a second look, birds, bugs, flowers, gardens, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

The unexpected…

It’s not that I was lost exactly.  I was attempting to follow the maps and signs within the Heritage Museum grounds in order to see everything, but I still hadn’t found the treehouse.  I started down the winding path and spotted a hummingbird flitting among the red flowers beside the path.  This was my opportunity to try for photos of a hummingbird on flowers instead of a feeder.  And then I noticed a hummingbird moth also set on feeding from the red flowers and I was really excited.  That has been a rare sight for me.  The flowers were quite close to the path, but these hummingbirds and moths must have been so used to people that having me there zooming in with my camera didn’t appear to bother them at all.  What a fun and unexpected finale to this amazing day.HPmoth1HPmoth3HPmoth4HPhummer2HPhummer3HPhummer4HPhummer5HPhummer6


birds, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Raptor rehab…

I spent time at VINS yesterday, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, back to Quechee again.  According to their literature they are New England’s premier avian wildlife rehabilitation clinic, and they treat 100s of injured birds per year. Some of the injuries can’t be determined, some are from being hit by cars, and some are as simple as being raised by humans, and that is enough for them not to be able to be returned to the wild.  If they don’t fear humans they won’t survive in the wild.  And that’s the goal, of course, but if it is determined that their injuries would prevent the bird from being able to survive in the wild they are cared for within the facility.  They become ‘ambassadors’ for their species and for wildlife in general.

I have been to a raptor rehab in Florida at Indian Rocks Beach.  It’s called The Narrows, and there you will find volunteers circulating among the visitors with various raptors on their gloved wrists.  Quite the up-close experience, and at first I was disappointed that I didn’t see that happening at VINS.  But I got over that once I saw the two-story enclosures, complete with trees, which the birds call home.  I happened to be there at feeding time and thought they would all swoop down to feed, but they seemed to like to think about it a while, move from branch to branch and flap their wings a bit. Forgive me for showing a close-up of the only one who did decide to eat while I was there, our beloved Bald Eagle.  Contrary to what you see here they nest close to water and subsist mainly on fish.  But with exceptions.VINSeagleVINSeagle3Golden Eagles were next, a species that I only recently became aware of.  They are bigger and stronger than the Bald Eagle, capable of carrying off a small wolf or deer.  That news was a surprise to me.VINSgoldeneagle


We have the Barred owl, the Great Horned owl, and the Snowy Owl.  At feeding time the attendant didn’t walk into the enclosure with the Great Horned Owl because of where it was perched.  They have been known to swoop down and make a pass at an intruder, and he has been told that it’s like being hit with a 2×4 so he decided to play it safe.  Probably a good move.VINSbarredowlVINSgreathornedowlVINSsnowyowl.JPGI searched for the snowy owls at Duxbury Beach last winter with no luck.  They were probably there, camouflaged in the snow at the water’s edge.

Kestrals are very small, pretty birds.  But, like all raptors, they are wonderful hunters.VINStwokestrals

I must apologize for my lack of information on the hawks.  We had red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, broad winged hawks, and one with a name that started with an F, but I can find no information on that through Google.  Merlin says that all my pictures are one of the above, but it can’t decide which one of the above, it was singularly useless this time.  I should have taken notes, I forget that I can dictate notes into the phone.  Note to self;  the iPhone is not just for photos and directions to photo ops.VINShawkVINSkestral

And dare I neglect to include the Ravens?  Charley would be very disappointed in me.VINSravens

In the meadow were lots of flowers, and, my favorite, bees.  Plus sculptures.  I didn’t head to Quechee until the sun finally broke through the afternoon, so consequently I didn’t explore the gorge or the hiking trails at VINS.  I suppose that means I’ll need to return yet again…VINSbeefeatureVINSeaglesculpture


adventure, butterflies, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

A day to myself…

This morning when I wondered what to do with my free day I looked up a wonderful local photographer to see where he liked to go.  Stalking other photographers again.  He had just put pictures of Nixon Park on his Facebook page and I figured that would work.  But by the time I had loaded the camera equipment into the car it was threatening rain.  I needed a plan B, and once I found out that Hershey Gardens had a Butterfly Atrium, an indoor Butterfly Atrium, I was off and running.  It wasn’t a huge space, but the variety of butterflies were amazing.  And lest you think that the butterflies in captivity might be less of a challenge to photograph, let me assure you that they aren’t.    It was a very nice way to spend a few hours, and I considered heading from there to Nixon Park since the weather had cleared.  But then I remembered that I meant to get an oil change before I left Florida.  So I asked Siri to direct me to the nearest Chrysler dealer and it was only 4 miles away from where I was at that moment.  Now I’ll be ready to continue this adventure, but not quite yet, but soon.

