'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, friends, fun, learning, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Egg Rock Island…

A cruise to Egg Rock Island hadn’t ever been on my radar screen before this trip, but today was our chance and we took it. An Audubon cruise to see and learn about Puffins, the cutest birds ever.

They are social little things and a group of them such as this are a raft of Puffins. Males and females look alike, and they both take care of the one chick per year that they produce. August is towards the end of their breeding time and we were told that we are among the last of the people who will see them this year.
I imagined seeing these birds standing on a rock, so that we would see their cute feet. But our instructor told us that these birds struggle to become airborne. They must flap their wings over 400 times per minute to become airborne. Sometimes, she said, you can see them running on the surface of the water as they are taking off. I love this picture because that’s exactly what we see here, and we see those orange feet. A lucky shot for sure.
Think of them as pudgy, slow-moving, hummingbirds, said the instructor.
We were lucky to see them at all. What a treat.

There were no more Puffins in Maine by 1901, and sewing machines were at fault. Ladies were so enamored of having feathers adorning their clothes and hats that the population of Puffins, and other birds, were affected. It wasn’t until the 1970s that attempts to repopulate the island began, and it took over 8 years to make progress. The winning combination involved bringing young chicks to the island, playing their mating calls, populating the island with Puffin decoys (back to that social thing), and even placing mirror boxes on the island to make them think there were more birds in residence and this would be the place for them. And it worked. There are 300 mated pairs on this island, and over 1000 in Maine as a whole. And these same conservation techniques are in use with other species of birds all over the world. This was a great experience on a wonderful day. We couldn’t have asked for more.

'scene' along the way, a second look, attention to detail, bugs, butterflies, flowers, fun, gardens, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens…

A friend who lives in Maine and is an avid gardener took me to visit this wonderful botanical garden three years ago when I was camping in Maine. She found me the nice camp ground also. So she will be ashamed of me when she discovers that when I saw the little sign pointing out the turn for a botanical garden it never dawned on me that it was THAT botanical garden that they were talking about. If I’d have known that I would have made a better plan to go there. As it was my friend asked if I wanted to go see it, and we only had an hour and a half to enjoy it before it closed. It was time enough to to see some beautiful displays, and more than a few bees.

And butterflies too!
Simple, but beautiful.
More bees, because I can’t resist them.
Lots of wonderful settings also.
And a scary new addition to the gardens.
And a water feature.
I know, I’m addicted to bees.
Such a beautiful dark purple on these flowers.
The varieties were endless.
These caught my eye, but so did those dark purple flowers… and the yellow flowers.
He must have photo bombed my shot.
A nice peaceful setting.
I was so happy to see that this quaint little building was still there, with it’s kitty-faced pickets on the fence.
I like pink flowers too.
I love how this one is constructed.
Last but not least, an orange beauty.

If you ever get to visit this place make sure to leave yourself plenty of time, you will be glad you did.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, ducks, nature, perseverance, photography, storms, sunrise, weather

Sunday sunrise…

I woke up to the worst situation possible on Sunday morning. No internet. I had my coffee, but no Wordle, Quordle, or Octordle (two versions), to distract me. Most of the way through my first cup it dawned on me that it was early enough to go out for the sunrise, something I’ve been neglecting to do lately. See the above distractions. The feature photo was taken right from the front door as I stepped out, to a muggy morning. But a bluer sky than I expected to see, and clouds that I told myself were puffy and white. Kind of promising, I thought. Off I went…

I was tempted to stop and see what I could see in those interesting clouds. The one on the right looks like a doggy to me.
The birds were there. Little birds in the trees were chirping, the ducks on the pond were quacking, and some crows were making a racket, yelling at me I think.
I finally saw some pink in the sky, along with an ibis heading in to spend the day.
At this point I was still trying to tell myself that more color was coming. I liked that the ducks were in the only bright spot in the water. The pink never did get any pinker.
Oddly enough this is the view as I returned to the house. The most pink that I saw in the sky was toward the west, a reflection of what might have been a pretty sunrise, at least along the horizon.

