birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, photography, sunrise, unintended images

Good morning…

How amazing is it when you look out back and discover that the sunrise has delivered itself to you?  So you take a picture even though you had decided not to go out for the sunrise that morning.  And not too long after that the Sandhill cranes start calling you.  Do they think you might give them food?  I hope not because I know not to do that.  Maybe they were warning me not to let the dogs out because they were right in my backyard.  I don’t know if these are the same cranes as last year, but I do know that one day I let the dogs out, not knowing that they were out there, and I heard the cranes scolding them.  Zoe, in particular, came running home like someone was chasing her.  And when I looked to see where the cranes had flown  to I discovered that they hadn’t flown at all, apparently they had stood their ground.  No wonder Zoe didn’t know what to make of that situation, she loves to run and make the birds fly, and that was probably the first time they ignored her.  We both are losing our touch in our old age…1-6sandhill1 copy1-6sandhill6 copy1-6sandhill copy1-6sandhill4 copy1-6sandhill5 copy

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birds, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, on closer examination, photography, pond creatures, unintended images

Duck, duck… coot!

There is no such thing as a duck. This may not come as a surprise to anyone but me, but there is no bird who’s name is just ‘duck’. Kind of like no bird is actually named ‘seagull’. I was out back with the new lens on the camera, the big, awkward lens, trying to become more used to handling it so that it becomes second nature. But there wasn’t much going on out there, or in the trees either, until I noticed a duck dive under the water and disappear completely.  The featured photos shows you this duck as he disappeared.  This diving seemed unusual to me and I focused the lens on the area, and when he popped up I realized that I had never seen a duck that looked like this one before. That black and white beak was definitely different. Merlin says that this a Ring Necked Duck, a male sporting breeding plumage.

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Hmm, so I started looking for a female, and thought I had found one, but Merlin says this is a Pied-Billed Grebe.

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This was now a challenge, so I put this photo through Merlin expecting it to be a Coot. But no, it’s a Common Gallinule, with it’s thick, yellow feet.

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No, this one is an American Coot!  Another diving duck.  And there can be no doubt why the hour around sunset is the ‘golden hour’.

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While I was sitting out there I kept trying to take a photo of the vultures flying overhead. But it proved very difficult to get one into focus with that lens. This was the only one of my attempted shots that turned out, and it turned out to be the one bird I’d seen that wasn’t a black vulture. They have white on the underside of their wing tips only. Nope, this is a turkey vulture, having white all along the outside edge of their wings.

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I stand corrected. And befuddled. How could you possibly learn all this stuff? And besides, this is a snapshot of one moment in time.  Other varieties of birds come and go throughout the year.  My point is to take better pictures than I thought I could, but despite myself I’m learning a thing or two while I’m at it…

birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, nature, photography, unintended images

Feathered friends…

I spent all last spring out in the back yard with my new (at the time) camera, and never ran out of things to photograph.  There were so many birds every day, plus I noticed the light at sunset, and the magical reflection of the trees in the lake that made the water look like a mirror.  In reality it’s quite loaded with algae, etc., but shortly before sunset it looks amazing out there.  As it did today.

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And of course the Sand Hill cranes.  Their story had me enthralled for months, but they had moved on.  And the reality is that there hasn’t been a lot of bird action on the lake for a few months now.  Until lately.  Lately Sand Hill cranes are all around the neighborhood, and they spend time on the lake too.  A few days ago I watched a stand off of sorts between a Great Blue Heron on one side of the lake, and two Sand Hill cranes directly across from him.

1211heronThe heron never moved an inch, so I really can’t say that it wasn’t a statue of one.  He stared at those cranes for well over an hour.  I was busy but each time I looked outside to see what was going on he was in exactly the same place.  I’ve seen a heron out there from time to time, but they haven’t ever been as common a visitor as the Sand Hill cranes are.

Today I needed to get some new pictures, so when I heard the cranes out there I picked up my camera and went outside.  But instead of seeing them across the lake as I expected, they were right in my backyard.  Someone must be feeding them because they weren’t afraid of me, in fact they headed straight for me.  Someday I’ll contain my excitement when I think I’m going to get some nice pictures and actually look at the settings instead of picking up the camera and starting  to shoot.  Most of the time when I do get a good picture it’s dumb luck, and this afternoon was no exception.  They were coming so close to me that I had to change the lens on the camera.  I’m really hoping they will make their nest out there on the lake again this year.

