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BOGO…

The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts

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Simple things…

Can you see the Daddy Owl up there?  Camouflage is the name of the game with these two owls, owls in general based on how hard it usually is to see them.  Without other photographers there to point them out I would never have spotted these two.  There is a debate as to whether this is the same pair who have nested in the area in the past.  This is a different nest though, but in the same tree as the one I’ve seen in the past.  And the female spent the whole time down in the nest.  We could see that she rearranged herself a bit, but a peek out at us was the most we saw of her.  She is busy sitting on eggs, that much seems to be a given.  I’ll be back soon, hoping for more action when their chicks hatch.  I don’t quite understand how I’ve gotten so invested in watching Mother Nature in action.  Eagles and owls, and my former neighbors have promised to let me know when/if the Sandhill cranes that I used to watch out my kitchen window begin their housekeeping.  It bothers me that all of this,  the sunrises and sunsets, and nature going about her business, was going on my whole life and I failed to pay attention.  It seems that the simple things in life are all that matters at these days.  If only I would have figured that out sooner…01-31-20owl101-31-20feathers01-31-20mompeek01-31-20owl2

a second look, adventure, Heros, history, learning, live and learn, moments, perseverance, photography

The battle…

In truth the northern troops seemed to be in overwhelming numbers on the battle field,  while confederate troops took the field in smaller contingents.01-18-20brooksvilleraidboy201-19-20confederatesoldiers

It was confusing to watch and try to decide which side had the upper hand.01-19-20grayfires01-18-20brooksvilleraidboy01-19-2020confederatetroops01-19-20unionshoot.jpg

The calvary took the field while canons fired on both sides.01-19-20cavalry01-19-20canonclose01-19-20calvaryshoot.jpg01-19-20horseback.jpg01-19-20twohorses.jpg01-19-20northovercomes.jpg

The dead and wounded were left laying in the field.01-18-20brooksvilleraidwounded

This old confederate soldier watched two of his fellow soldiers fall in the fighting.01-19-20oldman

He took up the charge by himself, which proved to be a futile attempt in the heat of the moment.01-19-20charge01-19-20nursing

In the end it appeared that the north had taken the day.  But at the end of the battle the dead and wounded arose, and both sides participated in a salute to past and present soldiers who have fought and died for our country.  If only all wars could end this way.01-19-2020finalsalute.jpg

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Heros, history, learning, live and learn, moments, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

The Brooksville Raid…

The Brooksville Raid was not a civil war battle but a skirmish, which had no clear winner.  Perhaps that’s why the reenactment weekends are structured by coin toss as to which side wins.  And the other side wins the next day.  A very civilized way to do things I suppose.  The gates open at 9 AM and the battle doesn’t happen until 2:30, so there is a lot of time to wander in the encampments where the reenactors spend the weekend, not just reenacting the battle but reliving life in the camps also.  They wander through the crowds in their costumes, the troops practice their drills, and it does help you to imagine what life would have been like for those poor soldiers.  Maybe not so poor on a gorgeous, sunny Florida day, but that wasn’t always the case now was it?

01-18-20brooksvilleraidflags01-18-20brooksvilleraidmedicinewagon01-18-20brooksvilleraiddrumsandpipes01-18-20brooksvilleraidcoffeewagon01-18-20brooksvilleraidcanoncrew01-18-20brooksvilleraidpraying01-19-20brooksvilleraid4horses01-19-20brooksvilleraidcamp;ife01-19-20brooksvilleraidcarryingtheflag01-19-20brooksvilleraidexchange01-19-20brooksvilleraidgirls01-19-20brooksvilleraidhoopskirts01-19-20brooksvilleraidmermaid01-19-20brooksvilleraidredhead01-19-20brooksvilleraidsupplies01-19-20brooksvilleraidthreeladies01-19-20brooksvilleraidtwocamp01-19-20brooksvilleraidwares01-19-20brooksvilleraidsasparilla

Sarsaparilla, I hadn’t had it before.  Choose your bottle and fill it for $5, and refills are $2!

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Citrus County Drummers…

The trip to Citrus County on Sunday was to attend the solstice meeting of the Citrus County Drum Circle.  I had seen a drum circle before on Pine Island, but I hadn’t been to this group before.  My friend is a member and knew the names of all the various drums and horns that were being used.  They all were unusual, and the entire evening was spent with the rhythm of the drums gently marking the time.  People danced in the circle as the spirit moved them, but most just watched quietly.  I learned that one very graceful dancer had been a belly dance instructor, and the elderly lady who had caught my eye had been a clown in her younger years.  There was a certain peacefulness to the evening, the only thing missing was a lovely sunset.  I would like to attend again, but nothing could move me to get up and dance in that circle.  But I envy those who can let themselves go like that…12-22solstice12-22mermaiddancer12-22hug12-22horn12-22favoritelady12-22drummers12-22dancing212-22dancing12-22dancer112-22couple12-22charminglady12-22bandanaguy12-22ballcapguy

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, learning, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Field Trip…

This photo walk out of the Chinsegut Conservation Center was a bit of a back to the beginnings trip for me.  Early one morning I saw a Facebook post about a bird photography class that was happening at the center, and I wanted to go.  I had a new digital camera at the time, and was barely functional with it, so I called to see if they had room for one more.  Not only did I begin to learn the camera, but I found friends, and I probably would never have begun blogging without another class that I took at the center later on.  Yes, a coming home of sorts,

But I’m not the nature photographer that my friends are.  Not every walk in the woods leads to great photos, and I confess that the description of this trip left me skeptical about the photos I might get.  So to hedge my bets a bit I got to the center early in hopes of seeing birds at the many feeders there.  And they were there.  A Downey woodpecker, a red-headed (but not cockaded) woodpecker, a summer tanager, and a tufted titmouse pair that entertained me for quite a while.  That meant I could relax and just enjoy the field trip and not worry about the pictures we’d get.11-22feeding11-22redhead11-22downey11-22summertanager11-22summertanager211-22titmouse11-22titmouse211-22titmouse3

Off we went into the woods, and 20 miles in we found the banded trees that indicated the habitat of the red-cockaded family in question.  It was then that I discovered that we weren’t waiting for a flock of these birds to arrive en masse, but just one family.  And the banded trees each had the little holes where nesting activity was potentially happening.  Young males stay with the family helping to raise the young and doing the necessary tending to the nests which keeps the sap running.  The sap is their defense against their nests being raided by snakes.  Clever, don’t you think?11-22habitat11-22thehomeAnd it was a successful trip.  Yes, one of the birds in question did show up and zoom into the hole in the tree and disappeared.  Not one of us got a shot of that.  The leader of the trip said that he felt that that was it, the event was over.  But he had one trick up his sleeve.  He used his phone to play the call of the red-cockaded woodpecker, rather quietly I thought, but it was enough to get this little guy to stick his head out of the nest to see what was going on.11-22peekaboo

No, it wasn’t a dramatic story.  But these are the dramas that are happening all around us everyday, and we are too busy with out own lives to notice.  But when we do take time to notice it doesn’t disappoint.