birds, nature, photography, Florida wildlife, perseverance, live and learn, life goes on, backyard visitors, attitude adjustments, in the neighborhood


I never would have imagined that I’d be disappointed to see cardinals in my yard, but that is what has happened since we put up the Bird Buddy. I am disappointed when I get a ‘postcard’ from Bird Buddy with images of birds who have stopped long enough to get their picture taken, but the pictures always turn out to be cardinals. I know from sitting outside, or even just looking out the sliding glass door, that lots more varieties of birds are out there all day long. But nobody comes as often as the cardinals, and nobody places themselves directly in front of the camera long enough to get their picture taken. And when I sit at the doorway of the lanai, looking out into the yard with my camera at the ready, it’s usually the cardinals who will sit still long enough for me to take my own pictures. Such are the difficulties of life for me lately, so I have a nerve even bringing the subject up, don’t I?

The camera has fancy functions that I play with from time to time, but never study up quite enough to nail the picture I’m trying to get.
Not quite what I had in mind.
Here we have a regular visitor but not to the Bird Buddy. A female red-bellied woodpecker. I believe I spotted her mister also, but failed to get his picture.
After the original holder for the big woodpecker feed cylinder fell to the ground, which we noticed in time to rescue it, we got a new, simpler, holder for it. Now the woodpeckers, and anyone else who cares to, can perch on it and eat from the top down.
Practice supposedly makes perfect, but when it comes to nailing
a shot of these birds as they take off, well, lets say I’m still practicing.
This is a Mrs. Downey Woodpecker. There is no little red patch on the back of her head, as is sported by Mr. Downey Woodpecker. They both were out on the feeder the other day, but I missed the photo.
attention to detail, backyard visitors, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, fun, in the neighborhood, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, squirrels, technology

Just because…

Just because I’m ready to sit outside with my camera and enjoy the birds who visit the feeders doesn’t mean that they will actually show up on cue. And just because I have my camera set to take the fastest bursts possible doesn’t mean that I will actually get that great shot of a bird lifting off with its wings spread just so.

I wind up with a slew of pictures of a titmouse holding onto the post, but when the moment finally comes that he takes off it startles me and I take my finger off the shutter and this is the last shot of the burst.
Cute little guy thinks he’s a woodpecker I guess. This feeder gets a lot of attention from more than just the woodpeckers. And it slowed him down a bit. These guys stop just long enough to pick up a morsel and off they go.
I love the backgrounds the bougainvillea gives me for my photographs, but now there is a void in the shrubbery and this vine with big leaves seems to be the reason. It may be taking over, and I have no clue what it is. I’m always afraid it might be poison-something.
Someone else has discovered the woodpecker feeder. But she poses everywhere and all the time.
I walked out in the yard to examine the possibility that bugs were on the flowers out there. And this butterfly cooperated by showing up way up high, but I had my zoom lens plus extender so I was able to get a shot or 20.
Just because I wasn’t at the pond doesn’t mean I wasn’t delighted when this dragonfly showed up and landed in the bougainvillea. I hit the shutter and got a burst of about 40 shots exactly like this one. Doesn’t he just look happy?

I played with the new artificial intelligence features in Photoshop yesterday and it was amazing what you can do. One of my friends said that now no one will believe that the shots that she has worked so hard to get are ‘real.’ Looking at that dragonfly face I can see that someone might question it, but it is ‘just’ a photo. I always hope for a shot of a dragonfly face like that, and to that end I’ve spent a lot of time sitting by the pond, waiting for the magic to happen. And this shot took just a second when I wasn’t expecting it at all. We all put lots of time and money into our photography habit and now something new is on the horizon. I wonder where it will lead…

attention to detail, attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, home improvements, Just do it, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

From the lanai…

Just been sitting on the lanai for the last day or so, trying, but not always succeeding, in taking shots of the visiting birds. And other wildlife. Today I told Bernie that our scene out there is too cluttered. We need another post, and more feeders for the woodpeckers. And plants to bring in the butterflies and pollinators. And more stuff that I’ll think of in a minute…

The red-winged blackbirds are here every day, but the female has the posing thing down a bit better.
I said to myself that the woodpecker looked bigger today.
But when I saw the pictures in the computer I had a horrified moment thinking that I’d told you that this red-bellied woodpecker was a downey woodpecker.
But then I saw this picture from yesterday and felt better. A little downey woodpecker. So now I have two kinds of woodpeckers out there.
This squirrel could see me in the doorway so he thought long and hard before he came out to see if there were droppings under the feeder.
I got a kick out of the female cardinal and the tufted titmouse sharing time on the feeders.
With my long lens plus extender I couldn’t focus on both of them however.
The titmouse drops in and picks up a seed and flys off, much too fast for me even though I’m sitting there with the camera thinking I’m ready. Waiting for the cardinal slowed him down.
Now I see what he has been dropping in to snag.
It’s so much nicer to see the birds in the ‘wild’, so to speak.

