eagles, Florida wildlife, Hudson Beach, nature, nesting, photography, sunset

Hudson Beach plus eagles…

I got off work at 11 AM, walked the dogs, investigated the crane noises out back and took lots of pictures, and then thought, what next?  Well, I said to myself, you haven’t checked on the eagles lately.  So off I went.

I arrived a little after 4 PM, and found Mom, or Dad, on the nest, and I hoped that they would switch off soon.  In no time I saw the other eagle fly into the area and I zoomed in on the nest in anticipation of him landing there.  And I waited, and waited.  Even the on-duty parent got tired of waiting and started yelling.  Then she/he flew off the nest.  And still I waited, focused on the nest, hoping a chick would pop it’s head up.  That didn’t happen, but I swear I heard peeping, but can’t say that it came from the nest.  Eventually, not too long really, parent #2 landed on the nest and started tending something, a baby?  Just general housekeeping?  I decided that this was Mom because she apparently decided that a small branch above the nest had to go, and she spent quite a while working on accomplishing that.  1-16calling copy1-16momtakesover copy1-16momtakesover2 copy1-16momtakesover3 copy1-16momtakesover4 copyAnd again, I thought what next?  Sunset wasn’t for over an hour at that point, so I decided to go to Hudson Beach for the sunset, killing some time and putting me a lot closer to home.  I put the new wide-angle lens on for the sunset pictures.  Practice, practice, practice, yet again.1-16hudsonsunset copy.jpgAnd from the iPhone, one more…1-16hudsonsunset2.jpg

Bayport, birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, sunrise

Back on track…

1-15sunrise2 copyI went out for a Bayport sunrise the other day and it was pretty, but too cold.  I know you must be getting tired of hearing me say that.  But it was almost a relief that the above picture was as pretty as it got and I could stay in the car.  I have taken a picture of the sign that they have posted there before, but I never used it.  It looks like they are finally going to redo the fishing pier.  1-15billboard copyI’ve taken a lot of reflected sunrise photos at Bayport, I love the way all the channel markers sometimes look to be different colors and almost lit up in the morning light.  Not knowing anything about boating I had no idea what the markers actually indicated.  Now I see that it must be water depth because in all my trips to Bayport, for both sunrises and sunsets, I’ve never seen the water level be low enough for this sand bar to show.  1-15lowtide copy1-14littlebird copyBack in the yard this little bird was out there, teasing me, landing just long enough for me to find him with the camera but flitting off a few feet away before I could focus. This was the best I could do.  Merlin says it’s a Yellow-rumped Warbler.  I’ve probably seen all these little birds before, but finding them in the camera’s view finder is like looking through binoculars.  Now I actually see them.1-15sandhill1 copy1-15sandhill2 copyAnd the cranes were back out there last night.  They seem to have abandoned the mound that they worked so hard to build.  Unless of course this was a different pair. When I see Sandhill cranes around the neighborhood they seem to always be in pairs lately.  But what has struck me is that at least one of the pair looks to be on the small side.  The younger birds setting up housekeeping I guess.  This pair was out there on the original nesting spot from last year, making themselves at home.  At least I hope that’s what was going on…

 

birds, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, nature, nesting, pelicans, perseverance, photography, sunset

Don’t give up…

The Anclote Fishing Pier smelled like… fish. I had walked out almost to the end of the pier for a sunset photo op. Evidently the fishermen clean their fish out there.  Phew!  But I’ve gotten ahead of myself…1-10sunset1feature copy

First was a futile trip to Bayport for the sunrise that didn’t happen. Then off to Jenkin’s Creek where I amused myself taking photos of a Great Egret while I waited for an eagle, and then an otter showed up.  But no eagle so I gave up. But as I pulled out of the parking lot I saw an eagle flying in, so of course I turned around.

I couldn’t resist heading out again later though, blame the fabulous weather. There was the eagle nest that I hadn’t visited since our cold spell, I wondered if all was well, and it was. Except all I got to see at first was the nest itself. Then a head popped up so that I was sure mom or dad were there. And so the wait began.1-10mindingthenest.jpg

But then I spotted Dad, or was it Mom, in a nearby tree. My eagle watching friend had said that the parent that is off the nest is always nearby, but I didn’t spot him at first. He was posing nicely. Well, his back was to me, but I think he can swivel his head 360 degrees, which was fortunate from the point of view of photo ops.1-10it'sdadormom copy

1-10eagle3 copy.jpgI watched for a long time until he flew off to a tree farther away. Then he swooped down out of sight and I was holding my breath hoping that he would come back with dinner for mom. I have to stop trying to anticipate what will happen and just let things unfold. He did return and was on a branch very close to the nest. Then mom joined him on that branch and it made me think of them comparing notes. When Mom flew off to hunt, Dad took over on the nest, which is what I was waiting for, only I had hoped for both parents on the nest together.

