a second look, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, butterflies, flowers, gardens, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

Bees and butterflies…

By the title you’d think that there were lots of bees and butterflies flitting around the botanical garden yesterday. I was in the area early enough to visit the garden and take some pictures before the afternoon rains would take over. But I had forgotten that the gardens get cut back in the spring and I found that the flowers were not lush and plentiful, and the bees and butterflies were even less so. Once I noticed this little bee I finally could start shooting. The afternoon rains that are predicted are wide spread enough to keep us close to home for a few more days it seems. I think I need to add some pollinator friendly plants in addition to the bird feeders in the back yard, for the environmental benefits yes, but for the photo ops of course.

It makes me especially happy when a nice yellow bee lands on a pretty purple flower.
Okay, not a bee or a butterfly, but the flowers were pretty.
If there was only one butterfly to be seen, isn’t it nice that it chose a flower that nicely matches it’s color?

I love this little garden. I used to pass it nearly every time I left my house when I lived in Spring Hill, and I stopped in quite often. Traffic came to a stop while we waited for a sand hill crane to cross the street yesterday also, another daily occurrence when I lived in the area. I’ve called a lot of places ‘home’ in my life, but I remember some more fondly than others…

a second look, adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

The Lake Apopa Wildlife Drive…

This is a one way drive through some very flat terrain, which I was a little disappointed to see the first time I visited here. When I first moved here it took me a while to get used to how flat all of Florida is. But as you see some wildlife you might like to photograph you can pull to the side of the road and let people pass you while you do your thing. Friends have told me that they felt rushed by the throngs of cars riding through, but this is my third or fourth trip and it’s never been too busy, and we’ve always had a very relaxed time. But be aware there is no shade, so in the heat of the day it might be brutal, but then you are back in your car for a break, so really not too bad. I wondered if going on a holiday weekend might be a mistake, but it was fine. And the weather, well, it couldn’t have been more perfect. We drove with the car windows down and a wonderful, cool breeze coming through. And a curious grackle landed at the open car window, but decided not to hitch a ride.

The tricolor heron that you see in the feature photo had me a bit concerned. He was flitting around, hunting in close proximity to that alligator that was sunning itself on the shore. But he eventually moved to a spot just behind the alligator and continued his flitting around. They hardly ever stay still for very long.

Ospreys enjoying lunch on the top of the posts were a common sight when we first arrived. We saw one suddenly dive into the water, but it didn’t come up with a fish that time. So the rest of our time there we paid attention to ospreys that were circling overhead, but we never did get the shot we hoped for.
Great blue herons were seen all along the road.
Sometimes almost too close to get a shot.
If I hadn’t had the surprise of red-wing blackbirds showing up at my feeders lately I would have been beside myself to see so many of them on the northern portion of the road.
I had to consult with Merlin to ask what this bird was, and the surprise answer was an immature green heron. I would never have guessed that.
These common gallinule chicks were cute, scampering over the rocks to keep up with Mom. I didn’t notice those feet in person!
Still another great blue heron, enjoying the day.
Of course there were dragonflies in the reeds.
I’ve been thinking I ought to get out early on a foggy morning, and see if I can find a pasture with cows and cattle egrets to photograph. There were no cows, and only the bank of the river, but still there were a few cattle egrets to see.
I liked seeing the cattails. They seem like a childhood memory to me, but I’m not sure from where exactly.
This was the only alligator we saw that was sunning himself with his mouth open. Unless he had told himself a joke.

I was told that people get most excited to see alligators when they come to the Florida parks. I know I take pictures of them, but they aren’t what I head out the door in hopes to see. We did see an interesting scene unfolding on this day though. A smaller alligator being followed by a bigger one, and that little(er) one was really swimming fast, as if he had spotted prey up ahead, or else he was the prey being chased by the alligator behind him. Whatever the issue was they disappeared behind us, so we’ll never know how it ended.

a second look, black and white, dragonflies, fun, in the neighborhood, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

At the pond…

Yesterday afternoon was hot, but the sky was pretty and rain was predicted so I decided to head to the pond to see what the dragonflies were up to. The landscape crew had apparently cut the grass recently, and they cut a lot of the reeds at the water’s edge also, so not so much for the dragonflies to land on. Plus I had taken the extender off the camera so these photos are cropped to a ridiculous degree. That’s when technology helps you out. The camera has a lot of megapixels, plus the new denoise feature in Lightroom helps a lot too. I appreciate a quick walk to the pond now and then when most of our photo ops require an hour’s drive, or more.