The weatherman predicted that our rain would start coming in the morning rather than the afternoon, starting today, and it did, off and on. Giving my plumeria cuttings a nice drink. Any plant of mine needs to learn to survive on its own, my track record as a gardener is abysmal. Maybe there is hope for the sunset tonight, but the internet is back on so I may be distracted…

'scene' along the way, adventure, attention to detail, birds, friends, fun, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, rain, sky, storms, weather

Summer in Florida…

My friend announced that he wanted to go to Clearwater yesterday, which made me think of the nesting birds that we hadn’t gone looking for so far. I was sure it was now or never to find the chicks before they fledged, so I sort of hijacked his trip by suggesting we go a little bit farther and see the birds first. Only they weren’t where we found them last year, requiring a plan B. Our second stop was going to require feeding the meter before we even knew if they were there, so he parked while I hurried down to the beach to see what I could see. And I did see several adult birds in a roped off area up the beach a ways. But I began to hear thunder which caused the lifeguards to being sounding their whistles to get swimmers out of the water. I had my cell phone with me and thought I’d get a beach picture before I left, but looking behind me I saw quite the sky.

At first we were amazed at all the lightning we were seeing on the drive home. The claps of thunder and the lightning were almost simultaneous, so we knew the storm was right over us. But when it began to rain we couldn’t keep driving, we had to pull over and wait it out. My friend never did get to run his errand in Clearwater, but I had told him that lunch was on me. And then when we were finally almost home I was amazed at how dark the skies were, but some of the clouds were lit up and looking amazing against the dark sky. We have a photo walk to go to tonight and similar weather conditions are on the menu. But that will be the story for the foreseeable future here in Florida, my adopted home.

'scene' along the way, flowers, fun, Just do it, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Crepe Myrtle…

This New England transplant just loves crepe myrtle, but mostly because those trees covered in blossoms remind me of lilac bushes. And, as I rode the trike around the neighborhood looking for some to photograph before they are past their prime, I discovered that they smell pretty good also. Days of being driven into seclusion by the hot, humid weather had me desperate to get out, and it felt great. Let me clarify, riding on the shady side of the street felt great.

Deep red crepe myrtles line the median strip of my friend’s neighborhood. I think they are the most dramatic color variation. But they certainly aren’t the only color.

I think that I see more white ones than any other color. They peek over fences and also line the roadways.
Several shade of pink are also seen.
But my favorite color is the ‘lilac’ color. Be still my heart. I could almost convince myself that they are, in fact, lilacs. As long as I don’t take a whiff.

I belong to a Facebook group for the Liberty Trike Owners, and I read enough comments about people tipping over on their trikes as they take corners that I think I must really look like a little old lady as I putter along carefully. Honestly, riding seems very intuitive to me, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone and I haven’t had any problems at all. And I’m not ashamed to say that the electric pedal assist does help out a lot. My tour of the neighborhood wound up at the little pond to look for dragonflies, even though I knew that there would be no shade for me there. I almost gave up before this one finally showed up. I felt better about hiding from the heat after my ride. I earned my time in the chair with my book.

I wonder why they land on sticks?
'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, rain, storms, sunset, unintended images, weather

Those late sunsets…

There is an upside to the late sunsets in early summer in Florida. Usually I’d rather have an early sunset so I can be home in time to relax and check my photos. But on this day when we had a meeting of our photography club we could catch the sunset on the way home. Plus this was the first time all day that it felt good to be outside. Actually the first time in many days that it was nice to be outside. And our fearless leader suggested a new-to-us spot to watch the sunset happen. What a find! Thanks Jeff!

Not one but two bridges in view. And me without my camera. But as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you, and I’m never without my iPhone.
At first I wished I was on the sunset cruise boat, but as things progressed maybe I ought to count my blessings.
I was beginning to be more interested in the clouds as time went on.
A quarter turn to my right and this was the sky.
This blue heron watched the sunset with us. I turned this way for the sky but the reflections won me over.
Now the race was on, Would the sun drop under the bridge before the rain began to fall?
The answer to that was that it was a draw. We took shelter under the covered pier, but that was useless because it was raining sideways.
We were two drowned rats sitting in the car waiting for the rain to let up before driving home. We could hardly see the pier we had just been standing on. Still a good night, regardless.