birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, photography, sunrise

A Christmas for the birds…

I went out for the sunrise on Christmas morning.  As I drove to the Hammond’s Creek bridge I checked the rear view mirror, and again, streaks of red in the sky way ahead of what Siri swore to me was the time that the sunrise would happen.  Pretty sunrise, and an Egret joining me for a change.  Our one-footed heron friend was also there, but on a dock too far away for the wide-angle lens to catch him.

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Then it was off to Palm Harbor in search of a Roseate Spoonbill.  Unfortunately I was too early for the spoonbill, I hear he’s an afternoon visitor.  But there were lots of birds at these retention ponds, which turned out to be a much prettier setting than I had imagined.

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An Anhinga, also known as a snake bird (according to Merlin).  They dive underwater and spear fish with their dagger-like bill.  Sometimes they swim with only their head and neck out of the water.  This would be a female since it’s brown, males are black.  They perch in the open and spread their wings to dry.  I saw lots of perching and wing-spreading going on.

1225woodstork1225woodstork2And a Wood Stork or two.  They are hard to miss with their bald heads.  And I loved how lush that area of retention pond looked.  I didn’t adjust the color on that, it really was that intense.

The reddish looking bird in the feature photo above is actually a Glossy Ibis.  A new bird for me.  With a two-footed Great Blue Heron, or possibly not, I guess I’m assuming things here.

Except for the period of time in which I thought I’d lost all the photos that I took today, it was a good morning.  Followed by another delicious dinner with my wonderful neighbors.  I feel like part of the family now.  Christmas was an exhausting, even if it was fun, sort of day for so many years.  This year it was peaceful and calm, and that is a good thing…

 

 

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birds, eagles, egrets, Florida wildlife, nature, pelicans, photography, sunset, Tricolored heron

The quiet nest…

I held a vigil for a while at the eagle nest today, camera at the ready, and almost nothing happened.  My eagle watching friend says that the fact that the eagle on the nest was hunkered down and invisible most of the time I was there means that it’s the male.  The female is bigger also, another tidbit I learned today.  I was distracted by a Downey woodpecker for a bit, and hoped I didn’t miss anything but I didn’t think so.  What I expected was for the female to join the male on the nest, that was the photo op I hoped for.  But that’s not what happened.  There was sudden movement on the nest, the male popped up and vocalized a bit, and then took off.  Several minutes went by and then another eagle flew over and settled down on the nest.  We couldn’t say for sure which eagle it was, we were just glad to know the nest was protected.

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I stopped at the Anclote Fishing Pier on the way home and found some more feathered friends there.  It’s my friend’s favorite sunset spot, but it was too early for the sunset, and I was tired so I decided to head home…

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birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, life goes on, loneliness, memories, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

On the advice…

…of a friend I went out last night with a dryer sheet on my head, tucked under the back of my visor.  And another one sticking out of my shirt, held in place by my bra strap.  I had considered bobby-pinning one to my head, shades of what Catholic girls of a certain age used to do with a tissue if they found themselves without a head covering to wear to Mass.  My friend had been advised that a dryer sheet would keep the no-see-ums away, but evidently I bought the wrong brand because I think they liked me more last night.  A fisherman told me that these little pests are seasonal and that they’ll be gone once we have our first freeze.  I told him that I wasn’t sure that I was rooting for that to happen anytime soon.  But it is inevitable and at least now I’ll have a reason to be happy about it.

He also told me that I had missed the eagle.  It had been across the way in the same tree where I had seen him before.  He says that the eagle was always in the trees where the wood storks are roosting now, but now they have taken that one over.  1127storksI should have gotten great pictures of an egret catching his dinner, and flipping the fish over and over until he got it into position to swallow it.  I had that cheap new lens attached to the camera and was afraid to switch to my other, better, zoom lens.  Better quality wise, but I don’t know if the distance would have been too much for it.  If I had known how long he was going to play with his food before eating it I might have gone ahead and switched.  I couldn’t wait to go home and see what I got, which wasn’t much.

1127egret11127egret2I gave up, switched lenses, and headed to Pine Island.  And quickly captured this photo from the parking lot for fear that it would change before I made it across the beach.  1127sunset1

I’m thinking that I need to find new places to go to take pictures.  But in order to do that I might need to change my work schedule and I’m finding myself fearful of doing that for some reason.  Charley has been talking in my ear lately, he had been fairly quiet for a while, but he used to tell the young patients who complained about working, “If work gets in the way of your social life then quit work.”  As always he was being sarcastic when he said it, and that’s how I’m hearing it in my ear.  Sigh…

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birds, boats, bugs, eagles, egrets, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, photography, sunset

No-See-Ums…

I couldn’t see them so I can’t show them to you, but they are the biggest take-away from last night’s sunset trip to Jenkin’s Creek.  I had doused myself with bug spray just in case, so what they attacked was my face and scalp.  Imagine trying to hold the camera steady while your scalp is stinging and things are crawling on your face.  Figures that there were photo ops a-plenty so I’ll probably go again sometime, when the memory fades a bit.

I expected a wood stork and wasn’t disappointed, but he made himself scarce pretty quickly.1118woodstorkThere were kayakers and boaters to watch.  I thought this guy came in a little fast and might crash into the bridge or get tangled in the fishing lines, neither of which happened.

1118baoterI would prefer to think I’d have noticed the eagle on my own, but thankfully it was pointed out to me by a fisherman.

1118eagleLong ago I took pictures from the observation tower in Linda Pederson Park across the street, and I got mad because you have power lines across your sunset pictures.  The tower is closed now, hurricane damage I assume.

1118observation towerThe egret stole the show though.  I think he liked posing, he sure stuck around and did his part.1118egret21118egret31118egret41118egretcloseAnd the sunset.  Always the sunset…1118sunsetcheck1118sunset2