'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, life goes on, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

The circle of (eagle) life…

I was up north last winter when the nearby eagles were raising their young, so it’s a treat to watch them now.  I’m an amateur, I think some of the photographers I saw there are there nearly every day.  But I hadn’t been in a couple of weeks so.  When I saw that the eaglets were already popping their heads up out of the nest I needed to play catch-up.  It was so fun to watch, or pretend to, since I was struggling to focus.  I needed to focus manually with my big lens and extender, and no matter what I did it didn’t appear to be in focus.  All the while the other photographers were exclaiming over how cute the little ones were, so I finally ditched the extender and stuck with my 150-600 Tamron lens, which allows auto focus.  To see these tiny creatures at all is amazing since they really are quite a distance away.

Seeing a parent fly in with a fish started the action for me.  My fellow watchers were remarking on how tired this eagle was.  I asked how you could tell and the answer was that it was panting, like a dog. 01-14-20incoming101-14-20incoming201-14-20incoming301-14-20momandbaby101-14-20momandbaby201-14-20momandbaby301-14-20momandbaby4They were also all excited when they spotted two eaglets!  I just shot picture after picture and hoped I had gotten something.  If I heard them shooting then I did too.  But after a while I was able to sort out what I was seeing through the lens and yes, there were two of them.  01-14-20twochicksThe other parent was in a nearby tree, arriving soaking wet, and I caught this image as he ‘shook his tail feathers’.01-14-20shakeitoff

But I can’t leave this on such a silly note, when we all know just how regal they are, even when wet.01-14-20wetbutregal

backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, home, home improvements, life goes on, nature, neighbors, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Be it ever so humble…

This birdhouse of my uncle’s has seen better days, but it has hosted families of bluebirds for at least a few years now.  And two years ago I came over to his house and stationed myself out front with my tripod and camera and captured the action as they were feeding their young.  But last year the blue birds were chased off, evicted sort of, by another, larger bird, and they didn’t raise a brood in this house, so my uncle moved the house across the street to what is now my house.

Lately there has been a lot of activity at the birdhouse, and the other day I finally tried to see what bird was paying attention to the house, hoping for bluebirds of course. But I could’t see what they were so I took a few pictures, but I still couldn’t say for sure what they were since was getting dark out, and it was even darker under the carport.  But I heard some activity early yesterday and I saw a bird actually leave the house and fly to the palm tree close by.  It turned out to be a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  This may explain why the entrance hole is not the precise hole that it once was.  This bird has done some home improvements, made it her own.  I can relate.  Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home. 1-7-20meettheneighbor1-7-20birdhouseAh, but I wrote this a couple of days ago and there are new developments.  Seems I wasn’t too far off the mark hoping that it was bluebirds that were interested in the birdhouse.1-8-20Bluebird11-8-20bluebird21-8-20bluebirdfeatureAnd the other possibility is that there is an odd couple in the neighborhood.  Stay tuned…1-8-20oddcouple

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Ma and Pa Eagle…

Yup, there is feeding going on, which means that if you stand there long enough you will get your chance to see the parents switch off chick-sitting duties.  That’s a given once you know that they have a hatchling.  But you can’t predict whether or not the fog will roll in,  even on a day that started out looking beautiful.  Not that that would stop any of us.  There was a small crowd of photographers waiting for each appearance by the parents.  The nest seems tipped away from our view so that hatchling will have to grow a bit before we see him.  Or possibly them.  You know I’ll be checking in on them again soon. 12-31eagle12-31eagle212-31eagle312-31eagle4

'scene' along the way, a second look, eagles, Florida wildlife, fun, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography, technology

Eagle watch…

Yesterday I decided to stop by the eagle nest for yet another check to see if they were ‘home’ and in the mood to get their picture taken.  I haven’t stopped too many times lately, but I’ve been disappointed often enough that I didn’t really expect to see one of them, let alone two.  And before I even got out of my car a friend pulled up, also on the eagle watch.  We are thinking that it’s about time for the eggs to hatch, and the real eagle watch will begin when that happens.  She said that she had already been by once that day and didn’t see anyone, so neither of us were expecting to see them, but there he was, or is it a she?  The larger one is the female, or so I’m told, but you have to see them side by side to judge.  He or she was on a branch above the nest, keeping watch.  Sitting calmly enough, but looking from side to side and seeming to be on guard.  And as we watched suddenly there was the second one, just arriving at the nest it seemed, and then sounding off as if she didn’t like what she found there.  What we didn’t see was any activity that suggested that they are feeding hatchlings, but that should be soon.  We’ll be keeping watch ourselves, hoping for the day we’ll see the babies popping their heads up for us to get a picture.  And neither of us had our best camera/lens combination with us.  I won’t make the mistake again.  This is the best I could do yesterday.12-27nestview12-27keepingwatch12-27keepingwatch212-27homeagain12-27homeagain2

