a second look, birds, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, nesting, perseverance, photography

Mayhem at the rookery…

Maybe I exaggerate. No un-natural mayhem, just the ‘normal’ mayhem when mom shows up and her two ‘kids’, who are as big as she is, demand to be fed. I’m seeing pictures like this from all the photographers who stalk the photo ops in this area, but we aren’t all there at the same time. We don’t have to be, this particular mayhem occurs over and over again all day long. Poor mom, and so close to Mother’s Day.

Mom can only take so much. And when she exits to a higher branch the ‘babies’ are left wondering where they went wrong.
The tricolor heron babies have been a popular subject lately also.
Finding the tricolor babies is a lot easier when they do their ‘up periscope’ thing. I’m wondering how I never saw them before this year since this rookery is a fairly common stop for us.
You don’t always catch a glossy ibis out in the open when the sun can bring out his beautiful colors.
The natural frame around these wood storks was what got me to take this picture.
Woodstork chicks are some of the first, and noisiest chicks we see in the spring. But now it seems the mayhem in the trees, and the photographers on the shore, aren’t a cause for concern as this guy seems quite above it all.
a second look, adventure, attention to detail, birds, butterflies, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Fort DeSoto…

Of course you don’t have to travel to Fort DeSoto to see butterflies, but I haven’t seen many lately anywhere so when I do see them I’ll take their picture.

I don’t have a dedicated macro lens, and if I did I’d never have the patience to change lenses, and this butterfly wouldn’t have waited around for me anyhow. So I love my zoom lens that lets me get a picture on the fly.

What we really went to Fort DeSoto for was the chance to see birds that we don’t see in our usual stops. A heads-up from another visitor who lives nearby got us to a fountain, where we could sit in the shade and wait to see what birds would come for a visit. On the next bench were two ladies with binoculars who were exclaiming over a ‘blue grosbeak’, ‘Look at how blue he is,’ they said. Way off in the distance I could see the bird they were talking about, so I shot 15 or so pictures into the trees and hoped for the best.

I had to edit the one and only photo that actually had a bird in it to a fare-thee-well. And they were right, he really was blue. But I don’t know if I can claim to have seen a blue grosbeak, since I barely saw a flicker in the trees. Gotta love a zoom lens, and Lightroom…
We were so lucky to see a Nanday Parakeet up in a tree also. Again we have to thank the woman who says she lives only 5 miles from the park and visits twice a day. She pointed him out to us, but he was in silhouette and we had to take her word for it as to what it was. This was a first for me.
One of the piers is being worked on, but this one was open. I loved the two sets of egrets facing off on the rooftops. Kind of like the Sharks and the Jets.
We enjoyed the view from the pier.
I took the pop-up to Fort DeSoto a little over three years ago. I had heard that it was impossible to get a spot in the campground, so when three nights were available I took them. Then I discovered that the overnight temperatures were going to be in the 30s, so someone probably cancelled and left the opening for me. But it was great during the day. I rode the ferry to Egmont Key and saw this lighthouse up close during that visit. I wore two sweatshirts with both hoods up, and piled 4 throws over me to sleep. I love being toasty warm but breathing cold air, so it was great. Butin the morning getting into the open air showers at 30-something degrees was something else!
Is that a fin at the corner of this snowy’s mouth? I love to see the golden slippers.
This black and white plover was on East Beach, from which you can take a sunrise photo that includes the Sunshine Skyway bridge, provided you get there early enough.
Imagine the sun rising behind this bridge. The iconic picture is when you catch the sun rising centered in the tallest uprights. I haven’t managed to get that shot yet, but it doesn’t line up like that often. Maybe next time.
a second look, attention to detail, attitude adjustments, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, live and learn, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, Osprey, perseverance, photography

Osprey assumptions…

There are osprey nests on posts along many of the roads we drive on our usual travels. But we had never seen this nest before because we hadn’t been to Fort DeSoto Park before, at least not together. We had minimum information on where exactly to see the many, many migrating birds that we have seen pictures of lately, but we were optimistic. My favorite pictures wound up being this osprey sequence, even if I may have missed the boat on it entirely. What I saw in the distance, and you see in the feature photo, was a nest being guarded by Dad on the nearby branch, and Mom standing in the nest. Dad, if that is in fact Dad, never moved from that position. And for that matter neither did ‘Mom.’

This is the picture that tickled me! I’d never seen a baby osprey before, so I was thrilled when Junior put in an appearance. But when he rose up some more and started flapping those wings I was amazed.
I thought Mom was too busy keeping an eye on things to pay too much attention.
Then I thought Junior turned his attention to Dad, as in, “Hey Dad, look at me, I’m a big kid,” and smacking Mom in the face in the process.