I didn’t see the bee in the feature photo.  What I thought I was looking at was a ladybug on the dandelion.  Things aren’t always what they seem…05-10-19blackogrange305-10-19blackogrange405-10-19blackorangepinkflower05-10-19blackorangepinkflower205-10-19blackorangyellowleaf05-10-19blueboy05-10-19butterflykid05-10-19orangeorange05-10-19timestwo05-10-19twoorangeblack605--19orangebutterflygreenleaf05--19owlbutterflyThe Giant Silk Moths were kept in a separate enclosure, with plexiglass walls.  Evidently they don’t discriminate as to where they lay their eggs, and their caterpillars will eat anything and everything.  This one was huge, I didn’t think it was real at first. And that’s their eggs that you see there too.  05-10-19silkmothandeggsOh, and another photographer had quite the dilemma.  I told him I’d send him this picture if he emails me…05--19nikonbutterfly


backyard visitors, butterflies, connections, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, gardens, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

At home with friends…

It was a perfect way to spend a day, sitting in the most lush natural garden you can imagine, and talking with friends while various visitors dropped in to have their picture taken.  Lots of butterflies, many that zoomed into view but never stopped long enough for a picture,  The same with a beautiful big dragonfly and a tiny little hummingbird.  A lazy cat and two dogs seemed to be enjoying the view with us.  A perfect day in a beautiful oasis of green.  Thank you Eddie and Linda, for doing all the work and planning that makes this not only a beautiful oasis for us, but the perfect microclimate to allow these creatures to thrive.  And for sharing a lovely day with me.4-22-19butterflymosaic4-22-19yellowflower4-22-19purpleflower4-22-19pinkflower4-22-19passionflower4-22-19monarch34-22-19monarch24-22-19monarch4-22-19butterflymosaic24-22-19brownbutterfly

'scene' along the way, birds, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, safety Harbor

The Blue Angels…

The very first FCCP photo walk that I attended was to Safety Harbor, to pan for the birds as well as take in the sunset.  Turned out that there weren’t a lot of birds flying in that day, but the water was calm, pelicans were bobbing, and as we walked along the boardwalk there were birds to see tucked into the shrubbery.  I had fun, which you might have guessed since I rave about the group a lot.  So in my wanderings yesterday I found myself at Safety Harbor again, but the water was high and choppy, and the sun wasn’t going to set in the ‘right’ spot.  But there were lots of birds flying overhead, so that was a plus.  Even if I did manage to miss an osprey flying over with a fish in it’s talons.  Twice.  What really caught my eye were these ibis, flying in formation, or so it would seem.  Is this where the Blue Angels got the idea?  I used to ignore the ibis, even though they are pretty enough.  No, I didn’t pay them much attention because they were ever present on my little lake in the backyard.  They weren’t elusive enough I guess.   A person could take a lesson…4-19-19blueangels34-19-19blueangels2

And I did mention the osprey, right?  Is he sticking his tongue out at me because I didn’t get his picture with the fish?4-19-19osprey


a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, learning, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography, technology, unintended images

Intended and unintended images…

I feel as if I’ve emerged from my cocoon of ‘settling in’ just in time to have my first snowbird season looming.  Suddenly I’m rushing to catch up on some online classes with my photo club, the FCCP,  and the one I watched yesterday morning led to an a-ha moment.  My new camera and lens are wonderful, and I could get along using them exclusively with no problem.  Less to carry also.  But one of the first things I did with my new camera was attach it to my ‘big’ lens, the 150-600, and headed to the rookery to practice, and didn’t get a single really good image.  How disappointing.  But the class I watched yesterday made me realize that my problem with blurry pictures may have been my shutter speed, and I was out the door in a flash, this time in search of the eagles.  I parked and began to walk over to see if I saw them at the nest when I saw this;4-17-19heronlaunch24-17-19heronlaunch I haven’t seen Great Blue Herons in the tree tops in a very long time.  There was an eagle nearby also, but he flew away too quickly for me to get his photo.  So I moved on and found this;4-17-19pelicanI had seen lots of pelicans in this spot before, almost looking like a rookery that day, but not yesterday.  I decided to swing past the eagle nest on my way home again, and that proved to be the photo op I was looking for;4-17-19princess24-17-19princess14-17-19princess4-17-19mom&dad24-17-19mom&dadMom and Dad were in the tree just above the nest.  The Princess, as she is known, was in a tree not far away and even closer to the road.  She is looking regal isn’t she?  But what I hadn’t counted on was a dead armadillo in the road very close to where I had parked.  By the time I returned to the car there were vultures on both sides of the road and in the trees, and I had to get past them to get to the car.  They are creepy.  But then once I was at the car I couldn’t help myself, and so we have these last photos of the day.4-17-19vultures24-17-19vulturesBeauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.