bugs, butterflies, flowers, fun, gardens, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, second chances

Buzzing by the gardens…

Yesterday I did what I used to do when I lived in Spring Hill, I dropped by the botanical garden rather than drive past it. I doubted that butterflies would be in abundance in this cooler weather, and I was right. But right there in the butterfly garden I found something I haven’t seen in ages, a big fat bumble bee. And the afternoon light was nice. What a treat.

I was amazed at how solid his wings look in this photo.
He was ignoring me completely as he flitted from flower to flower.
I wish I could claim to have set up this shot, but it was just lucky.
He was still busy when I left.

I love it when a spur of the moment inspiration turns out so well. Life is simple these days, all it takes is seeing a tiny little creature to make my day. Life is good.

a second look, friends, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, Uncategorized

Growing up…

The orangutans kept us waiting yesterday. The keepers had set the stage, placing colorful boxes front and center, and edible greens were in lots of nooks and crannies in the rocks. I waited a little while, but I had wandered away when they put in their appearance. I got there just in time to see the keepers tossing the last of the chunks of fruit to the waiting orangs. They don’t squabble over the offerings, they politely wait their turn.

It took me a while to find mom and baby in the habitat. I think they were playing hide and seek.
Giving mom a taste.
Is that a little kiss?
At nearly 2 years old Riplee’s mother lets him explore the habitat as he will, but she keeps an eye on him. The boxes seemed to be as interesting as the treats that were waiting for them.
Maybe the boxes were tasty also.
When one of the orangs sits in the sun I consider it an invitation to take a picture.
Or two pictures. Actually there were many more.
Here’s Riplee enjoying himself orangutan style.

With the cooler weather heading our way we’ll be visiting the zoo more often. It’s always a sure-fire photo op.

backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, rain, storms, technology, unintended images, weather

Shake it off…

I was cooking breakfast this morning when I glanced out the sliding glass door and spotted a hawk on the fence. He was spreading his wings much like I see birds doing when I assume they are drying their feathers. But in the midst of the tropical storm we are having any attempt to shake off the water was hopeless. Maybe he was just enjoying a shower.

Considering that I was shooting through a glass door, which hasn’t been washed in quite a while, and out through the screened-in lanai, I’m pretty happy to see this image.
He was facing the other way in all the pictures where I caught him shaking it off, so mostly butt shots.
All the while he did seem to be keeping a watchful eye on things.

This was a day I had written off as having no chance to go out to shoot at all. And I didn’t, I stayed in to shoot. He stayed put on the fence for longer than I might have expected, and when he took off it was down into the neighbor’s yard behind me. I hope he caught his own breakfast. I ate mine once he disappeared. It’s still raining hard, but the wind has let up a bit. Tropical Storm Nicole seems to have spared us.

'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.

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?