'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, finding my way, Florida wildlife, following the rules, life goes on, nature, nesting, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

Passing time…

I visited the rookery yesterday and found nest after nest of what appeared to be nearly full grown wood storks, mostly standing at attention.  Waiting for what I wonder, mom to feed them?  I love the expression on the face of the younger one in the feature photo,  I think they are still my favorite babies.   I think this egret mother takes her life in her hands when she shows up to feed her babies.   They tackle her, it doesn’t look pleasant, for mom at least.05-16-20egrets

The cattle egret babies are growing too.  Without an adult on the nest with them it took me a minute to realize which nest was theirs.  05-16-20cattleegretbabies2


A friend told me that the wood storks have taken over this rookery, it wasn’t always this way.  I lived in the area for 10 years before I ever knew that it was there, and now I have to wonder what happens at the end of the season.  I’ve been headed north by this time the last two years in a row, so I guess I flew the coop before they did.  Do they all just fly off one day?  I’ve stopped out of curiosity when it isn’t breeding season and there wasn’t a single bird around at all.  It would be fun to see all those big babies start flapping their wings and taking off, but so far I haven’t seen any practicing.  I’m just as bad.  I feel like flapping my wings and taking off too, but can’t seem to make a plan.

My old friend says that the secret to life is to never make a plan, then everything is always going according to plan.  I wonder how his life might have changed if he had  had a plan.  And my life looks nothing like I ever thought it might despite all the plans I made for myself over the years.  I feel like I should say something profound right about now, but I haven’t got a clue.  Just letting the days pass…


a second look, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography


I had a fun visit to the rookery today.  Or I should say Wednesday.  My friend and I got along much better than the two egrets in the feature photo appear to be doing.  A little sibling angst I think.    And we kept our social distancing in mind while we were there, again, unlike those egrets.  I was happy to get a little better look at the cattle egret babies.  Not exactly cute, but I’m sure their mother thinks they are.  05-06-20cattlegretchicks05-06-20mouthychick05-06-20mouthychick305-06-20mouthychick2

I don’t know if Larry and Moe were hiding in the shrubbery, but Curly was there.05-06-20curly.jpg

It was nice to be out taking pictures with a friend.  And I was glad to hear that the pool is supposed to open on Monday, but with restrictions of course.  I know that there are differing opinions about these things.  It will remain to be seen if we can get along better than the egrets above as we ease ourselves back to ‘normal’.




a second look, adventure, birds, changing times, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography, reality check

Life’s ups and downs…

Any complaints I have about today have nothing to do with social isolation and have everything to do with technology and how I don’t get it.  There was a time when I thought I did get it, but I was kidding myself.  Seems like a lot of people are frustrated over needing haircuts, but at the rate I’ve been tearing my hair out over my computer issues I’m thinking that that won’t be a problem for me for a while yet.  It was a struggle, but for the moment I have a nice back up drive installed on the desktop computer, and that means my editing program is back to working like a charm.  And I enjoyed using some new editing tips learned in the last few days in our online photography classes.  Thank you to Fearless Leader Jeff.

I stopped at the rookery this morning to see if the cattle egret chicks had hatched, and yes, there are chicks on one nest so far.  And two more nests that I could see.05-02=20catleegret2.jpg

So two new little guys and the three amigos are still standing in the nest and sounding off for someone to feed them.  They really seem to get to spend a lot of time on the nest.  I mean a LOT.  I suspect that with all my computer issues plus the online classes I may have missed the grand finale of the bluebirds in the bird house.  I read that they get kicked out of the nest in only 9 or 10 days, and I’ve seen no bluebird activity in the last couple of days.  Those wood stork teenagers don’t know how lucky they really are.05-02=20amigos.jpg

And how nice that when I got home I got word that the sandhill crane chicks in my old backyard had hatched.  They were less than 24 hours old, but I knew I had to go see them quickly because they will probably be marched off the nest for their first adventure tomorrow.

There was one more adventurous chick, Mr. Independent, off on his own a bit.  And he seemed to have plenty to say about life in general.05-02=20littlenewguy2.jpg

And then hidden in the grass close to mom a more cautious chick.  05-02=20littlenewguy.jpg

It was a good day.  Progress was made and time is passing.  The next county south of us is opening swimming pools next week.  I don’t know if I feel like it’s too soon, and I don’t know if I can resist when they open up here also.  We’ll see.


a second look, adventure, birds, blessings, Florida wildlife, home, learning, life, life goes on, making memories, memories, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Back in the backyard…