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, bugs, ducks, Florida wildlife, flowers, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, perseverance, photography

Main Street…

Errands brought me to Main Street, New Port Richey the other day.  Much to my surprise I noticed a lovely little park there, but couldn’t stop to investigate that day.  So today I made it a point to go back and check it out.  It was a quiet little spot, in that there were not many people walking, but a nearby playground supplied all the happy kid noises you could ever want.  This weather is my very favorite time in Florida.  By our standards it was almost sweater weather, though my Northern friends would think we were nuts.11-26parview311-26parkview411-26parkview211-26parkview1I walked around the lake, mostly because I saw all the birds across the way.  But before I had gotten to taking pictures another walker stopped me to ask if I’d seen the duck on a nest.  I hadn’t, I had walked right past it.  He said there were four eggs there, and he and his daughters had just seen her rearrange the eggs and settle back down on them.  I thought her nest was not very protected, even if getting a photo was a challenge.11-25mommaduckI did get around to taking pictures of the birds, but it was the flowers and the bees that got me in trouble.  I walked across the grass to get close enough to the flowers, but when I turned to go back to the car I found myself walking through wetness in the grass. In my flip flops.  Mud.  I’ve insisted that there is no mud in Florida, but I was wrong.  This wasn’t just mud, it was more like tar, and it ended my travels for the day.  I think I’m glad I didn’t have my hiking shoes on after all, they wouldn’t have survived.  Flip flops, however, have at least nine lives.11-26egret11-26ibiseye11-26flowers11-26bee

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, Chinsegut Conservation Center, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, learning, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Field Trip…

This photo walk out of the Chinsegut Conservation Center was a bit of a back to the beginnings trip for me.  Early one morning I saw a Facebook post about a bird photography class that was happening at the center, and I wanted to go.  I had a new digital camera at the time, and was barely functional with it, so I called to see if they had room for one more.  Not only did I begin to learn the camera, but I found friends, and I probably would never have begun blogging without another class that I took at the center later on.  Yes, a coming home of sorts,

But I’m not the nature photographer that my friends are.  Not every walk in the woods leads to great photos, and I confess that the description of this trip left me skeptical about the photos I might get.  So to hedge my bets a bit I got to the center early in hopes of seeing birds at the many feeders there.  And they were there.  A Downey woodpecker, a red-headed (but not cockaded) woodpecker, a summer tanager, and a tufted titmouse pair that entertained me for quite a while.  That meant I could relax and just enjoy the field trip and not worry about the pictures we’d get.11-22feeding11-22redhead11-22downey11-22summertanager11-22summertanager211-22titmouse11-22titmouse211-22titmouse3

Off we went into the woods, and 20 miles in we found the banded trees that indicated the habitat of the red-cockaded family in question.  It was then that I discovered that we weren’t waiting for a flock of these birds to arrive en masse, but just one family.  And the banded trees each had the little holes where nesting activity was potentially happening.  Young males stay with the family helping to raise the young and doing the necessary tending to the nests which keeps the sap running.  The sap is their defense against their nests being raided by snakes.  Clever, don’t you think?11-22habitat11-22thehomeAnd it was a successful trip.  Yes, one of the birds in question did show up and zoom into the hole in the tree and disappeared.  Not one of us got a shot of that.  The leader of the trip said that he felt that that was it, the event was over.  But he had one trick up his sleeve.  He used his phone to play the call of the red-cockaded woodpecker, rather quietly I thought, but it was enough to get this little guy to stick his head out of the nest to see what was going on.11-22peekaboo

No, it wasn’t a dramatic story.  But these are the dramas that are happening all around us everyday, and we are too busy with out own lives to notice.  But when we do take time to notice it doesn’t disappoint.