I have a Facebook/blog friend who is planning a trip to my area soon. She is a photographer and is looking forward to sharing some of my photo op locations, for sunrise or sunset photos is what I think she mentioned. But a day trip to Tarpon Springs would check off a lot of the boxes for a visitor to the area. You can eat Greek food, you can shop, and you can take a dolphin or sunset cruise, which I confess I haven’t ever done. I met a friend there for lunch yesterday, and I arrived early in hopes of getting some photos. I carried my camera in my smaller camera bag but never opened it, using my trusty iPhone 7+ for all the photos I took yesterday. I love the wide angle it gives you in these situations, and rarely do the photos require much in the way of editing. It was a glorious day, and so fun to catch up with a friend. I had to go back and add this last one. It’s on the side of a building that houses a tattoo parlor. Wouldn’t this make a fabulous tattoo? For that younger version of myself that is, not me. LOL, I always have been all talk. Well, mostly…
When I left the nest, having heard the sad news about the eaglets, I went to Anclote River Park. I had been there before with my son and his family, and what I remember was that the water was red. I don’t remember the explanation. It was very odd, and it stuck in my mind. What I found this time was a lovely park, and I would think it might be yet another great spot for the sunset. I was directed there by another photographer, who told me to look to my right once I got there and I’d see the Osprey nest. He wasn’t sure if there were eggs, but as you see the Ospreys were on hand.
Then I wandered along the walkway and what I couldn’t help but notice were the pelicans. Certainly the most up close photo opportunity with them that I’ve seen so far.But still the eagles were on my mind. I saw the one in the dead tree when I first got to the nest, and the other one when I stopped on my way home. So they are still in the vicinity of the nest, a nest of very long standing. I spoke to my eagle watching friends and there is speculation that the eagles may mate again and lay more eggs this season. I hope so, at least I think I hope so. It’s hard not to get too attached.Back home the Sandhill Cranes continue to tease us. They are on the lake daily, on the old nest and also visiting the new nest they built. They don’t spend the night, or I don’t think that they do. So whether or not there will be new babies on the lake is still an unknown. I counted on the sunset for a Day 7 of the 10 day photo challenge, but it was too overcast. Sunsets are funny that way. Which left me with only one solution.
I suppose this is Zoe’s ‘before’ picture because she needs a haircut. She was gorgeous when she was young, long-legged and slim. I joked that I got her because people grow to look like their dogs, and I wanted to be taller and thinner. Well, what’s happened is that Zoe has gotten thicker through the middle, and I’ve got grayer… and hair on my chin.
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…
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.
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.
I 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!
I held a vigil for a while at the eagle nest today, camera at the ready, and almost nothing happened. My eagle watching friend says that the fact that the eagle on the nest was hunkered down and invisible most of the time I was there means that it’s the male. The female is bigger also, another tidbit I learned today. I was distracted by a Downey woodpecker for a bit, and hoped I didn’t miss anything but I didn’t think so. What I expected was for the female to join the male on the nest, that was the photo op I hoped for. But that’s not what happened. There was sudden movement on the nest, the male popped up and vocalized a bit, and then took off. Several minutes went by and then another eagle flew over and settled down on the nest. We couldn’t say for sure which eagle it was, we were just glad to know the nest was protected.
I stopped at the Anclote Fishing Pier on the way home and found some more feathered friends there. It’s my friend’s favorite sunset spot, but it was too early for the sunset, and I was tired so I decided to head home…
In the interests of finding new and different places for photo ops, plus my social life could use a kick in the pants, I joined a big group of photographers for a shoot last night at Safety Harbor. Drove through a very cute town with shops I would have loved to have had time to explore, maybe I’ll do that next time. Actually we were having fun exploring and photographing birds, enough so that we very nearly missed the sunset all together.
An immature Black Crowned Night Heron, was a new bird to me. Merlin says that the white tips on the feathers are what tells you it’s not a mature bird. He posed like a champ. As did the Downey Woodpecker, and there were lots of pelicans swimming alongside the pier.
But we did turn our attention to the sunset in time to catch some pretty color in the sky.
Even the walk past the boats in the marina on the way back to my car had me stopping for another couple of shots.
But the real adventure came on the way home. One of the group officials had suggested that I take a right out of the parking lot to avoid most of the congestion in the area on the way home, and he told me what street to take. But I was still unsure so I asked my pal Siri to “direct me home”. I always forget that when you do that you get a very close up map with the route highlighted in blue, but you can’t see even your next move coming up. Or where you are or where you are going, just that blue line glowing in the dark. And the road she had me on kept snaking to the right and the left, and reversing itself so that it seemed like you were going the wrong way. I began to wonder who’s house she was taking me to, but, as always, she got me to the Suncoast Parkway and it was fine from then on. All in all a fun adventure…
“A wonderful bird is the Pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can. He can hold in his beak, Enough food for a week! But I’ll be darned if I know how the hellican?”
Dixon Lanier Merritt
My mother loved poetry. She kept a journal where she wrote out various poems that she liked in long hand, along with a few that she authored. For some reason she repeated the first two lines of this poem frequently enough that I could hear her while I was at Pine Island for the sunset tonight. I don’t remember what might have made her recite the lines on any given day, how it fit into what might have been going on. I just know that she liked it enough to repeat it. And repeat it she did, tonight, because pelicans were pretty much what was going on tonight. There were no clouds in the sky, not a lot of people waiting for the sunset, and it was high tide, so less beach for people to visit. Not so many photo ops. But the pelicans were flying and diving for their dinner as if it was happy hour at the local pub.