Pelicans: Freedom to Fly

During the Covid-19 pandemic when our mobility is suddenly limited, I think about the enviable mobility of the birds around us. Here in Florida, we often see brown pelicans soaring through the sky and flying low across the Gulf of Mexico. For birds, mobility equals escape from danger, or the slightest perception of danger. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could fly away from the virus that threatens our health right now?

#pelican, #brownpelican, #florida, #beach, #gulf, #naples, #flight, #inflight, #birdphotography, #wildlifephotography
Brown Pelican in flight over the Gulf of Mexico just off the beach in Pelican Bay, Naples, FL. 2020

Pelicans are fun to watch. They fly in V-shaped formations with numbers ranging from 3 to 20 or more. They are silent, and they never bother people, given us the impression that they are gentle creatures.

#brownpelicans, #pelican, #birdphotography, #wildlifephotography, #formation,#flight, #birdsinflight, #sky, #florida, #naples
Brown Pelicans flying in formation, as seen from the beach below. Naples, FL. 2020

When they forage for fish, they fly close to the surface of the water and then make a steep climb and nosedive to stun the fish with their beaks. Then, they scoop up the fish and a gallon or more of water with their stretchy pouch. Keep watching to see them tip up the beak and swallow the fish whole.

“Feed me, Mama!”

Three young osprey were chirping up a storm, while Mama took a bath in nearby tidal waters and then dried her feathers while perched atop a nearby tree. Finally, Mama Osprey came to the rescue and landed on the nest.

#osprey, #nest, #babies, #cry, #chirp, #hungry, #pelicanbay, #naples, #florida, #wildlife, #birds, #nature
Mother osprey answers the hunger cries of her three babies, landing on the nest at Pelican Bay’s South Beach in Naples, Florida.

With a shutter speed of 1/1000 second, my Nikon D800 froze the action as Mama Osprey landed on her young.

Naples Sunset

Most of us consider it obvious that the sun sets every night. It comes with life on a rotating planet. But how many of us realize what an extraordinary gift it is to witness the sunset?   On the west coast of Florida, the foreground is pretty special too.

#sunset, #naples, #florida, #ocean, #gulf, #waves
The sunset over the Gulf in Naples, Florida.

Sleepy Screech Owl

This little owl and I have one thing in common: we both like to sleep in. He lives in a hollow of a tree trunk in a south Florida swamp. When beach goers walk by on a nearby boardwalk and make lots of noise saying, “Is the owl there? I don’t see him. OH THERE HE IS!” he just sleeps right through it.

#owl, #naples, #florida, #pelicanbay, #sleepy, #naptime, #wildlife, #nature
Well camouflaged Eastern Screech Owl taking a late morning nap.

Clouds: Best supporting actor

Sunset is the main event. At 6:12pm, scores of us have a drink in hand, a friend nearby and a sense of anticipation. The big orange ball is dropping fast. Will there be a green flash?

But zoom your lens back to a wide angle of 24mm, focus on the sky, and you will notice the unique designs the clouds are making. Did anyone else notice? Looking through the lens with two Singh Ray filters holding back the exposure on the sky, you can see a painterly view of the evening sky over the Gulf of Mexico on February 3, a scene worth remembering.

#clouds, #sunset, #Florida, #nikon, #D800, #singhray, #painterly
While sunset gets all the credit, let’s not forget to applaud the clouds, best supporting actors.