'scene' along the way, birds, Florida wildlife, life goes on, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Osprey, perseverance, photography, simple things, sunset

Winding down the day…

My usual trips out for the sunset have me racing out the door because I had lost track of time and was barely going to make it.  Not last night, however.  My goal was the Dunedin marina, in hopes of nice photo ops of boats, etc, plus a nice sunset.  So prepared was I that I had enough time to kill to walk to the far side of the marina to see what photo ops might be there.  I found an osprey up on a ship’s mast, much closer than I’d ever been to one before.  I was sure he’d fly before I could get his picture, but he didn’t appear to be bothered by me at all.

I used to be disappointed when the bird I saw flying was ‘only’ an osprey, as opposed to the eagle I was always hoping to see.  But I’ve looked them up recently and discovered that they used to be known as fish-hawks, and were endangered due to pesticides, but they have recovered and have now been given a classification all their own.  They are impressive as they hover over water, watching, waiting, and then dive talons-first and fly away with their catch.  They are found nearly world-wide, anywhere they can fish in fresh or salt waters.  This one wasn’t hunting, he was calling to his mate at the end of his day.  It took me a minute to see her.  In the feature photo, just above dead center, on a cross piece of a mast.  They were calling to each other as the sun was sinking lower in the sky.  Another day done…


backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, home, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

A gentleman caller…

Yesterday I got a surprise when I looked out front to check and see if the trash had been picked up yet.  It had.  But as I headed out to put the trash can away I discovered a visitor on the lawn.  Funny that he was there because lately I’ve been lamenting to myself that I can’t just sit out in the back yard and have photo ops come to me any more.  And birds have been scarce in general, even in places that I thought you would always find them.  It was a young wood stork, smaller than most of the ones I’ve seen.

Of course I grabbed the camera and went out the door for pictures.  This didn’t seem to bother him a lot, he stood his ground and I sat on my stoop and started shooting.  Personally, I think he liked the photo shoot.  He certainly turned this way and that, maybe he was deciding which was his best side.  He also was approaching me, making me suspect that someone has been feeding him.  I understand the urge to do that, and I even had frozen corn and peas which I’ve read is what you are supposed to feed ducks, if you can’t resist feeding them.  But I did resist.  Eventually I’d taken so many pictures, and I wondered what mission he’d been on when I interrupted him, so I went inside.  I couldn’t resist checking to see what he was doing though, but I didn’t have to look hard because he was right outside my front door, looking in.  I hope his interest in people doesn’t cause him problems, but on the other hand I hope I see him again.10-14woodstork710-14woodstork110-14woodstork210-14woodstork310-14woodstork410-14woodstork610-14woodstork5

'scene' along the way, a second look, Bayport, birds, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Rainy days…

It’s been raining the last two days.  Not all the time, but enough to keep me home.  Plus there were still issues that needed to be taken care, left-overs from being away for five months.  So I haven’t been out for pictures in two days.  That’s pretty much unheard of.  But, I thought, surely I must have photos that I’ve downloaded into one or the other computer, photos I overlooked for one reason or another.  So the feature photo is an iPhone photo from the Bayport sunrise just the other day.  It’s pretty much a rerun of the ones I’ve posted already.  But it’s the heron I saw that day that caught my attention.  It’s sad to say that while we are happy to see all the birds here, we photographers I mean, the fact that these birds are willing to hang around near people is often what will lead to their demise.  Do you see his leg?  He has fishing line attached there, and often it’s so very much worse looking than this looks.  Maybe someone tried to untangle him and this was the best they could do?  Perhaps.  Often times you’ll see that the overhead wires that line the street where the bridges lend themselves to fishermen fishing there, will be covered in fishing line.  And there was one-foot Fred, the Great Blue Heron who I saw many times, who the fishermen told me lost that foot to fishing line.  It’s upsetting to see.  It seems as if fishermen, who are out in nature as often as possible, would be more respectful of all the creatures out there.  And I have looked and looked at this photo and I have no idea why it appears that you can see through this guy.  I. hope it’s some optical illusion of some kind…10-8woundedheron

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