'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, Florida wildlife, making memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

That kind of day…

When I proposed to my friend that we make a stop at Myakka River State Park while we were in the general area the other day, I had Roseate Spoonbills on my mind.  I knew from other photographers’ pictures that they are sometimes found at that park, and I hoped to take a fabulous picture like the ones I’ve seen online.  When we arrived the Ranger asked if we were looking for alligators, I told him no, we were hoping to see Spoonbills.  He directed us to an area called the Weir, and we made that our first stop, but didn’t have any luck.  We continued the drive through the park, and I also walked out onto the bird walk, hoping to see them there.  I didn’t.  We completed the drive but the north gate was closed so we headed back out the way we came in.  The Weir was only a little out of the way so we made another stop, and as we were driving to turn around in the parking lot one flew into view and landed at the shoreline.  This guy was quite cooperative, walking along the shore dipping his ‘spoon’ into the water and swinging his head back and forth.  Their bill serves as a sieve to capture their lunch.  And when he was nearly out of sight he turned around and came back.  I wasn’t able to get the picture that I hoped to get, the one I imagined, but I felt lucky to have seen this guy at all.  Sometimes you make a plan for a day and all the pieces fall into place.  It was that kind of day.03-23-20spoonbillcolor.jpg03-23-20spoonbilldrip03-23-20spoonbillcolor203-23-20spoonbillwingredo

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a second look, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip

Great Blue Herons…

When the subject of the Venice rookery came up I got excited.  I had been there once before and was tickled to see Great Blue Herons nesting and raising chicks.  I know I claim to love the Woodstork chicks best, they being so ugly they’re cute, but there is something about those GBH babies that tickles me.  Of all of the chicks I’ve seen I think they most look like miniature versions of their parents.  So off we went on our adventure, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Upon arrival I was a little disappointed to see far fewer nests than I had expected.  I was a little worried until I spotted a nicely placed nest with good camera angles to use.  I think I took almost 100 pictures before I kicked myself in the butt and decided to go back to the car for the bigger lens and tripod.  03-20-20daytripbluebabies.jpg03-20-20daytripbluebabies2.jpg03-20-20daytripbluebabies3.jpg

I was even there when Dad brought home the bacon, so to speak.  I don’t know how much of it was fed to the ‘kids’, but a minute later it was down the hatch.

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The 18-400 lens is no slouch, but I did take quite a few photos with the 150-600…03-20-20daytripbluebabiesbig.jpg03-20-20daytripbluebabiesbig3.jpg03-20-20daytripbluebabiesbig4.jpg

As you can see from the feature photo there were more than Great Blue Herons at the rookery, but we’ll get to them…

'scene' along the way, adventure, changing times, friends, leap of faith, natural wonders, nature, perseverance, photography, reality check, road trip

Day trip…

The plan had been in place for a while.  A trip to the Venice rookery was how it had started, and then I tossed out the idea that we could stop at the causeway bridge for sunset photos. on the way back   I wanted another chance at taking photos there because I had been so unhappy with my first ones, and my friend had always wanted to go to that bridge and didn’t know where it was.  So we made a plan, set a date. and in the meantime we ‘leaped ahead’, time wise.  Now there were more hours to fill, so we added in the Myakka River State park, which is only a half hour from the Venice rookery.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, and I have 913 photos to go through, minus the feature photo.

By the time the day arrived the news that had been breaking about the Coronavirus had us wondering if we should cancel.  But what we had planned was all open air and we knew we’d see people in small family units only, and so we went.  Traffic was very light, it’s obvious people are heeding the warnings, and I do feel a little guilty for going.  So I won’t be heading out for anything like this again for the duration.  But I am happy to have 912 photos to keep me busy for a while.

