'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, eagles, egrets, go with the flow, natural wonders, nature, nesting, pelicans, perseverance, photography

Making the rounds…

It was owls first on Tuesday, and then we headed over to see the eagles.   As you can see, the ‘babies’ aren’t hard to spot these days.  That cute fuzzy stage doesn’t last long, I think this is their awkward adolescence.  And that shy second chick seems to have gotten over it too.  We didn’t stay long, didn’t wait for parents to put in an appearance,  It was almost a drive-by.

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And if that was almost a drive-by then our next stop at really was a drive-by.  Just down the street is Anclote River Park, and it’s a given there that if there is a post then a pelican will be sitting on it.  So we shot out the car window in true. drive-by style.02-19-20eaglepelican.jpg

We parted company after that, and my trip home took me right past the rookery, so a stop there seemed like a no-brainer.  I was the only one there, but lots of people stop their cars to see what is going when they see you on a ladder with your camera.  They are always amazed and usually have no clue what birds they are seeing, and say that they never noticed the birds before.  And I don’t mind the distraction since things are on hold there at the moment.  Egg-sitting and standing guard seem to be the order of the day while we wait for the hatching to begin.02-19-20eagleegret3.jpgExcept for the egrets.  They fluff out those feathers and ‘display’, I think it’s called.  In one fluid motion they stretch their neck up, and up some more, and then bow down, to no one in particular.  Hmm, I should probably look that up…

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

Keeping watch…

I met a new-to-me photographer at the rookery the other day.  Stuart, who doesn’t put his photos on Facebook but does have them in a gallery in Dunedin.  When I saw him standing on his ladder with his lens trained on the birds I got excited that maybe some chicks had begun to hatch, but no such luck.  He pointed out the same egret nest with eggs, and now I realize it’s not just me, neither of us saw any other eggs present.  He was interesting to talk to, and said that he saw a spoonbill at this rookery the other day.  It may just have been passing through since it didn’t stop for pictures, but now I”ll be on the lookout for them just in case.  I asked if he’d seen the alligator there and he had, two of them he said.  They’ll be around once there are chicks present, he said, circling below in case someone falls out of the nest.  Real life is definitely not a Disney movie.

Stuart’s specialty is birds in flight, which is really tough most of the time.  And he doesn’t like wood storks, which made me laugh because that is the majority of the birds at this rookery.  He mostly likes the Great Blue Herons so I told him he needs to take a trip to the Venice rookery to see them nesting in large numbers.  It’s fun to exchange information with another photographer who spends most of his days out taking pictures.  Even if  only because it makes you feel less like an odd ball.02-08-20woodstorkwet02-08-20woodstorks102-08-20woodstorkwet02-08-20mirrormirror02-08-20egrets

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

The rookery…

The eagles were my third stop the other day, and when they seemed to be staying on the far side of the nest I didn’t stick with them very long.  It was cold and windy, and I had another stop in mind before I went home.  The baby eagle in in the upper left corner of the second shot.  My only view of him that day.

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I wanted to stop to see what was happening at the rookery right in my neighborhood before I went home that day.  Last time I was there the weeds were so overgrown that you didn’t have a view, and there didn’t appear to be much to look at even if the weeds weren’t in the way.  Not so this time though, as you see in the feature photo.  Do the birds just wake up one morning and all decide to begin the nest building process?  I confess to playing favorites, I just love the beautiful egrets with their delicate feathers and the long graceful necks. This one arrived with a stick to work on the nest.02-03-20egret.jpg

I returned today hoping for more action.  When they are mostly sitting on eggs not a lot is going on.  Soon the fun will begin. 02-04-20fluff.jpg02-04-20fluff2.jpg02-04-20eggs.jpg02-04-20eggs2.jpg

See the eggs?  She looked like just a pile of feathers laying there, but then she got up and turned her eggs before she settled back on the nest.  The incubation period is 23 to 26 days, so my end of the month visitor is in for a treat!

