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New Hampshire happenings…

There isn’t just one story to tell since I’ve been back at my friend’s house in NH. We mostly just talk and talk. And eat. Ice cream for lunch one day, but lots of other good stuff too. I see the birds in the feeders out front, and the squirrels who torment my friend to no end by eating all the bird seed. We’ve visited the Squam Lake Nature Center and gardens. But mostly we laugh at ourselves when we can’t quite remember the word we are searching our brains for. Our opinions of the state of the country and universe are as in sync as ever. Grow old along with me… and be my forever friend.

A charming statue in the garden.
A runaway ballerina caught my eye too,
A coyote laying in the sun,
A bear keeping in the shade.
We finally found bees.
Lots of bees.
A lovely stone church in our travels.
More hummers at home,
Even with a nice background we were shooting through the window and had reflections to deal with.
This little guy was enjoying the feast out front until the squirrels destroyed the feeder.
Who me?
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At the Venice Rookery…

Procrastination is one of my best talents. It was when I was a kid, and it’s still with me all these years later. As a matter of fact I have two phone calls I need to make, and I ought to be packing for a trip I have coming up. But at this moment I’m lamenting the trip to the Venice Rookery that I’ve been talking about taking for weeks but only got around to going there yesterday. The Great Blue Heron babies bobbing their heads weren’t there, as I’d promised my friend, though the great egrets and anhingas were raising a ruckus. A little mockingbird flew by and landed on a fence, giving me a nice feature photo. But I confess that I was disappointed when another photographer told me that the great blue babies had fledged the nests. But we began to take pictures of the birds that were there.

These anhingas were keeping busy high up on this snag.
Although you might think these are grown up great egrets, they are still babies who looked as if they were going to take off flying any second.
These two anhinga ‘kids’ looked like they might tie their necks in a knot as they bobbed and weaved. Their neck pouches were fluttering the whole time, I’m told that’s how they keep cool. The day was hot, but breezy, so we were comfortable as we ate our picnic lunch in the shade.
This great egret wading on the nearby shore caught my eye, and it soon became evident that he caught himself a nice fish for lunch.

As I walked to the car to get our lunch I noticed a great blue heron flying towards the rookery. She landed on the very top of the shrubbery, and, much to our surprise, up popped two ‘babies’ who were very happy to see her. We hadn’t been aware of them at all, and if we had been I probably would have thought they were adults, they were that big.

Mom must have brought back a fish for her babies.
It looked to me as if this baby is going to down the fish in one gulp. Mom will have to go fishing again if his sibling is going to eat.
I guess we need to fluff up a bit after that excitement.
I liked the depth of field in this photo.
Someone looks like he wants to go with Mom.

Soon it was time to go. What started out a bit disappointing had turned out to be a fun day. Mother Nature is like that.

Thank you to joannie6535 for reminding me of where I actually was yesterday.

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Seafood on the menu…

When our visitor visits Florida she likes having a drink while over- looking the water, and if there are boats in the scene that’s a plus too. Which explains how we wound up having lunch on the boardwalk at John’s Pass on Sunday. We stopped to see the scenery when we first arrived and found lots of birds near the pier where people were gutting newly caught fish and tossing the trimmings to the milling pelicans below. Among a few other scavengers.

Here we have a snowy egret surveying the scene.
She got a bit up close and personal for a minute or two.
I thought these two pelicans had found a worm of some kind, but I was told this is entrails. I had quite a few pictures of the battle, but the victor finally flew away with the entrails still wrapped around his beak.
This fella caught his own lunch.
The atmosphere is old fishing village, I find it charming.
Lots of boats, large and small, pass by.
Some require a bit of adjustments as they pass.
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An eagle’s lament…

I am taking liberties here with my interpretation of this visit with the eagles. We were on our bike and scooter this time, our second outing, and got in another 5 miles. We decided to see the eagles and then continue onto the Anclote Coastal Trail to see where it went. So we expected to find the eagles, but I didn’t expect to find another friend who I first met on this very same quest, in this very same place, four (?) years ago. She had been watching for a while and said that nothing much had happened, not even a feeding so far. And that set the tone for my interpretation of what was going on as we watched.

The feature photo has Mom in the tree, scanning the area in hopes of spotting Dad, who had been sent out to bring back breakfast, but it was now going on lunch time.

