'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, blessings, Florida landmarks, life goes on, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Day two dawns…

I checked the weather app on my phone, and when I saw that it was 61 degrees and clear I knew I’d head out to the park for sunrise.. It was overcast all day yesterday, day one after the hurricane came through, and I thought there would be a good potential for a really great sunrise, but when I got to the park and saw the heavy dark clouds I wasn’t so sure.

What I imagine when the app says that it’s ‘clear’ out isn’t what I found. But the mere thought that it was ‘sweater weather’ would have gotten me out regardless.
I was still feeling optimistic at this point.
This was as nice as the sunrise got this morning.
Heading for home there was no mistaking that shape at the top of the light post.
He stayed put for a photo or two, but when I tried to walk around to see him head-on he flew off.

When I got to the park and sat down on the bench I was greeted by mosquitos that seemed all too happy to see me. I was less happy to see, and swat, them. Day two after the hurricane, and the photos of the devastation south of us are heart breaking. The most I have seen in my area are some small sections of fencing down. Now anticipating another landfall in Charleston, I have to hope that they also are spared.

attitude adjustments, birds, blessings, coping, ducks, facing facts, friends, perseverance, photography, storms, sunrise, weather

A new attitude…

It may look as if it was the same sunrise that I’ve seen three days in a row now. No clouds to really pick up the color, it just sort of faded away. And the little birds that I’d tried to shoot the day before didn’t show up, though some of the usual suspects were there. So you might think it was a disappointing morning, but it wasn’t. Because last night I finally got my car back from the shop. And it looks, and even smells, like a brand new car! I had intended to clean it before I brought it in but I didn’t get around to it, and now I’m glad I didn’t bother. The hold up was the replacement shutter that cools the engine. You wire it one way or another depending on the build date of the car, information that would have been helpful to include with the new part, but it wasn’t. So anyhow, this morning may look the same, but I have had an attitude adjustment now that I have wheels! I confess that I was getting a bit pouty as time wore on. My chauffeur is off the hook. I got no attitude from him, he’s nicer than I am.

This really is a new picture, even if it looks exactly the same.
Waiting for sunrise.

The car looks so great that I’d like to wrap it in bubble wrap and never drive it again, but there is a potential hurricane to get ready for so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope we are spared again…

a second look, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, ducks, egrets, Florida wildlife, learning, nature, perseverance, photography, technology, weather

Pond critters…

I could probably save myself a lot of time and effort if I didn’t do everything by the seat of my pants. I set the new camera up to take bursts of photos, not remembering that this camera will take LOTS of pictures per second. When you add that to the fact that I had set it up for silent shutter, then you might have a clue how I managed to get 1077 photos in probably a half hour down at the neighborhood pond. So I had many, many virtually identical pictures to look at. Not the greatest pictures either. Learning the hard way, but learning.

This tricolor heron was waiting for me when I got to the pond. He flew off and I thought I’d found him but it turned out to be the little blue heron in the feature photo.
The ducks were flapping their wings and I held the shutter button down in my excitement so I finally had to just choose one and stop trying to find the ‘best’ one.
Okay, I worked on two before I cried uncle.
Found this teeny-tiny butterfly in the grass. I got excited because when he flew off the tracking feature of the camera followed him.
See, it kept focus on the butterfly. These photos are zoomed too much I know, but I was excited to see the tracking feature in action.
Of course I concentrated on dragonflies for a bit. A couple of hundred photos worth.
I was happy that it was one of the orange ones that stopped for a bit, that was nice.
I was sitting on one of the swings, in the shade, and focusing on this little bird on the fence, waiting for him to turn around, or fly. I had no idea that he was enjoying his lunch. I waited and waited, taking photos all the while.