It was time for me to go see what I could see at the fishing pier.  But I already showed you a sunset photo, and the flock of birds flying against the reflected sunset color, but I didn’t show you the pelican.  It was a great sunshiny day!1-10pelican copy

birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, Tricolored heron

Sandhill cranes…

The featured photo, above, may or may not be the first photo I took with my Canon DSLR when I got it.  It’s dated December 29, 2016, and it’s the earliest one that I saved.  I had the new camera and was dying to use it, and right out back what did I see but the cranes out there.  And I was thrilled with my 300mm lens that let me get a closer look.  Despite the fact that I think I’ve taken pictures nearly every day since I got the camera, I’m still a beginner.  And now I’m learning to use Lightroom to edit and that will make looking back on old favorite photos a little depressing, because they could have been so much better.  I did reedit this photo, I couldn’t help myself.  But I wanted to say that when I took this picture I had no idea that the Sandhill cranes would bring me such enjoyment as I watched the family grow.

I suppose they will be constant visitors again now, what with the nest out back and all.  They came back yesterday just as I was thinking that if I was going out for the sunset then I had better get going.  But instead I went out back and watched one of them wade over to the island, the site of last year’s nest.  Eventually it flew over and joined the other one who was hard at work tidying the current nest.  We should have a bird’s eye view when they do lay eggs.  Here we go again…

 

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birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography

To nest, or not to nest…

My new lens and extender had come too late on Monday to go out and take photos.  And Tuesday was accounted for with work and an appointment, so I told myself that I could wait until Wednesday, a day off, to go out and experiment with my new toys.

But Tuesday morning came and I  couldn’t resist going out into the fog to check out the new wide angle lens.  And I’m quite happy with it.

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When I was finally home that day I thought I’d be able to wait to try the extender, but the dogs wanted to go out, and when we went out the back door we caused a ruckus out there.  The cranes were back.  I had been afraid that I had spoken too soon about the possible nesting activity out there, based on the fact that they hadn’t seemed to be around after I had taken pictures the other afternoon.  But there they were, and they seemed to be hard at work again.  But one of them stopped to pose, after the dogs were back in the house that is.  I thought that was nice of him.

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birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, on closer examination, photography

Good news…

The fact that the sunrise came to me this morning wasn’t the only good news of the day.  Or, more correctly, it ought to be good news. I think I have observed that there is a pair of Sand Hill cranes who have chosen a place to nest out on my lake. That’s what I hoped would happen, but I assumed that if it happened they would choose the same area that the nest was on last year. It was out in the middle of the lake, but still located so that I had a good line of vision to them. But I’m not thrilled with the spot they seem to have chosen this year. It is a small island, or seemed to be until I took pictures of it this morning and it looks to be more underwater than it appeared yesterday.

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They’ve been spending a lot of time there, so I had my suspicions. But this morning I observed a behavior that I witnessed last year. They were working together and dredging up hunks of vegetation from under water and dumping them onto a pile. I saw them build a mound in a day last year, but they gave up and moved off the lake before I could see how they were planning to use it.

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The real problem with the area is that last year that area was a peninsula, not an island. And I’ve seen my dogs wander over to that area before. Ozzie in particular likes to drink out of the lake every chance he gets, which puts him plenty close enough to bother them.  Neither dog would harm them, but Zoe would love to run over to make them fly.  And these cranes start sounding off the second I let the dogs out at all. Last year the cranes ignored my dogs so I never thought that being outside disturbed them. I see lots more dog walks in my future, after all, I wouldn’t want them to give up on nesting out there just because of my dainty dogs.

1215soundingoff

Here they aren’t sounding off because of the dogs.  They are responding to the calls of another Sand Hill crane that I couldn’t see, but I could hear just fine.  I read that the length of their necks is what causes their very unusual call.  And call they do, every chance they get…