'scene' along the way, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Catching up…

…with the cranes.  I have been seeing the crane family, now a family of three, around the neighborhood since I’ve been home.  And they come back to the lake at night some of the time, but not always.  But as I come and go I see them on lawns all around the area.  They are more easily visible than last year’s family was.  This morning I had to stop for iPhone photos because while it’s not unusual to see them, it is unusual to see them dancing!

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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.

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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, 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, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Raising a ruckus…

My powers of concentration must have been better last year.  Or maybe it’s just that I have more to do, fun photo ops, etc., and that’s why I absent mindedly let Ozzie out the back door again yesterday only to hear a ruckus erupt out there.  A Sandhill crane ruckus.  One adult and one baby were right at the water’s edge in my yard, so I had to bribe Ozzie with a ‘cookie’ (the one word he takes note of immediately when I mention it) to get him to come back in.  I grabbed the camera and went out expecting all four of them to be out there, and hoping they were still hanging around.  But no, the two were heading out to join the other two on the island.  Darn it.  I’m amazed at how much these babies have grown at just over two weeks old.  I suppose Mother Nature knows that they can’t afford to be helpless for long.5-2coltI would get a lot more done around the house if I didn’t have such nice kitchen windows. My kitchen is tiny, and I lamented that and thought about redoing it until my closest friend kindly called it ‘cosy’.  Yes, it’s tiny, but I do have great windows.  Which is how I spotted a cardinal out on the patio, and again found myself out there aiming my 600mm lens into the trees and struggling to find the birds through the leaves.  I thought I was chasing a yellow bird and wondered if I’d spotted another bird that would be new to me, but on closer inspection found it was a female Downey Woodpecker.  5-2cardinal5-2downey35-2downey25-2downeyThe cardinal picture isn’t great I know, but they live here year round and I hear them daily, and try as I might I seldom manage to get a photo.  Such teases!  But not great posers, at least not for pictures.

And just an aside for the people who read this daily and know that I’ve recently lost my older dog, Zoe, leaving my not so young mastiff, Ozzie, ‘motherless’.  My neighbor said that she thinks that Ozzie has taken over one of Zoe’s traits.  He marched right over to her and greeted her, and that was always Zoe’s job.   She would do the meet and greets and then Ozzie would horn in on getting petted part.  I just thought that was interesting…

birds, Cranes, ducks, Florida wildlife, nature, photography, pond creatures

Ducks in a row…

This year’s cranes aren’t as predictable as last year’s cranes, which makes it harder to catch them on their way back to the nest at night.  They have been showing up much earlier than I might have expected, so I’m missing them as they cross the road, making my photo op always be from all the way across the lake.  Watching them my attention wanders, as it did the other night, and so I do things like notice a duck, with possible ducklings.4-30ducklingspotShe seemed to notice me just about the same time that I noticed her.  At first I thought it was a coincidence that she gathered her ducklings and started swimming towards me across the lake, giving me a better photo op.  But it didn’t take long to realize that she really was coming to me on purpose.  That’s when it hit me that someone has been feeding these ducks, and they were looking at me and thinking ‘lunch’.  4-30ducklingsetsail4-30ducklingsheadmyway24-30ducklingsheadmyway4-30ducklingsheadmyway23She was out of luck though, since I know that feeding them isn’t in their best interests.  So she gave up and headed out…4-30ducklingsheadoutI wish I knew if this is the same family I saw a few days ago, that ones with eight ducklings.  Perhaps the hawk that Mama duck fought off a few days ago has been persistent, or maybe there are two families.  That remains to be seen…