'scene' along the way, Florida landmarks, food, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, sunset

Picnic at Sunset Beach…

Thursday night is picnic night for my son and friends from his Elks Lodge. My DIL arrived at 3:30PM in order to snag a pavilion for them to set up the spread of delicious food that is always plentiful when they get together. It was a perfect night with a cool breeze after a toasty day. Plus a band to serenade everyone as the sun went down. And Mother Nature did her part by providing a great sunset for us. The band was still playing, and there were people just arriving as we left to go home. What a fun night..

It was peaceful on the side of the beach where we gathered.
We had company.
I got nosy and walked over to see what was happening on the beach side.
I had no idea that such a crowd had gathered, but it did explain why I almost had to leave the area to find a parking spot. They came ready to enjoy themselves.
As the sun set we walked down the sidewalk to find breaks in the shrubbery for a view of the sunset.
Different spots to view it still provided much the same scene.
Once the sun starts to dip below the horizon it sets pretty quickly.

The feature photo is the last one I took last night. I suppose it was a spoiler for the rest of the photos. I hope we will be doing this again before too long.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Quick stop…

The rookery isn’t exactly on the way to Clearwater where we were heading to have dinner with some of the members of our photo group, but it wasn’t too far out of the way for us not to stop for half an hour. Found another photographer friend there also. We are everywhere these days.

They are getting so big.
I love this fluffy stage of wood storks as they grow up.
Dragonflies are there so I can’t resist trying to find them with. my zoom lens.
Different sticks sticking up through the lily pads give you very different backgrounds.
The tricolor herons were very busy flying in and then tucking into the shrubbery.
I know there is a nest in there somewhere.

Where to go next is always the next question…

a second look, adventure, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

It’s that time again…

Love is in the air. Activity at the rookery is picking up.

Hmm, I hope their nest is basically ready, looks like it will be in use before too long.
Lots of individuals in their breeding plumage, just waiting for that special someone to come along.
The cormorants seem to have gotten a head start. This tree looks like a cormorant condo, babies are getting big.

This is a fun time of year for photographers as we enjoy the perfect weather, while nature provides lots of opportunities to be out with our cameras.

adventure, attention to detail, birds, brainstorms, connections, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive…

This place has been on my mind to visit for a while now. It’s not a place to go in the summer when the sun is relentless, even if you are driving and hopping in and out of the car for pictures all day. As it turned out this particular day was quite windy, and therefore chilly, but I thought it was a great location to take my friend and her new camera with its great zoom.

This first gator view was across the water. I thought my friend might be freaked out, but she was too busy taking pictures to panic.
I loved the little grebe.
Anhingas, they are everywhere,
The colors on this grackle caught our eye. Shot through the windshield. Apparently the camera ignored the dirty glass, isn’t technology grand?
Ibis, in formation.
An Osprey hunting. I have no idea why the sky was so dark in this shot.
Did the osprey find his lunch? This one did anyhow.
A snowy egret, with her golden slipper on display.
A tricolor heron, pausing for a moment in the sun.
Merlin says that this is a Wilson’s Snipe. A first for me!

We drove home and stopped at our favorite, and only, place to get a ‘South Shore Pizza’ here in Florida. Kathy agreed it was up to par. I left Brockton, MA at age 20, and longed for this fabulous pizza ever since, always being sure to visit the Cape Cod Cafe when I’m ‘home’. Now I can get one whenever the urge strikes!

a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, connections, eagles, egrets, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology

The Gray Ghost…

There you have it, the inspiration for many a photographer to head to Circle B Bar Reserve. It’s a Northern Harrier, and I didn’t expect to see it at all. Or ever. We were on our last stretch of trail, which is wide open to see the sky in all directions, but our intention was to make it back to the car before the battery in the scooter gave out. But we forgot all about that when we saw this bird, circling in the distance. I zoomed my lens to the full 400mm, but in the bright light and at that distance I couldn’t see if it was in the frame or not. But I took the shots anyhow. I’ve seen photographers standing with their cameras on their tripods, just waiting, hoping to see him. If they did I’m sure they got better pictures than this, but for my circumstances I’ll take it.

This Pied-Billed Grebe was a first to see here also, but one visited my lake a few years ago.
You’ve heard of a bump on a log…
Heading out on this trail with all it’s roots may be what challenged the battery of the scooter, but now we know where to look for the eagles.
We never did figure out what this egret was so intent on, but we all passed by not 8 feet away and he didn’t even flinch.
Another photographer asked what bird this is, and I answered that it was a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Then she turned around and proved me right.

It was a fun day, but I crashed when I got home and sat down. It wasn’t a nap, I was done for the day. Now to check out some more of the 1334 pictures from yesterday. I was shooting in the fastest burst mode of the new camera, which is great if the bird takes off or something. But when they are still you just have the tiniest little eye blinks or head tilts to decide which is your best shot. But I’m not complaining.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, cats, ducks, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, perseverance, photography

The Secrets of ZooTampa…

Yes, there are other amazing animals at ZooTampa, although you’d hardly know it based on my fixation with orangutans. This last trip to the zoo was our first chance to visit the newly completed Florida exhibit that has been under construction for quite a while now. Obviously we are surrounded by Florida wildlife every day, but we don’t get to see them up close and personal the way we did at the zoo.

I loved this view of a baby manatee, who looked to me like he had a smile on his face. There were heads of lettuce floating on the surface making all the manatees happy.
There were ducks swimming with the manatees so I had to zoom in on this unusual view.
On second thought we also visited the Malayan tiger who;s habitat is next door to the orangutans. So, no, we don’t run into tigers when we are out and about in Florida.
Now I’m confused. I think we were still in the Florida exhibit, but the pink birds we saw were flamingos.
Up close with this flamingo.
And a spoonie, who was almost too close for a photo.
I love the way the camera will ignore the mesh of the cage and focus on the subject beyond, in this case a sleepy barred owl.
This little screech owl was winking at us.
This iguana was posing so perfectly, begging to have his picture taken.
There are two eagles at the zoo, Ross, for Betsy Ross, and Glory. I’m not sure which one this is, but Glory is celebrating 30 years at the zoo. Both eagles are not able to live in the wild, so this is their permanent home.

Of course the star of the Florida exhibit was the Florida panther in the feature photo. It was a treat to see one, and this one looked quite content in his new habitat. Later we heard that we missed the stork chicks in the Africa exhibit, but it was time to meet the group for lunch, and we were hungry. So that means another trip to the zoo will be in order, but in a few weeks, not while spring break is in full swing here.

Let me highly recommend the series from National Geographic called Secrets of ZooTampa. So much goes on behind the scenes, it’s very interesting. And, much to my delight, the segment on orangutans covered the birth of Riplee, my favorite baby boy.