birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, nature, photography, unintended images

Feathered friends…

I spent all last spring out in the back yard with my new (at the time) camera, and never ran out of things to photograph.  There were so many birds every day, plus I noticed the light at sunset, and the magical reflection of the trees in the lake that made the water look like a mirror.  In reality it’s quite loaded with algae, etc., but shortly before sunset it looks amazing out there.  As it did today.

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And of course the Sand Hill cranes.  Their story had me enthralled for months, but they had moved on.  And the reality is that there hasn’t been a lot of bird action on the lake for a few months now.  Until lately.  Lately Sand Hill cranes are all around the neighborhood, and they spend time on the lake too.  A few days ago I watched a stand off of sorts between a Great Blue Heron on one side of the lake, and two Sand Hill cranes directly across from him.

1211heronThe heron never moved an inch, so I really can’t say that it wasn’t a statue of one.  He stared at those cranes for well over an hour.  I was busy but each time I looked outside to see what was going on he was in exactly the same place.  I’ve seen a heron out there from time to time, but they haven’t ever been as common a visitor as the Sand Hill cranes are.

Today I needed to get some new pictures, so when I heard the cranes out there I picked up my camera and went outside.  But instead of seeing them across the lake as I expected, they were right in my backyard.  Someone must be feeding them because they weren’t afraid of me, in fact they headed straight for me.  Someday I’ll contain my excitement when I think I’m going to get some nice pictures and actually look at the settings instead of picking up the camera and starting  to shoot.  Most of the time when I do get a good picture it’s dumb luck, and this afternoon was no exception.  They were coming so close to me that I had to change the lens on the camera.  I’m really hoping they will make their nest out there on the lake again this year.

1211crane21211crane11211closeup1211crane31211cranecloseup31211cranefrombelow1211cranefrombelow2I never knew their beaks were so well ventilated.  Or that they have chubby cheeks.  They were so close to me that I could only take close ups, and as I did they turned their heads this way and that as if they were getting directions.    I finally sat on the ground for a different perspective.  I had been wondering where I ought to go for some photo ops yesterday, and it turned out I only needed to head out the door…

natural wonders, photography, Pine Island, sky, sunset

Third time’s a charm…

It was the third time I had gone out to take pictures that day.  Pine Island again, because the clouds at home were lit up so nicely an hour before sunset that I just couldn’t stay home.  It would have been a sin not to go out and enjoy what Mother Nature had provided.  No people and no stories that day, and no breeze.  There is always a nice breeze at Pine Island, I thought.  But with no breeze we also had no-see-ums, so all I’ve got are a few pictures of a gorgeous sunset, and I was outta there!

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birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, home, moon, natural wonders, nature, photography, the easy way out

Taking it easy…

Sometimes you run out of energy and have to take it easy after you get home from work, and after swimming laps.  It helps that the Sandhill Cranes were out back, sounding off as only they can.  They must not be the same pair that was here last year because last year’s birds ignored the dogs.  These cranes were all the way across the lake and yet they objected to Ozzie and Zoe wading and drinking out of the lake.  Last year, at the end of December, I took a picture of two Sandhill Cranes nesting on the island out in the lake.  I’m not sure that I realized that they were nesting at that moment.  Now I have to hope we’ll have a new set of babies this year.  They seem to be feeling their oats.  Love the new lens in this situation.  It’s quite big and heavy though, I’ll have to pick and choose when to bring it with me.

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I took the featured photo at about 5:30, just about the same time as the sunset out front.  I  had a feeling that once it got dark I wouldn’t be able to capture the detail in the moon, not as clearly as it was in this photo.  Plus ducks, and what Merlin says is an immature Little Blue Heron.  And it’s time to snooze…

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moon, natural wonders, photography, sky, weather

On the other hand…

The sky doesn’t only contain the sun, with it’s gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.  Sometimes when the dogs get me out in the middle of the night I’m amazed at the beautiful moon and stars, and try to take a picture.  Getting a decent picture of the moon has proven to be more of a challenge, but I just said I like a challenge.  It helps when there are clouds to soften the light, or so it seems.  It will require a lot more practice…

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natural wonders, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

The Florida Sky…

We bought our house in 2005, but didn’t actually move to Florida permanently until 2008.  That means we made many trips down from Maryland, and we always hated to leave and go back.  One of the things that I would notice as we made the drive ‘home’ was all the palm trees.  I never got tired of looking at them.  But the sky was the most amazing thing to notice.  Was it bluer?  Is it just that Florida is flat so somehow the sky seemed bigger?  I never stopped appreciating the sky, and I guess I still love it since I enjoy the sunset and sunrise so much.

I took the feature photo during the dog walk yesterday.  The term ‘cotton candy clouds’ came to mind.  It was so pretty, and I knew that if those sorts of clouds were in the sky at Pine Island then they would reflect the light of the sunset beautifully.  Not that I really need an excuse to go out for the sunset.

1120sunset11120sunset21120sunset41120sunset61120sunset31120sunset71120sunset51120lastsunsetphotoNo green flash though.  And the last photo, taken from the parking lot as I had to tear myself away and go home.  Until the next one…

birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

Birds on the Beach…

It was all about the birds on Thursday.  The heron at the sunrise and lots of birds at Pine Island later on. As soon as you head toward the beach you pass the picnic tables and the dripping faucet that the grackles enjoy.  I wonder if they let the dripping continue just for the sake of the birds.  As soon as one bird left another one took it’s place.  1116sunsetdrip1116drip2 Then as I walked down to the water the reflections of the birds was what caught my attention.  The light must have been perfect because the reflections certainly were.

1116reflections

I thought this bird was very pretty, so I asked the Merlin app what bird it is, and Merlin isn’t sure.  It said that it might be another Laughing Gull, but it might be something called a Red Knot.  All these birds can look entirely different when they are a breeding population as opposed to a non breeding population.  Red Knots are rare, which makes me think that’s not what this is, but I’ll check with the Florida Bird Facebook group. Whatever it is it’s pretty!

1116redknot2 I love looking at all the birds and noticing their differences now that I’ve learned to identify the few that I know.  But there are so many more to learn!

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