backyard visitors, birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Don’t take it personally…

Or at least I try not to take it personally, but this is my most common view of the crane family lately.6-9timestwo4As soon as I realize they are out back and head out with the camera they leave.  Last year I felt almost smug about the way that that crane family didn’t seem to mind me watching them at all.  And that includes the dogs, they didn’t seem to pay any attention to Ozzie and Zoe last year either.  And, like the chickens who visit the yard periodically, the dogs weren’t noticing the cranes either.  But the two colts this year seem to stick close to Mom and Dad, except when I go out with the camera and the colts lead the charge away from the yard.  And one of the adults hangs back to monitor things while they make their get away.  Last year when I was leaving work for the day I’d get teased that I was going home to stalk the cranes.  And that was exactly what I did, so it’s amazing to me how little attention I’ve paid to them this year.  And that they haven’t seemed to require my supervision.  They are doing perfectly well without me.

6-9timestwo36-9timestwo26-9timestwo

backyard visitors, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Frequent flier…

There has been a frequent flier at the lake lately.  That’s what I call the hawk that is out on the post all the time lately.  I really mean all the time, including in the torrential rain.  I have to wonder if the animals find the weather as much of an annoyance as we do.  He was out there on the post as if there was nothing unusual  about the weather at all.6-1hawkintherainI came back from the sunrise to find that the cranes were still out back on the lake, I would have expected them to be gone by then.  And as I went out and set out to take pictures I saw that the cranes were out there, but on a smaller post very near the cranes was the hawk.  It was a surprise, and I wondered if I should be alarmed.  The cranes weren’t worried though.  They just continued on their way, and it was the hawk who blinked, I mean took off.  The cranes seem to be king of the hill out there.6-1flapper6-1crossing26-1cranes and hawk26-1cranesandhawkAnd the Common Gallinule chicks I’ve been attempting to photograph were finally out in the open, eating bread if truth be told.  I wasn’t feeding them though.  I will look up what is healthy to feed the birds if a person feels the need to feed them.6-1gallinule2.jpgAnd the answer was frozen peas, but thawed, and corn, fresh, frozen, or canned.  Who knew?

backyard visitors, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, neighbors, photography, squirrels, technology

And then there were two…

My plan was to edit the above photo a little differently, because last night when I took it I was brokenhearted to see Mama Sandhill crane returning to the nest with just one colt.  I was out there with the camera because I had just seen the other adult flying in, and he landed on my side of the lake.  I thought he had joined the family, but they weren’t there, then I saw the other adult and one baby.  Try as I might I never saw a second colt last night.  It wasn’t until I looked at this photo this morning that I saw him.  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Whew.

My neighbor must have better eyesight than I do because she thought she saw a second one, but then we got distracted because she started calling her squirrel.  Yes, you read that right.  I happened to be heading out with both dogs a while back when her daughter pulled up out front and wanted me to see the three baby squirrels she was bringing to her mom’s house.  Over time I forgot all about that, but I got the rest of the story last night.  Two of the babies disappeared when they got bigger, but one, which has been named Rosie by her granddaughter, now has a little house within the pool screen.  And she has access to the outside through an opening in the screen made just for her.  So she is free, but comes back to her house at night, and will come when she is called.  Even with the dogs out there, all acting jealous because my neighbor was calling the squirrel, Rosie still raced around through the branches and eventually came down to get petted.  And I have proof…5-29rosie55-29rosie45-29rosie15-29rosie35-29rosie2That Rosie was loving her heavy petting session was obvious.  What she wasn’t appreciating so much was the camera clicking away in her face, so I left them to enjoy their moment…

backyard visitors, birds, Cranes, ducks, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Severe weather alert…

I didn’t start work until 9 AM yesterday, enough extra time in the morning for me to notice a hawk on the post out back and head out with the camera.  The hawk had taken off, but there was a black and white bird out there that didn’t look familiar.  Merlin said it was a Merganser, which I thought were all black, but the info said that they can be anything from all white to all black.  I guess it’s that fleshy orange nose piece that sets them apart.  It was a pretty bird though, another one I didn’t think I’d seen before.5-15muscovy5-15muscovy2

