I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.
One of my favorite views in the morning.
There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.
Some of the smaller critters along the trail.
The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest? Might have been a little early but soon.
The first time I went out to find the rare whooping cranes last winter they were so far away they looked like tiny white dots across a cow pasture. I stopped by again while I was over in the area and this time they were closer to the fence (although still pretty far out, these were all with my 400mm lens and cropped). They are the tallest bird in north America and one of the rarest birds. We have a couple that hide out in central Florida during the winter. They were hanging out with the cows this morning.
It was a warm morning and the cows were sitting under the shade just chilling out.
One of the cranes started slowly walking across the pasture towards a pond near the road. The other crane just stood there for a while.
Finally he took off across the field and joined the other one. I was so excited as he started to fly by, not caring that I was shooting straight into the sun. He landed and the couple started walking towards the orange trees and farther away. It was great to see them moving around as I stood by my car on the dirt road.
My second ever rufous hummingbird sighting. This one and the one before were both at Bok Tower Gardens. Rufous hummingbirds are fairly rare around this area. This is only the 2nd time of hearing about one and I was happy to have seen it even briefly. I caught him high up on a tree taking a break. When he went to feed, he would go deep in the bushes or the other side making it impossible to get feeding shots. At one point I could barely see him feeding deep in the firebush.
Ruby throated hummingbirds are pretty common. I caught this male feeding near the carillon tower.
He buzzed off and disappeared. I stood under a pine tree for a long time waiting for him to come back. At one point I looked up and he was sitting right over my head.
Birds with yellow. The top one is an easy one, a yellow throated warbler. The 2nd I think is a red eyed vireo with a bug. The last is a a female common yellowthroat.
An ovenbird and blue gray gnatcatcher.
A usual sight, a harmless black racer crosses the sidewalk in front of me.
A bee house in the garden. Used by mason or other solitary bees, they lay their eggs in the holes.
Sunrise at East Beach at Fort Desoto. No, I wasn’t up that early. This was in late October before the time changed so it was right before 7:30. There was a small cloud right above the bridge that kept the sun from being clear but it was still a great sky.
As I stood there watching the sun come up, I could see the frigatebirds starting to circle high up in the sky. They were coming from across the bay and then ended up right over my head.
Once the sun was up it was time to go hang out with the white pelicans.
Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.
A great blue heron off in the distance.
A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.
A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.
A tricolored heron guarding the sign.
A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.
More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.
I was cutting through the woods at Chesnut Park to get to the big lake and caught movement off to the side. I stopped and saw a big family of deer feeding along the small pond. They checked me out for a few seconds but then kept eating. I stood for a few minutes just watching them, glad no one else was around to spook them for the little time I was trying to take some pictures.
I caught this phoebe in the bushes with a bug in his beak.
Another phoebe out in the open.
Little flying critters. I don’t see red ones often.
I think I woke this guy up. A harmless black racer was sleeping near the trail.
It was starting to look like fall in late November. You could see a glimpse of red.
I ran out after work to try and get some sunset pictures since it was sunny at my house but 15 minutes away and the clouds were out. I thought I would try and work on my long exposure shots but couldn’t seem to get them right. The shots were either too dark and the water didn’t look like silk or they were too blown out. I didn’t really like any of the ones I came home with. Going to try again when the sun it out.
Trying not to step on the horseshoe crabs coming up in the tide.
I do like this shot, taken from the parking lot.
I took this pano with my phone.
Later that week I went out to Sand Key and the sun hid from me again. A cloudy time on the beach is still better than being at home!
Back in late September when it was still too hot to be outside, I was practicing my macro shots. Brett had brought home several bunches of flowers for my birthday so I pulled out my macro lens and played around in the kitchen. I’m not really a creative person so I tend to shoot the same things over and over again.
I sprayed some of the flowers with water to try and do something with droplets but I feel like they still look the same every time I do this.
It’s hard for me to get the color right on red roses. I usually get the color blown out. After a week the roses started to get some dark edges and I thought this gave it an edgy look. I couldn’t decode whether I liked them with the water or not so I posted both.