a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, black and white, exploring new places, finding my way, Florida wildlife, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

John Chestnut park…

I see photos from lots of photographers on my Facebook feed, and one thing that’s always mystified me was the photos of alligators at John Chestnut park. I’d never seen one there, and found myself surprised when I saw pictures of them taken there. Maybe I just chose the right day to visit, but the water levels were higher than what I thought was normal. I parked in my usual area, and walked over to the water and realized that I had a clear view across the lake, no rushes blocking my view. But it wasn’t until I looked through the camera and zoomed in that I realized that what I thought was a piece of automobile tire floating right at the shoreline was actually an alligator. A little one for sure, but closer to me than I wanted it to be. That’s the feature photo.

I walked to the left from my usual parking spot, the opposite way I usually go, and found some new scenery.
I hadn’t ever seen a Black and White Warbler on my previous visits.
He moved on in just a second.
These cuties are always there no matter which way I go. A Tufted Titmouse, so cute.
And very busy so you have to be quick.
I was walking on a boardwalk that followed the edge of the lake. I was so surprised to see this pier, I had no idea that it was there. But I wonder how I didn’t know it was there since it’s so big.
As I walked along the boardwalk I saw another small alligator in the water. Or maybe it was the same one from before. I saw that he seemed to be heading for shore, and when I walked off the boardwalk there he was, sunning himself. He looked cute there, still looking like a baby. There was a parking area close by and some people my age were getting out of their car. So I pointed to the alligator and the gentleman said, “Oh yeah, he’s always there.” All righty then.
I thought I’d head to the pond that I knew was across the parking lot to see if there might be some birds there. But I must have been destined to see alligators today because I don’t think I could have missed this one on the far shore. Definitely not a baby. A couple of young men with cameras were heading in that direction too, and they happily mentioned another spot not too far from the park that you could see alligators. Seeing them usually isn’t my goal, but of course I do take picture when I see them. I took my picture and so did they, but then they left and continued around the lake.
I waited to see if they were going to approach this alligator for photos, and sure enough, they did! I wasn’t too worried that they’d be attacked, but I did head to my car after I took this picture so that I didn’t show up in their photos. Hopefully all ended well.

When I decided to go to this park I had in mind to figure out where those alligators might be. And yes, I was walking on a new to me path for most of my time there. But I always go to that pond and I had never seen an alligator there. Let’s hope I wasn’t shooting the scenery across the water with one of them right there on the bank right in front of me.

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, Cranes, exploring new places, friends, fun, making memories, nature, Pedaling Along, perseverance, photography

Planes, trains, and cows?

We took a drive past the airport in Zephyrhills today, on the off chance that there might be skydivers in the air. There weren’t. Planning ahead is not my strong suit. The train museum next door wasn’t open either, but the sand hill cranes that we saw grazing on the lawn were a treat to see. I don’t see them as often, and not as close up, as I saw them in Spring Hill. This family let me take a few pictures until a dog walker approached and they flew off.

A charming train depot, with a cute mailbox out front, and cranes to boot.
I love sand hill cranes. This family didn’t seem to mind me dropping by to take their picture.
And of course an old caboose at the depot.
But what we originally set out to do was ride the trail at the Withlacoochee River Park. And we did. And we stopped pretty quickly to wipe ourselves down with the bug repellant wipes that I owned but didn’t have with me at the recent Hillsborough river trip. I wised up.
The view from the fishing pier was lovely.
This direction is even prettier I think.
I wonder if this is what we look like as we gaze at animals in the zoo?

The cows were a total surprise, standing close to the barely traveled rural road as we left the park. When I got out of the car to take pictures some of them moved a few yards away. I think all of them stared. I guess they aren’t used to company. When we go out it’s always a good day if I come home with pictures in the camera. And a nice glass of wine while I write this is nice too. Blame any typos on the wine…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, attitude adjustments, birds, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, perseverance, photography

Also from Taylor Lake…

Somehow I took 441 pictures on our visit to Taylor Lake Park, but I can blame some of that on the ‘burst’ feature of the camera. Ten or so identical pictures at a time. It adds up. We saw bluejays all around the lake, hence the feature photo. We started on the shady side, and when we came around to the street side of the lake we were in the sun and a bit of a distance from the lake itself, and I expected to take no pictures at that point. And then we spotted the osprey.

A nice place for a walk.
I don’t know if I forgot to set my focus points, or were we too close for my new lens, but I missed his tail in all my shots.
He looked very relaxed, just sitting a posing for us.
Was he yelling at us?
I spotted this little bridge as we drove into the park, and I was tempted to hop out for a photo right then, but didn’t. Then we walked around the lake and the path took us past this spot when we were nearly back to the car. I liked it as a photo, but we also walked onto it for some additional shots.
A tricolor heron on the prowl.
This little bird excited me to see. I thought it was a new bird, one I hadn’t seen before. But, alas, Merlin says it is either an immature gallinule, or a young common loon. Since there were gallinule adults nearby I guess I’ll go with that. Notice the feet, the write up called for large ‘knobby feet’.
This last part of the lake had nice low bushes that seemed to be the place to find the pine warblers. Again, that’s Merlin’s choice based on my picture.
Busy little birds, not so easy to get a shot.
And we followed the trail back to the car.