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Florida native wildlife…

Do you see it?  In the feature photo?  The manatee coming up for air?  Seeing this wild manatee from the river overlook at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Nature Park was a bonus.  They were outside the park, but the underwater gates are open this time of year so that the wild manatees can come in when the weather dictates.  The park itself has undergone a few incarnations over the years before being taken over by the state.  It once housed exotic animals, but now is a rehabilitation facility for native Florida species.  All the permanent residents are not able to be returned to the wild for one reason or another.  The vast majority of the park is open and many of the birds you see are wild and free to come and go as they wish.  I have a confession though.  Taking these pictures seems like cheating since the animals are captive.  It’s not the thrill that it would have been if I had seen them in the wild and gotten these pictures.  But they are beautiful, and this is a fun park to visit.1-10-20flamingoview1-10-20flamingos1-10-20eagle1-10-20crestedcaracara1-10-20burrowingowl1-10-20bobcat1-10-20GBH1-10-20greenandtri1-10-20hankypanky1-10-20hawk1-10-20heron1-10-20homasassaview21-10-20panther1-10-20redfox1-10-20Shermanfoxsquirrel1-10-20spoonbill1-10-20surfacing1-10-20vulture1-10-20whoopingcranes

And here we have Lu, who is a holdover from the exotic animal days.  He was a movie star in the past, but he is now going to celebrate his 60th birthday on January 24th.  His real birthday is the 26th, but they always have a party for him with school children so they planned for a weekday.1-10-20Lu

And Frankie enjoyed a bit of a family reunion while she was there.1-10-20Frankie'sroots

'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Birds and more birds…

On Sunday I took 650 pictures at Circle B Bar Reserve, and had quite a lot of fun with my friends while we were hiking and discovering the wildlife along the trails.  We three were pretty much together the whole time, yet our phones recorded different amounts of steps for us.  Our taller friend’s phone recorded a lot fewer steps for her, but us two shorter gals numbers were quite similar.  It was the miles that were different.  At 6.5 I had the least, and I believe our taller friend’s phone was approaching 9 miles.  Whatever it was it was a long enough day for my feet to be objecting by the end.  With the recent rain I had opted to wear short rubber bootlets, which allowed me to feel every rock embedded in the trail, and I was regretting that choice by the end of the day.  As fun as it was we were quite ready to call it a day and go find some lunch. 1-6-20woodstorkflyover1-6-20tricolor1-6-20owlface1-6-20osprey1-6-20littlebirdfeature1-6-20Ibisdrip1-6-20GBHinthebreeze1-6-20eagles1-6-20butterfly1-6-20blackbird1-6-20Greategret.jpg

The eagles and the owl were what had the photographers gathered like paparrazi.  Even my bigger lens, which I had chosen not to carry, wouldn’t have gotten the sort of shots that I can get when I visit my usual eagle nest.  And my first ever owl photos were taken at Circle B and they were really nice shots.  This owl was up too high, in the shadows, and obscured by Spanish moss.  And facing backwards.  Nevertheless we three were so excited when we saw our shots in our computers and we saw that we had gotten the owl’s face.  Sort of…1-4-20FrankieatCircleB

The nature center at Circle B has plenty to educate and entertain people of all ages, as well as the occasional flamingo.

'scene' along the way, adventure, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunrise, Up and at 'em

Up close and personal…

My friends and I tried to get to Circle B Bar Reserve for the sunrise, but it was quite a long drive from home.  The above feature photo was as close as we got.  We wanted to be that early because our theory was that the wildlife is most active early in the morning.  Only it was pretty darned chilly, and that is something that will slow the wildlife down.  So we walked about 7 miles, went from a little too chilly to almost too warm, and yes we saw some wildlife.

I had hoped to see something unusual, something beyond all the usual birds that we see so frequently.  And this little raccoon filled the bill perfectly.1-5-20racoon11-5-20racoon21-5-20racoonsitupI was as close to the edge of the river bank as possible in order to get the angle I needed for the photos.  I was most afraid of dropping the camera into the water.  As I was shooting some other visitors came to us from the opposite direction and asked if I knew there was an alligator right there.  “Where?”, I asked.  “Right there!”. was the answer.1-5-20closegator

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I did not expect to be so up close and personal with that gator.  If I had known he was there I would never have gotten the pictures.  There was a pier just a little way down the trail and I got a better picture of just how big that gator was.  And a good look at that smirk in his face.  This must be an example of all’s well that ends well.  And there are pictures to prove it!