Taking advantage of a break in the raindrops, and then they started falling again.

a second look, birds, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, perseverance, photography, technology

Around the corner…

On the days that I decide that I’d rather sit with my coffee and do Wordle instead of racing out the door for the sunrise, I find myself going stir crazy by the middle of the day. The hottest part of the day. Like yesterday when the heat index was still over 100 at 4PM, and distant thunder could be heard. I had decided to try the trusty 18-400 lens plus adapter on the new camera, so I walked around the corner for only a little while, and found an ibis couple, ducks, and dragonflies to shoot. Then, as I was leaving, a red-shouldered hawk flew past at eye level, too quickly to get a shot of him in flight. But he thoughtfully landed on a fence, then caught a snack in a yard, and posed again before flying away. It never did rain…

It seemed as if I wasn’t holding the camera very steady while I took shots of this young speckled ibis, who will soon look like his snowy white cousin. The camera is said to have excellent image stabilization. I believe it.
I sat on the ground to brace my elbows on my knees, at which point the dragonflies decided to land elsewhere.
Even with that much zoom in the lens you still have to crop like crazy.
Those red shoulders give away his identity.
I don’t know what he caught, but those talons look quite impressive to me.
A parting glance before he flew away.
'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, black and white, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Puffins redux…

The gal from Audubon who rode along with us on our Puffin adventure acted like a bit of a cheerleader. She gave us a talk about their history in Maine as we were cruising to Egg Rock Island, and warned us that it was possible that we might not see them at all. No guarantees. She told us about their habits, how hard it is for them to become airborne, and that we might see them ‘running on the surface of the water’ until those flapping wings took over. So I blame her for the fact that 463 photos of the 1344 that I took on vacation were taken on that cruise. We first came across just a few, but they were close to the boat and in the sun. They might have been the only ones we saw, so I started shooting and pretty much didn’t stop.

Remember the Puffins were bouncing with the surf, and so was the boat, which was another reason to just keep shooting. I wasn’t expecting so many shots to be reasonably sharp.
The groups we saw later were more Puffins but further from the boat.
I carefully checked all my pictures looking for interactions between them, which was a bit tedious, but as far as activity goes this was about it.
But we did see them fly, and probably wouldn’t have appreciated that as much without the Audubon gal telling us that they flap their wings 400 beats/minute to become airborne. I said it before but I just have to repeat it. She said to think of them as “pudgy, slow-moving, hummingbirds.”
Look at the little guy in front, what a graceful little thing he is, LOL.

If I ever see a cute little stuffed animal Puffin I know I’ll have to adopt it…

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, friends, fun, learning, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Egg Rock Island…

A cruise to Egg Rock Island hadn’t ever been on my radar screen before this trip, but today was our chance and we took it. An Audubon cruise to see and learn about Puffins, the cutest birds ever.

They are social little things and a group of them such as this are a raft of Puffins. Males and females look alike, and they both take care of the one chick per year that they produce. August is towards the end of their breeding time and we were told that we are among the last of the people who will see them this year.
I imagined seeing these birds standing on a rock, so that we would see their cute feet. But our instructor told us that these birds struggle to become airborne. They must flap their wings over 400 times per minute to become airborne. Sometimes, she said, you can see them running on the surface of the water as they are taking off. I love this picture because that’s exactly what we see here, and we see those orange feet. A lucky shot for sure.
Think of them as pudgy, slow-moving, hummingbirds, said the instructor.
We were lucky to see them at all. What a treat.

There were no more Puffins in Maine by 1901, and sewing machines were at fault. Ladies were so enamored of having feathers adorning their clothes and hats that the population of Puffins, and other birds, were affected. It wasn’t until the 1970s that attempts to repopulate the island began, and it took over 8 years to make progress. The winning combination involved bringing young chicks to the island, playing their mating calls, populating the island with Puffin decoys (back to that social thing), and even placing mirror boxes on the island to make them think there were more birds in residence and this would be the place for them. And it worked. There are 300 mated pairs on this island, and over 1000 in Maine as a whole. And these same conservation techniques are in use with other species of birds all over the world. This was a great experience on a wonderful day. We couldn’t have asked for more.