'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, moon, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, reality check

You can’t win them all…

My assumption that heading to the eagle nest for pictures would be a sure thing was definitely optimistic.  Why wouldn’t I think that after Monday’s great day of shooting?  So I went yesterday, determined to get better acquainted with the lens and tripod I hadn’t used for probably a year, not since the last time I had gone out for photos of owls.  As usual there were photographers there when I got there, and I learned that the babies had been fed earlier.  Dad was on the nest with the babies, they said, and we saw Mom fly in and land in some pine trees out of reach of our lenses.  And that’s how things stood for the couple of hours I was there.  My attention wandered to the faint moon still showing in the sky, and eventually I wandered to the fishing pier where I found the tide lower than I had ever seen it.  It was amazing to think that I’ve stood on that pier and watched dolphins swimming right below me, but not this time.  01-16-20momandchicknew01-16-20moonoverthenest01-16-20fishingpier201-16-20fishingpier

When I got home I looked through the pictures I’d gotten, few that they were, and I looked again at what I’d taken on Monday and found a few more that I liked.  And that was that.  But it was a nice day to be outside enjoying the weather and chatting with the other people keeping vigil.  It seemed we all left at about the same time, I wonder what excitement may have happened later.  What did we miss?  Maybe that’s what keeps us going back…01-16-20eaglet01-16-20eaglepluschick201-16-20eaglepluschick01-16-20eaglepants

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, life goes on, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

The circle of (eagle) life…

I was up north last winter when the nearby eagles were raising their young, so it’s a treat to watch them now.  I’m an amateur, I think some of the photographers I saw there are there nearly every day.  But I hadn’t been in a couple of weeks so.  When I saw that the eaglets were already popping their heads up out of the nest I needed to play catch-up.  It was so fun to watch, or pretend to, since I was struggling to focus.  I needed to focus manually with my big lens and extender, and no matter what I did it didn’t appear to be in focus.  All the while the other photographers were exclaiming over how cute the little ones were, so I finally ditched the extender and stuck with my 150-600 Tamron lens, which allows auto focus.  To see these tiny creatures at all is amazing since they really are quite a distance away.

Seeing a parent fly in with a fish started the action for me.  My fellow watchers were remarking on how tired this eagle was.  I asked how you could tell and the answer was that it was panting, like a dog. 01-14-20incoming101-14-20incoming201-14-20incoming301-14-20momandbaby101-14-20momandbaby201-14-20momandbaby301-14-20momandbaby4They were also all excited when they spotted two eaglets!  I just shot picture after picture and hoped I had gotten something.  If I heard them shooting then I did too.  But after a while I was able to sort out what I was seeing through the lens and yes, there were two of them.  01-14-20twochicksThe other parent was in a nearby tree, arriving soaking wet, and I caught this image as he ‘shook his tail feathers’.01-14-20shakeitoff

But I can’t leave this on such a silly note, when we all know just how regal they are, even when wet.01-14-20wetbutregal

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Ma and Pa Eagle…

Yup, there is feeding going on, which means that if you stand there long enough you will get your chance to see the parents switch off chick-sitting duties.  That’s a given once you know that they have a hatchling.  But you can’t predict whether or not the fog will roll in,  even on a day that started out looking beautiful.  Not that that would stop any of us.  There was a small crowd of photographers waiting for each appearance by the parents.  The nest seems tipped away from our view so that hatchling will have to grow a bit before we see him.  Or possibly them.  You know I’ll be checking in on them again soon. 12-31eagle12-31eagle212-31eagle312-31eagle4

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography, technology

Eagle watch…

Yesterday I decided to stop by the eagle nest for yet another check to see if they were ‘home’ and in the mood to get their picture taken.  I haven’t stopped too many times lately, but I’ve been disappointed often enough that I didn’t really expect to see one of them, let alone two.  And before I even got out of my car a friend pulled up, also on the eagle watch.  We are thinking that it’s about time for the eggs to hatch, and the real eagle watch will begin when that happens.  She said that she had already been by once that day and didn’t see anyone, so neither of us were expecting to see them, but there he was, or is it a she?  The larger one is the female, or so I’m told, but you have to see them side by side to judge.  He or she was on a branch above the nest, keeping watch.  Sitting calmly enough, but looking from side to side and seeming to be on guard.  And as we watched suddenly there was the second one, just arriving at the nest it seemed, and then sounding off as if she didn’t like what she found there.  What we didn’t see was any activity that suggested that they are feeding hatchlings, but that should be soon.  We’ll be keeping watch ourselves, hoping for the day we’ll see the babies popping their heads up for us to get a picture.  And neither of us had our best camera/lens combination with us.  I won’t make the mistake again.  This is the best I could do yesterday.12-27nestview12-27keepingwatch12-27keepingwatch212-27homeagain12-27homeagain2

'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