Okay, so this is basically what was going on. Dragonflies landing on sticks and holding on.
Sometimes they stand up a bit.
Looks like someone nibbled on this one’s wing.
Wow, orange dragonflies DO land once in a while.
Butt shot of the dragonfly but I liked the details on his perch.
I liked this black and white version of the feature photo. On Sunday we have a class on how to edit your black and white photos, so I’m jumping the gun.
'scene' along the way, a second look, friends, fun, Just do it, nature, perseverance, photography, sunset

Sunset in Dunedin…

This doesn’t really qualify as a photo op coming to me, which I always say that I love when that happens. But when we were heading home from our fun dinner with the photo group the other night we saw this sunset happening as we drove through Dunedin and we had to stop, if only for a few minutes. Funny how the meeting is always at 6, but I’ve also been known to take iPhone photos out the car window as we are driving to the meeting. Either way, it’s always a nice surprise…

I worried as we drove that we wouldn’t get to the parking lot at the harbor in time.
But we made it. Such a nice ending to the day.
a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, nesting, perseverance, photography

Mayhem at the rookery…

Maybe I exaggerate. No un-natural mayhem, just the ‘normal’ mayhem when mom shows up and her two ‘kids’, who are as big as she is, demand to be fed. I’m seeing pictures like this from all the photographers who stalk the photo ops in this area, but we aren’t all there at the same time. We don’t have to be, this particular mayhem occurs over and over again all day long. Poor mom, and so close to Mother’s Day.

Mom can only take so much. And when she exits to a higher branch the ‘babies’ are left wondering where they went wrong.
The tricolor heron babies have been a popular subject lately also.
Finding the tricolor babies is a lot easier when they do their ‘up periscope’ thing. I’m wondering how I never saw them before this year since this rookery is a fairly common stop for us.
You don’t always catch a glossy ibis out in the open when the sun can bring out his beautiful colors.
The natural frame around these wood storks was what got me to take this picture.
Woodstork chicks are some of the first, and noisiest chicks we see in the spring. But now it seems the mayhem in the trees, and the photographers on the shore, aren’t a cause for concern as this guy seems quite above it all.
a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, butterflies, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Fort DeSoto…

Of course you don’t have to travel to Fort DeSoto to see butterflies, but I haven’t seen many lately anywhere so when I do see them I’ll take their picture.

I don’t have a dedicated macro lens, and if I did I’d never have the patience to change lenses, and this butterfly wouldn’t have waited around for me anyhow. So I love my zoom lens that lets me get a picture on the fly.

What we really went to Fort DeSoto for was the chance to see birds that we don’t see in our usual stops. A heads-up from another visitor who lives nearby got us to a fountain, where we could sit in the shade and wait to see what birds would come for a visit. On the next bench were two ladies with binoculars who were exclaiming over a ‘blue grosbeak’, ‘Look at how blue he is,’ they said. Way off in the distance I could see the bird they were talking about, so I shot 15 or so pictures into the trees and hoped for the best.

I had to edit the one and only photo that actually had a bird in it to a fare-thee-well. And they were right, he really was blue. But I don’t know if I can claim to have seen a blue grosbeak, since I barely saw a flicker in the trees. Gotta love a zoom lens, and Lightroom…
We were so lucky to see a Nanday Parakeet up in a tree also. Again we have to thank the woman who says she lives only 5 miles from the park and visits twice a day. She pointed him out to us, but he was in silhouette and we had to take her word for it as to what it was. This was a first for me.
One of the piers is being worked on, but this one was open. I loved the two sets of egrets facing off on the rooftops. Kind of like the Sharks and the Jets.
We enjoyed the view from the pier.
I took the pop-up to Fort DeSoto a little over three years ago. I had heard that it was impossible to get a spot in the campground, so when three nights were available I took them. Then I discovered that the overnight temperatures were going to be in the 30s, so someone probably cancelled and left the opening for me. But it was great during the day. I rode the ferry to Egmont Key and saw this lighthouse up close during that visit. I wore two sweatshirts with both hoods up, and piled 4 throws over me to sleep. I love being toasty warm but breathing cold air, so it was great. Butin the morning getting into the open air showers at 30-something degrees was something else!
Is that a fin at the corner of this snowy’s mouth? I love to see the golden slippers.
This black and white plover was on East Beach, from which you can take a sunrise photo that includes the Sunshine Skyway bridge, provided you get there early enough.
Imagine the sun rising behind this bridge. The iconic picture is when you catch the sun rising centered in the tallest uprights. I haven’t managed to get that shot yet, but it doesn’t line up like that often. Maybe next time.