'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, cats, ducks, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, perseverance, photography

The Secrets of ZooTampa…

Yes, there are other amazing animals at ZooTampa, although you’d hardly know it based on my fixation with orangutans. This last trip to the zoo was our first chance to visit the newly completed Florida exhibit that has been under construction for quite a while now. Obviously we are surrounded by Florida wildlife every day, but we don’t get to see them up close and personal the way we did at the zoo.

I loved this view of a baby manatee, who looked to me like he had a smile on his face. There were heads of lettuce floating on the surface making all the manatees happy.
There were ducks swimming with the manatees so I had to zoom in on this unusual view.
On second thought we also visited the Malayan tiger who;s habitat is next door to the orangutans. So, no, we don’t run into tigers when we are out and about in Florida.
Now I’m confused. I think we were still in the Florida exhibit, but the pink birds we saw were flamingos.
Up close with this flamingo.
And a spoonie, who was almost too close for a photo.
I love the way the camera will ignore the mesh of the cage and focus on the subject beyond, in this case a sleepy barred owl.
This little screech owl was winking at us.
This iguana was posing so perfectly, begging to have his picture taken.
There are two eagles at the zoo, Ross, for Betsy Ross, and Glory. I’m not sure which one this is, but Glory is celebrating 30 years at the zoo. Both eagles are not able to live in the wild, so this is their permanent home.

Of course the star of the Florida exhibit was the Florida panther in the feature photo. It was a treat to see one, and this one looked quite content in his new habitat. Later we heard that we missed the stork chicks in the Africa exhibit, but it was time to meet the group for lunch, and we were hungry. So that means another trip to the zoo will be in order, but in a few weeks, not while spring break is in full swing here.

Let me highly recommend the series from National Geographic called Secrets of ZooTampa. So much goes on behind the scenes, it’s very interesting. And, much to my delight, the segment on orangutans covered the birth of Riplee, my favorite baby boy.

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An eagle’s lament…

I am taking liberties here with my interpretation of this visit with the eagles. We were on our bike and scooter this time, our second outing, and got in another 5 miles. We decided to see the eagles and then continue onto the Anclote Coastal Trail to see where it went. So we expected to find the eagles, but I didn’t expect to find another friend who I first met on this very same quest, in this very same place, four (?) years ago. She had been watching for a while and said that nothing much had happened, not even a feeding so far. And that set the tone for my interpretation of what was going on as we watched.

The feature photo has Mom in the tree, scanning the area in hopes of spotting Dad, who had been sent out to bring back breakfast, but it was now going on lunch time.

From the look of it Mama was none too happy about the goings-on in the nest below.
This youngster was getting restless and soon would wake up its sibling.
A word, or maybe it was that stern look, from Mama calmed him down, for a moment.
But when she turned to scan the skies he was at it again.

We moved on without any more activity than what you have seen. It was time to ride. I’ve gone 10 miles on my new electric tricycle so far and my pedaling must be fairly efficient since I still have four of the five bars of battery life left. I confess it is nice to just cruise along under power here and there. But I need to watch where I’m going because I thought I spotted dear old Dad up in a tree a distance from the nest, and as I turned for a better look I let the bike drift to the right and very nearly drove my friend off the path. Oops. It was a very nice day, pedaling along without any actual disasters…

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Eagles again, and sunset color…

Having failed to see the eaglets on our last trip we decided to stop and see them when we were in the area again. We were told that one of the adults had just brought a big rat back for lunch, so not much was happening, but we waited a while. One adult stayed in the shadows, but the other found a spot in the sun in a tree a little way from the nest. And one of the eaglets decided to stretch his wings, so we left there happy with out stop.

This parent was further away from the nest, but the other one was in the shadows near the nest.
One of the eaglets obliged us by popping his head up and flapping his wings.
This is a pathetic picture but what you can see is his crown of feathers developing in a row on his head. And a rather impressive wing. I was still expecting him to be yellow and downey. Silly me.

Then we headed to Dunedin again to see the sunset before we headed to meet with the photo group. Another nice day.