1211crane21211crane11211closeup1211crane31211cranecloseup31211cranefrombelow1211cranefrombelow2I never knew their beaks were so well ventilated.  Or that they have chubby cheeks.  They were so close to me that I could only take close ups, and as I did they turned their heads this way and that as if they were getting directions.    I finally sat on the ground for a different perspective.  I had been wondering where I ought to go for some photo ops yesterday, and it turned out I only needed to head out the door…

adventure, childhood, photography, Pine Island, silliness, simple things, sky, unintended images

Widget’s tale…

After two cold, rainy, and entirely dreary days, it was almost startling to see some blue sky that afternoon, but still lots of clouds. Clouds that just might be lit up by the sunset. I hadn’t been out for the sunset at Pine Island in quite a few days, so off I went. I complained when the wind wasn’t there the other day, and the no-see-ums were there, well, the wind was back, in spades. The clouds had been blown almost entirely away and the seagulls kept taking to the air, and flying nowhere. They couldn’t make headway against that wind.

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And that wind, well, the seagulls weren’t the only ones who struggled with it. Don’t I always say that Pine Island never disappoints? That the people I meet are just as important to me as the sunsets? Well, we can now add elves to that list, or, one elf at least. His name is Widget, and he had quite the tale to tell…

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It seems he had been chosen by Santa for a very special mission, one that had taken him to Hawaii. It was hard work training those elf recruits, so before he left Hawaii he earned a chance to relax on the beach…Widget gets some sun

But then a huge gust of wind blew across the beach, and Widget found himself flying through the sky.  All he could see were all the seagulls who were also being blown in the wind with him.  He was flying and flying, and he was very scared, but mostly because he didn’t know if he would ever see his boy Jonah again.  He just wanted to go home.

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There were hardly any people on Pine Island on that cold and windy evening.  But lucky for him Jonah’s mommy was one of the people there on the beach, and we all saw him as he flew through the air, and landed with a thud, and we ran to see if he was okay.  He didn’t care that he was cold, or that he was covered with sand, he said he just wanted to go home.  And then he smiled…

Widget's selfie

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connections, moments, nature, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset, unintended images

Photo moments…

Oh go out, I thought to myself, if nothing else you’ll be able to gas up the car. So off I went again, to Pine Island on a day that was overcast and not promising as far as the sunset goes. But I needed some more shore bird photos so off I went. And, as always, there was something unexpected going on at Pine Island. These people were feeding bread to the seagulls, which is probably frowned upon, but it made for some interesting photos. They were having fun and I have to say I caught their enthusiasm.

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The sunset itself wasn’t much, just a hole in the cloud cover where some of the sunset light could come through. But what was surprising was that the sky opposite the sunset was prettier than the sunset promised to be. Plus the sky to the left of where the sun was setting was also full of streaks of light. The prettiest sky of the night.

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I saw a young man heading toward the sunset with his camera, but he stopped to chat with a couple who were there for the sunset. They told him they didn’t want him to miss his shot, so when he headed over to where I was with my camera I pointed out the gorgeous sky to the left. We had a nice chat while we both took pictures. Then he wanted a shot of himself with his camera. He had intended to use his tripod, but then he asked me to take the photo and he got out another of his cameras for me to use. This proved to be fun, and I loved using his very nice Sony camera. But I snuck a picture with my iPhone also. In talking I realized that he was the photographer doing the bikini photo shoot the other night. He said he saw me that night, I was the ‘little woman with the camera’. LOL. He’s from NYC, and works for the transit authority when he isn’t out taking pictures. Imagine the photo ops there. Wanderlust takes over when I think of all the photos I’d like to take in this world. Or the photos I wish I’d taken in my life. I have to remind myself that photography as a hobby was a very different animal back when I was his age…

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I had this post finished and ready to be posted this morning, and then the tables were turned when he sent me a photo he took of me!  I love what photography has added to my life…

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childhood, Florida landmarks, fun, grandchildren, kids, life, memories, moments, nature, on closer examination, photography, simple things, sunset, unintended images

Beach girls…

When I made the Beach boys post I also made one of beach girls, but something was missing.  This morning I remembered this old photo of myself, my daughter, and my grandmother at Duxbury Beach, MA.  There are very few photos of my grandmother so each is a treasure, and this is more playful than many I’ve seen.  Duxbury beach itself is a favorite of mine also.  I took Charley there once and he was singularly unimpressed, what with the rocks that had been deposited by a recent storm.  No, not the vast expanse of white sandy beach that he was used to, but still and always a favorite place of my childhood.  I once told him that I wanted my ashes sprinkled on Duxbury beach, and it still seems like a good idea.  Life was uncomplicated back then…

I snuck a couple of my granddaughters in there too.  And then there is this last picture, taken at Hudson Beach when I was there for the sunset.  I was practicing ‘street photography’ with my iPhone when I caught this image.  It just so happened to be election night, and once I got home and found out how the election was going I had to connect this photo with what Hilary must have been feeling at that same moment.

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