And the Woodstorks far outnumber the egrets, these two were quite cosy.  they are fun to watch, and their babies are so comical looking.  Cuter than the egret chicks who are quite awkward looking.  Nature has a sense of humor.02-04-20duet2.jpg02-04-20duet.jpg

 

'scene' along the way, adventure, Circle B Bar Reserve, egrets, Florida wildlife, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Alligator Alley…

While fighting the very bright sun and very deep shadows can be frustrating, it can also make for some fun photos.  Take the B above, which is actually a weed, but it looked like neon in a spot of sunshine.

I didn’t venture onto Alligator Alley when I was in Circle B Bar reserve in the past.  I deliberately avoided it for fear of, well, being eaten by an alligator.  But on Sunday I was assured that the alligators don’t eat this time of year.  Their systems are in low gear,  and were they to eat any food it would rot in their gut.  So we walked the trail and hoped that all the alligators had gotten that memo.1-6-20CBBRtrail.jpg1-6-20Bettuonthetrail.jpg1-6-20egretonthetrail.jpg

You occasionally find yourself sharing the trail with the wildlife.  And, oh my, look what this one was doing…1-6-20egretw-snake.jpg1-6-20egretw-snake2.jpgEven as we took the pictures we lamented the people who had been walking toward us on the path were now in our pictures.  But it’s not like you can plan these things.1-5-20GBKwitheel.jpgAnd this Great Blue Heron with an eel was a surprise find also. 1-6-20GBHandgator.jpgWe all spent some time watching this alligator as it was cruising toward that heron.  We took lots of pictures as it just cruised on by.  And then it turned the tables on us…1-6-20ohohgator.jpg

Yup, looked like it was coming our way, but it continued his turn and headed back down the river.  Dodged another bullet.  And for a few months of the year Alligator Alley is closed for hiking because that’s the alligator mating season.  I guess they are looking out for those of us lucky enough to spend time in this park.1-6-20whichwaysup.jpg

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, egrets, fences, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, simple things, unintended images, weather

A perfect Florida day…

A friend and I went hiking in the woods yesterday.  It was the perfect day for it, cool but sunny, finally the Florida weather I love the most.  We did nearly 7 miles, walking and talking, and stopping for a few pictures.  Not many really.11-13woodedwalk11-13woodedwalklilypads11-13woodsscapeWe kidded that if our mutual friend Betty had been with us that she would have taken a million pictures already.  So I took this one in her honor;11-13woodedwalkbettyweedWe didn’t seen another person, and only saw a deer off in the distance, but in the sand on the trail were tracks of lots of animals.  Linda said that it must be like rush hour in the night with all the animal activity.  We did see a rhino though, not a frequent sight in Florida.11-13woodedwalkrhinoHogg pond was our destination, and we found some egrets gathered there.  I suspect the beginnings of nesting activity.  And there have been great flocks of birds in the air lately.  Usually they are too high in the sky for decent photos, or the camera just isn’t set up for that capture.  These birds were coming in to land however.  Yes, this will be a booming place in the spring.11-13woodedwalkflyover11-13woodedwalkposers11-13woodsflyingegret11-13woodssnaileaterWe had stopped for lunch at a very quaint hot dog shop in Floral City, and then hiked in the Perry Oldenberg wilderness area.  But the jackpot happened as we finished the hike and were ready to leave.  That’s when we saw the cows in the pasture next to the parking lot.  I was looking to take photos like this when I was at my daughter’s house in PA over the summer, but somehow failed to get out and explore the rolling farmland for scenes like this.  People ask what kind of photography I like best, but I think I like the surprises along the way that make it so interesting.  And I’m normally out by myself for photos, but it was nice to be out with a friend…11-13woodedwalkpasture11-13woodedwalkpasturefamily11-13woodedwalkbrowncow211-13woodedwalkbrowncowI thought that all the cows with horns were bulls, but closer examination of my photos disproved that theory.  Not this particular photo, but trust me…