backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, home, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

A gentleman caller…

Yesterday I got a surprise when I looked out front to check and see if the trash had been picked up yet.  It had.  But as I headed out to put the trash can away I discovered a visitor on the lawn.  Funny that he was there because lately I’ve been lamenting to myself that I can’t just sit out in the back yard and have photo ops come to me any more.  And birds have been scarce in general, even in places that I thought you would always find them.  It was a young wood stork, smaller than most of the ones I’ve seen.

Of course I grabbed the camera and went out the door for pictures.  This didn’t seem to bother him a lot, he stood his ground and I sat on my stoop and started shooting.  Personally, I think he liked the photo shoot.  He certainly turned this way and that, maybe he was deciding which was his best side.  He also was approaching me, making me suspect that someone has been feeding him.  I understand the urge to do that, and I even had frozen corn and peas which I’ve read is what you are supposed to feed ducks, if you can’t resist feeding them.  But I did resist.  Eventually I’d taken so many pictures, and I wondered what mission he’d been on when I interrupted him, so I went inside.  I couldn’t resist checking to see what he was doing though, but I didn’t have to look hard because he was right outside my front door, looking in.  I hope his interest in people doesn’t cause him problems, but on the other hand I hope I see him again.10-14woodstork710-14woodstork110-14woodstork210-14woodstork310-14woodstork410-14woodstork610-14woodstork5

'scene' along the way, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, gardens, lizards, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, technology

Saturday at the Botanical Gardens…

At the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens that is.  I may never have gone there on a Saturday before.  I say this because it just seemed to be bustling with activity, which isn’t usually the case.  They were getting ready for a wedding, decorating the gazebo, and chairs were set up ready for guests.  It looked to be my kind of affair, small and simple.  I’ll bet it was nice. 10-12gazebo

It was early and the sun was strong and made for deep shadows.  The butterflies in the butterfly garden were scarce, and too busy to sit for photographs.  But the female cardinal was too busy eating berries to worry about me and my camera.10-12cardinal2

But what tickled me most was that the train was zooming around the track.  That was a first.  I’d seen that the track was there of course, but hadn’t seen it in operation.  The gentleman running it says it runs every Saturday from 9 AM to noon.  The track circles a display that includes two little waterfalls, and I happily tried to get pictures but the strong sun and shadows got in the way.  So I used my new iPhone to take shots of the train in burst mode, and it shot a movie instead.  Clearly I need to study up on how to take best advantage of the features of the phone.  And the site wouldn’t let me post the little video.  But I got one shot of the train at least.10-12train

This water feature was new to me also.10-12waterfeatureAnd, what we have most of here in Florida, lizards!10-12lizard

'scene' along the way, birds, boats, finding my way, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, moments, nature, perseverance, photography

Snowbirds…

The snowbirds don’t seem to have returned to Florida yet.  Well, this one has, but I seem to be the exception.  The October calendar in the park doesn’t list any activities for the month, and when you go to the pool you just might be the only one there.  I went to Tarpon Springs thinking I’d do some street photography, but the streets were emptier than I’ve ever seen them.  Maybe they are all still up north, waiting for the pretty foliage. And my photographer friends seemed to be rejoicing about the return of the birds to the area, but I haven’t actually found them either.  It’s a lull.  Crowds and traffic will be arriving soon.  And so will the birds.  I need to enjoy the moment while it lasts…10-10tarponquest10-10tarponoldboat10-10tarponoctopus10-10tarpongull10-10tarpon3birds

'scene' along the way, a second look, Bayport, birds, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Back to Bayport…

I have no idea how long it’s been since the last time I went to Bayport for the sunrise.  Or sunset for that matter.  It was always my favorite place to go, and a place to go when I ran out of ideas for places to go.  And Sunday was a beautiful morning for it.  The fishing pier still hasn’t been repaired, and it felt a lot more rickety than I remember.  There is an underwater shipwreck nearby which is holding up the funds for the repairs. A fisherman told me that and I was dubious, but I Googled it and sure enough that’s the problem.   I didn’t think the heron was going to show up, but as you can see he did.  Seems like things went along just fine without me while I was gone.  10-6bayporsunrise410-6bayportHDR110-6bayportHDR310-6bayportHDRboat10-6bayportHDRclose10-6bayportHDRreverse10-6bayporheron10-6bayporheronegretOn the way home I stopped at Jenkin’s Creek in hopes of seeing an eagle, but I struck out. What I did see was a sign saying that ALL parked cars were subject to a $5 parking fee.  That was new.  I stopped to take pictures of this egret, and I didn’t pay.  I’m such a renegade in my old age.

'scene' along the way, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, kids, learning, nature, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Brooker Creek Preserve…

Today was a day like many other days.  It was day one of my new resolve to eat better and get more exercise.  I’ve been there before, but I’m always sure that this time it will stick.  So I decided to walk this morning and walked out the door to very pretty skies.10-5morningsky110-5morningpalm

The next stop for the day was Brooker Creek Preserve.  I’d never been before and I expected to walk the bird trail and take lots of bird pictures, but that’s not what happened.10-5fromthebridgeThe view from the bridge was lovely, but there were no birds to be seen and I was disappointed to start with.  But I quickly discovered that this is exactly the place to go to for a nature adventure with kids.  I was especially impressed with the area set up for the kids to have some hands-on interactions with nature.  They could pet the pelts of some of the animals they have probably seen in the area.10-5pelts

And get to match the scat (that’s poop in layman’s terms) to the animal that created it.10-5scat

Or hold a caterpillar, which will become a monarch butterfly.10-5caterpillars

Or make a caterpillar craft…10-5caterpillars2

And a slideshow was playing up on the wall and one of the images caught my attention.  I’ve seen these lichen many times here in Florida but didn’t appreciate what I was seeing.  I liked them because there is sometimes a ‘face’ in the pattern on the bark.10-5lichen

And in the butterfly tent the kids were given q-tips that they could dip in fruit juice to attract the butterflies.  This little cutie’s name is Charlotte and she totally made my day!10-5cutie

Half the fun of being out with the camera is that you never know what the day will bring, but it’s always fun.