'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

If only…

If only the distance you drove for photos could insure that the photos you took that day would be that much better than ‘normal’.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  I drove a long way to Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday, and found myself photographing birds that I see frequently, and much closer to home.  I chose not to hike down the trail marked Alligator Alley, that seemed like asking for more than I bargained for.  And still I found this gator, a little one, and I kept my composure and kept hiking.  Faster though, trying to catch up with two gals who were ahead of me on the trail.  Safety in numbers. 11-7CircleBscene111-7CircleBanhinga11-7CircleBegret11-7CircleBlunch11-7CircleBgreatblue11-7CircleBturtle11-7CircleBglossy11-7CircleBosprey

The very helpful clerk at the desk pointed out her favorite spot to see eagles, which were the birds that people were reported to be seeing lately.  So that’s where I headed, slightly disappointed that the Roseate Spoonbills weren’t in the area yet.  No owls either.  The eagle roost trail was very sunny and hot, and the only company I had was the gopher turtle.  I did take several pictures once I thought I might be seeing the eagle nest off in the distance.  It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos in the computer that I realized that I’d gotten a picture of an eagle, even if I didn’t ‘see’ it while I was there.11-7CircleBeagleI need to set my phone to count my steps.  I’ll bet I got 10,000 in yesterday.  Hot, sweaty steps…

a second look, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Kids these days…

They sure grow up fast, don’t they?  The eagles chicks had just hatched when I headed north for a visit in December.  I supposed I’d miss them completely.  And I guess I did miss the eaglet stage.  This ‘kid’ is a fledgling at the moment, though he didn’t do much fledging today.  He and Mom stayed in the same spots the entire time I was there, turning their heads this way and that, and that’s all they did.  I saw an adult fly away from the nest as I walked over to take up my position to shoot.  I was happy to spot this adult so easily since she was nicely positioned against the tree, but it took me a minute to realize that that lump just below and behind her was the baby.  He stayed in the shadows, and they both heard Dad calling when he landed out of sight in a tree nearby.  I think I teased about how less than regal the fledgling looked the last time I was here, but I think he’s gotten that regal stare down pretty well now.  What a privilege it is to be able to observe them, and they are far enough away that I don’t think we disturb them. 03-20-19kids103-20-19kids203-20-19kids303-20-19kids403-20-19kids503-20-19kids6

'scene' along the way, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, life, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Growing up eagle…

One of the things I thought I’d missed by being up north recently was the eagles at the nest that I have visited in the past.  While I was gone I heard that they had started a new family on a new nest built to replace the one that was lost last year.  That was happy news because last year’s chicks didn’t make it,  And I nearly did miss it, but not quite.  This years eaglet is in his awkward teenaged stage.  Not a fluffy cute chick, and not yet a magnificent eagle.  I arrived to find one of the parents in a nearby tree and the young one on the nest.  And that’s pretty much all that was going on, so after taking quite a few identical photos I had packed up the camera to go home.  That’s when the young one started flapping his wings and hopping around the nest,  It looked like he was going from branch to branch, and I saw plenty of daylight under him as he hopped, so it seemed like he was serious about it.  A teenager feeling his oats.  Like any concerned mother would do, his mother, I assume, flew to the nest and quashed that activity.  And our favorite young eagle was looking his mother in the face and turning his head from side to side looking, to me at least, as if he was trying to get back on her good side.  Nor sure about her, but he made points with me. 03-06-19eagle203-06-19eagle103-06-19chick03-06-19eagle303-06-19nest203-06-19family

a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Away in an eagle nest…

I had heard that the eagles were now sitting eggs, and that meant that there was always going to be an eagle on the nest.  So heading over there one more time became my priority on Sunday.  Only it took quite a while to see an eagle.  The new nest seems to be tipped away from our vantage point on the street, so you can’t see into it, but the weather was windy but perfect so I waited, and after a while I saw a head pop up for a second.  And I waited some more.  Then then I saw one make a circle in the sky and I was focused on the nest where I expected him to go, but he landed in a nearby tree.  I heard the other one call a few times, but the new arrival sat on his branch.  I began to wonder if that was all that I was going to see, but then he flew to the nest tree and I got to see the changing of the guard.  As we have seen them do before they both sit on a branch and seem to have a chat for a bit, then the new eagle took over the nest, and the other one flew off to hunt.  I was probably there about two hours, a lot of that time was spent crouched, squinting into the view finder, and with my finger on the button.  I wanted to catch one of them in flight.  Or one of them bringing in a fish for lunch. Maybe next time…12-2eagles312-2eagles512-2eagles6

eagles, Florida wildlife, life goes on, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Fourth time’s a charm…

Persistence paid off.  After seeing a friend’s photos I knew that the eagles we watched last year were in the process of building a new nest.  Their old nest hadn’t made it through one of the storms we had last year.  Watching them had been very exciting.  We waited for them to lay eggs, and then watched and waited for the eggs to hatch.  That’s when I joined the watchers, perfect timing, I could rely on the fact that every time I visited there was an eagle on the nest.  Sometimes they were hunkered down and you had to wait for a head to pop up, but somebody was always home.  We watchers were quite invested in those two little eaglets once they hatched, so when they disappeared with no explanation it was very sad.    These are the same eagles, but this is a new year, and I struck out the first three times I went by the nest hoping to see them, but there they were this morning.  It was my lucky day! 11-19DukeorDuchess211-19DukeorDuchess111-19DukeorDuchess

birds, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, Jenkin's Creek, perseverance, photography, sunrise, unintended images

Lost opportunities…

I told myself to go out for the sunrise.  I had finished the coffee, caught up with Facebook, and there was still time to head out.  I had seen stars out there when I let the dogs out, so it wasn’t overcast.  But as I made my first turn I spotted the moon, big and round but very low in the sky, with wispy clouds over the face.  Now I had a different plan, skipped the turn to Bayport and headed for Hammonds Creek bridge, simply because it was closer.  I felt like I was racing to get there before the moment had passed.  And I thought it had because I hadn’t seen the moon again, so I made the turn to Jenkin’s Creek, just a little further.  And in the last stretch of road I saw the moon again, just as it sank into the low clouds.  They talk about lost opportunities at work, but they are talking about sales of products, but these are the lost opportunities that drive me nuts.

The colors of the sky were pretty, but the sunrise would have been prettier at either of my other options this morning, and I was mad at myself.  And then I noticed two shapes in the dead tree across the inlet.  I didn’t even hurry, sure they would turn out to be vultures.  It wasn’t until I moved the car across the parking lot, set up the tripod, and finally looked through the zoom lens that I saw they were eagles.  I took pictures as they looked left, then right, in unison, and just as I was about to leave I thought I saw one ‘defecate’.  That was the polite term that Jeff, guru of the photo group, used when he said that you must know bird behavior.  They lighten the load just before they fly, he said.  So I backed the zoom off a little bit to give myself some room, and off he took!  3-1eagle83-1eagle73-1eagle53-1eagle43-1eagle33-1eagle23-1eagle1I’ll be looking for that moon tomorrow…