bugs, butterflies, flowers, fun, gardens, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, second chances

Buzzing by the gardens…

Yesterday I did what I used to do when I lived in Spring Hill, I dropped by the botanical garden rather than drive past it. I doubted that butterflies would be in abundance in this cooler weather, and I was right. But right there in the butterfly garden I found something I haven’t seen in ages, a big fat bumble bee. And the afternoon light was nice. What a treat.

I was amazed at how solid his wings look in this photo.
He was ignoring me completely as he flitted from flower to flower.
I wish I could claim to have set up this shot, but it was just lucky.
He was still busy when I left.

I love it when a spur of the moment inspiration turns out so well. Life is simple these days, all it takes is seeing a tiny little creature to make my day. Life is good.

a second look, friends, fun, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, Uncategorized

Growing up…

The orangutans kept us waiting yesterday. The keepers had set the stage, placing colorful boxes front and center, and edible greens were in lots of nooks and crannies in the rocks. I waited a little while, but I had wandered away when they put in their appearance. I got there just in time to see the keepers tossing the last of the chunks of fruit to the waiting orangs. They don’t squabble over the offerings, they politely wait their turn.

It took me a while to find mom and baby in the habitat. I think they were playing hide and seek.
Giving mom a taste.
Is that a little kiss?
At nearly 2 years old Riplee’s mother lets him explore the habitat as he will, but she keeps an eye on him. The boxes seemed to be as interesting as the treats that were waiting for them.
Maybe the boxes were tasty also.
When one of the orangs sits in the sun I consider it an invitation to take a picture.
Or two pictures. Actually there were many more.
Here’s Riplee enjoying himself orangutan style.

With the cooler weather heading our way we’ll be visiting the zoo more often. It’s always a sure-fire photo op.

a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, fun, live and learn, perseverance, photography, ZooTampa

Doing my homework…

We went to a fun photography class on Saturday. It was a refresher class on how to shoot photos at the zoo. The reminders were helpful, even if I didn’t manage to adhere to them as strictly as I might have hoped. Getting your lens up close to a wire fence or a plexiglass window will cause the enclosure to not show at all. Our leader, Jeff, also reminded us to watch out for unfortunate backgrounds for our photos. Try to select a spot with a good background and wait for the animal to to walk into that spot, suggested Jeff. I’m afraid my patience wore out long before that happened.

I decided that catching the elephant munching on grass would do for a shot.
There were lots of kids at the zoo this morning, and they were very excited to see the flamingos.
Jeff used a photo of a giraffe during the class. He challenged us to try to get both eyes in a photo. I did it, but barely.
I’d been skipping the lorikeet enclosure the last few times I’d been to ZooTampa. Now I wonder why.
When you have cut off a body part make it look like you did it on purpose. The kinkajou is missing a very long tail, but only in my pictures.
The Komodo dragon enclosure is directly behind the orangutan playground. But when we arrived the orangutans weren’t out yet, though their greens and lots of colorful boxes were waiting for them. So I peeked through the glass and this guy was right there. I was happy the glass was there also.
An Okapi, possibly assembled by a committee.
Getting an angle on the Spoonies wasn’t easy.
This needle-nosed alligator look alike is usually looking sleepy. Not today!
The tiger was facing away from me. Then he lifted his face into the sun.
Then he turned and looked at me. I didn’t worry about having the lens zoomed in a bit too close.
Someone else was looking at me too. He was big, but the guy next door was way bigger!

As you might suspect, there are a lot of orangutan photos yet to be viewed. They’ll keep me busy tomorrow.

birds, fun, nature, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, storms, sunset, weather

Setting the stage…

My vague desire to go somewhere to take pictures on Friday was defeated by the off and on rain and thunder we had all day long. Lucky for me I wasn’t the chef on duty for dinner, so when something caught my eye out the front door I was outside and up and down the street trying to figure out the best view. It almost didn’t matter because the sky was colorful in every direction.

Looking south here.
This is my usual sunrise view towards the east.
Three or four flocks of birds flew through the sky. I don’t usually try to photograph them from my phone, but I’m a sucker for a V formation.
But of course the most color was towards the west.
And this was the grand finale.

Some rainy days just wipe out the chances of a pretty sky. Others just set the stage.

backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, rain, storms, technology, unintended images, weather

Shake it off…

I was cooking breakfast this morning when I glanced out the sliding glass door and spotted a hawk on the fence. He was spreading his wings much like I see birds doing when I assume they are drying their feathers. But in the midst of the tropical storm we are having any attempt to shake off the water was hopeless. Maybe he was just enjoying a shower.

Considering that I was shooting through a glass door, which hasn’t been washed in quite a while, and out through the screened-in lanai, I’m pretty happy to see this image.
He was facing the other way in all the pictures where I caught him shaking it off, so mostly butt shots.
All the while he did seem to be keeping a watchful eye on things.

This was a day I had written off as having no chance to go out to shoot at all. And I didn’t, I stayed in to shoot. He stayed put on the fence for longer than I might have expected, and when he took off it was down into the neighbor’s yard behind me. I hope he caught his own breakfast. I ate mine once he disappeared. It’s still raining hard, but the wind has let up a bit. Tropical Storm Nicole seems to have spared us.

attention to detail, attitude adjustments, flowers, gardens, go with the flow, growing old, home, perseverance, photography, rain, storms, weather

In the breeze…

Because even though the ‘breeze’ is whipping the rain against the house in sheets, and even though I was listening to it in the dark this morning, it just doesn’t sound like a tropical storm in this area. I hope it’s no worse in the areas that haven’t yet recovered from Hurricane Ian.

I’m told that there was a small opening in the corner of the fence when they moved into this house. And they had dogs, so they planted the bougainvillea in the feature photo to help keep the dogs in. And now it’s the bougainvillea that is threatening to eat Wesley Chapel. I used to prune the small one I had in Spring Hill and my arms would take a beating from the nasty thorns this plant is known for. I had my cat at the vet once and he looked at my scratched up arms and asked, with a horrified look on his face, if the cat had done that. It is a pretty sight, but it would be prettier if it attracted bees and butterflies. And right now it’s waving those deadly fronds like crazy.

I was leaving Sam’s Club the other day and noticed this Rain Tree as I waited to make my turn. I once drove around Spring Hill looking for these trees, always so shapely, for a blog post. My fall foliage, Florida style.
And a rose from the garden of the local library where I went to pick up a few books since I wouldn’t be out in the rain taking pictures for another day or so. Nice library with an unexpected Florida friendly garden.

I have books, actual physical books, to read while I listen to the wind and rain today. I say that I prefer a real book, I’d rather turn the pages, which I’ve been known to try to do when I’m reading on my iPad. But my vision hasn’t been tested since my cataract surgery, and my cheaters don’t seem to be doing the trick as well as I’d like. I’ll probably pull the lamp a little closer also. The joys of aging…