I think we just wanted to get out and ride the trike and scooter, and take whatever pictures came our way, so it was off to John Chestnut Park. Now that I’ve seen gators in the park I apparently can’t go there without seeing them. It was a little one, but not so little that I didn’t cut off the end of his tail in my feature photo.
We talked to a fun gentleman on the fishing pier and I told him that we had been seeing pictures of owls taken in the park. He immediately took out his phone and showed us some of his photos. He said they are everywhere, just keep your eyes open.But he said I had asked the right person because he was the president of the SOS, Secret Owl Society. Says he has a tee shirt with that title emblazoned across his chest, only the ‘O’ is an Owl face. Then he told us where to head, only when you are talking about riding on the trails it’s easy to get confused. But when you see people gathering and taking pictures that’s a good sign.
The feature photo was my first glimpse of the parent eagle keeping watch over the nest on Tuesday. I was riding my trike up the trail, and saw this view of him through a break in the foliage. From right in front of the nest I couldn’t see that eagle at all. I was prepared to hold out to see the baby eaglet though, meaning that I was ready to sit on my trike while I waited. But the reality was that I stood with my camera on the tripod, my right arm up with my finger on the shutter, putting pressure on my shoulder which has been giving me an issue for a while now. I caught a glimpse of what I thought might be the other parent flying in, so I stood there waiting, and shooting, and the first burst of photos was of the empty nest. And then as I scanned my photos in the computer I saw a glimpse of the other eagle flying in with a prize, just not the prize I might have expected. It was a bird, not a fish, and knowing that explains what another onlooker and I were wondering about. After he landed that eagle was obviously tearing at something and tossing whatever it was shredding out of the nest. Feathers! I was a little disappointed that the baby didn’t get up a little higher to see him or her better, but I did manage to see him and get a picture while he still looks like a baby. I missed that stage completely last year. So here is the sequence of events, some but not all of the pictures since there were over 20 photos from only the second or two that it took for him to land.
I was packing up the camera when I noticed two vultures buzzing the nest with a vengeance. I wondered if they were hoping this eagle would chase one of them, leaving the nest unguarded. Thankfully the eagle did a lot of yelling, but didn’t leave. But I did, leave I mean. I hope those good parents keep up their good work.
I saved this set of pictures from our trip to the B on the 7th. I was watching a glossy ibis in the shrubbery, a not so common site. And it was nearly at eye level, another uncommon reason to be paying attention. As I watched the white ibis flew in and landed in front of the glossy, which caused no alarm at all. They then proceeded to raise their wings in complete harmony with each other, and basically mirror each other’s movements as I watched in amazement. I stood there shooting bursts until I figured enough already, and as I turned my attention elsewhere they continued their dance in total harmony.
We’ve been bundled up and hiding from the cold weather for a few days now. Not all that cold according to my northern friends and relatives, but too cold for people who have lived here for any length of time. But today we just had to get out for a little while, so we went to a new-to-us park and rode the trails for a little while. I loved the beautiful reflections in the river, the Hillsborough River, even with the cloudy conditions and the temperature that might have reached 50 degrees. It was a nice ride, then it was time to head for home and heat up some of the turkey soup to warm up.
There are a few more nights of freezing overnight temperatures on tap, but the new year will bring back our wonderful warm Florida weather.
It’s not so unusual that I would see the eagles today because I had already decided that I would wait them out. I’ve done it before, hung around for two or three hours until they made their presence known. The reason I did it today was because they are currently sitting on eggs, so if you wait long enough the egg-sitter will be relieved by his or her mate. It will happen, but it will try your patience waiting for it sometimes.
We took a drive past the airport in Zephyrhills today, on the off chance that there might be skydivers in the air. There weren’t. Planning ahead is not my strong suit. The train museum next door wasn’t open either, but the sand hill cranes that we saw grazing on the lawn were a treat to see. I don’t see them as often, and not as close up, as I saw them in Spring Hill. This family let me take a few pictures until a dog walker approached and they flew off.
The cows were a total surprise, standing close to the barely traveled rural road as we left the park. When I got out of the car to take pictures some of them moved a few yards away. I think all of them stared. I guess they aren’t used to company. When we go out it’s always a good day if I come home with pictures in the camera. And a nice glass of wine while I write this is nice too. Blame any typos on the wine…