a second look, butterflies, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Lazy daze…

It was HOT. Not the day for a later start for the zoo than usual. We found the animals to be lazing around, keeping cool. The feature photo is Randee and Riplee, I think, who tucked themselves into the small cave just at the edge of the little waterfall in their enclosure. I couldn’t fault mama for that, even if the droplets were showing in my photos.

The pink netting was a popular item among the orangs. Here the big male has draped himself with it, and then sat and tenderly, it seemed, groomed this female. I used to think he kept to himself all the time, but I the last few times I’ve been there he has played with young ones and now this nice interaction.
Here are Randee and Riplee again, and a few more droplets.
One of the young ones, on her own.
A ‘wild’ butterfly, who calls the zoo home by choice.
I loved the look of this shack, which is actually part of the manatee treatment facility.
This cougar was having a siesta.
I have given up on taking a non-closeup of a giraffe. There is just too much of them. Plus I love their eyes.

It was about at this point that I was thinking about suggesting we call it a day, but my friend asked if I wanted to see the elephants and giraffes before we go. Obviously we did, and I was quite happy that I hadn’t shot that idea down. On one visit to the zoo the elephants were in their pool area, and a quite small baby had fallen over into the water and provided quite a hilarious photo op for all of us there as he flopped around. Ever after that day I have wished for them to be in the water, and I said that out loud yesterday, and I got my wish. The smallest elephant of the group, the same one I wonder, headed to the water.

He stayed on his feet, and squirted himself thoroughly while backing further and further under the waterfall.
The adult elephants didn’t join him, or even come close to keep an eye on him. He knew how to keep cool.

I sort of wished that little elephant would squirt us, or maybe not, but it did cross my mind. While I was watching him I forgot about the heat for a little while, but after this stop we headed home. ZooTampa is small enough, and shady enough, and close enough to home, that an early morning trip for a couple of hours is enough to make this photographer happy.

flowers, friends, growing old, life goes on, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, squirrels, travel

New Hampshire happenings…

There isn’t just one story to tell since I’ve been back at my friend’s house in NH. We mostly just talk and talk. And eat. Ice cream for lunch one day, but lots of other good stuff too. I see the birds in the feeders out front, and the squirrels who torment my friend to no end by eating all the bird seed. We’ve visited the Squam Lake Nature Center and gardens. But mostly we laugh at ourselves when we can’t quite remember the word we are searching our brains for. Our opinions of the state of the country and universe are as in sync as ever. Grow old along with me… and be my forever friend.

A charming statue in the garden.
A runaway ballerina caught my eye too,
A coyote laying in the sun,
A bear keeping in the shade.
We finally found bees.
Lots of bees.
A lovely stone church in our travels.
More hummers at home,
Even with a nice background we were shooting through the window and had reflections to deal with.
This little guy was enjoying the feast out front until the squirrels destroyed the feeder.
Who me?
birds, brainstorms, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip, Uncategorized

At the Venice Rookery…

Procrastination is one of my best talents. It was when I was a kid, and it’s still with me all these years later. As a matter of fact I have two phone calls I need to make, and I ought to be packing for a trip I have coming up. But at this moment I’m lamenting the trip to the Venice Rookery that I’ve been talking about taking for weeks but only got around to going there yesterday. The Great Blue Heron babies bobbing their heads weren’t there, as I’d promised my friend, though the great egrets and anhingas were raising a ruckus. A little mockingbird flew by and landed on a fence, giving me a nice feature photo. But I confess that I was disappointed when another photographer told me that the great blue babies had fledged the nests. But we began to take pictures of the birds that were there.

These anhingas were keeping busy high up on this snag.
Although you might think these are grown up great egrets, they are still babies who looked as if they were going to take off flying any second.
These two anhinga ‘kids’ looked like they might tie their necks in a knot as they bobbed and weaved. Their neck pouches were fluttering the whole time, I’m told that’s how they keep cool. The day was hot, but breezy, so we were comfortable as we ate our picnic lunch in the shade.
This great egret wading on the nearby shore caught my eye, and it soon became evident that he caught himself a nice fish for lunch.

