Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, Jenkin's Creek, moments, nature, photography

Swampfest 2018

This weekend is the 25th anniversary of Swampfest, and my first Swampfest ever.  It is held at Linda Pedersen Park, which is right across the street from Jenkin’s Creek, so not far at all from home.  It began as a fundraiser for our local businesses and community organizations, but it has grown into an event that draws a big crowd from the surrounding area.  The funds raised go back into the community, a worthy cause.

I enjoyed the vendors’s colorful booths…

There was lots of food to choose from (but I was good, except for the strawberry shortcake for breakfast)…

Had nice nice chat with a photographer working on her degree…3-3photographerThis gentleman asked me what I was going to take a picture of, and I said, “You!”  And I did.3-3you

The entertainment was provided by Actual Bank Robbers and they were very good.  I don’t know what it says about them that they played songs I knew and liked, but everyone seemed to be enjoying their music.  Google them to find out where they are appearing, I think you’ll like them.3-3bandDid I mention the Swamp Monster Contest?  The gals looked great, but that little guy stole the show, and came away with third prize of $25, causing him to dance around yelling that he had dollars.  The gal in blue won first place.3-3monsters3-3littlemonster

But on any given day a visit to this park is worthwhile.  Nature at it’s finest.  The observation tower is newly reopened after a fire, so of course I went up.  Aside from the power lines it gives you a very nice view of Jenkin’s Creek and the fishing pier.  I was excited to go there for the sunset one night when I first heard about it, but no one had mentioned the power lines in the way.  No eagles flying today.

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birds, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, Jenkin's Creek, perseverance, photography, sunrise, unintended images

Lost opportunities…

I told myself to go out for the sunrise.  I had finished the coffee, caught up with Facebook, and there was still time to head out.  I had seen stars out there when I let the dogs out, so it wasn’t overcast.  But as I made my first turn I spotted the moon, big and round but very low in the sky, with wispy clouds over the face.  Now I had a different plan, skipped the turn to Bayport and headed for Hammonds Creek bridge, simply because it was closer.  I felt like I was racing to get there before the moment had passed.  And I thought it had because I hadn’t seen the moon again, so I made the turn to Jenkin’s Creek, just a little further.  And in the last stretch of road I saw the moon again, just as it sank into the low clouds.  They talk about lost opportunities at work, but they are talking about sales of products, but these are the lost opportunities that drive me nuts.

The colors of the sky were pretty, but the sunrise would have been prettier at either of my other options this morning, and I was mad at myself.  And then I noticed two shapes in the dead tree across the inlet.  I didn’t even hurry, sure they would turn out to be vultures.  It wasn’t until I moved the car across the parking lot, set up the tripod, and finally looked through the zoom lens that I saw they were eagles.  I took pictures as they looked left, then right, in unison, and just as I was about to leave I thought I saw one ‘defecate’.  That was the polite term that Jeff, guru of the photo group, used when he said that you must know bird behavior.  They lighten the load just before they fly, he said.  So I backed the zoom off a little bit to give myself some room, and off he took!  3-1eagle83-1eagle73-1eagle53-1eagle43-1eagle33-1eagle23-1eagle1I’ll be looking for that moon tomorrow…


birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, nesting, pelicans, perseverance, photography, sunset

Don’t give up…

The Anclote Fishing Pier smelled like… fish. I had walked out almost to the end of the pier for a sunset photo op. Evidently the fishermen clean their fish out there.  Phew!  But I’ve gotten ahead of myself…1-10sunset1feature copy

First was a futile trip to Bayport for the sunrise that didn’t happen. Then off to Jenkin’s Creek where I amused myself taking photos of a Great Egret while I waited for an eagle, and then an otter showed up.  But no eagle so I gave up. But as I pulled out of the parking lot I saw an eagle flying in, so of course I turned around.

