Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

We decided to head to the beach today.  The plan was to go to Clearwater where we’d been before.  It’s just such a gorgeous spot to walk in the surf, collect shells, or just loaf.  Unfortunately, it’s not as gorgeous when it’s over-crowded.  I have no idea why it would have been – Spring Break is over now as far as I know – but it surely was.  Happily, we found another beach nearby that the hoards of sun-worshipers hadn’t yet discovered.

Even though you can’t see me, I’m actually hiding in this picture:

Hiding R

And, here’s a picture of Bob, finally not thinking about work:

Bob Chillin' R

And, just for schitts and giggles, here are some turtley things – I think they’re actually showers:

Tortuga R

Tortuga 3 R

Since I promised that there would be absolute NO bird photogs in this post, here’s a nice picture of a guy fishing:

Fishing R

I have no idea what that grey thing is in the foreground.  I swear that wasn’t there when I shot this.

And, finally, here’s a shot of a tree:

Heron R

Note the interesting foliage.

So, that was pretty much our day.  We got back fairly early, so after a big taco blow-out for dinner (and the ensuing flatulence fest), we did some laundry at the campground facility, and now I’m off to bed.


Okay, Okay, I know I’ve been sorta carried away with the bird photogs, but seriously, there is just such a smorgasbord of birds in this place!  It’s pretty mind-blowing.  Every day we are seeing things we’ve never seen before.   I promise I’ll try to shoot something non-birdular tomorrow, okay?  But, in the meantime…. (oh, don’t look at me like that)…

Anhinga AR

In other non-bird news, we sort of saw some manatees today.  I say “sort of” because we mostly just heard them coming up for air.  Bob saw a nose.  I saw nuffin’.  Well, no, that’s not entirely true.  I saw some bubbles.  Still, it was pretty cool. If we could just persuade them to swim in nice clear water so I could get some photogs, that’d be good.  Sigh.

I know you don’t particularly care about my bird buddies, but that one up there is called an Anhinga.  These guys are really interesting because they swim in a weird way.  The body is submerged with just the head and neck above the water.  The first time I saw one I thought it was a snake.  I think I read somewhere that it has to do with their bone density.  I have no idea.  They can apparently only stay submerged for so long until they have to climb out of the water and dry their feathers.  That’s what he’s up to in this photog.

The Great Blue Heron in this next shot was having a heck of a time with whatever that long skinny fishy thing is in his mouth.  It was thrashing to beat the band.  I was so intent on watching him that I didn’t notice the Little Blue Heron in the background until I was uploading my photogs.

Great Blue Heron and Little Blue HeronBR

No, don’t leave!  Just one more!!  No birds tomorrow – I promise!!  (What?  My fingers are what?!  Pfft!)

Kingfisher on a palm tree:


We had a wonderful Easter Dinner today with our very dear friends Whatsisname and The Missus.  Excellent food; excellent company.  And maybe just a couple of Easter eggs.  I’ll have a good waddle around tomorrow to make up for it.  Hey, maybe we’ll find some birds!!  🙂

We headed out to a spot called Honeymoon Island State Park today.  It’s such a beautiful spot we’d discovered a couple of years ago when we were here.  Great for hiking and bird sightings.  Load of ospreys and other amazing critters.

We had heard that there might be a Great Horned Owl with a little wheezer, so off we went to see what we could see.

I spotted the nest pretty quickly, but sadly it was empty.  So we just carried on down the trail to see what we could find.  About five minutes along, Bob starts bouncing up and down, trying not to squeak (I’ve had to teach him to be vewy vewy quiet when we’re huntin’ wabbits – he gets so excited), and pointing up in a tree.

Owlets 1R

TWO baby Great Horned Owlets!!!!

And two trees over was mom having a snooze while her two fluff-balls goofed around:

Great Horned Owl B2AR

Well, I tell ya, I was bouncing around at this point, trying not to squeak.  I still haven’t stopped grinning.

Great Horned Owlets (2)AR

What an awesome, awesome day!

On the Fly

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Birds, Photography, RV, Travel, Wildlife

Just so ya don’t think we’ve been murdered by swamp critters (oh, c’mon, you know the thought had crossed your mind), here’s a mini update (and some pictures for Shari):

We’re holed up in a beautiful park near where our friends live just north of Tampa.  We should be here a week or so romping around and soaking up the sunshine.  They say it’s going to go into the 70’s over the weekend!!  That’ll be nice because we ran out of warm clothes days ago.  Yeah, yeah, you’re right – we could just go do some laundry, but that just flies in the face of the whole “vacation” concept, don’tcha think?

Picture for Shari:

Squirrel AR

Some squirrel Bob was having a conversation with – that boy’ll talk to anyone.  Seriously.

We went out for an amazingly amazing dinner the other night with our very dear (warm, squishy, etc.) friends Chuckles and Murray (completely artificial names) at one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook right at your table and the chef waves his REALLY BIG knives around and does some astonishing things with cooking utensils.  The food was spectacular!  The cooking show was even better!

Another picture for Shari:

Osprey AR

This is me getting glared at by an osprey.  He actually ran me off in the end.  I’m missing a bit of hair, but I’ m okay. 😛

Today, we are planning to go look for a Great Horned Owlet we’ve heard about.  In the meantime, here’s a shot of Florida’s State bird, the Northern Mockingbird (for Shari):

Northern Mockingbird BR

This is a bit tough for me to admit out loud, but, I think I’m becoming one of those freaky old bird ladies.  I honestly never saw this coming.  I should have, really.  I mean, look at the stuff on my Bucket List:  See a California Condor (check);  see Puffins (checkity-check!); see Whooping Cranes; yadda yadda…it goes on.  There are a surprising number of birds on that stupid list.

