Things have slowed down at the rookery. There were a few ducklings as you see in the profile picture, but you also wee the water lilies that have completely taken over the water there. The decibel level is down with the few remaining babies calling out to be fed. The grassy slope we stand on to shoot has been overtaken by sandy looking spots, which I attempted to avoid in my flip flops but I still managed to come away with a fresh crop of fire ant bites. The great egrets were the only action to focus on while we were there, and I can’t say for sure if they are an adult and baby or two siblings practicing their poses. It’s a privilege to witness this cycle of life yet again. Nature truly amazes.
I never thought of myself as particularly OCD, but it seems I am when it comes to my photos. I always want to use them in the order in which they were taken. And God forbid that I went out for pictures and then happened across a situation where I got more and ‘better’ pictures afterwards. That’s what constitutes a dilemma for me. So I already had pictures from the Tampa rookery when I left for my recent trip to NH, and I only got around to looking at the rookery pictures today. They are from Mother’s Day, judging by the ducklings in the feature photo. Would anyone have known that these aren’t current pictures? Of course not, but I know they aren’t current and it bothers me. But not enough to just chuck them and go out for newer pictures.
My interest in birds snuck up on me. I bought a DSLR first, spur of the moment (it was Christmas after all), and when I sat in my backyard with the camera birds were what was there to pose for pictures. I’m not sure I’d ever heard the word ‘rookery’ until I started paying attention to the photos online, and then found the camera club. A long time ago I realized, and sort of kicked myself over the realization, that I never actually made a plan in life, I just let myself go where the wind blew me. Now I see it blew me right where I belong.
The feature photo, and only photo that I know about at this moment, is the uninvited company I found out on the lanai this morning. I have resisted becoming attached to this lanai after loving the one at my old house. There is no lake here, no pond critter serenades, but the birds do sing so that’s something. But this morning I found myself at eye level to a creature that I quickly realized wasn’t a lizard. Lizards are so common, and mostly keep their distance, but this sticky-fingered creature was eyeing me up. As I was doing to him. So he retreated into the corner and then climbed to the very top of the corner brace. I thought that I would have to warn my friend when he came out because this little guy would be directly over his head if he sat in his usual chair. But Tampa Bay Lightning fans who have endured a disappointing play-off game and then a frustrating drive home aren’t given to getting up early the next morning. Maybe it’s the effort of growing a beard in solidarity with the players, a long-standing tradition I’m told. It’s currently in the whisk-broom stage, but I digress. It turned out that my fears as to the little guy’s jumping weren’t unwarranted, because he jumped onto the end table, landing with a thud, which is when I took his picture. Looks like he needed to wipe his chin after his breakfast. By this time the sun was baking me, the coffee was cold, and it was time to go in. I hope this guy finds his way back outside as stealthily as he found his way in, so I don’t have to check the corners of the roofline before I sit out here again…
Procrastination is one of my best talents. It was when I was a kid, and it’s still with me all these years later. As a matter of fact I have two phone calls I need to make, and I ought to be packing for a trip I have coming up. But at this moment I’m lamenting the trip to the Venice Rookery that I’ve been talking about taking for weeks but only got around to going there yesterday. The Great Blue Heron babies bobbing their heads weren’t there, as I’d promised my friend, though the great egrets and anhingas were raising a ruckus. A little mockingbird flew by and landed on a fence, giving me a nice feature photo. But I confess that I was disappointed when another photographer told me that the great blue babies had fledged the nests. But we began to take pictures of the birds that were there.
As I walked to the car to get our lunch I noticed a great blue heron flying towards the rookery. She landed on the very top of the shrubbery, and, much to our surprise, up popped two ‘babies’ who were very happy to see her. We hadn’t been aware of them at all, and if we had been I probably would have thought they were adults, they were that big.
Soon it was time to go. What started out a bit disappointing had turned out to be a fun day. Mother Nature is like that.
Thank you to joannie6535 for reminding me of where I actually was yesterday.
It was back to the pond to look for the dragonflies again yesterday, but this time with my 150-600mm lens. I haven’t used it in so long that it resisted me as I tried to extend it to the full 600mms. And it was just so heavy that I struggled to keep it still even with the tripod. Then there was the zoom that was almost too much, so that finding the dragonflies that were right in front of me wasn’t easy. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the smaller lens I use all the time. But the dragonflies cooperated this time also, and I have no idea how that shell wound up in the grass but it caught my eye.
The sun came out from behind a cloud after just a few minutes and that was enough to send me back to the house. No wonder the sunrises and sunsets are fun to do here in Florida. We do them in self defense.
It dawned on me that the pond where I catch a nice sunrise occasionally would probably be a spot to see some dragonflies, so I sat on the bank of the pond a while to check it out.
This was almost like sitting in my backyard by the lake and waiting for wildlife to come to me. All I have to do is bring a chair next time.