adventure, Camping, Florida landmarks, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, nature, pelicans, perseverance, photography, strangers become friends

Egmont Key

Thursday of my silly little, chilly little, spur-of-the-moment trip to Fort DeSoto was the day with the promise of the best weather.  So when I saw that a ferry trip to Egmont Key was available from the park I decided that Thursday would be the day I would go.  We had a pelican keeping us company as we waited to board the ferry, and I couldn’t resist taking yet another picture of the Egmont Light, even though I knew I’d see it up close in just a little while.unnamedunnamed-1

We landed right at the weather-worn lighthouse, and we were told to take the trail to the beach across the island, and that we should be sure to see the ghost town also.unnamed-2.jpgunnamed-3.jpgunnamed-4.jpgunnamed-20.jpgunnamed-6.jpgunnamed-16.jpg

The day was warm and sunny, a nice change, and a nice day to walk on the beach.  While I was preoccupied with taking pictures of the birds and shells my fellow travelers were finding sand dollars and shark teeth.unnamed-7.jpgunnamed-9.jpgunnamed-10.jpg0-6.jpegunnamed-15.jpg

The ghost town turned out to be ruins of defenses constructed to defend Florida during the Spanish American war. unnamed-5.jpgunnamed-17.jpgunnamed-18.jpgunnamed-19.jpg

And ruins on the beach too.unnamed-8.jpgunnamed-13.jpgunnamed-12.jpgunnamed-14.jpg

In just two hours it was time to head back to the park, bringing our treasures, and pictures, and memories with us.unnamed-21.jpgunnamed-11.jpg

I have a friend that we tease with ‘butt shots’, so I made it a point to take this photo of the Willets on the beach.  Little did I know that it would be my best photo of them.unnamed-22.jpg

Even with the chilly weather this was a fun trip.  I didn’t know a soul when I arrived at the park, but there were four people to give me a hug goodbye.  Everything I heard about camping and campers has proven to be true.  I wonder where I’ll end up next?

 

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Florida native wildlife…

Do you see it?  In the feature photo?  The manatee coming up for air?  Seeing this wild manatee from the river overlook at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Nature Park was a bonus.  They were outside the park, but the underwater gates are open this time of year so that the wild manatees can come in when the weather dictates.  The park itself has undergone a few incarnations over the years before being taken over by the state.  It once housed exotic animals, but now is a rehabilitation facility for native Florida species.  All the permanent residents are not able to be returned to the wild for one reason or another.  The vast majority of the park is open and many of the birds you see are wild and free to come and go as they wish.  I have a confession though.  Taking these pictures seems like cheating since the animals are captive.  It’s not the thrill that it would have been if I had seen them in the wild and gotten these pictures.  But they are beautiful, and this is a fun park to visit.1-10-20flamingoview1-10-20flamingos1-10-20eagle1-10-20crestedcaracara1-10-20burrowingowl1-10-20bobcat1-10-20GBH1-10-20greenandtri1-10-20hankypanky1-10-20hawk1-10-20heron1-10-20homasassaview21-10-20panther1-10-20redfox1-10-20Shermanfoxsquirrel1-10-20spoonbill1-10-20surfacing1-10-20vulture1-10-20whoopingcranes

And here we have Lu, who is a holdover from the exotic animal days.  He was a movie star in the past, but he is now going to celebrate his 60th birthday on January 24th.  His real birthday is the 26th, but they always have a party for him with school children so they planned for a weekday.1-10-20Lu

And Frankie enjoyed a bit of a family reunion while she was there.1-10-20Frankie'sroots

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, Jenkin's Creek, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography

In pursuit of the manatees…

I once read that you must choose a feature photo that will entice people to click on and read your blog.  I’m sure this picture today wouldn’t do that for me.  It’s the view from the observation tower at Linda Pederson Preserve, but it’s not the view that got me to climb the four story staircase.  No, I climbed it because I was confident that I would see a manatee or two from up there.  The waterways on the Nature Coast are spring fed and a constant 72 degrees year round, so when the weather gets colder along with the water temperatures the manatees come to the area to spend the winter.  I had a nice view of them from up there, but when I looked at my photos I was surprised at how much the reflections and the ripples in the water had affected the photos.  So between that and the fact that the manatees don’t do much except drift around and come up for air now and then there weren’t a lot of useable pictures.  But I’m not complaining.1-9-20twotees1-9-20onetee

There are other views to enjoy at this park, besides the one across to the fishing pier at Jenkin’s Creek.  I saw my first wood stork hanging around with the fishermen on that pier, and I’ve seen eagles, great blue herons, egrets, and the wood storks in the trees around the water.  I was there early once morning and standing on the little bridge when a family of river otters started to come onto the bridge, but they changed their mind when they saw me.  It’s a shame it didn’t get decent pictures of that!1-9-20LPPview21-9-20LPPview