I’ve noticed something else lately:  When I’m not gallivanting all over hell’s half acre with ole Bob and our new trailer, I’m lurking in the shrubbery with my camera….stalking…birds!  Ugh!  I can’t believe it!  The funny thing is, though, that I keep encountering “bird people,” and I’ve discovered that there is a not-so-subtle rivalry between the hard-core birders (the beige-clad, binocular-wielding, dorky hat and sensible shoe-wearing sort) and the bird photographers.  Apparently the (ahem) REAL birders think the photographers are cretins (and probably vicey versace) because they do bad things to get “the shot.”  “Bad things” might include making bird noises or sneaking up on nests.  REAL birders like to stand there and wait for the magic to show up and land on them.

Anyhoo, I’m just a girl who likes to take pictures of birds (and lots of other stuff).  So, today, I was surfing around in Flickr and I discovered some really weird schitt.  There are gangs and groups and clubs and bunches of people (cults?  Hmmm…) who like to shoot pictures of birds.  Just like me?  Pffft! Yeah, no. Get this:  All of the groups I perused had (ugh) rules.   And, all of the rules were pretty much the same.  They said things like “NO pictures of nests!”  Why?  Well, apparently if you sneak up on a nest, you’re messing with nature or somesuch.  They don’t mention the little fact that a good 90% of the bird photoggers have at least a 500 mm lens so they can be standing in the next county and get the shot.  Negative bird disturbage.  I personally do most of my bird stuff with a 300 mm lens cuz it’s the biggest one I have.  I rely heavily on luck.  I think it’s more exciting that way.

In addition to the “NO nests” business, they invariably also have a rule that says (I can’t say this without rolling my eyes) “NO dead birds.”  Um…okay then.  I’ll make a note of that.  I guess it means I can’t post stuff like this (I shot it out my back window last winter):

Coopers Hawk with (DEAD!!) Mourning Dove

I also noticed several groups with “NO injured or abused birds” amongst their rule pile.  Because… I can’t even speak to that one.  Are there really people out there who abuse birds and then take pictures of them?  Are we that weird??

Long story short, I discovered that if I wanna join one of these bird photogger gangs, I have to strictly adhere to the “Only happy-sappy birdie shots – no reality allowed” rule.  In other words, I have to blow nothing but sunshine and butterflies out of my …er…camera.  Which brings us to another point:  What about the poor insects?  Or the fish?  I saw literally thousands of pictures today showing birds brutalizing butterflies and beetles and fish!  It was horrible!  I was deeply offended.  (I’m totally lying.)  But seriously, what if the bug group folks find out about this??  Or the fish group people??  It could get very ugly very quickly.

I guess I won’t be joining a Flickr bird gang anytime soon.  I’m just too much of a rebel.  I’ll just stay here and write about my travels and sometimes I’ll slide some birds into my blog…just to get it out of my system, y’know?  🙂

Okay.  I feel better now.  🙂

One of the things we loved about Maine is that they do things a little differently.  It’s a bit like our own dear Newfies whose time zone is a half-hour out of whack with the rest of the country.

On our way home, I asked Bob what his favourite thing was about Maine.  “The accent,” he said with a grin.  I should have known.  He’d been speaking with a Maine accent for days.  It was weird for him to do that – I’m usually the one who picks up accents and gets carried away with them.  I’ve honestly never known him to do it.  Here, to give you an idea, he was giggling his fool head off when he bought this:

It’s his most cherished souvenir of our trip.  Sigh.  Oh, and here’s the one he bought for me:

(It’s a lapel pin…)  (eyeroll)

I suppose I didn’t need to be asked why my favourite thing was.  PUFFINS!!!  I think the lighthouses came a close second, though.  There are so many of them and they’re all so interesting.  The thing about Maine that made me laugh, though, was the measurements of various things.  Everywhere I’ve ever been, you buy milk that’s either 1%, 2%, homogenized, or skim.  I thought it to be a universal truth.  Not in Maine:

The milk wasn’t the only thing.  I tried like mad to get a shot of one of the mileage signs for you, but, alas, they blew by too quickly and I couldn’t get one in focus.  You know the ones I mean – they say stuff like “Albuquerque 75 miles” (well, it probably wouldn’t say that in Maine, but you get the idea).   In Maine, the signs say things like “Portland 28 17/43 miles,” or worse, “Main Street 1/10 mile,” which doesn’t really even give your brain time to assimilate this information before you’ve gone past.  My question is this:  Would it not have been simpler, in the case of the Portland sign, for example, to just move the sign back a bit and plant it at, say, a nice round 29 miles?!  Just to keep idiots like me from saying, “huh?!” and then madly trying to convert it to kilometers in our heads?   Or, move that pesky Main Street sign back another 4/10 of a mile to give us an even half-mile warning?  Some of the fractions on these signs were just bizarre!  There must be someone with serious anal issues in charge of the sign-makers union in Maine.  Cripes!

And, since I can’t seem to end without throwing in some photogs…

(The rain in Maine…)

(Lobstah traps)

<—-Bob in the rain…

And, those of you who don’t already know about my bird thing, it’s about time you learned…

(Barn swallow glaring ferociously)

(Belted Kingfisher)

(I was pretty excited about the Kingfisher – I’d never seen one before.  Not nearly as excited as I was about the puffins…or the condors…but still…ha ha!)