a second look, backyard visitors, bugs, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

Hummingbird moth…

You are not only going to have to indulge me a little with this post, but you’ll have to use your imagination also.  There I was, just heading out with Ozzie to check the mail and something caught my eye.  I see enough posts of birds and insects that when I saw this creature I knew instantly what it was, and that when I see posts about them people are quite excited to see them.  So I was excited, but didn’t have a camera with me, or even the phone.  I know Ozzie thinks I’m nuts when I suddenly make a mad dash into the house, but he’s used to me.  Lately I’ve been less than successful with what I have thought to be my easy, and unbeatable, iPhone technique to catch butterflies.  Lock your focus in on a flower about three feet from your camera, then chase the butterflies around shooting bursts.  I get a LOT of photos that way, but usually some are usable.  But this moth was as hard to capture as an actual hummingbird.  He zoomed frantically around the flowers, his wings especially never stopped moving, and he liked to hide in the depths of the plumbago.  At best these photos only prove that yes, I did see what I thought I saw.  And you know what, most of the images of these things that I’ve seen online aren’t a lot sharper.  So these are as good as it gets.8-4moth58-4moth48-4moth38-4moth28-4moth1

Of course I googled them and they appear in warm climates and like honeysuckle type flowers.  Excuse me while I go check the honeysuckle growing on my neighbor’s shed…

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

Hummingbirds…

My first photography instruction was on photographing birds.  Alice, the teacher, said that if you just stake out a spot and stay still the birds will eventually not mind you being there and go about their business.  Sure enough, that’s what happened that day.  And it happened in Kathy’s yard yesterday when I staked out her hummingbird feeder to see if I could get a good picture.  Those little birds are fast, and at first they would zoom away as soon as I clicked the shutter.  Maybe they got extra hungry, but eventually they stuck around long enough for me to at least try to capture them.  It wasn’t easy.  I’d try to blame the camera for not being able to shoot more exposures per second, or the tripod for not being sturdy enough, or even the birds for their frantic ways, but I have to admit that it was me.  But the beauty of this open-ended trip is that there is always tomorrow…7-12hummer17-12hummer27-12hummer37-12hummer47-12hummer5

a second look, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, pond creatures, road trip, travel, weather

Brockton blessings…

The last time I was in my hometown of Brockton, MA I was freezing.  It was very cold, and not just for this spoiled Floridian, it was COLD.  And I was out for the sunrise, taking photos in the lovely local park, when I came upon two swans.  I believe I posted a photo of the male, but the female was just a pile of white feathers on the bank of the pond.  I focused on her for quite a while, waiting for her to lift her head, but she didn’t.  I wondered if she was alive since she was flattened out, looking a bit like a puddle of white, and I eventually gave up, or gave in to the cold, and moved on.

I returned yesterday, on a day of record-breaking heat.  It’s not that people who live in Florida love hot weather, it’s that we love the air-conditioning that makes living with the heat possible.  I was back to the park at mid-day despite the heat, and thinking about those swans as I drove through the park and stopped when I saw a pair of them, but without cygnets.  I assumed that if the swans I had seen had them they had grown up, but I stopped to take pictures.  When I continued I came across a lot of Canada geese, young ones grazing along the road, being guarded by several adults who allowed the passers-by to come fairly close to them as they grazed.  Almost too close because I had the zoom lens on the camera and they were walking towards me, almost too close for that lens.  Only a short way further down the road I hit the jackpot, swans again, but with 8 cygnets, and all swimming close to shore hoping to be fed.  Taking photos of them, however, proved to be my un-doing.  In my rush for photos I had locked myself out of my car, which was bad enough by itself, but I was in danger of missing the cousin reunion that I had been looking forward to.  That’s when I met my guardian angel.  If I had spoken to her a little earlier I might have called the local George’s garage and paid a lot less to be rescued, which she told me after I had already called someone, but she refused to leave me by myself until she knew I was rescued and on my way.  So Maria, if you are reading this I want to thank you for your moral support yesterday.  As annoying as it was to make such a dumb mistake, it would have been much more stressful without you sharing it with me.  You were a blessing to me and I will try to pay your kindness forward in my travels… 7-1swan27-1swan7-1goose37-1goose27-1goose17-1dragonfly7-1lilypads7-1cygnets37-1cygnet1

birds, blessings, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, photography

Sunday at The Narrows…

The good thing about going to The Narrows on Sunday is that you get to hear the presentation given by Patrick, the director of the center.  And you see his determination to have the birds interacting with the people, and the people interacting with the birds, first hand. 5-6presentationI had gotten a synopsis of Patrick’s theories on caring for these birds who come to The Narrows as their forever home after have been evaluated and found to not be able to return to the wild.  But I wasn’t prepared to see the birds sitting in the audience along side the people of all ages.  They have been deemed unable to return to the wild due to eye problems, damage to wings, and even, in the case of Sarge the eagle, a congenital abnormality that prevents her from growing flight feathers.  But they are assured of a comfortable life, not life in a cage, but a walk along the paths and fresh air daily.  All of which is good for them.  And they in turn provide therapeutic interaction with people who are in need of encouragement.  What could be better?

5-6barredowl5-6closeowl5-6owl5-6redshouldered5-6redtail5-6slasher

nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, photography

Also at the zoo…

I’m ashamed to say that I was so busy taking photos that I didn’t stop to find out exactly what these creatures are.  With a couple of exceptions.

4-29B&Wmonkey4-29butterfly4-29mercat4-29notlittlenotblueIt may not be blue, but it’s a Little Blue Heron chick.

4-29parrot4-29smile4-29snowyleopard4-29snowyleopard24-29teethI believe I may have cleaned those teeth before.4-29tightrope

I was fascinated by the tightrope walking monkey, but didn’t realize that someone was along for the ride until I saw the image in the computer.  Hang on little dude!

learning, life, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, photography

Monkey business…

4-29monkeyfeatureMy love affair with Orangutans goes back to when I lived in San Diego in the 70s.  We were a Navy family, part of a huge number of military families there.  Happily the San Diego Zoo made a trip there very affordable for us, which was a blessing when your husband would ship out for 7 months at a time.  The first thing you would see upon entering was the nursery, where they took care of baby animals for whatever reason they might need to.  Tiny baby orangutans wearing premie-sized Pampers and playing together in that nursery was the cutest thing ever.  I was hooked.

But I only looked up info on them today.  I discovered that their name comes from ‘orang’ which is Malay for person, and ‘utan’ which means forest.  They were considered to be persons who lived in the trees.  They are peaceable, quiet, shy, gentle, and friendly to humans.  They fashion tools to use to gather food, and they seem to have maps in their brains so that they know which trees will bear ripened fruit and when.  They are the largest tree dwelling mammal, and seldom need to come to the forest floor.  They live to be 35 to 40 years old in the wild, nurse from their mothers until 6 years old, and don’t reproduce until their teens.  This means that each female orangutan only has 4 or 5 babies in her lifetime, which is part of the reason they are endangered in Borneo, and critically endangered in Sumatra.

4-29monkey14-29monkey24-29monkey34-29monkey54-29monkey64-29monkeymama

And did I mention that 97% of their genetic makeup is the same as humans?  The photo group visited the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa yesterday, and though I took lots of photos, these are my favorites, and I just had to let them stand alone…