This subject has been on my mind for a while now. But when I think about it my mind can take that starting point and go in very different directions. It’s not that I was kidding myself when I told myself how happy, well, maybe not happy, but contented I was to be on my own. No expectations of another person’s to meet, or fail to meet. No witnesses when I don’t bother to do my ‘chores’ and just head out the door on a whim. No, what I didn’t realize was that that feeling of contentedness wouldn’t last. Something is missing. And I get frustrated with couples as I observe them, most of the time without them ever realizing that they are being observed. Husbands commonly come into the bakery where I work and profess to be ‘just looking’, generally because ‘the boss’ says he can’t have whatever it is he is drooling over. How sad is that, at least as taken at face value? The wife always seems to be the spoiler, the stifler of all the fun. I don’t think I was that to Charley, not necessarily because I didn’t express an opinion, but more because he just did what he wanted to do, period. But I get frustrated when I sense that they, these anonymous couples, don’t appear to understand how fragile it all is. It can all be gone before you ever realize what’s coming. I have a game I play in church, trying to decide whether the man and woman sitting next to each other is a couple or not. It’s a surprise sometimes, to see a couple who have been sitting apart from each other, as you would with a stranger, and then as they are leaving they speak to each other and you know that they are together. How sad. But most of the time they are sitting close, arms touching, and I that’s what I miss. Once in a while Charley would go to church with me, and when he did he’d make a production out of getting ready, annoyingly so, but he’d be dressed up and he’d always smell great. And sometimes I’d sneak my arm under his as we sat there, and I’d take his hand. Taking someone’s hand, someone you belong with, I miss that…
Just some more photos from the Gatorland trip. It’s amazing how many photos you miss when you are looking for photos that go together to tell a story. I really like these photos, and I honestly hadn’t noticed them before.
I first became aware of this rookery several months ago. The nesting had begun, and, consequently, the anticipation of chicks of several descriptions was rampant. And we are beginning to see nature take it’s course. The Anhingas keep to the shadows low in the shrubbery, so while they are probably nesting it’s not easy to see. I was a bit surprised to see this one looking so colorful in the sun.
The Great Egrets are so pretty, and graceful. I would have liked to have seen them tending their chicks, but the best I could do is see them adjusting their pretty blue eggs.
It was the Wood Storks who were tending their chicks. I was anticipating tiny balls of fluff as I watched and saw slight movement in the nest. Then they popped up! These aren’t natures most beautiful birds, but they are a heck of a lot cuter when they are little…
They say that the third time’s a charm, and I wouldn’t argue with that. Three times I signed up to go to Tampa Bay Downs with the photo group, and twice something came up and I had to cancel. But not yesterday, and for that I’m grateful. Not only was it a great day weather-wise, but I really enjoyed the friendly group that gathered to watch, and photograph, the races. We had several press passes to share amongst us, and those passes allowed us each to have a turn at taking photos from the inside rail. It quickly became apparent to me what an advantage that really was. All the useable racing photos that I got yesterday were taken while I was having my turn at the inside rail. And they were taken after talking with the other group members and adjusting my camera settings accordingly. I would have loved to have stayed longer but I was feeling sorry for the dogs back at home, and had an hour’s drive ahead of me…And, of course, I walked in the door and they looked at me as if to say, “Oh, are you home already?”
I am a New England gal who may not have lived there in almost 50 years, but if you ask me where I’m from that’s still my answer. And this gal is still a sucker for stone walls. But when I say that I picture meandering little stone walls that look as if they somehow grew in place. As natural as the trees and fields they define. They were everywhere back home in Massachusetts, and I knew I loved them, but what I didn’t realize was that they aren’t found everywhere. I wish they were.
While I was photographing the owls I was also noticing the park itself. The winding path at Philippe Park, the path that curved up the hill along side the stone wall really appealed to me. It certainly doesn’t look random, or like it grew there by itself, but it still did my heart good to see it. This park will be a place to return to, and I think I’d feel that way even without the owls.
On my way home from seeing the owls at Philippe Park I stopped to check out the ‘action’ that I heard was going on a lot closer to home in New Port Richey. I didn’t know what I’d find but what I saw was shrubbery, which was obscuring a chain link fence. But there was a break in the greenery, and a locked gate with a bit of a gap, and this is what was going on beyond the fence. I had to shoot photos through the gap in the gate, and that’s when I remembered the suggestion to stick a step ladder in the car. My friend meant that seriously since the chain link fence is tall.
The birds were rather subdued when I was there, but the day before I heard that there was a lot of mating happening. And nesting in that very unimpressive shubbery in the water. It’s hard to imagine what made this such an attractive spot both to Great Egrets and Woodstorks. I looked up Woodstorks because I wondered why they have such odd, naked heads, and that wasn’t addressed, but I did read that they nest ‘communally’. So I suppose I now know what that means. Perhaps there will be new generations of birds here in the not too distant future. Something to look forward to.
I know a Wood Stork when I see one, but only because of the Florida Birds Facebook page. I hadn’t seen one in person until today, and never expected to see one so close-up. But there were two of them on the pier at Jenkin’s Creek, hanging out with the fishermen, looking for a hand-out. Well, I thought there were two of them until I looked across the inlet and saw the dead tree with the wood storks perched there. One was clacking his beak together, possibly not happy with me for zeroing in on him. You could hear the clacking, I took it as a warning. I have noticed that birds seem to sense your interest in them as you focus with the camera, and not seem to like it. Very odd looking bird to me. You have to wonder what Mother Nature was thinking when she gave him a plucked head. Not much in nature seems to be wasted so I’ll give her credit for having her reasons. Wikipedia says that they are the only stork to breed in North America, breeding in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and a recent discovery in North Carolina.
And then there is the Black Vulture. I was curious to see what Merlin would say this bird was. They have white patches on the underside of their wingtips, said Merlin, and I realize that they are the soaring birds I see so often and hope for a second that they are eagles.
I went out for the sunrise yesterday morning and didn’t take a single picture. It was too overcast, and I hardly saw any sunshine all day. Gloomy day, gloomy looking birds, kind of gloomy mood. Just one of those days…