I wasn’t literally back in the backyard, I was revisiting a photo shoot from two years ago.  That was the second year that I watched this Sandhill Cranes couple raise a family right under my nose.  I knew from experience that this would be the one day that those parents would keep the babies right there, close to the nest.  I had been shocked the year before when they had marched the two day old chicks off the nest and disappeared and didn’t return until late afternoon.  I took 415 pictures that day, which I have now culled down to 22 photos.  My first photo was taken at 1:45 in the afternoon, and between the harsh light and the fact that the babies were in grass that was taller than they were, even the new zoom lens I had bought couldn’t get much of a picture.  But still I kept shooting.  My last picture was taken at 5 PM, and by then the light was much nicer and the parents had taken the babies to the edge of the water where they were more visible.  And that’s when they all swam to the nest, which was on a small island in the center of the lake. 04-28-20sandhills404-28-20sandhillbabies304-28-20sandhillbabies204-28-20sandhillbabies

Also on the lake that day was the ever-present little blue heron, and a tri-colored heron. 04-28-20littleblue04-28-20tricolorheron

I think I remember that this was a Pied-billed Grebe.  This was one of the many different birds that dropped in for a visit, and then I didn’t see them again.  The wildlife I saw from my backyard is what drove me back to my interest in photography.  And what a blessing that has become for me, bringing me new friends and adventures.  I’m happy to re-visit these photos while I wait to see what adventures are still to com.04-28-20piedbilledgrebe


'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, bluebirds, Florida wildlife, home, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise, Up and at 'em

The doldrums…

I had to check the meaning of the word doldrums, just in case.  It’s a period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression, according to Siri.  That pretty much describes me for the past couple of days.  For no particular reason beyond what we all are dealing with these last weeks.  And also for no particular reason I woke up this morning and surprised myself by getting out early for the sunrise.  It felt good.04-22-20bridgesunrise1

Then I stood in my driveway and spied on the bluebirds who have been zooming into and out of the bird house lately.  They haven’t been perching, and I haven’t seen them together, so are there eggs in the nest or are they feeding babies?  If they are then I can’t imagine when they were sitting on eggs since they both seemed to be out and about daily.  Or I lost track of time.  But I looked up the incubation period and it’s 12 to 14 days, and mom sits on the eggs and dad delivers dinner to her while incubating.  So that’s what I think is going on here.  And the surprise to read was that they commonly brood twice in a season.

I didn’t watch them for long because I was afraid that Dad was skittish about coming to feed Mom in the house because I was watching from the shelter of my open car door in the driveway.  In reality it was probably the maintenance crew with the mowers and edgers that were giving him second thoughts.04-22-20bluebirdantenna.jpg04-22-20bluebirdlightpost.jpg04-22-20bluebirddelivery.jpg04-22-20mamabluebird.jpg

In between bluebird visits I took the feature photo of the Northern Mockingbird who entertains me as I walk the park in the early evening.  They have an amazing variety of calls, which I’ve tried and failed to record on my phone.  You probably have them in your neighborhood since they are everywhere.

'scene' along the way, a second look, birds, egrets, fun, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Cattle Egrets…

There always have been cattle egrets at the rookery, but only one at a time and I hadn’t seen any nests there before.  But on Sunday there were three separate nesting pairs, so while comparatively speaking there weren’t a lot of them, there were many more than I was used to seeing.  Like the anhingas, they seem to stay in the lower branches of the trees where there isn’t a lot of foliage, which of course helped me to see them.  And I had fun watching them

I’d never seen them so, well, fluffy before.04-13-20cattleegret1.jpg

This pair had me fooled.  I watched and waited while one of them was standing over the other, but what I thought was a baby egrets sleeping turned out to be Mom taking a siesta.04-13-20cattleegretnest.jpg

But I will be watching their nests for babies because, well, this happened,04-13-20cattleegretwhoopie.jpg

And he looked pretty proud of himself afterwards too.04-13-20cattleegretproud.jpg

While one pair got romantic another pair was pretty industrious.  I watched as they attempted to snag the perfect stick to feather their nest.  I confess that for a moment I thought they had a snake, then as they tugged and tugged it appeared to be stretching and I was afraid it was a piece of trash that somehow got caught in the shrubbery.  I took quite a few pictures of them as they worked on that stick, but something must have caught my attention because I don’t know for sure if they were successful.04-13-20cattleegretteamwork.jpg04-13-20cattleegretteamwork3.jpg04-13-20cattleegretteamwork2.jpg

So while some of the nestlings have grown pretty big in the last few weeks, I see that there will be more to come before this season winds down.  I always enjoyed coming to the rookery, even when I didn’t live so close to it.  But what a blessing it is for me to be able to be outside and lost in my thoughts for a while, all while still keeping to the rules.