The temperatures are back into the mid 80s, and the weatherman is talking about the humidity being back after our short break after the storm. Maybe it’s just an attitude adjustment, but I thought the weather was great for this outing. We ought to get out every day now that it feels so good. But then when would I get to look at my pictures?

adventure, attitude adjustments, birds, bugs, butterflies, exploring new places, friends, fun, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Taylor Lake Park…

I hardly know where to start. Somehow we came across the name of a park in the area, one that we hadn’t heard of before. The John S. Taylor Park in Largo, FL. It’s not a huge park, the walk was an easy 1.6 miles around. We stopped to see and photograph birds quite a few times. I’ve seen comments about migratory birds being in the area at this time of year, or maybe it’s just such a pretty park that the birds like to call it home.

Bluejays used to visit my backyard in Spring Hill, but it was a nice surprise to see them yesterday. This one seemed to want to say something.
I think I like this photo of a bluejay the best.
But my new camera has the ability to track birds in flight, so I was happy to capture this photo. I have a lot more to learn about the settings in this camera though.
Anhingas were sunning themselves, as they are most everywhere you go in Florida.
Getting the camera to focus in for a macro shot was a slight problem.
Eventually it cooperated nicely.
I had just said that we hadn’t seen any bees that day, meaning big fat bumble bees. But when I stopped to look at the little flowers in the bushes along the shore I found tiny little bees on tiny little flowers.
The tiny little butterflies in the grasses were plentiful also.
A fisherman pointed out this little gator to us.
I would like to think that we would have noticed this big gator sunning itself even if the fisherman hadn’t pointed him out.

There are lots more photos to go through, but they will have to wait for another day. It’s time to go out and enjoy another gorgeous day in sunny Florida.

'scene' along the way, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, bunnies, exploring new places, finding my way, friends, fun, Just do it, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, simple things

Afternoon delight…

Lettuce Lake Park made for an enjoyable afternoon stroll, even if there was no lettuce, and no lake, to be found. In the moment I missed the prop value of the ‘I survived Lettuce Lake Park’ sign. But there was a paved trail to ride, and the woods were beyond gorgeous. Shady and cool, but that’s not as big of an issue now that October is here. And there is a boardwalk to explore next time.

Taking a picture is usually my first thought, but I saw these people coming up behind us with four dogs that could only be Bernie-doodles, and I got excited. I asked the breed and they were ‘mini ‘Bernie-doodles. Mom, dad, and two puppies. So darn cute!
Usually I want some wildlife or action in my photos, but I honestly loved the woods here, and scenes like this kept catching my eye..
If I remember correctly this is a scrub oak.
Does something live in there I wonder?
Beauty berries were the only ‘color’ we saw, and no butterflies or birds paying any attention to them.
Trying a black and white version.
Then I spotted some wild life.
With those long legs she could have chosen to hop away pretty fast.
But she didn’t. I told a Dad and his boys to look for her up ahead, and they seemed happy to tell me that they’d seen her as they zoomed past us on their second lap around the path on their bikes.
We continued on the path, nearly back to where we started.

There is lots more to this park, and when we come here again I’d like to do it earlier in the day.My friend isn’t as ‘up and at ’em’ as I am in the morning. But the sunset is getting earlier, and soon these afternoon adventures can include the sunset. That also works for me. Along with this cooler weather.

a second look, exploring new places, food, friends, fun, go with the flow, moon, perseverance, photography

Market Elaine…

Market Elaine comes to the shopping center called The Grove, on the 1st Friday of the month. Last month’s was rained out, but we decided to try again last night and we both were stunned at how huge this event was. This row of vendors was adjacent to the Crate with it’s shops and restaurants. So we started walking…

We walked a bit and then I took this shot of where we had been so far.
I stood in the same spot and took this shot in the other direction. There was lots more to see.
We followed the line of vendors into the shopping area of the Grove, where the vendors were also set up. I took this picture because I was surprised to see the Highland Axe Throwing company. Is this a thing? Other signs on the windows were amusing. “Hey, how’s your Axe,’ and ‘Like darts but more kick Axe, and ‘Beers and Axes, what could go wrong?’ I’m easily amused.
We hadn’t walked up that way before so we were surprised to find a nice pond. With a Limpkin doing a bit of hunting for his dinner.
Something else we hadn’t seen before.
Had to take a picture of this sign as we walked, after all, I like big mutts too.
Halloween was in full swing with the vendors, and this shop at the Krate. The Grove is the main shopping center, and it’s huge. Then they added Krate, which is an area of container shops offering food and more.
As we found a seat to wait for the entertainment we noticed the pale moon rising. I didn’t notice the birds flying in a V formation when I took this picture. When I do notice them in the sky I always try to get that shot, but this time I was oblivious.
There is live music on Friday nights, and this is Daniella Mass, who performed on Latin night.
What a voice on that girl. She said she is from Columbia, and she has a classical music background. Her music was not what I expected, not pop songs I’d ever heard, but beautiful ballads sung in Spanish, but I think the meanings came through. What a powerful voice on that little person.

I hadn’t been to a craft show in a long time, so I was interested to see what the vendors had for sale. There were clothes, for kids and adults, and not just tee shirts either. I was surprised at all the vendors selling crocheted creatures, I didn’t know they were popular. There were plants, Halloween decorations, several wood workers, and lots of baked goods. A fun way to spend an evening, but wear your walking shoes if you go!