I’m delighted to spot the Red-Winged Blackbird. I learned about this beautiful bird on early morning bird tours on the Royal Poinciana Golf Club. Then, I recognized the same beautiful species in flight three times this month in Western Pennsylvania.
Bird watching in Pennsylvania is especially challenging when the leaves are out on the trees. In the morning, you can hear numerous birds singing, but when you look for them, all you can see are hundreds of leaves in the trees.
I’m not complaining, for all this greenery is gorgeous! With the April and May showers, the lawns are as green as the west coast of Ireland and the trees are bushy with fresh green leaves. As I write today, the azaleas are in full bloom, and the rhododendron are up next. Happy Spring!
Sometimes I set out to shoot a sunrise or sunset or some wildlife and I stumble upon a completely different subject. I find it is important to keep my eyes open to serendipitous subjects when I’m out with my camera. Sometimes the humans that at first seem to be “in the way,” become the subject, as they tell their own story.
When I walked onto the Naples beach near the pilings, I was mainly interested in the birds that would be there, and the abstract patterns the pilings make as they stretch away from the shore. I was strolling around to look at the pilings from different angles, when I realized that the grandfather fishing with the little girl made the most interesting image. I purposely underexposed the shot, so the figures would appear in silhouette. This way, any viewer can put themselves in the scene and relate to the bond between grandparent and child, or even father and child.
While I never went fishing with my Dad, I cherish the memories of the times we shared, especially the quiet times like this.
I had no idea how LARGE an eaglet is when it is ready to take flight for the first time, until I visited the Eagle’s Nest near my home in Naples. The “babies” don’t have a white (bald) head or white tail feathers yet, but they are quite large.
Eagle admirers have been watching four nests in the region from Venice, FL to Bonita Beach, Naples and Marco Island. I have planned an outing to the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary tomorrow to observe those eaglets.
The birds have the golf course to themselves early in the morning as the sun rises and begins to dry the dew. This Great Blue Heron was enjoying the tranquility at sunrise at Royal Poinciana Golf Club.
As our birding guide Brian Beckner observed, “there is a Great Blue Heron observing the hazard line” — the red line in the grass. No one wants you to address your golf ball too close to the water’s edge, as there are alligators lurking in there. It’s better to stand a safer distance from the water.
On the shore of Lover’s Key State Park, this tree refuses to go away. Years ago it died and fell over on the beach, exposing its root system to the wind, the rain, the sea and the hot sun, melting into sunset every day, waiting in darkness through the cool nights. The people who wander past hang a shell on its frame and return to find it again, perhaps adding another shell. Dozens of shells, carefully placed, tell a silent tale of all the people who came and cared.
This was not the first time I visited this tree and wondered about its story. Here is my photo from early 2018 also at sunset, just one year before. Comparing the two, you can appreciate the erosion that has gradually diminished the remains.
It was a quiet morning at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Florida until the Anhingas started to squawk. They are usually quiet birds, but I discovered that when they cry out, they can be loud. (Click here to hear one.)
Sometimes called the “snake bird” because its slender neck often curved in an S shape looks like a snake when it sticks out of the water when they swim underwater, and pop its head out to breathe. Since females have brown necks, this one appears to be a male. They are also quite large (wingspan 42″) and are commonly seen in Southwest Florida and the Everglades. Black and white feathers on the mature Anhinga resemble piano keys.
This one had a lot to say. He seemed panicked as though he was putting out a danger call. Perhaps there was a bobcat or a vulture in the area.