'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, finding my way, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Osprey, perseverance, photography, squirrels, weather

Chilling out…

For a day that started out at 32 degrees this morning it certainly turned out to be a great day. The sun felt so wonderful, and with no breeze we were comfortable even walking the in the shade on the paths at John Chestnut Park. If you are walking a path along a body of water you will surely see an anhinga drying its feathers in the sun. That’s my feature photo. And in this park especially you will see squirrels, who will approach you in hopes of getting a handout. This particular squirrel was balancing on the tip top of a snag, and I guess we will never know why.

Maybe someone told him that this was his best side?
The paths are endless, and you could get a little lost. On one fateful excursion to this park I asked Siri to show me where I parked my car, but instead she was taking me to the main entrance of the park itself. I figured it out eventually since the picnic areas are numbered, but not until I walked a lot farther than I had to.
I liked the texture of the bark of these trees. I see a face, knobby nose on the left and an eye up toward the right. And leafy hair?
Fellow walkers pointed out this hawk off in the distance. We never did see the woodpeckers that we heard drilling away.
Another photographer once showed me where to walk to the edge of the lake to try to see eagles perched on a branch waiting to steal a fish from an unfortunate osprey. As I looked for that perch an osprey swooped down and dove into the water, coming up with a small fish. There was no eagle around to steal it from him so he had a nice lunch in the sun.

More cold and rain is expected tomorrow, but today at least we got out for some R&R.

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Making the rounds…

Armed with ‘better’ lenses we headed back to the owls the other day, and found pretty much the exact same scene as we did a few days before. One owlet peeking out of the nest with Mom behind him. As we arrived, however, Mom flew out of the nest and onto a nearby branch, and there she posed for a few minutes before flying back to the nest. I was able to get the feature photo before she flew back to her babies. So all in all not such a bad little while in Philippe Park.

Here he is in black and white, which this photo nearly was anyhow.
There are three owlets in the nest, we will have to keep returning in hopes of a little more ‘action’.
I did manage to see Dad in the tip top of the nest tree. I’d been told he was there but usually can’t ‘find’ him.

Then we were off to nearby Moccasin Lake to the raptor rehab there. Again our timing was good since the volunteers were getting the owls out of their enclosures for a few minutes.

Here we have a Barred Owl. I’ve seen these at Circle B Bar Reserve, but not lately.
What a beautiful face on this Barn Owl. I have only seen these at various rehab facilities.
His handler said that if you saw only a skeleton of this owl you would never imagine such a beautiful bird. It is really a small bird with very long legs. He says it makes him wonder about dinosaurs which have been recreated based on their skeletons.
A peregrin falcon.
He definitely had something to say.
It’s amazing that the camera will focus on the birds and ignore the fence for the most part. Red-tailed hawks.

We made a last stop at the Safety Harbor marina. People were gathered on the pier looking down into the water, so we hurried to see what they were seeing. Not wildlife, but a person who said he was licensed to explore the water’s edge to see what was there. It was the only thing to see on a cloudy day, but we went home happy.

A mud crab, said the expert.
A gloomy mid-day scene…
'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, eagles, finding my way, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, life goes on, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Passing time, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, safety Harbor, simple things, sunset

In search of photo ops…

I used to head out earlier in the day for my photos than I seem to do now. Sunrise, and then whatever other stop I wanted to make. The beauty of that was that when I came home I had something to do. Namely, work on my pictures and turn them into a blog post. If I had multiple pictures from more than one stop then so much the better, I had fodder for multiple blog posts. Having those pictures in the camera felt like having money in the bank. Silly I know, but that’s how I think.

Yesterday started out a lot later than I’m used to. First stop was the eagles, but not much was happening there so we moved on to the owls at Philippe Park.

