'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, egrets, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, Osprey, perseverance, photography, Tricolored heron, turtles

Left-overs…

To spend a day out shooting pictures and ‘only’ come home with 668 is not particularly a lot.  But it’s a lot to go through and it leaves you with pictures that are left over, that didn’t quite fit the story you were telling, or you simply missed them.  Or maybe they just wanted to stand alone.

All day long we had a running debate over whether or not the bird we were looking at was a tri-color heron or not.  But once we did see one we didn’t have to debate anymore.05-21-2005-21-20tricolor

Green herons seem more rare of a sighting, or maybe they just hide better, but I was happy to see this one.   And this pale colored one was a mystery to me, but Merlin says it’s a black crowned night heron.05-21-20greenheron05-21-20greenheron205-21-20blackcrwned

Soft shelled turtles aren’t particularly cute, but we were amazed to see this one camouflaged in the algae.  And the orange shell of these turtles stood out too.05-21-20sftshellalgae05-21-20orangeshell

An osprey flying over with its catch in its talons is always a goal to see.  But if he stops to eat in a tree it’s the next best thing.05-21-20osprey-fish05-21-20osprey-fish2

I missed the excitement when this hawk stole this snake from an ibis.  I did get to see him make short work of it.05-21-20hawk-snake

A butterfly is always a pretty picture, and this green dragonfly was my favorite dragonfly picture of the day, but I somehow failed to export it so I missed it on my dragonfly post.  But it’s too pretty not to post.05-21-20butterfly05-21-20greenongreen

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, gardens, healing, learning, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, simple things, The Narrows, turtles

BOGO…

The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts

backyard visitors, Florida wildlife, moments, nature, neighbors, perseverance, photography, turtles

The interloper…

I heard the ping as a text came in, and discovered that there was a soft-shell turtle in my neighbor’s pool.  So of course I grabbled my camera and headed out the back door.  When my neighbor heard my screen door slam she called for me to help her.  But it was more fun to take pictures.11-26interloper111-26interloperfeature1

He was a speedy little thing.  Catching him looked easy, so Sue’s husband took over and he also found out that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. But he was caught eventually.  I just hope Sue doesn’t have to try to catch anything smaller than him with that net.11-26interloper2These are snapping turtles, see how he has the net?  I’m sure he’d love to chomp on Sue’s finger too.

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11-26interloper4She told me to get ready, that he’d make a bee line for the lake, but that didn’t happen.  It took persuasion to send him on his way.  And one last photo of Wilbur, in case you were wondering how he’s been doing.  Of course things are usually a lot less exciting, but I have loved living next door, having a front row seat so to speak.  Lots of fun without the responsibility.  Sue doesn’t acquire her menagerie, often they are deposited at the doorstep by her daughter, but sometimes they just wander in on their own.  She says I’ll miss all the lakeside drama, and she is right…11-26Wilbur

birds, Florida wildlife, home, nature, photography, pond creatures, turtles

Just ducky…

I was contemplating where I might go for photos yesterday when that elusive Tricolor Heron got me out back with the camera.  From the kitchen window I saw him land on my side of the lake, just down the hill.  But of course he flew all the way across the lake as soon as I got myself out there with the camera.  But the light was nice as sunset approached, and the ducks were causing a ruckus out there.  They were feeling frisky I think, must be that time of year.  I could see something on the far bank across the lake also, but had to look through the camera lens to see that it was a turtle.  I could see movement too, as if he had a creature trapped and was about to have lunch.  When I saw the photos it turns out he was just waving his right front leg around.  Not the photo op I thought I was getting.  Even Merlin let me down by not being able to identify the pretty ducks that were swimming in a patch of perfect light out there.  None of the choices suggested seemed to be the right bird.  And then they all flew off in a group.  After having had six days off you wouldn’t think that I’d feel the need for such a quiet night, but I did, and it was nice.

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life, nature, photography, turtles

Meet the neighbors

As new Florida residents my husband and I found ourselves amazed at all the different birds and animals we were seeing every day. One day early on I looked out my kitchen window to see Sandhill cranes right in the back yard, and I watched as they disappeared down the hill to the lake out there. So I grabbed my camera to go take a picture and walked out to the edge of the hill only to see them right in front of me, and when they saw me they started walking towards me. I only clicked one or two photos before I panicked and high-tailed it back into the house with them right behind me. Later I learned that the woman next door used to feed them, which is a no no. But birds like that, that could practically look you in the eye, now that was different.

And then there are the gopher turtles, who have protected status. When you aren’t in a line of traffic stopped to let the Sandhill cranes cross the road then you are liable to be in a line of traffic waiting for a gopher turtle to cross the road. It seems to be an unwritten rule that people stop for the turtles, and someone will usually get out and move them across the street. Moving them in the direction that they were going already, that’s important. Charley took it a step further when we first moved here. If he saw one on the side of the road, but not actually in the road, he’d stop anyhow. He’d pick it up and disappear with it into someone’s back yard. I finally had to ask him what he thought the turtles had done before he moved to FL? Maybe it’s that there are so many retired people here, no one is in such a hurry, so it seems like everyone enjoys seeing the turtles, and are willing to make sure that they don’t get hurt so they don’t mind the wait. But really I hear that you are supposed to let them be. If it is determined that there is a gopher turtle living on a building lot then it’s official policy that the turtle must be removed to an appropriate location before a building permit will be issued. Just one of those FL things.

turtle2So this is the guy who was living just down the street from my house. Anywhere you drive you might see a mound of sand at the side of the road and that’s a good indicator that a turtle lives there. The soil isn’t soil, it’s sand, so as they dig out a nice hole for themselves they create the mound of sand. This is the one by my house, and many times as we walked by with the dogs or drove down the road we’d see him munching away on one side of the street or another.

All of this is to say that it was a sad day when I saw that this turtle was dead, had gotten hit by a car. It’s been a couple of months ago now but I would think of him when I’d pass by with the dogs. Maybe that’s why I noticed the action as we approached the hole just recently. First one, then a second, big scoop of sand came flying out of the hole! I so wanted to go look to see if I could see who was moving in, but with two dogs on retractible leashes and a bag of dog poop in my hands I figured my chances of a photo were pretty slim. Besides, he was busy. Let him make his new home just as cosy as he wanted, he would meet the neighbors soon enough…turtlehole