From the look of it Mama was none too happy about the goings-on in the nest below.
This youngster was getting restless and soon would wake up its sibling.
A word, or maybe it was that stern look, from Mama calmed him down, for a moment.
But when she turned to scan the skies he was at it again.

We moved on without any more activity than what you have seen. It was time to ride. I’ve gone 10 miles on my new electric tricycle so far and my pedaling must be fairly efficient since I still have four of the five bars of battery life left. I confess it is nice to just cruise along under power here and there. But I need to watch where I’m going because I thought I spotted dear old Dad up in a tree a distance from the nest, and as I turned for a better look I let the bike drift to the right and very nearly drove my friend off the path. Oops. It was a very nice day, pedaling along without any actual disasters…

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Birds do it!

We made a few stops over the last few days, just to see if any nesting was happening, and boy was it ever. There was some hanky-panky, but modestly in the bushes where I couldn’t get a picture. Just as well probably. But I did capture a few moments…

This black-crowned night heron was doing it’s thing, but out in the open instead of hidden in the greenery on the shore.
Mama duck seems to have gotten a head start on all the nest builders in the area.
those are cormorants in the tree. They also are ahead of their counterparts if you can believe the other photographers who said that they are feeding babies up in the tree.
Which came first, the cormorants or the turtles?
This egret was doing the usual egret thing.
But this egret was saying, “Look at me!”
“I feel pretty, oh so pretty.”
Perhaps she feels shy after such a public display.
A dog walker asked me what the birds she was seeing were. I identified the wood storks, egrets, and cormorants, but then she asked, “What about the pink one?” And sure enough, down in the shrubbery I saw a flash of pink, so I took a lot of pictures that didn’t turn out. But then he flew into a tree.
Could he be looking for nesting material?
Spoonies are usually wading in the shallow water and swinging their bill back and forth to find taste treats to eat.
He posed for just a little while and then flew off, out of the area.
I think Ms.Wood Stork is telling her hubby to avert his eyes!
Then they burst into song.

Just getting out for pictures is usually enough of an incentive for me. But our new bike and scooter mean we can zip around like a couple of kids, and not fall over. Though I did come close to crashing into my friend when I thought I saw an eagle. Oops…

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The Unexpected…

Upon arrival at the Merritt Island Visitors Center we stopped in for a map, and advice as to where to see the Painted Buntings and Spoonbills. I didn’t really have to ask because the volunteer there was already giving instructions to other new arrivals. But what he seemed most excited to talk about was the Space X launch that was scheduled for 1:13 PM that very day (last Thursday). Go to the beach he said, and stop at the 3rd parking area (I think), and if that is full go to the next and next for the best view of the launch. I didn’t want to be distracted from my mission of finally exploring Merritt Island, so we quickly stopped at the feeders there and then headed to Blackwater Drive. I was afraid to spend time waiting for the launch only to see it cancelled, but that was a silly concern on an absolutely perfect day. Over the last couple of days I’ve posted the pictures I took as we drove through the park, but as we drove I kept an eye on the time, and at about 1 PM I saw a place up ahead where we would have an unobstructed view to the east. But when I turned to look I was surprised to see the missile, so big, and right there! The sight came first, the sound came later.

I counted 75 pictures of the launch in my camera, all of them looking pretty much like this.
As it rose higher and higher I zoomed out to record what it actually looked like.
And then I zoomed in again to watch some more.

The timing of this trip had everything to do with the upcoming weather reports and absolutely nothing to do with rocket launches. But from now on if I think I’d like to go back I think I’ll check to see what’s happening at the Kennedy Space Center, and maybe I’ll decide to jockey for position to see the launch pad itself.

Obviously we had already had a lot of fun that day, but there was one more surprise photo op awaiting us as we drove back to the hotel. We found kite surfers at a beach along the road! On a Thursday afternoon when some of them anyhow should probably have been at work. I guess that perfect day with nice wind was just too much for them to resist. It looks like so much fun… for a few seconds and then I remember how old I am. So I take pictures…

This guy never stopped, just jumped into the air as he reversed direction and kept on going.
They jumped much higher in the sky than this photo shows.
I don’t think that the kite in the picture belongs to that skier. The skier and his own kite proved too far removed from each other for one photo.
They skied at the very edge of the water, making for fun photography.

That’s it for this trip to Merritt Island, I’ve come to the end of my photos. A very successful trip I thought. It won’t be our last…

The remnants of the space shot. I loved seeing this and then forgot to include it!