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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.
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Good housekeeping…

Friends were taking a day trip today, but I decided that I wanted to stick closer to home. And I did, but I stuck even closer than I thought I would. Usually I drive a little way to see the eagles, and I had that in mind, but then I remembered the eagle nest that’s practically in my back yard. Trouble is that I hardly ever see eagles there when I check, I suspected it had been abandoned. But today one of them was keeping watch over the nest. I couldn’t see any other activity, but I’ll be checking it out from now on.

As I watched the eagle I couldn’t help but notice all the various birds flying overhead, and that reminded me that it had been a long time since I had checked out the nearby rookery. So I went home and got my ladder, because shooting over the fence would be impossible with out it, and sure enough, there was lots of housekeeping going on there.

I don’t recall seeing a snowy egret here before. Maybe we’ll get to see a new family this year. Possibly not the most exciting news for everyone, but that possibility is enough to make me happy. And that goes for the feature photo, a tricolor heron, too. I was always so happy to see them on the pond in my back yard, they were a favorite of mine. But I honestly didn’t realize what I was looking at when I was trying to get a photo, I thought it was a little blue heron, which is the same mistake I used to make out on the lake. Again, I would love to see him or her raise a family in this little rookery also. So much excitement this time of year, and so close to home.

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Ups and downs…

That’s what the day had, ups and downs. I said that thinking of the photos I took today, but now that I think of it the first example of ups and downs was the off-again-on-again messages I’ve been getting from my car about my tire pressure. I started my day by putting air in my tires because one said it only had 27 pounds of pressure. Then the day warmed up, and by the time I came home that same tire was way over 40 pounds and I imagined it exploding, so I let some air out. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I think I liked it better when my car and I weren’t on speaking terms.

So out I went to take photos on a sunny morning…

Low tide but no wading birds, just wading people.
It was quiet at Anclote River Park.
Two osprey at Key Vista Nature Park. Parks line the water in this area and I stopped at them all.
Sailboats seem peaceful to me.
You knew I had it with me.
Can’t resist the pelicans.
The view along the trail at Key Vista.
A little different view.

But I had started the day watching the eagles, and forcing myself to use my biggest lens and even the extender so that I could get really close shots. I have to manually focus when I use that combination, and that’s a challenge because I don’t trust my vision, and rightly so since I deleted over half the photos I took. But I was delighted that the fledgling was hopping around and flapping his wings, and then I saw Mama flying towards the nest and started shooting. It wasn’t until I got them in the computer that I saw that I did get her, and that she had had a fish with her. I was so pleased. And then I noticed the photography no-no called chromatic aberration. Purple fringing when something very dark is next to something light, caused by your lens, but supposedly fixable. Not by me though, I worked on these photos all afternoon and couldn’t make a difference. If you are seeing them on your phone you may not see it, I wish I could un-see it. Sigh. But it was a good day, good to be outside, good to see the sun.

a second look, adventure, eagles, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, weather

Attitude…

Mom and Dad taught him well. It looks to me as if he is acquiring that magestic look that all eagles seem to have. After all, they are apex predators, which means they have no natural predators hunting them, and it looks like they know they are at the top of the food chain. I can’t believe that this is the first time I’ve seen this year’s babies, which hatched on or about Christmas Day. If I waited much longer they may have flown the coop. It seems the second chick in the nest popped up right after I left. Some things can’t be rushed. But then it was quite foggy when I first arrived, but stopping and talking with friends kept me there long enough for the day to clear up and be gorgeous. I guess my timing wasn’t bad after all…

Don’t tred on me…