I’ve seen pictures of the two eaglets on this nest, but nothing much was doing in the afternoon. Siesta time maybe?
People were exclaiming that Mama owl had turned her head. They could see her ‘horn’, they said. I tried and tried but for the life of me I couldn’t see Mama, but I took pictures of where I thought they were telling me to look. And later on I discovered that I had been looking at her all along.
Before Jr. ever popped his head up I had gotten Mama after all.
And there he was! So cute. And there is another one also. We are heading back to try again today, with lenses with longer zooms. This is ridiculously cropped, but I still like the picture. I took lots of pictures once he popped his head up, but this is the only one that you can really see his Mama.

And then it was time to head to Clearwater to meet with our photo group and have dinner. But the timing conveniently allowed for a stop in Dunedin for the sunset. It was a more successful day of shooting than I thought it was while I was pressing the shutter button all afternoon.

I like this angle because of the rocks.
I wish a sailboat had been out there, but it was too cold and windy for that to happen.
The clouds were amazing, even if they were a bit dark.
I love when the sunset lights up the buildings on the shore.
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Cold and windy sunrise…

I woke up early enough to get myself to Bayport for the sunrise this morning. It was chilly enough to have turned the heat on when I got up at 4:30 AM, but 48 degrees isn’t really something to complain about when my dearest childhood friend reported temperatures of -4 degrees in her neck of the woods at 8 AM. I miss my friend, and I will always get homesick for New England now and then, but I will never miss weather like that.

Once I had taken the feature photo I got distracted by this Great Blue Heron who (I think) was planning to eat this crab once he was finished dunking it and picking it back up.
The color got more intense but stayed close to the horizon line.
I was planning to head home when I glanced back and saw this scene and had to get one more photo.
Then I made a u-turn to go back and take this photo after I noticed the scene on my way home. And island in the water, a perfect Sandhill Crane nest spot, just like they used to nest on the lake in my former back yard.

It’s currently 69 degrees outside. I suspect that it’s colder in than out at the moment. I need to find myself a patch of sunshine to sit in…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, go with the flow, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, squirrels

Low tide…

Whenever I go to check on the eagles I can’t help but stop at the two county parks nearby. The Anclote fishing pier can be a great choice for photo ops. Yesterday I got there at very low tide, something I hadn’t done many times at all over the years. How the fishermen even had enough water to cast a line was a bit of a mystery to me. I liked how the Great Blue Heron positioned himself underneath the fisherman in the feature photo.

My Merlin app had to identify this bird for me. A juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron. The tear drop shaped white spots on his wing feathers was the deciding factor distinguishing it from the yellow crowned variety.
And this one? Possibly a Herring Gull, according to Merlin. But then it said , “Some species are better left unidentified.” Maybe that can be my go-to answer when I don’t know what bird I’m looking at. BTW, that’s a crab it was eating.
I displaced this dove who had been on the ground just outside my car when I was leaving. But she didn’t go far and posed for me, so I obliged.
This little guy climbed a fence and up onto a post to pose for me at Anclote River Park.

Our recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve was the Frank Planes memorial walk, which we do on January 2nd every year. He was a founding member of the photography group many years ago, and I remember Jeff telling us that his pet peeve was all the squirrel pictures that newbies take. I guess I’m still a newbie because I can’t resist them…

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Those photo ops…

I’ve been disappointed in myself lately. I haven’t been out for as many sunrises or sunsets. Maybe I was just too lazy, I thought. Or maybe, just maybe, the morning coffee with someone to talk with was the reason. And chatting over dinner might just result in the sunset happening right outside the window and I never noticed. So I’ve given up one obsession for another, well, maybe not obsession, but certainly a lovely distraction. I feel very lucky. And those sunrises and sunsets keep happening, so that when I do head out the door there they are. The big question on this day, which was last Monday, was whether we would reach Edgewater Park before the sun sank totally beneath the horizon. Traffic was annoyingly slow, and we were actually heading to a photo editing opportunity in Clearwater, so we weren’t stopping for the sunset. Nope, I was just shooting out the window of the car as we now seemed to be whizzing past. I was happy to see that I managed a couple of usable shots. And a selfie!

Just made it!
Oops!