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Fort DeSoto…

Of course you don’t have to travel to Fort DeSoto to see butterflies, but I haven’t seen many lately anywhere so when I do see them I’ll take their picture.

I don’t have a dedicated macro lens, and if I did I’d never have the patience to change lenses, and this butterfly wouldn’t have waited around for me anyhow. So I love my zoom lens that lets me get a picture on the fly.

What we really went to Fort DeSoto for was the chance to see birds that we don’t see in our usual stops. A heads-up from another visitor who lives nearby got us to a fountain, where we could sit in the shade and wait to see what birds would come for a visit. On the next bench were two ladies with binoculars who were exclaiming over a ‘blue grosbeak’, ‘Look at how blue he is,’ they said. Way off in the distance I could see the bird they were talking about, so I shot 15 or so pictures into the trees and hoped for the best.

I had to edit the one and only photo that actually had a bird in it to a fare-thee-well. And they were right, he really was blue. But I don’t know if I can claim to have seen a blue grosbeak, since I barely saw a flicker in the trees. Gotta love a zoom lens, and Lightroom…
We were so lucky to see a Nanday Parakeet up in a tree also. Again we have to thank the woman who says she lives only 5 miles from the park and visits twice a day. She pointed him out to us, but he was in silhouette and we had to take her word for it as to what it was. This was a first for me.
One of the piers is being worked on, but this one was open. I loved the two sets of egrets facing off on the rooftops. Kind of like the Sharks and the Jets.
We enjoyed the view from the pier.
I took the pop-up to Fort DeSoto a little over three years ago. I had heard that it was impossible to get a spot in the campground, so when three nights were available I took them. Then I discovered that the overnight temperatures were going to be in the 30s, so someone probably cancelled and left the opening for me. But it was great during the day. I rode the ferry to Egmont Key and saw this lighthouse up close during that visit. I wore two sweatshirts with both hoods up, and piled 4 throws over me to sleep. I love being toasty warm but breathing cold air, so it was great. Butin the morning getting into the open air showers at 30-something degrees was something else!
Is that a fin at the corner of this snowy’s mouth? I love to see the golden slippers.
This black and white plover was on East Beach, from which you can take a sunrise photo that includes the Sunshine Skyway bridge, provided you get there early enough.
Imagine the sun rising behind this bridge. The iconic picture is when you catch the sun rising centered in the tallest uprights. I haven’t managed to get that shot yet, but it doesn’t line up like that often. Maybe next time.
a second look, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, Osprey, perseverance, photography

Osprey assumptions…

There are osprey nests on posts along many of the roads we drive on our usual travels. But we had never seen this nest before because we hadn’t been to Fort DeSoto Park before, at least not together. We had minimum information on where exactly to see the many, many migrating birds that we have seen pictures of lately, but we were optimistic. My favorite pictures wound up being this osprey sequence, even if I may have missed the boat on it entirely. What I saw in the distance, and you see in the feature photo, was a nest being guarded by Dad on the nearby branch, and Mom standing in the nest. Dad, if that is in fact Dad, never moved from that position. And for that matter neither did ‘Mom.’

This is the picture that tickled me! I’d never seen a baby osprey before, so I was thrilled when Junior put in an appearance. But when he rose up some more and started flapping those wings I was amazed.
I thought Mom was too busy keeping an eye on things to pay too much attention.
Then I thought Junior turned his attention to Dad, as in, “Hey Dad, look at me, I’m a big kid,” and smacking Mom in the face in the process.

So I showed my pictures to Bernie and told him why I thought the whole thing was so funny, and he pointed out that the two birds on the nest are the same size, so perhaps they are both babies. Siblings. And Mom may be the one of the branch keeping watch over the shenanigans. And, darn it all, he has a point. I guess the joke was on me. But it was fun to see them anyhow.

a second look, adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Plan B plus…

Felts preserve was always part of our plan for the day on Friday. It’s only a half hour from the Celery Fields and neither stop was going to require a long walk, or scooter ride. We saw a hawk fly up onto a branch as we were arriving, but the resulting picture wasn’t great so I chose to make it the black and white feature photo. It was almost black and white all by itself. But it was disappointing to see that there was only one feeder filled, plus some seeds on the flat feeders. There were six squirrels scooping up the droppings, and one had managed to perch himself on an open feeder and he stayed put the whole time. Well, almost. Something happened to caused the squirrels and the birds to take cover…