The color was nice. My friends have been describing the recent sunsets as ‘sherbet’ color.
Flocks of birds flew through the scene.
A sailboat sailed into the scene at the last possible moment of color.
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In search of photo ops…

I used to head out earlier in the day for my photos than I seem to do now. Sunrise, and then whatever other stop I wanted to make. The beauty of that was that when I came home I had something to do. Namely, work on my pictures and turn them into a blog post. If I had multiple pictures from more than one stop then so much the better, I had fodder for multiple blog posts. Having those pictures in the camera felt like having money in the bank. Silly I know, but that’s how I think.

Yesterday started out a lot later than I’m used to. First stop was the eagles, but not much was happening there so we moved on to the owls at Philippe Park.

I’ve seen pictures of the two eaglets on this nest, but nothing much was doing in the afternoon. Siesta time maybe?
People were exclaiming that Mama owl had turned her head. They could see her ‘horn’, they said. I tried and tried but for the life of me I couldn’t see Mama, but I took pictures of where I thought they were telling me to look. And later on I discovered that I had been looking at her all along.
Before Jr. ever popped his head up I had gotten Mama after all.
And there he was! So cute. And there is another one also. We are heading back to try again today, with lenses with longer zooms. This is ridiculously cropped, but I still like the picture. I took lots of pictures once he popped his head up, but this is the only one that you can really see his Mama.

And then it was time to head to Clearwater to meet with our photo group and have dinner. But the timing conveniently allowed for a stop in Dunedin for the sunset. It was a more successful day of shooting than I thought it was while I was pressing the shutter button all afternoon.

I like this angle because of the rocks.
I wish a sailboat had been out there, but it was too cold and windy for that to happen.
The clouds were amazing, even if they were a bit dark.
I love when the sunset lights up the buildings on the shore.
a second look, adventure, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography, weather

Expecting eaglets…

I’ve been meaning to go see the eagles for a while now, and since I was free I decided that today was the day. They have eaglets now, and my eagle-obsessed friends are expecting to see little heads bobbing up above the nest any day now. Unfortunately for me, today wasn’t that day. But as I arrived I was happy to see the on-duty parent up high on the nest so that I could get a few shots.

I kept changing my position in order to get a better view. This new nest is harder to see, with branches and Spanish moss to try to avoid getting in your photo.
I would have loved it if that branch that’s sticking up was actually a little head, but no such luck.
She looked up from her feeding duties to keep an eye on things. I liked the gleam on her beak in this shot.
I was waiting for the ‘money shot’. You know, a shot of an impressive wing-spread as one landed on the nest. I’d have settled for a shot of one flying out of the nest too. But it seemed that all of the action happened when I looked away or moved to a new position.
So this is my shot of the changing of the guard. It’s not what I had in mind.

I expected a crowd of photographers to be watching and waiting also, but I had this view to myself. The day had started out foggy, maybe that discouraged them. I know it kept me from heading out for the sunrise. But, as you can see, it became a perfect winter-in-Florida day.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, moments, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, Osprey, perseverance, photography

Nesting…

It was several weeks ago that a friend and I cruised past the eagle nest so I could show him where it was, and I was dismayed to see the barest skeleton of a nest remaining. There was so little of it left that I wondered if they would choose a new spot to rebuild. But when I returned on Tuesday I was happy to see a rather healthy looking nest, even if no one was on it. Two photographers I know were there already, but up the street a way and busy taking pictures of a single eagle on a snag. They said that the eagles seemed to have finished working on the nest, for the most part anyhow, and were leaving for longer periods, making for fewer photo ops. One had left the area a while ago, they said, and while I was still setting up they saw that eagle return to the nest with a stick. In the feature photo you see that eagle on high alert. The other photographers thought there might be some action because an osprey had just flown in and landed on a snag overlooking the nest. If there had been eggs in the nest there certainly would have been some excitement, but the osprey stayed a few minutes and then flew on, and the eagle relaxed and started preening. And posing. So a quick but successful visit with the eagles on a cool Florida morning. Soon we’ll be on the lookout for eggs, and lots more photo ops to come.

The interloper.
Grooming.
I don’t deliberately try to catch them in silly postures, but when I do…
Back to being regal looking.
More posing.