFB for the first time in a couple of years, plus a Pride Parade, all happening in downtown Tampa on Saturday, we were worried about traffic. So we wimped out and the Florida Botanical Garden was our destination yesterday. There weren’t so many flowers, but the scenery was pretty.

Gorgeous weather, high 70’s and low humidity.
That must be perfect water lily weather because they looked like they were taking over the world.
It’s free to come here and sit quietly and read a book, which is what I saw people doing.
Okay, there were some flowers. Light Bulb Clerodendrum with a few pinwheel jasmine thrown in.
The bougainvillea are coming back from a cold couple of nights not long ago.
There were full trees of bush allamanda.
Yellow hibiscus. Yellow flowers took the day I think.
I love it when bumble bees land on purple flowers.
The lilies were so pretty that I just had to take their picture along the water, but even as I took the picture I knew they really wouldn’t show up.
A cardinal serenaded us.
Mama alligator, which I might have ignored if people hadn’t been excited to see her babies. I know I’ve been pouting about not seeing babies/chicks lately, but these babies aren’t the ones I’ve been looking for. I suppose their mother thinks they are cute.
People said their were three little ones, I only saw two.
Here she is from an overlook on the other side of the water. A couple were there looking down into the water, so I pointed her out across the way. “Oh”, they said. “That’s where she moved to. She must have had 65 babies right underneath the overlook the other day.” They were disappointed to hear that there were only three of them.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
You might choose to peek through this pretty opening into the wedding garden. We had seen chairs being put into place earlier. But we arrived just in time to see the ring bearer run back to where he came from, and then get picked up by the man who eventually walked the bride down the aisle and deposited into his seat. I wasn’t ready to capture that moment.
I was ready for this one though. The first flower girl dutifully throwing flower petals, and the little one racing up behind her wailing away.
Then came the bride, who wore a smile almost as big as her dress, which drew oohs and ahhs from our little group of wedding crashers in the doorway. She was followed closely by the photographer who was being paid to take pictures. I think the kids had calmed down by this time.
And she joins her groom. If you are wondering about the pattern on her escort’s jacket you are not alone. I can’t figure it out.

Maybe my title of Much Ados in the Gardens should have read much ‘I dos.’ As things do tend to happen, you just never know exactly what you’ll get when you head out to go shooting. So just keep heading out the door, and be sure to take your camera.

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Walking around the block

I knew I’d see more spectacular sunrise colors from the coastline posted on Facebook yesterday. Further inland the horizon is hidden in the trees and behind houses, and the color doesn’t usually get as intense. But the iPhone does pick up the color that’s there, and a little dehaze in Lightroom helps too. It’s nice to just walk around the block to see what you can see…

A little color
A different perspective.
The moon was there too.
Only a few ducks were keeping me company.

Wordle has me stumped this morning, so I looked at the pictures I took yesterday morning and decided they were nicer than I realized. Soon I can take another walk around the block and see what today’s sunrise might be. Maybe the elusive word will come to me…

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We made a special trip to the rookery the other day, sure that at least a few of the chicks would have hatched, and we were looking forward to seeing them. But we didn’t see any chicks this visit either, and I didn’t have the best attitude as I walked around and took pictures. Sometimes I forget that the point is to see what’s there and not try to second guess things ahead of time.

These big birds can look so odd perched in what looks like just twigs up high at the tip-tops of the trees.
Overhead the grackles kept chattering away.
Not to be outdone the ibis perched also.
On the shrubbery below were enough snowy egrets for us to be sure they are nesting. More chicks to look forward to.
Along the shore a little blue heron came so close to me that I couldn’t get his feet in my shot.
Tri-color herons are nesting here too.
There are lots of egrets just sitting on their nests, but some are still building that perfect nest to raise a family.
One must remember to put their best foot forward at all times.
I was amazed to see a wood stork taking a bath the other day. Now I see they are a very well groomed species of bird.
A circle in a square.
At least there is hope, I see eggs in that nest.

To be honest I was pouting to myself as I walked back to the car to put my tripod inside. But then I heard a noise. A rat-a-tat-tat that meant a woodpecker was nearby. I expected a more common little downey woodpecker, but I found a pileated woodpecker and got quite excited because they aren’t so common to see. I will always check to see what’s going on in the trees across from the rookery from now on. But when I looked at my pictures I was disappointed because all the pictures were blurry, that head of his was never still. But I did get one shot, which kind of saved the day for me.

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Mouthing Off…

My computer is back on my desk after nearly a week in the care of the Apple geniuses. For the first time in what seems like longer than a week I began to write this post on my computer, and was startled to see that the last post I made was my 1300th post. That’s seems like a lot of mouthing off on my part in the nearly 4 years since I took the class on ‘How To Write a Blog.’ At the end of that class the framework of the blog was in place, and the rest is history. I told myself not to start writing, I told myself that I’d run out of things to talk about in a week or two, and I was sure I’d regret starting at all. But I did, and I haven’t regretted it. Thank you to those friends who read it, and thank you to the people I will probably never meet who also read it. I love the connection I feel as a result of taking this leap. It’s been therapy for me these last few years. I’m not sure I’d be in this same place if I’d never have begun this journey.

We decided to go see the eagles the other day. We wanted to see the juvenile eagles before they flew the coop, and it also was a good excuse to ride our bikes on the not-so-busy trail that passes right by the nest. We found Mom and Dad at the nest, but didn’t see the babies. It seems as if Mom was also mouthing off as we started down the trail.
We took a different path this time, and found that the path we expected would lead to a trail actually led to a very long boardwalk.
And the boardwalk dead-ended at a small beach. It was a pretty day, wonderful to be outside.
When we passed by the nest on our return trip we were happy to see the juvenile eagles. This one was fairly hard to spot, blending into the color and texture of the bark of the tree.
The second one was more in the open, but in the shadows a bit.
One adult was along side them in the nest tree. Keeping an eye on things. I forgot to keep track of how many miles we traveled that day, but we have 40 miles total on the bike.
We stopped by the owls on the way home and failed to see the babies, two of whom are still doing well under Dad’s care. The largest owlet and the mother owl died from rat poison, and there was much fear over what would become of the other two owlets. In reality we failed to see the Dad also. This picture was taken with my camera but by a young man who was attempting to point out the dad. He thought the picture would show us where he was, out in plain sight. Just not our sight.

Mouthing Off may not have been the best title for this post, but Typing Off wouldn’t have made much sense…