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.
a second look, adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Plan B plus…

Felts preserve was always part of our plan for the day on Friday. It’s only a half hour from the Celery Fields and neither stop was going to require a long walk, or scooter ride. We saw a hawk fly up onto a branch as we were arriving, but the resulting picture wasn’t great so I chose to make it the black and white feature photo. It was almost black and white all by itself. But it was disappointing to see that there was only one feeder filled, plus some seeds on the flat feeders. There were six squirrels scooping up the droppings, and one had managed to perch himself on an open feeder and he stayed put the whole time. Well, almost. Something happened to caused the squirrels and the birds to take cover…

I was here by myself a few years ago and I don’t remember this sign. Maybe it’s new.
There are trails for the adventurous to follow, but we chose the more direct route to the bird blind.
Surprisingly this was the only feeder with seeds. So the painted buntings have possibly moved on. I was thrilled with the lighting and thought this female cardinal looked great in the viewfinder in the camera. I couldn’t see her deformed bill until I put my pictures in the computer.
I was so pleased with this photo, but the beak breaks my heart. This is the second time I’ve gotten home and found that a cardinal I took pictures of had an issue with its beak. First one was from Circle B.
She gets along well with others however. And there was a male in attendance but I didn’t get a decent picture of him.
This red-bellied woodpecker was busy.
We saw the squirrels scatter, and this is the interloper who moseyed on in and wandered under the feeders, sniffing the ground and checking things out.
We had made it back to the car and were loading our cameras when this (same) hawk flew onto the top of a post that had me shooting straight up into the air. I’m surprised I got a picture all.
a second look, adventure, birds, bugs, butterflies, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Plan B…

‘Photography is like a box of chocolates’, to mis-quote Forrest Gump. You may go out knowing what shots you intend to take, but you might come home with entirely different shots altogether. We went to the Celery Fields on Friday, anticipating seeing all the birds on the feeders as we did last time. But not only were there no birds, but there were no feeders either. I guess a little research before you head out for a 90 minute drive would have been prudent. But as long as you get a few pictures it counts as a good day.

The birds were making a racket as we got out of the car. There was nothing to indicate that the feeders were absent. But instead there were Purple Martin houses up, and there was much chatter between the neighbors.
Such pretty birds.
We shake our heads over the huge apartment/condo buildings we see being built as we go about our business. In one case ten new (huge) buildings in addition to the ones already built and occupied. Perhaps single dwelling birdhouses aren’t the norm anymore either.
It seems that where there are flowers you will find butterflies.
And blue, um, bugs? Bee? I can’t decide.
Pollinator for sure.
He was busy.
Pink flowers too, he pollinates them all.
Watch out, he’s heading your way!
a second look, adventure, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, life goes on, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Figuring it out…

My trips to the rookery have been disappointing for a while now. Nests that I knew were there were tucked into the foliage, making them impossible to see. But I have now discovered the secret to seeing the chicks that were growing up in those nests. Just wait for them to grow up and leave home. Maybe they are teenager-equivalent now, and mom and dad are having trouble keeping them at home. So it was a couple of days ago that I ‘found’ them, sort of. We were there earlier in the day than we usually are, so maybe that’s another secret I figured out. It was a fun day at the rookery. That’s the snowy egret chicks in the feature photo, not hiding anymore.

Here are two of the snowy chicks, one tip-toeing to sneak up on some unsuspecting creature, and the other one feigning no interest in what was going on.
When I saw this snowy chick down beneath the nest at the water line I was afraid he’d fallen out of the nest. Could he get back up, I wondered? Then I saw that he was busy hunting bugs for lunch and I decided that he was fine.
I think that the black crowned night heron chick was a bit dazed and confused as he stumbled into the daylight.
He seems to have quite a nest tucked in there, lots of places to pop up and say peekaboo!
I think he is ready to find some lunch now.
I haven’t gotten a picture of a glossy ibis in quite a while. But this one flew down to the water right in front of me, and dipped his bill in for a drink.
That must have looked like a good idea to this Woodstork because he quickly followed suit. I guess they are drinking buddies.
The egret chicks were sounding off, loudly. Calling out to anyone who would listen I guess.
It seems like every year, no matter which rookery I visit, there are three nearly grown Woodstork ‘chicks’ standing at attention, quietly waiting to be fed? I call them the three amigos.
But nearby I spotted these two fuzzy headed cuties.
This log usually has an anhinga or two spreading its wings to dry. But on this day there were two romantic turtles whispering sweet nothings, or so I surmise!

The other new thing I noticed that day was the aroma. Not the most pleasant part of the day.

adventure, attention to detail, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, live and learn, perseverance, photography

Wildlife photography…

One thing about going to the zoo to take photos, you know you will come away with a lot of them, and hopefully some you really like a lot. And some of the photos you get might surprise you, like Flora, who posed for me in the feature photo.

Our day was winding down when we came upon the enclosure where owls are kept. This barred owl was one of three there.
This tiny screech owl was right up against the bars of his cage. And my lens zoom lens was too much to take anything but a close up. I love the detail in his feathers.
Near the alligator pond we saw two chicks, but I’m not sure what they are. Try-color herons maybe? Did they fledge? Fall out of the nest?
Someone was raising a ruckus from up above, and we could barely make out a nest and some agitated chicks. Is that where the chicks came from?
These babies were also up high, but keeping a low profile.
Maybe the fuss was because they thought that this alligator was sneaking up on the keepers.
Nope, it was feeding time. She taps on the concrete and the gators know to get into the water to get fed. Too close for comfort for me, but the male keeper was on his last day and wanted to feed the alligators before he left. That sounds like a be careful what you wish for to me.
We went to see the tiger on our way back to the car. He emerged from his cave but immediately settled in for a nap, which sounded like a good idea to us.
a second look, adventure, attention to detail, bucket list, exploring new places, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Cedar Waxwings…

I didn’t think they were there at first. I expected to see a whole flock of them sitting prettily on the mulberry branches. But movement in the trees caught my eye eventually, and yes, they were there, but flitting from place to place. It was a perfect day, 75 degrees, so standing in the sun wasn’t an issue, but the wind whipping those branches around certainly was an issue. I wish these pictures were better, but I’m glad to have had a chance to see them at all.

Tucked away but sitting still for a minute.
Then I found this one.
Snack time.
I almost edited out a red spot on one of my images, but now I see that it’s supposed to be there.
This tricolor looked like the king of the castle with so much hunting territory to himself.
Red-winged blackbirds aren’t commonly seen, so of course I had to take a shot or twelve of him.

We are so lucky to have such wonderful birds as permanent residents of the area, but we so enjoy the variety of birds that stop off on their yearly migration to escape the winter weather. I suppose that’s what most of us who live here have done also. We’re all birds of a feather.