By the time I finished work I had a severe weather alert on my phone when I picked it up to head home.  But that message goes away when you unlock the phone and I seldom look to see what exactly we might expect as far as severe weather goes.  And that’s because it (almost) never materializes.  Like the boy that cried wolf, those messages are easily ignored, and yesterday was no exception.  Apologies to anyone who really did have some ‘weather’ yesterday, I realize that my view of the world is rather limited.  (Fast forward to Weds. morning and I see that all my northern friends and relatives had much worse weather than we did.  Hoping all are well.)

Perhaps the Sandhill cranes pay more attention to the weather than I do, because I was surprised to see them on a lawn as I drove through the neighborhood heading home.  I took some iPhone photos and headed home thinking they’d soon be out on the lake, coming back earlier because of the weather.  I was hearing thunder by then.  The hawk was back on the post, just as he had been that morning.  And one of the adult cranes took exception to that Merganser and chased him off.  Nice when the photo ops come to you on a severe weather alert sort of day.5-15colts15-15colts25-15colts45-15hawk

backyard visitors, birds, dragonflies, learning, nature, perseverance, photography, technology

Performing on cue…

Yesterday I had two photographer friends over to show them what I know about creating an HDR image in Lightroom.  I can get the photo to be an HDR, but it will be up to them to do the editing which will make it an outstanding photo.  I don’t claim to have that knowledge, but I could get them started at least.  Or they could rely on another program like EasyHDR as I like to do.  Shortcuts, I love a good shortcut.

But what was especially fun for me was that the cranes showed up on cue.  We had set the timing in hopes of them being able to see the Sandhill crane colts as they return to the nest.  And they did, along with all the usual suspects out there.  The Little Blue Heron, the Tri-color Heron, the Glossy Ibis, a fly over by a hawk and several Swallow-tail Kites.  Even the ducklings, they were all there.  They made me proud!  Even Ozzie was his charming self, if a little slobbery.

But I didn’t get any pictures since I lent my tripod to my friend.  I attempted to use the big lens plus extender hand held, but those images would make you sea-sick.  Maybe because I missed out yesterday I went out when I saw a hawk on the post out there just now, and caught a couple of dragonflies too.  5-8dragonfly35-8dragonfly25-8dragonfly15-8dragonflyface.jpg

And another image of the Glossy Ibis when I was using the tripod earlier yesterday.  You can see the iridescence of the feathers.  And I hadn’t seen the blue detailing at the eye before either.  Beautiful bird, I wonder what has made him decide to visit now?  5-8glossyibis

backyard visitors, birds, ducks, Florida wildlife, home, Ibis, life goes on, nature, photography, Tricolored heron

Glossy Ibis, a newcomer…

When you let Ozzie out and the ducklings are right out back it’s hard to resist going back in for your camera.  And as you watch you spot a dark bird on the far side of the lake and take some photos of him also, and try to figure out what exactly he is.5-5glossyibis2

My first thought was Glossy Ibis because his back shone iridescent in the sunlight, and I was right, but I didn’t realize how red their heads can be.  Another bird I hadn’t seen on the lake before.  It took a while to notice the Tri-color Heron out there.5-5tri-color

But it was the ducklings that Ozzie and I mostly enjoyed.  And you see how terrified of Ozzie they were.  5-5oxandducks25-5ducklings15-5ducklings2

My efforts to see the cranes as they leave in the morning have backfired.  Oh I see them as they crest the hill and come into view…5-4cranes2

But each time I’ve been waiting for them they haven’t continued onto the pond behind mine, and I suspect that it was my presence that sent them scurrying up the street.  And, sure enough, I walked Ozzie this morning the cranes were at that pond, and probably had been there a while enjoying it since it was well after sunrise.  As much as I like to get nice photos I really don’t want to disturb them so I guess I’ll try to resist stalking them.

 

And when you are out back watching duckling and other creatures it can almost be a surprise to see the crane family returning after their day’s adventures.  Another day drawing to a close…5-5cranesreturn