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Mother Listening selected for the National Audubon Society 2013 Calendar

April 6th, 2012

Mother Listening selected for the National Audubon Society 2013 Calendar

I am pleased to announce that this photo was selected by the National Audubon Society for their 2013 Calendar. Only 14 photo were selected nationally. It is an honor and a pleasure to have this photo selected by an organization with such a noble purpose. They continually work to serves the public by protecting wildlife, birds and our natural habitats.

This endearing photo of the Mother Sandhill Crane listening to her new born chick as he tries to speak portrays the mother child bond as a universal bond that knows no bounds. This photo was taken in Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa Springs, Florida in February of 2011.

Eagle Pair takes home Blue Ribbon in the Florida Trail Association Photo Contest

April 5th, 2011

Eagle Pair takes home Blue Ribbon in the Florida Trail Association Photo Contest

Photo: Eagle Pair Squawking First Place in at FTA 2011 Annual Conference!
I am honored to announce that the photo “Eagle Pair Squawking” was awarded First Place in the category of Good Nature by popular vote at the 2011 Annual Florida Trail Association Conference. This photo was taken while hiking the Florida Trail at St.Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County, Florida. My son and I were admiring the birds in the marshes along the trail when we noticed a Bald Eagle flying over head. We watched as he settled on a branch with his mate and started squawking. The eagles were at home and we were able to get several shots of this majectic looking pair before we continued on down the trail.

I was blessed with a Trail Angel

August 16th, 2010

I was blessed with a Trail Angel

As I arrived at the Iron Bridge Trailhead, I quickly exited my truck to capture a photo of the Iron Bridge sign. As I removed my camera from my eye, I saw a hunting dog wagging his tail and smiling up at me. To put him and myself as ease, I patted him on the head and said "Hi, buddy." in a comforting tone. I climbed back into my truck and proceeded to drive down to the official parking area. As I readied myself by stuffing my pack with water and snacks, my new found friend had followed me and was waiting patiently. For fear of someone looking for this handsome hound, I commanded "Stay! Go Home! Go Back! Go Away"..but he did not adhere to any of my commands. I did not want him to follow me. I took my time at the river taking photos, hoping he his curiosity with something else would hold his attention long enough for me so sneak away. Finally, he went into the water for a drink and to cool off on this sweltering Florida summer day and a I stepped up my pace to the trail. I had not made my way a few hundred feet into the forest and I heard the ...padump..padump.. padump.....of his paws as he tracked me down. Not sure that I would have enough water for both of us, I saw no choice but to give into his persistence. "C'mon buddy. Lets go hiking!" I gave him a pat and he licked my face. We were bonded. For the next five mile we trekked through the hardwood forests and river floodplains. Along the way, I was taking photos and Buddy was finding new scents to keep self entertained. He proved to be the perfect hiking companion as he would jump into seasonal ponds to keep cool and hydrated and nary a complaint about the distance or the heat. As we reached the parking area, I knew I could not take him home. He was a beauty, in great shape and well cared-for. I was certain that he had just gotten lost. I headed for the picnic table for a quick snack before my long drive home. He went to cool off in the River again and socialize with some people fishing. He came over to me as I was packing up. I gave him my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich hoping this would occupy him as I tried to depart in my truck. I wasn't quick enough. As I started the engine he was sitting outside my door looking at me. I had to give him one last pat on the head. "Thanks Buddy. You were a great trail angel for me today!" I pushed him back to close the door. My eyes welled up with tears as I watched him try to chase the truck as I drove down the dusty forest road. Sorry Buddy, you are a hunting dog and this is where you needed to stay....

Skimmers skimming the Gulf for Food

July 20th, 2010

Skimmers skimming the Gulf for Food

Skimmers, Rynchops niger, are a type of shore bird that are named for their skimming the top of water with their razor-like bills to grab prey off the water’s surface. Skimmers most closely resemble Royal Terns but at a quick glance can be easily mistaken for a bird with similar colors, the American Oyster Catcher. Skimmers are unique in that they have uneven bills where the lower mandible is longer than the upper. This allows their razor-sharp bill to cut through the water’s surface ready to grab any unsuspecting fish or shrimp near the water’s surface. Also referred to as Razor Bills and Scissor-bills.

These two Black Skimmers were a delight to watch as they circled Sand Spit Island periodically skimming the Gulf Coastal waters as they passed by. These photos were take on Sand Spit Island in Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida

Marbled Godwits on the Move

July 17th, 2010

Marbled Godwits on the Move

This photo shows four (4) Marbled Godwits on the move! Perhaps it is because a crazy photographer in her big gray kayak is getting too close!
They are known for their delicate two-toned super long bill which is used to probe the sand and mud for insects and small shellfish. I captured this mini-cluster from my kayak on a little mini-island just offshore of Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida. They do not seem to mind mingling with other shore birds.

