a second look, adventure, backyard visitors, birds, blessings, Cranes, ducks, Florida wildlife, healing, life goes on, memories, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Life goes on…

Sad as I was over the loss of one of the owlets yesterday, a text from my former neighbor cheered me up. It seems the Sandhill Cranes nested on the lake again this year, and their chicks hatched yesterday. I knew from past experience that the parents will march the chicks off the nest and out into the world almost as soon as they hatch, so I checked on them right after sunrise this morning. I guess I was too early because Mom was still laying down, as in the feature photo, and Dad was wandering in the vicinity. The crane family saga is what started me blogging four years ago, and I’ll be back again in the next few days to try to get some pictures of this year’s crop.

My first photo when I got to the lake. I had seen that a duck had laid eggs, a dozen of them, in the crotch of this tree in my neighbor’s yard. I wanted a picture of the eggs but Mama was standing guard.
Dad was up and keeping an eye on things.
The island that they nest on is shaped like a horseshoe, with water in the center. There was much commotion, splashing and quacking going on. Dad was supervising, but didn’t intervene.
I’ve blathered on and on to my friend about the little blue heron that lives on this lake, and the ibis that were so abundant that I hardly even noticed them after a while.
I have spent a lot of time watching this fella, and hoping to catch him catching something. Seconds after I got there he caught this frog, who I then felt a little sorry for.
All the while I was there Mama Duck kept an eye on me while she tended to her eggs. More babies for the lake.
I mentioned the sunrise, in this case back at Aripeka again.
And One-Foot Fred was there, hanging out right outside the bait shop. I wonder what he was waiting for.

As soon as I got out of my car in my old neighborhood I heard the woodpeckers drilling away. And lots of birds singing in the trees, plus the ducks quacking. A hawk flew into view, twice. The gang is still there, doing what they do, it’s in their nature. Watching them filled a void in my life, and encouraged me to get out and take more pictures. It was a blessing then, and has led to even more blessings now. Life goes on…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, Cranes, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Cold and windy sunrise…

I woke up early enough to get myself to Bayport for the sunrise this morning. It was chilly enough to have turned the heat on when I got up at 4:30 AM, but 48 degrees isn’t really something to complain about when my dearest childhood friend reported temperatures of -4 degrees in her neck of the woods at 8 AM. I miss my friend, and I will always get homesick for New England now and then, but I will never miss weather like that.

Once I had taken the feature photo I got distracted by this Great Blue Heron who (I think) was planning to eat this crab once he was finished dunking it and picking it back up.
The color got more intense but stayed close to the horizon line.
I was planning to head home when I glanced back and saw this scene and had to get one more photo.
Then I made a u-turn to go back and take this photo after I noticed the scene on my way home. And island in the water, a perfect Sandhill Crane nest spot, just like they used to nest on the lake in my former back yard.

It’s currently 69 degrees outside. I suspect that it’s colder in than out at the moment. I need to find myself a patch of sunshine to sit in…

a second look, adventure, birds, brainstorms, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nothing's easy, One-Foot Fred, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Expectations…

I peeked out my front door to see what the sky looked like the other day, and I saw a bright crescent moon hanging low in the dark western sky. I should have taken that picture because the shot I thought I’d get in Aripeka didn’t materialize. The cloud cover there hid the moon, and most of the color from the sunrise also. But I saw Fred, my favorite one-footed great blue heron, who hadn’t put in an appearance in a while. You can’t tell it’s him from my pictures, but occasionally he would lift his right leg out of the water and suspected it was him, and it was confirmed as he suddenly flew out of the water and towards the house down the street where breakfast was apparently being served.

He basically stood there, looking back and forth, and then flew off. But it’s good to know that Fred is still with us.
As the sun came up so did the color.
Beautiful color but it just didn’t take over the entire sky as I’d hoped it would.
That purple color is natural.
Sometimes the sky to the east is bathed in lovely pastels, but not this time.

I think I have finally outsmarted myself. I have new hardware, my iPad, and upgraded software with an upgrade to IOS and an upgrade to Adobe Lightroom, which means that I already had lots to learn. Doing things as I was used to doing them wasn’t going to work until I figured out a few things. Then my external hard drive, the one that holds all the pictures I’ve taken while traveling over the last few years, seems to be done. Kaput. I’ve learned so much since I joined my photo group, I’ve hung on our photo guru’s every word, except for the part where he said to always back up to more than one device. Sigh. Nothing’s ever easy.

a second look, backyard visitors, birds, blessings, coping, Cranes, facing facts, finding my way, Florida wildlife, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

A crane story…

These cranes are the entire reason that I started writing this blog. These pictures are from nearly 4 years ago when my camera was new to me and they can’t be improved now, they are what they are. That was the February that two sandhill crane chicks hatched right on the island in my little pond in the back yard. I watched them hatch, I watched them leave with their parents every morning, and I watched them return to the pond in the late afternoon. I saw them as one lady-like chick who stayed close to her mother, and one adventurous chick who was off on his own just a bit. Several times I saw only one chick with it’s parents and I waited to see that second chick appear. Just as I would give up hope, thinking he had gotten a little too adventurous, he would appear out of the grasses, much to my relief. He was my favorite, even though it made me feel a little guilty to realize that I felt that way. Mothers aren’t supposed to play favorites.