There were lots of fishermen present along the water yesterday.  And I directed two disappointed women who were looking for manatees to climb the tower.  But I was really there to get another photo of Frankie, my flamingo photo prop for a challenge from my photo group. I had a heck of a time trying to hold Frankie and take a picture with my iPhone, it’s too big for my hand.  Along came a gentleman up the stairs and I told him he’d showed up in the nick of time.  He thought I meant because there were two manatees down there, but I told him no, I needed his help if I had any hope of getting a photo for the challenge.  He was happy to oblige.1-8-20Frankieandthemanitee

Now you see why I love my camera with the zoom lens.  I hope you see the manatees down there in this picture, but I was glad to zoom for photos in with my nice new lens, which I will refer to as my ‘new’ lens as long as I don’t buy a newer one.  But I think I’ve found a happy medium with my equipment these days.  I’m always ready no matter where I go.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, perseverance, photography, simple things

My new favorite park…

I don’t know why it took me so long to go to John Chestnut Park.  I had seen that my photo group have taken photo walks to that park frequently, but for one reason or another I hadn’t been able to join them.  Until today, when I decided that it was high time I made a visit.  As I got out of the car I saw another photographer with his big tripod and camouflage covered lens, which he parked outside of the bathroom while he went in.  So I appointed myself to guard the camera, and then proceeded to pick his brain about what  might see and where.  He showed me his pictures he’d just taken as two eagles harassed an osprey to try to hijack his newly caught fish.  I was sorry to have missed that.

Do you see the seeds on the railing in the feature photo?  He told me that people place them there for the birds, and right on cue that Downey woodpecker landed and gave me my first photo op.  The squirrels were quite interested in the seeds also, and if I had had food for them I’m sure they would have eaten out of my hand.  The park is lovely, full of boardwalks over the wetlands, and trails to follow, and that’s just what I did.

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As I took pictures of the park itself I was quite surprised to find that squirrel at eye level only five feet away from me.  I didn’t seem to bother him as I took pictures while he was having a snack.  But as I stood there something caught my eye out in the woods.  I assumed it was a bird, but when I took a picture and then enlarged it in the camera I realized it was a deer.  The flicking of her tail was what had caught my eye.  So I backtracked a bit to try to get a better shot, and then realized that she had walked under the boardwalk and she was just off to my right.  I called to her and instead of taking off she turned and looked at me.  I’m happy to say that this park will be worth many more visits in the future.12-26deerclose

finding my way, Florida landmarks, fun, leap of faith, making memories, moments, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sky, sunset, technology, unintended images

Sunset people…

When a sunset vista consists of water and sky only, then you know you are going to need a little something extra in the foreground of your photos to make a more interesting composition.  I decided that people in silhouette would be a great option at Sunset Beach, so that’s what I was concentrating on when I struck up a conversation with a couple who were sitting on a bench enjoying the evening.  Turns out they are also from Massachusetts and have been fixing up a nearby house, and they go out each night for the sunset.  The husband asked if I had a phone.  He said that he was watching me taking pictures and liked the way the light fell on me and thought it would make a good picture.    So the feature photo is his photo of me, taken with my phone.  I love these chance encounters.  Am I too trusting?  I was asking myself that as I handed him my new expensive phone and walked away.  But these were very nice people, and this encounter was an extra added bonus to an already nice day.12-15sunsetgoldenhour12-15momandgirl12-15people12-15silhouette212-15sunsetbeach212-15sunsetbeachsilhouette

 

'scene' along the way, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, Just do it, moments, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Wall Springs Park…

One of the benefits of my photo group is that several times a year you have the opportunity to have you camera sensor professionally cleaned.  Yesterday was one of those days, and my camera needed it since it hadn’t been cleaned for a full year.  Which in no way explains why I got a bunch of really lousy photos when we stopped at Wall Springs Park on the way home.  Nope, that was on me.  But after spending a few days holed up in the recliner and sniffling my way through a bad cold it was just nice to be out in the sun.

A green heron isn’t an easy bird to spot, so I’m happy that a couple of birders pointed this one out.12-14greenheron

And a mullet!  These fish jump out of the water and seem to hover for a second, but if you think that that would make it easy for you to get a picture of one you can think again.  I have tried to get a photo of one many times, but I got lucky yesterday.12-14mullet

The park looked as if it would be a prime spot for an eagle nest, but the only big birds in the trees were vultures.  Looking ominous.  And the only other salvageable picture was one of this squirrel.  I hope it doesn’t take me too long to get back into the swing of things, it’s usually a lot ore fun to come home and look at your pictures than it was yesterday.12-14squirrel