Osprey - The Hawk of the Sea

July 8th, 2010

Osprey - The Hawk of the Sea

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) can be a nuisance in the city for nesting in Power Poles or tall Cellular towers. This beautiful bird of prey is in the raptor family and is highly adaptable to habitats that have a nearby body of water with fish. Also known as the Sea Hawk or the fish Eagle, this large raptor can reach up to 24 inches in length with an impressive six foot wingspan. This extra wingspan is essential for carrying their prey back to the nest. Unlike other raptors, the Osprey has four equal toes with the outside one being “reversible” to allow the Osprey to seize his prey with two toes opposable both front and back!

When an Osprey is hunting for food, it hovers 30 or more feet above the marsh, lake, or sea until it spots its prey with its keene eyesight! Then it pulls its wings in to a partial span, allowing him to drop with great speed. He has his talons out as he plunges into the water submerging himself and hopefully coming up with a fish. The Osprey feathers are firm and dense thus sealing off the water allowing it to roll off. He is able to fly immediately without being heavy with wet plumage. Despite being adept in the water, Osprey cannot swim and have been known to drown if they had set their sights on a fish that was too large for

Delicate Blooms produce Giant Leaflets of the Swamp

July 7th, 2010

Delicate Blooms produce Giant Leaflets of the Swamp

This delicate bloom is one-half inches tall and from it spawns the giant leaflet of the swamp! In the heart of the Cypress swamps the stalks of the giant Alligator Flag can grow up to 9 feet tall with arrow shaped leaves that can span one foot in diameter and three feet in length.

Alligator Flag (Thalia geniculata) was named such because the tops would wave like flags when the powerful alligator tail caused movement below as he was swimming through the thickets of the swamp. Thus an indicator from far away.

Antique Tow Truck

July 1st, 2010

Antique Tow Truck

Two years ago my son and I drove up to Georgia for a Thanksgiving get-away and to spend time with my best friend and her fiance from Ohio. We had a modest vacation in a Cabin in Indian Springs State Park and spent most of the week sight seeing different parks in the area. It was on our list to experience the taste of the Fried Green Tomatoes from the famous Whistle Stop Cafe (from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes). It was about an hour drive from our cabin, but I always enjoy sight seeing in rural areas. Just outside of our destination of Juliet, Georgia, I spotted this Antique Tow Truck that appeared to just be put out on the corner for show. There was not a for sale sign to be found. "Stop, pull over!" I yelled. "I need to get a photo!" After all, I had never seen an antique Tow-Truck before! Knowing my passion for taking photos, my friends were patient although there stomachs were growling. After a few shots we were on the road again and had the best lunch at the Whistle-Stop Cafe in Juliet, Georgia and enjoyed reminiscing about the scenes from the movie as we walked the town. Rural culture at its finest in the heart of Georgia!

Baby Egrets - Momma took our Food

June 28th, 2010

Baby Egrets - Momma took our Food

This photo of a Great White Egret with her baby chicks was taken at the Gatorland Bird Rookery in Orlando, Florida. I was able to observe as the mother Egret brings a fish to her three chicks to let them eat. She looked on as they tried but were still too young to pick through the tough skin on the fish. The mother then took the fish into her mouth to soften through digestion. She then later regurgitated the food back into their mouths to feed them.

Red Bellied Woodpecker hiding in a Cabbage Palm

June 27th, 2010

Red Bellied Woodpecker hiding in a Cabbage Palm

While unloading my kayak at the park next to the Yankee Town Boat ramp, this Red-Bellied Woodpecker flew right in front of me and landed on a cabbage palm. Delighted, I watched for a few moments, as I was in fully engrossed in the moment. I had never experiences on that close before. Then I decided that nature WAS handing me this photo opportunity. So, I quietly put everything down and slipped away to retreive my camera. Of course she had moved from her original location, but I followed her as she flew from tree to tree and she eventually settled back on a Cabbage Palm. I was able to get a few photos before she flew on into the marshlands of the Withlacoochee Preserve. I have come to realize that recognizing photo opportunities is half the battle of getting good photos!

The Yankee Town Boat ramp lies at the mouth of the Withlacoochee River where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. This boat ramp allows access to the Withlacoochee Preserve and the Waccasassa Preserve which encases over 31,000 acres of protected coastline along the Florida Gulf Coast from Cedar Key to Yankee Town.

 

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