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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.