So I showed my pictures to Bernie and told him why I thought the whole thing was so funny, and he pointed out that the two birds on the nest are the same size, so perhaps they are both babies. Siblings. And Mom may be the one of the branch keeping watch over the shenanigans. And, darn it all, he has a point. I guess the joke was on me. But it was fun to see them anyhow.

a second look, adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, making memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Plan B plus…

Felts preserve was always part of our plan for the day on Friday. It’s only a half hour from the Celery Fields and neither stop was going to require a long walk, or scooter ride. We saw a hawk fly up onto a branch as we were arriving, but the resulting picture wasn’t great so I chose to make it the black and white feature photo. It was almost black and white all by itself. But it was disappointing to see that there was only one feeder filled, plus some seeds on the flat feeders. There were six squirrels scooping up the droppings, and one had managed to perch himself on an open feeder and he stayed put the whole time. Well, almost. Something happened to caused the squirrels and the birds to take cover…

I was here by myself a few years ago and I don’t remember this sign. Maybe it’s new.
There are trails for the adventurous to follow, but we chose the more direct route to the bird blind.
Surprisingly this was the only feeder with seeds. So the painted buntings have possibly moved on. I was thrilled with the lighting and thought this female cardinal looked great in the viewfinder in the camera. I couldn’t see her deformed bill until I put my pictures in the computer.
I was so pleased with this photo, but the beak breaks my heart. This is the second time I’ve gotten home and found that a cardinal I took pictures of had an issue with its beak. First one was from Circle B.
She gets along well with others however. And there was a male in attendance but I didn’t get a decent picture of him.
This red-bellied woodpecker was busy.
We saw the squirrels scatter, and this is the interloper who moseyed on in and wandered under the feeders, sniffing the ground and checking things out.
We had made it back to the car and were loading our cameras when this (same) hawk flew onto the top of a post that had me shooting straight up into the air. I’m surprised I got a picture all.
a second look, adventure, birds, bugs, butterflies, Florida wildlife, flowers, friends, fun, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Plan B…

‘Photography is like a box of chocolates’, to mis-quote Forrest Gump. You may go out knowing what shots you intend to take, but you might come home with entirely different shots altogether. We went to the Celery Fields on Friday, anticipating seeing all the birds on the feeders as we did last time. But not only were there no birds, but there were no feeders either. I guess a little research before you head out for a 90 minute drive would have been prudent. But as long as you get a few pictures it counts as a good day.

The birds were making a racket as we got out of the car. There was nothing to indicate that the feeders were absent. But instead there were Purple Martin houses up, and there was much chatter between the neighbors.
Such pretty birds.
We shake our heads over the huge apartment/condo buildings we see being built as we go about our business. In one case ten new (huge) buildings in addition to the ones already built and occupied. Perhaps single dwelling birdhouses aren’t the norm anymore either.
It seems that where there are flowers you will find butterflies.
And blue, um, bugs? Bee? I can’t decide.
Pollinator for sure.
He was busy.
Pink flowers too, he pollinates them all.
Watch out, he’s heading your way!
attention to detail, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, live and learn, memories, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Family portraits…

I may have this all wrong, but I think I’m right. The Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have been my most frequent ‘flyers’ since I put up the Bird Buddy. I never thought I’d be disappointed to see a cardinal but after a while I wished for a bit of variety. We are quite sure that they have nested in the huge bougainvillea that has taken over the back corner of the yard. It was planted 20 years ago to help block a small opening in the fence back there, to keep the neighbor’s dogs from visiting, and it will take a braver soul than I am to try to tame it at this point. Besides, who knows how many birds call that place home. Plus it is gorgeous.

But the surprise came when the Mr. and Mrs. flew out of that bush to come to the feeder the other morning. They were quickly followed by what looks to me to be an immature male cardinal. As much as I suspect they are nesting deep in the bougainvillea, I haven’t given much thought to investigating to see if they are raising offspring in there. So when the three of them were on the feeder I chose to take pictures through the glass of the sliding glass doors plus the screen, because I was sure that unlocking the door and coming outside would cause them to fly away and I’d miss my chance to take pictures. Merlin agreed, but it did suggest that it might be a house finch, but that tuft on the head tells me it’s a cardinal.

Obviously taken through the sliding glass door plus the screen.
Junior and dad, I just couldn’t get the three of them together.
Junior plus mom this time.
Later in the day there was so much activity at the feeder that I went out onto the lanai and sat at the open door with my camera. This dove stopped for a drink.
The Mr. was back, looking handsome as ever.
The downey woodpecker still hasn’t given up on the idea that the post might also hold some tasty treats.
The tufted titmouse stops at the feeder just long enough to pick up a seed and then he flies off.

This time the titmouse flew into the bougainvillea, but into a spot where I could still see him. So I decided to test the limits of the lens and extender I was using and took a few pictures of him. This shot is cropped to a fare-the-well, but I’m happy he looks as good as he does. And notice those thorns, they are lethal! I know because I had to trim my small one I had at my front door at my last house. I happened to take my cat to the vet after a session with that bougainvillea and he looked at my arms in horror and wanted to know if the cat was responsible for the nasty scratches. I told him no, it was a vicious bougainvillea.