backyard visitors, Florida wildlife, moments, nature, neighbors, perseverance, photography, turtles

The interloper…

I heard the ping as a text came in, and discovered that there was a soft-shell turtle in my neighbor’s pool.  So of course I grabbled my camera and headed out the back door.  When my neighbor heard my screen door slam she called for me to help her.  But it was more fun to take pictures.11-26interloper111-26interloperfeature1

He was a speedy little thing.  Catching him looked easy, so Sue’s husband took over and he also found out that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. But he was caught eventually.  I just hope Sue doesn’t have to try to catch anything smaller than him with that net.11-26interloper2These are snapping turtles, see how he has the net?  I’m sure he’d love to chomp on Sue’s finger too.

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11-26interloper4She told me to get ready, that he’d make a bee line for the lake, but that didn’t happen.  It took persuasion to send him on his way.  And one last photo of Wilbur, in case you were wondering how he’s been doing.  Of course things are usually a lot less exciting, but I have loved living next door, having a front row seat so to speak.  Lots of fun without the responsibility.  Sue doesn’t acquire her menagerie, often they are deposited at the doorstep by her daughter, but sometimes they just wander in on their own.  She says I’ll miss all the lakeside drama, and she is right…11-26Wilbur

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

In the backyard…

I will miss my backyard.  Not the mowing, but the wildlife that frequent it.  The activity out there seems to be increasing lately.  When I saw the first Tri-color Heron in a long while I went in for my camera.  They are so pretty, and they flit as they hunt so they usually provide nice action shots.  This one, however, never made it out of the weeds.  Whenever his head popped up out there I thought of all the TV shows of my youth when they declared, “Up periscope.”  But since this one wasn’t up to much I turned my attention to the Little Blue Heron who is always out there.  11-21littleblue11-21littleblue211-21littleblue3He flew in close and I was in hopes of seeing him catch a nice fat frog, but instead he flew off all of a sudden and flushed out a bird I don’t think I’ve ever seen in the back yard.  A Kingfisher, who posed for just a few photos and then flew off.  I loved his hairdo!  11-21kingfisher11-21kingfisher211-21kingfisher3And the last of the backyard visitors that day was this Eastern Phoebe, who thoughtfully landed on a branch in a nice patch of sunshine. Yes, I’ll miss my backyard, but there are photo ops everywhere and places to go and people to meet…11-21phoebe211-21phoebe3

a second look, backyard visitors, bugs, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Hummingbird moth…

You are not only going to have to indulge me a little with this post, but you’ll have to use your imagination also.  There I was, just heading out with Ozzie to check the mail and something caught my eye.  I see enough posts of birds and insects that when I saw this creature I knew instantly what it was, and that when I see posts about them people are quite excited to see them.  So I was excited, but didn’t have a camera with me, or even the phone.  I know Ozzie thinks I’m nuts when I suddenly make a mad dash into the house, but he’s used to me.  Lately I’ve been less than successful with what I have thought to be my easy, and unbeatable, iPhone technique to catch butterflies.  Lock your focus in on a flower about three feet from your camera, then chase the butterflies around shooting bursts.  I get a LOT of photos that way, but usually some are usable.  But this moth was as hard to capture as an actual hummingbird.  He zoomed frantically around the flowers, his wings especially never stopped moving, and he liked to hide in the depths of the plumbago.  At best these photos only prove that yes, I did see what I thought I saw.  And you know what, most of the images of these things that I’ve seen online aren’t a lot sharper.  So these are as good as it gets.8-4moth58-4moth48-4moth38-4moth28-4moth1

Of course I googled them and they appear in warm climates and like honeysuckle type flowers.  Excuse me while I go check the honeysuckle growing on my neighbor’s shed…

a second look, backyard visitors, home, life goes on, nature, photography, sky, sunset

Home on the Nature Coast…

Maybe it’s all the driving I’ve done lately, but since I’ve been back in Florida I’m having trouble catching up mentally with where I am physically.  While I was in New England I said I was ‘home’, and I was home, back to where the kid in me feels restored to the surface.  Now I’m home in Florida, but is it home?  Not sure anymore.  What struck me as I drove up to the house for the first time in six weeks was that everyone’s lawns were so green!  A sure sign that we had a lot of rain while I was gone.  It rained all day my first day back also, so I went out back when I saw some birds milling around once the rain had let up.  The ducklings!  I was glad to see them, five surviving.  And I caught up with my neighbors who said that there is only one Crane colt now, no one knows what happened to the other one. 7-28colt.jpg

With the clouds breaking up the sky looked promising, so I drove to Aripeka, the shortest possible sunset drive, and liked the light on the houses at my first stop, but the sunset itself didn’t look like it would be the best view.7-28aripeka3

So I went to the little spot I’d noticed before, right on a bend of the road that feels a little scary as people take the curve a little too fast.  There isn’t much opportunity to vary your shot, but I love this view.  And the colors built, and then extinguished themselves like a candle flickering out.  I’m back…7-28aripekasunset27-28aripeka47-28aripekasunset1

backyard visitors, birds, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Hummingbirds…

My first photography instruction was on photographing birds.  Alice, the teacher, said that if you just stake out a spot and stay still the birds will eventually not mind you being there and go about their business.  Sure enough, that’s what happened that day.  And it happened in Kathy’s yard yesterday when I staked out her hummingbird feeder to see if I could get a good picture.  Those little birds are fast, and at first they would zoom away as soon as I clicked the shutter.  Maybe they got extra hungry, but eventually they stuck around long enough for me to at least try to capture them.  It wasn’t easy.  I’d try to blame the camera for not being able to shoot more exposures per second, or the tripod for not being sturdy enough, or even the birds for their frantic ways, but I have to admit that it was me.  But the beauty of this open-ended trip is that there is always tomorrow…7-12hummer17-12hummer27-12hummer37-12hummer47-12hummer5