Every story needs some drama, and theirs certainly had that. One afternoon I watched in horror as my favorite colt, as they are known as they grow, seemed to be dragging a wing. Again he was off by himself a little way from the family, and even more horrifying was that the parents seemed to be driving him away. I was heartbroken to see him leave the pond alone, trudging up the hill, dragging that wing. But a few minutes later the rest of the family followed, a little way behind but up the hill in the same direction that he had gone. I felt so helpless to be watching this and not able to do anything about it.

So you can imagine how I worried all day at work the next day, would they return the next evening, and would there be three or four in the family? When I saw them return as a family of three I was broken hearted, and mad too. I was upset enough that I told myself that I wouldn’t take pictures that day, not of just the three of them. But then they started to dance and I couldn’t help myself, I took pictures.

That isn’t the end of the story, I’m happy to say. Several days later I saw all four of them on a lawn in the neighborhood. The wounded colt was laying down, the rest of the family nearby. I called a rescue facility and was told that if they were with him then they were taking care of him, and that was best. I seldom saw them come back to the nest in the backyard after that, not to spend the night at least, but the last time I did see them out there I saw my wounded colt spread his wings and stretch. I choose to believe that he healed, and that he would be okay. It was about that time that I happened to take a photography class on how to start a blog, something I had given no thought to before, but we left the class with the bones of a blog in our computers, and I wanted to tell their story. I had no idea that four years later I’d still be writing, that I’d have made new friends through photography, or that I’d be so okay with the twists and turns my life has taken in the last six years. But I’m grateful.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, Cranes, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, weather

Sushi anyone?

Sushi was definitely on the menu at Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday.

Ospreys eat the head of the fish first, that’s where they get their water.
You have to wonder how they swallow their catch.
And they deliver!

But not everyone was feasting, some were just enjoying the warm weather…

Working on his tan.
Drying off.
It was a day for nice reflections.
Great blue herons around every turn.
So close sometimes and they don’t seem to be bothered by the people.
Glossy ibis, I don’t see them often.
Green herons are a treat to see too.
Little blue herons were always in my backyard pond.
The trees arched over the road as I drove into the park, and the Spanish moss was glowing in the early light.
Just a tree that caught my eye.
I hoped we’d see a raccoon, and we did.
Merlin says this is a prairie warbler.
Here is a tower of black-bellied whistling ducks.
Until I saw these sandhill cranes I hadn’t realized that we don’t see a lot of them at the B either.

And yes, I brought the lens ball with me. It was a beautiful day, hot after you’ve been hiking all afternoon. I spent another two hours of my life trying to get a covid vaccination appointment today, but all things considered I can’t complain. Life is good.

a second look, backyard visitors, birds, Cranes, facing facts, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, unintended images

For the birds…

I have gone out to photograph the eagles and stuck out before, but I can usually count on the nearby Anclote River Park for people, boats, and pelicans. Not yesterday though. There was only a couple of cars in the parking lot which is usually quite full, and with no boaters to toss scraps I guess the birds were off hunting on their own. I did get the image of a bird that I hoped for, it just wasn’t an eagle. No, an osprey was sounding off from a snag above it’s nest, so I was able to get a photo of him.

And low tide at Anclote Gulf Park had some wading birds looking for a snack.

There was a surprise visitor welcoming visitors to Anclote River Park, so I took his picture.

On the way home the Sandhill Cranes were wandering along a retention pond so I stopped to see them. I don’t know why they were such a common sight to see in Spring Hill, but it’s a treat to see them since I moved. As I was looking at these pictures this morning I heard a couple of them calling as they flew over, but they kept going, the calls fading away as they flew.

And here’s the rest of the story, believe it or not. Shortly after I finished writing this post and scheduled it to publish I saw some movement out the window. My desk sits in my Florida room, which is all windows, and working on the computer can be a challenge because I’m facing those windows and the sheers I have hanging on them don’t keep me from struggling to see the screen against the glare of the windows. So through the sheers I saw something walk by, and here’s who came calling.

It is still a rare treat to see them here. But today their timing was impeccable…