Welcome to my photo journal.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Favorites photos from Mobile

Blue Grosbeak
 We've had a busy 3 days here in Mobile, AL doing some birding at Dauphin Island, Grand Bay NWR, Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR, Bon Secure NWR and Gulf National Seashore the birds seen were few but colorful Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Buntings, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager and N. Parula.
Mobile Bay

 Today we did a little sightseeing taking in the Alabama Battleship, the Drum Submarine and a few war planes.

We spent a few hours enjoying the gardens at the Bellingrath House and now  it's time to hit the road again.
I saw on facebook that South Texas had a fallout of warblers, we always seem to be at the wrong place or at the wrong time to find the birds.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

St. Augustine

Castillo de San Marcos

Thursday we visited  the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, started in 1672 and took 23 years to build it protected the Spanish settlement.
Friday we went to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and took the 261 steps to the top.  Three women were making several laps to the top and back for exercise that morning, I still have sore thighs from my one trip up and back.
Cattle Egret in breeding plomage

Stork baby
 We then went to  the Alligator Farm, it has a boardwalk through a pond area filled with alligators and nesting Tricolor Herons, Spoonbills, Storks, Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets and Little Blue Herons.  We spent most of our 4 hours in this area but we did visit the rest of the enclosures of alligators, crocodiles  monkeys, turtles, and snakes.

Towers of Flagler College former Ponce de Leon Hotel  built in 1886.
 Saturday it rained all day so it was a good day for our car not to start and get towed to the Ford dealer, it only needed a new battery.
Today we walked the Old Town, it was still a grey day even spitting at times but we got most of the beautiful area in before it started to rain.
We took in a Picasso exhibit at the Visitor Center too.
Tomorrow we head out for Panama City.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Space Coast visit

 Here's some of my photos of our stay in Titusville, or the Space Coast area.
We enjoyed Merritt National Wildlife Refuge so much we did the drive 3 times, saw some manatees there, and the Florida Scrub Jay.
We didn't go to the Kennedy Space Center, it was too expensive but we visited the Space Museum and Park in Titusville. 
They have the astronauts hand prints in bronze, rather
nice addition to the Park.
 We went over to Port Canaveral and we watched the dolphins and saw a couple of green sea turtles.

 This mystery bird was taken at Merritt NWR, it's a morph of some kind.
 The sea turtle.
 We visited the Canaveral National Seashore.
 We went to Viera to the marsh there and walked around the first pond, this Great Blue Heron has a couple of chicks.
We had a nice look at this Limpkin.
We also visited the very first National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island, the pelicans were on the side away from us so I didn't take a picture.
We are now spending a few days in St. Augustine.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Key West

 We drove down to visit Key West and spent one night there at a Best Western in the old town so we would have some time to take in a few of the sights.
This dog  is a money maker for his owner, he gets a dollar if you want to take it's photo and who can resist.  Maybe if I dressed up Tigger and sat at a corner I could make a dollar or two ha ha.
 The cats are the big draw at the Hemingway House, not really but one wonders.  Hemingway lived here for 10 years and wrote many of his novels here, only one based on Key West, To Have or Have Not.
 Key West has a butterfly house and of course we had to go there to try and get some beautiful photos of exotic butterflies, they had  exotic birds too.
 Picture of the lighthouse that I took through the fence, didn't have time to tour it besides we've seen several lighthouses.
 One of Key West's roaming chickens, there were chicks running about too.
 One of the 45 Hemingway cats, not all have the famous six toes.
When Hemingway lived there he had up to 75 cats, the six toes are lucky cats.
 Here we are at the Southernmost point marker.
We had a really good time, didn't have time to take in everything. Trolley ride was really informative and fun, we toured the Mel Fisher Museum of the treasures he collected from shipwrecks and we even bought a piece of old silver he brought up from the ocean deep.

These photos are from our trip to the Fairchild Botanical Garden in S. Miami.
 One of the Chuly glass sculptures.
 You see a couple of umbrellas up as we had rain and parts of Miami received 4 inches in that hour of rain.
One of the ponds at the garden, there was a butterfly house  too where we enjoyed getting a few photos before the downfall, the house is enclosed only with mesh.
We have moved north  to Titusville, to explore this area and see the space center.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Corkscrew Swamp Preserve

Carolina Anole
 We visited Corkscrew today and I hadn't posted about this special place so I thought it about time.
Florida is in a drought and is 4 inches behind in the normal year total and it is affecting Corkscrew as the swamp is dry, there is only one water hole left for the birds and they are taking advantage of the fish stranded in it.
We have visited the preserve several times and usually find some warblers, woodpeckers, red shoulder hawks and last time a nice view of the Swallow tail Kite.

 Today the baby Barred Owl was sitting out, the adult just up the boardwalk hiding.  We have seen the owls there several times and heard them call Who Cooks For You.
 There were 4 pairs of Painted Buntings at the feeders and we did spot the Oven bird too, but it did not stay out long enough to get a photo this time.
 The lettuce pond had several Roseate Spoonbills feeding, they were putting on show for us.
 This alligator has what is left of this puddle, soon he'll have to find another water hole.
 This is the lettuce pond which still has some nice food for these birds, 3 adult alligators and several baby alligators.  I should have asked what happens to the baby alligators when the pond dries up will they make the move to another water hole somewhere.
Snowy Egret

Water thrush, we haven't decided if Louisiana or Northern.
We spotted a couple of these birds  they are migrating north and have stopped here at the ponds for refueling.
The most common bird here and in most wooded places is the Catbird, it is found throughout the US.
 The Roseate's and Wood Storks were teasing the baby alligators, they were fun to watch.
 These Wood Storks were having a tug of war over a twig, 
This is a shot of the boardwalk railing and all the organisms growing on it, the pink is lichen and there's an air plant on this one.
I haven't even begun on all the types of ferns, trees and water plants that grow here, it's a very interesting place, nicer when there is water to encourage flowering. There are volunteers on the boardwalk to point out interesting birds and answer questions.  The first time we visited in November we spotted two bears back in the woods, you never know what you may be lucky enough to see here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Venice Rookery

 Venice Rookery is a favorite spot of ours and many photographers to get great photos of the nesting Great Blue Herons, Anhingas and Great Egrets.
The tiny island is filled with nests, we have visited it four times and it seemed each time there were more nests.
Rookery Island at left

Great Blue Heron pair
 On our first visit in Jan. we watched the Great Blues and Egrets build their nests.
Great Egrets

Feeding time for Great Blue's
 In Jan. there were already several Great Blue Heron chicks it was fun to watch the parents feed them.
 In the pond there are two alligators, they keep predator numbers down and probably catch a few falling babes but mostly keep the turtles and raccoon's at bay.
 Here's a family of Great Egrets with their fuzzy chicks, taken in March.
 The cute chicks.
 This is just a small section of the island and you can see how close the birds are, this egret is right next to a couple of Anhinga nests and babies.
We haven't counted the nests but there has to be over 50.
There are other birds present to photograph too, Night Herons, Green Herons, Snowy Egrets, Whistling Ducks, Glossy Ibis, warblers and Moorhens.

This is a little Great Blue Heron can't but be a couple of days old, picture was taken in late March.
So we have juveniles that have left the nest learning to fish in the near by ponds and this cute tiny babe all gathered in this small very special place in Venice, Fl.
Just a great place to spend a few hours and learn the behavior of these beautiful birds.