As I walked to the car to get our lunch I noticed a great blue heron flying towards the rookery. She landed on the very top of the shrubbery, and, much to our surprise, up popped two ‘babies’ who were very happy to see her. We hadn’t been aware of them at all, and if we had been I probably would have thought they were adults, they were that big.

Mom must have brought back a fish for her babies.
It looked to me as if this baby is going to down the fish in one gulp. Mom will have to go fishing again if his sibling is going to eat.
I guess we need to fluff up a bit after that excitement.
I liked the depth of field in this photo.
Someone looks like he wants to go with Mom.

Soon it was time to go. What started out a bit disappointing had turned out to be a fun day. Mother Nature is like that.

Thank you to joannie6535 for reminding me of where I actually was yesterday.

'scene' along the way, bugs, dragonflies, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

In search of dragonflies…

It dawned on me that the pond where I catch a nice sunrise occasionally would probably be a spot to see some dragonflies, so I sat on the bank of the pond a while to check it out.

Yes they were there, that made me happy.
They posed this way and that.
They were busy.
Damselflies flittered around also, but this one stayed still while I searched for him through the camera lens.
This bee photobombed my shot, but I’m not complaining.

This was almost like sitting in my backyard by the lake and waiting for wildlife to come to me. All I have to do is bring a chair next time.

birds, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography, Tricolored heron

The star of the show…

Off we went to the rookery again, this time sure that the egret chicks would be bobbing their little heads at us. But not only did we not see egret chicks, the nests that I knew had wood stork chicks were pretty quiet also. So it was this tricolor heron that captured my attention. I spent a lot of time trying to photograph them at my old house as they flitted around the shoreline of the pond out back. I missed way more shots than I managed to take, they were too quick for me. But this guy was walking the shoreline towards me, and though I was only 15 or so feet away he kept on coming, too close for my lens at times. For some reason that little voice in my head was saying, “Along came a spider and sat down beside her.’

I never realized what big feet they have.
I don’t think that he really has a glass eye, but I thought it looks like it in this photo.
And then he decided to head back to his nest.
The nest si too tucked into the shrubbery to see it, which is a shame because I don’t think I’ve ever seen their chicks.

The next day I saw great pictures of the chicks that I’m sure were taken at this same rookery. Midday is not the best time to shoot wildlife in general. And even at the zoo. You would think I would have learned that lesson by now. So thank you to this tricolor heron, my star of the show and savior of that trip to the rookery.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, friends, fun, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, simple things, technology, unintended images

Incoming…

I had been taking pictures at the rookery for quite a while. The nests look like piles of sticks, the ones you can actually see that is, and I was quite sure that with all the little heads bobbing up and down I’d probably gotten a few clear shots that I’d be happy with. So I was a little bored, but my friend hadn’t ever gotten himself out to see the new little chicks before so he was still having fun. But I was wandering a bit, and then I saw him. A wood stork out of the corner of my eye. He was flying in with a nice piece of nesting material. But instead of making a beeline for the nest he looped around just enough for me to get my camera up and start shooting. No plan, no attempt at composition, just start shooting and attempt to get him in the shot. Later on when I got the SD card into the computer I looked at the pictures in order, always looking for the best shot of the chicks. There were several hundred pictures, and I was deleting as I went, so I was getting tired of the whole process when I got to these pictures. Yes, I’d gotten the wood stork. Well, most of him at least. And I cracked myself up when I saw them. So here they are, all my shots of this big, awkward, funny-looking-but-somehow-charming, wood stork.

I wasn’t sure that I’d gotten him in the frame at all, so I decided that what I liked about these pictures outweighed the fact that I missed his wing tips. For me anyhow.
A graceful turn.
I love the look on his face.
He’s putting on the brakes, which is probably why I was able to get his whole self into the shot.
Honey, I’m home!

Just a few seconds out of a photographer’s day, but most of the time that’s all it takes to make your day.