I was here by myself a few years ago and I don’t remember this sign. Maybe it’s new.
There are trails for the adventurous to follow, but we chose the more direct route to the bird blind.
Surprisingly this was the only feeder with seeds. So the painted buntings have possibly moved on. I was thrilled with the lighting and thought this female cardinal looked great in the viewfinder in the camera. I couldn’t see her deformed bill until I put my pictures in the computer.
I was so pleased with this photo, but the beak breaks my heart. This is the second time I’ve gotten home and found that a cardinal I took pictures of had an issue with its beak. First one was from Circle B.
She gets along well with others however. And there was a male in attendance but I didn’t get a decent picture of him.
This red-bellied woodpecker was busy.
We saw the squirrels scatter, and this is the interloper who moseyed on in and wandered under the feeders, sniffing the ground and checking things out.
We had made it back to the car and were loading our cameras when this (same) hawk flew onto the top of a post that had me shooting straight up into the air. I’m surprised I got a picture all.
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That zoo visit…

Lemurs hardly ever can be seen in their entirety, meaning that long tail in a picture.
We wandered for a bit since the orangutan enclosure was being tended to by the keepers.
I am convinced that our pets are totally content when life follows a routine and they know what to expect. But looking at that face I have to wonder, what do they think about?
When big daddy emerges he makes quite an impression.
Finally, mom and baby emerge into the morning sunlight.
Is she checking out her audience?
Another pose that makes me wonder what they think about.
All of the wildlife preserves in our area are also inhabited by wild birds who recognize a great place to live. These ducks seem to enjoy life in the zoo.
I saw this little bird land on a post, and since my camera was ready to go I took its picture. Merlin says it’s a house sparrow. But as sometime’s happens, when I saw the photo in the computer I was distressed to see that it’s leg is deformed.
Not a bird but a bird of paradise. The first picture I took at the zoo that day.

Going to the zoo will work out best when you plan ahead. Getting there when the zoo opens at 9:30 you can expect the animals to be active. The orangutans emerge from their dens to find that the keepers have scattered greens around the enclosure for them to eat. Sometimes they put out various pieces of clothing or towels that the orangutans enjoy draping over themselves. There is a good bit of shade at the zoo all day, but it will get pretty hot later. Of course there is a splash pad for the kids to enjoy, and I suppose a parent or grandparent might enjoy it also. A one day pass can seem expensive, until you realize that you can buy a pass that will get you admission for a year for the same price.

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Saturday was our last scheduled photo walk to Tampa Bay Downs, and we were happy to not have to rush out as early as we usually do when we are meeting with the group. But when we were ready to leave I found I’d left the car keys in the house, so I set the camera down in the tricycle basket while I went to retrieve them. You know what happens next, right? Yes, I forgot to pick the camera back up and off we went without it. I didn’t realize what I’d done until I went to get the camera out of the back of the car when we got there. Bernie asked if I’d rather just go home, but I figured I’d just use my phone and take photos of the people instead of the races. Only my phone was down to 14% battery power. Sigh, but all was not lost since his phone was charged.

Here was a candidate right off the bat…

I guess I now had hair on the brain…

This tee shirt caused me to stalk this guy before I finally got a picture…

Really? Heels at the track when you have a kid to chase around? Or ever for that matter?

We wound up sitting up in the grandstand, which turned out to be a better vantage point than we thought. Even with the phone the photos were interesting, mostly because of the sky.

I even got a couple of horses with all four feet off the ground.

I stalked that little cutie as her family was heading away from me. If anyone had been paying attention I’d probably have been arrested. There is virtually no seating that is out of the sun except for the grandstand. I suspect that that’s where we’ll be sitting when next season’s photo walks start up again. The breeze was fabulous. Not a bad day all in all…

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Wildlife photography…

One thing about going to the zoo to take photos, you know you will come away with a lot of them, and hopefully some you really like a lot. And some of the photos you get might surprise you, like Flora, who posed for me in the feature photo.

Our day was winding down when we came upon the enclosure where owls are kept. This barred owl was one of three there.
This tiny screech owl was right up against the bars of his cage. And my lens zoom lens was too much to take anything but a close up. I love the detail in his feathers.
Near the alligator pond we saw two chicks, but I’m not sure what they are. Try-color herons maybe? Did they fledge? Fall out of the nest?
Someone was raising a ruckus from up above, and we could barely make out a nest and some agitated chicks. Is that where the chicks came from?
These babies were also up high, but keeping a low profile.
Maybe the fuss was because they thought that this alligator was sneaking up on the keepers.
Nope, it was feeding time. She taps on the concrete and the gators know to get into the water to get fed. Too close for comfort for me, but the male keeper was on his last day and wanted to feed the alligators before he left. That sounds like a be careful what you wish for to me.
We went to see the tiger on our way back to the car. He emerged from his cave but immediately settled in for a nap, which sounded like a good idea to us.