This morning I went out in search of my one-footed, blue-feathered, boyfriend Fred. He let me down though, he failed to show up. When I saw this egret coming in for a landing I got excited for a second, but nope, not him. She did fly off in the direction of the house where Fred is treated to breakfast though, in the far right of the feature photo. Maybe Fred has a new girlfriend. Maybe my imagination has gotten the best of me.
I dashed out between raindrops for a little while today because three days of confinement at home was getting to me. I decided that the rookery was the place to go. Only a mile away from home and usually you can get a lot of photos in a short period of time, so if I started to feel raindrops I could run home, but with photos to work on. Which is what happened. I parked at the rookery just as another woman arrived and proceeded to take her ladder out of her car and head across the street. A kindred spirit. It was so nice to have someone to chat with while we took pictures. And she was the first one to notice the gator, and then the second gator! They weren’t all that hard to spot so hopefully I would have seen them eventually. And then we felt raindrops so we said our goodbyes.
I got a little carried away with the wood stork chicks at the rookery the other day. I do think they are cute, in an a ‘face only a mother could love’ sort of way. Plus they were really the only game in town. They are always earlier than the egrets, but I did expect to see a few egret chicks by now, but I didn’t see any. I asked another family that was watching if they had seen the alligator, and the dad answered that yes, he had seen one. What followed was a comedy of errors as they, the father, grandfather, and young granddaughter who was manning the binoculars, began to spot alligator after alligator. Or so they said. I on the other had spotted none, but that didn’t stop me from shooting in the general the direction of where they were pointing. Eventually I did hear the dad suggest that what they were seeing might be soft shell turtles. My feature photo seems to have proved him correct.
Yes, the lovely egrets were present, but without a busy nest of chicks to tend. Not so far at least.
You’ve had one of those days I’m sure. The coffee maker dumps coffee and grounds on the floor, someone pounds on your front window tell you to move your car because they are repaving your street, you decide to go to the laundromat, but on the way you buy coffee and promptly slop it on yourself, then you give up and go take pictures…
This park is just lovely, but I usually don’t stop to admire it’s green and shady peacefulness. My usual process is to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise and then head to the park to see the owls, and once I’ve gotten those pictures I’m ready to drive the hour home again. But I did take a few moments to take some pictures of the park the other day. I love the stonework of the retaining walls and the path that zig zags its way down the slope to the water. As I took the feature photo I saw a bird fly through my shot, you can see it just below the horizon line towards the right hand side of the photo. I thought to myself that I hoped it would look good in the shot, but what took me by surprise was the big splash I heard a second later. I thought it must have been a pelican since they aren’t graceful when they hit the water, but I was surprised to see an osprey with a fish flying up and away. You know I took pictures but they were all too blurry to bother with.
As I approached the car to go home I saw a photographer under a tree near my car, shooting up into the branches. There had been a group there earlier also, and I was told that there was a screech owl up in that tree. I have a hard enough time seeing the much larger great horned owls so I stuck to my guns and got my owlet shots, and then my shots of the park, so I made one last stop and discovered that the osprey had chosen that tree to stop and have his lunch.
Now I was ready to go home, but I stopped to talk with a woman who asked me about the owls. I walked her over to the spot where I had stood to take my pictures and couldn’t spot the owlets, or the mom, and the entire lighting seemed very different. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.
For someone who got up at 4 AM I’m not sure how I managed to be too late getting out of the house to get to Safety Harbor for the sunrise. But my ulterior motive for going there was to see the owlets at Philippe Park again before they leave the nest, and it wasn’t too late to see them so off I went. As usual there were photographers busily clicking away, and soon I was too. The first of the owlets was in view, and his light coloring on top of his head allowed me to spot him pretty quickly.
I heard comments around me that indicated that there were two owlets there, but I couldn’t see a second one, not while I was taking the photos.
Mom was nearby and it took a lot more looking on my part for me to spot her. And is it any wonder? Nature is amazing, look how camouflaged she is! Crows were making pests out of themselves again today but for some reason it didn’t cause much commotion. The first owlet, however, did flap it’s wings and it moved over to the right where it was almost completely hidden by the Spanish moss. Maybe that left room for owlet #2 to pop up, and #3 was right there too. This was such a treat for me. I had heard that there were three in the nest, but I told myself to be happy to get shots of one at least. What a day!