I couldn’t resist heading out again later though, blame the fabulous weather. There was the eagle nest that I hadn’t visited since our cold spell, I wondered if all was well, and it was. Except all I got to see at first was the nest itself. Then a head popped up so that I was sure mom or dad were there. And so the wait began.1-10mindingthenest.jpg

But then I spotted Dad, or was it Mom, in a nearby tree. My eagle watching friend had said that the parent that is off the nest is always nearby, but I didn’t spot him at first. He was posing nicely. Well, his back was to me, but I think he can swivel his head 360 degrees, which was fortunate from the point of view of photo ops.1-10it'sdadormom copy

1-10eagle3 copy.jpgI watched for a long time until he flew off to a tree farther away. Then he swooped down out of sight and I was holding my breath hoping that he would come back with dinner for mom. I have to stop trying to anticipate what will happen and just let things unfold. He did return and was on a branch very close to the nest. Then mom joined him on that branch and it made me think of them comparing notes. When Mom flew off to hunt, Dad took over on the nest, which is what I was waiting for, only I had hoped for both parents on the nest together.

It was time for me to go see what I could see at the fishing pier.  But I already showed you a sunset photo, and the flock of birds flying against the reflected sunset color, but I didn’t show you the pelican.  It was a great sunshiny day!1-10pelican copy

Bayport, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, photography, sunrise

The fun of it…

Don’t let the sunshine in the photos fool you, it was freezing out.  By Florida standards at least.  I wasn’t able to stay at Bayport as long as I usually do, but it was mostly the wind that froze my fingers, and that was what got to me.  But for us winter will be over soon, and for that I’m appreciative.

It wasn’t the most spectacular sunrise, maybe that’s why I gave up so easily.  I warmed up on the drive to Jenkin’s Creek, and found an eagle.  But he was across the water and farther away than I’ve been lucky enough to see in him the past.  That was disappointing, but then he took to the sky.  The new zoom lens requires manual focus, and I couldn’t refocus fast enough as he flew, so every time I saw him in the lens I clicked a photo.  I’m amazed that any of them turned out.  When you go out for photos you just never know what you’ll get.  But that’s the fun of it…

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Bayport, birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, photography, sunrise

Gloomy sunrise…

It’s not as if I expected a great sunrise.  It was very gloomy at home, but since I have driven to Bayport before and found it to be clear right there at the water, off I went.  Not on Thursday though, there was no color in the sunrise at all.  But my new routine when I go to Bayport is to swing past Jenkin’s Creek on the way home to see if I can spot an eagle.  And while I haven’t found an eagle at any other time of day, I’m batting 1000 for finding one at sunrise.  I tried to wait for him to fly away, or do something besides sit there and turn his head one way or the other, but it was cold and I gave up before anything happened.



Bayport, birds, dogs, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, learning, old dogs new tricks, photography, sunrise, technology

Back to basics…

There I was at Jenkin’s Creek, after a lovely sunrise at Bayport.  I pulled into the parking lot and could see a large bird in the ‘wood stork’ tree, but I honestly couldn’t tell what it was.  Lucky for me there was another photographer there, Tony, and he said that it was a juvenile eagle.  I would probably have to have used Merlin to be sure what it was if he hadn’t been there.  I suppose that I look like I know what I’m doing, what with the tripod (which he said isn’t sturdy enough for my lens), as well as the gigantic lens itself.  So Tony got out his phone and was going to play eagle sounds in an attempt to get this eagle to fly for the sake of the photo op.  So, said he, ‘you probably want to increase your shutter speed.’  Nothing will fluster me more than something like that statement, because I still fumble to make those sorts of changes in the camera settings.  I admitted that I’m a rank amateur with this stuff, and because of that we both managed to miss the shot.  Bet he was glad I showed up.  He said he had gotten some good portrait shots at least.


So I decided I needed to work on my camera skills, and off I went to the dog park.  And I easily upped the shutter speed to account for the action I was hoping to capture.  It’s a lot easier when there are no witnesses to my fumbling.  Maybe I’m getting better at all of this after all.

1221doggie1221doggie21221doggie3Obviously the dog in this last picture has zoomed out of the focus point I set, but what I like about the photo is that the leaves he kicked up are perfectly in focus.  That made me smile.  Note to self, perhaps you ought to increase the focal area next time.

And the sunrise.  I never get tired of going out for the sunrise, and sunsets for that matter.  This one got prettier than it looked like it would with the fog.  And it was foggier when I got home than it was when I left.  Practice, practice, practice…