I had complained that the butterflies that flit through the yard never land anywhere, but as you see in the feature photo one did land in the bougainvillea. So I zoomed and took some shots, and then cropped them like crazy, but I got him. The birds are busy late in the afternoon when the light is better. It makes for a fun way to spend a little time.

a second look, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, Osprey, perseverance, photography

Osprey assumptions…

There are osprey nests on posts along many of the roads we drive on our usual travels. But we had never seen this nest before because we hadn’t been to Fort DeSoto Park before, at least not together. We had minimum information on where exactly to see the many, many migrating birds that we have seen pictures of lately, but we were optimistic. My favorite pictures wound up being this osprey sequence, even if I may have missed the boat on it entirely. What I saw in the distance, and you see in the feature photo, was a nest being guarded by Dad on the nearby branch, and Mom standing in the nest. Dad, if that is in fact Dad, never moved from that position. And for that matter neither did ‘Mom.’

This is the picture that tickled me! I’d never seen a baby osprey before, so I was thrilled when Junior put in an appearance. But when he rose up some more and started flapping those wings I was amazed.
I thought Mom was too busy keeping an eye on things to pay too much attention.
Then I thought Junior turned his attention to Dad, as in, “Hey Dad, look at me, I’m a big kid,” and smacking Mom in the face in the process.

So I showed my pictures to Bernie and told him why I thought the whole thing was so funny, and he pointed out that the two birds on the nest are the same size, so perhaps they are both babies. Siblings. And Mom may be the one of the branch keeping watch over the shenanigans. And, darn it all, he has a point. I guess the joke was on me. But it was fun to see them anyhow.

a second look, adventure, birds, bugs, butterflies, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Plan B…

‘Photography is like a box of chocolates’, to mis-quote Forrest Gump. You may go out knowing what shots you intend to take, but you might come home with entirely different shots altogether. We went to the Celery Fields on Friday, anticipating seeing all the birds on the feeders as we did last time. But not only were there no birds, but there were no feeders either. I guess a little research before you head out for a 90 minute drive would have been prudent. But as long as you get a few pictures it counts as a good day.

The birds were making a racket as we got out of the car. There was nothing to indicate that the feeders were absent. But instead there were Purple Martin houses up, and there was much chatter between the neighbors.
Such pretty birds.
We shake our heads over the huge apartment/condo buildings we see being built as we go about our business. In one case ten new (huge) buildings in addition to the ones already built and occupied. Perhaps single dwelling birdhouses aren’t the norm anymore either.
It seems that where there are flowers you will find butterflies.
And blue, um, bugs? Bee? I can’t decide.
Pollinator for sure.
He was busy.
Pink flowers too, he pollinates them all.
Watch out, he’s heading your way!
attention to detail, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, live and learn, memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Family portraits…

I may have this all wrong, but I think I’m right. The Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have been my most frequent ‘flyers’ since I put up the Bird Buddy. I never thought I’d be disappointed to see a cardinal but after a while I wished for a bit of variety. We are quite sure that they have nested in the huge bougainvillea that has taken over the back corner of the yard. It was planted 20 years ago to help block a small opening in the fence back there, to keep the neighbor’s dogs from visiting, and it will take a braver soul than I am to try to tame it at this point. Besides, who knows how many birds call that place home. Plus it is gorgeous.

But the surprise came when the Mr. and Mrs. flew out of that bush to come to the feeder the other morning. They were quickly followed by what looks to me to be an immature male cardinal. As much as I suspect they are nesting deep in the bougainvillea, I haven’t given much thought to investigating to see if they are raising offspring in there. So when the three of them were on the feeder I chose to take pictures through the glass of the sliding glass doors plus the screen, because I was sure that unlocking the door and coming outside would cause them to fly away and I’d miss my chance to take pictures. Merlin agreed, but it did suggest that it might be a house finch, but that tuft on the head tells me it’s a cardinal.

Obviously taken through the sliding glass door plus the screen.
Junior and dad, I just couldn’t get the three of them together.
Junior plus mom this time.
Later in the day there was so much activity at the feeder that I went out onto the lanai and sat at the open door with my camera. This dove stopped for a drink.
The Mr. was back, looking handsome as ever.
The downey woodpecker still hasn’t given up on the idea that the post might also hold some tasty treats.
The tufted titmouse stops at the feeder just long enough to pick up a seed and then he flies off.

This time the titmouse flew into the bougainvillea, but into a spot where I could still see him. So I decided to test the limits of the lens and extender I was using and took a few pictures of him. This shot is cropped to a fare-the-well, but I’m happy he looks as good as he does. And notice those thorns, they are lethal! I know because I had to trim my small one I had at my front door at my last house. I happened to take my cat to the vet after a session with that bougainvillea and he looked at my arms in horror and wanted to know if the cat was responsible for the nasty scratches. I told him no, it was a vicious bougainvillea.