But, I’ve still been shooting. Here are a few pictures from the last few months.
A fish kill a few months ago brought out the vultures to clean up. You usually see them up high. This time it was easy to catch them in flight.
A trip to Ollies Pond was really fruitful. I caught a juvenile Little Blue Heron in the rushes for a closeup. You can tell it from the Snowy Egrets by it’s green/yellow legs.
Great Blue Herons were nesting on the other side of the pond. The 200-500mm reached across for a shot I could crop to a useful size.
And one of them was flying back and forth looking for nesting materials.
Ollies suffered greatly from drought and it is in the process of recovery. A lot of marsh plants grew on the rich bottom when it was exposed. A bit of rain refilled the pond and they died off. This is leaving a lot of rotting material to enrich the bottom again but it’s a bit ugly now. Still good for the Moorhens who will help clean it up.
A pair of male Grackles were making blustering mating displays for the local ladies.
And a warbler was perched on a dead stalk looking quite dapper.
I also found an Eagle’s nest near a local church. I call this one ruffled feathers.
‘Til we meet again.
I’ve gotten an opportunity to go to Alaska, not a photo job but with enough time to take a few shots as we go along. Yesterday I was in Glacier Bay on an absolutely unbelievably clear day. It started out a bit cloudy but cleared when we were actually in the bay.
Here was sunrise as we approached the Icy Straits.
There was relatively heavy sea fog as the sun rose. We followed another ship (Princess Line) into the fog.
That ship actually disappeared into the low fog ahead of it and we followed a mile or two behind. As we passed the strait though the fog lifted to a clear blue sky. This is Margerie Glacier the mountains behind it are called the Fairweather Range. Mount Fairweather is over 15,000 feet high.
Hairstreaks are very small butterflies very quick and flitty. The Fulvous Hairstreak (Electrostrymon angelia) isn’t one of the more colorful but still interesting. I found this one on some Cilantro in our garden that was going to seed. The flowers are very tiny.
They are tricky too. Those colorful bits and extensions on the back of the wings serve as decoys to trick predators. While it is feeding the wings are alternating up and down. The appendages actually look more active than the front of the butterfly. As you can see, the wings extend well beyond the body so, it a bird or anole tries to catch it from the head all it gets is a bit of the wing. The colors are very similar to the front too. Sort of a Pushmipullyu of the butterfly world.
A nice little find in a walk around the yard.
I stopped by Ollies Pond for about an hour on the 21st. Like most small bodies of water here in SW Florida the drought had diminished the size and made it easier for fishing birds to get to their dinner. This also means that some of the bigger fish that stayed in the deeper water and didn’t get taken are now available. That’s probably a good thing for raptors like Ospreys and Eagles but it’s tougher on the birds that swallow their prey whole.
There are about 100 or so White Pelicans who have taken to the pond. They tend to feed in rafts with their feet herding the fish around until someone catches one. Once they make a catch, they move away to let others feed.
There were two of these working on the pond and as someone got their fish they moved off as an individual and would eventually join one of the rafts again. It didn’t seem to matter which there was a lot of transfer between rafts.
Now and again a large fish managed to get caught by one of the pelicans. The two I saw looked to me like Tilapia. The first was really large and the Pelican was having a lot of difficulty with it. It was actually damaging the pouch with it’s sharp spined fins and biting. It moved away before I actually saw it swallowed.
Another one had found a slightly smaller fish and eventually managed to get it down. You can see the comparison of the neck in the second image here.
Every now and again you capture a shot that just looks a bit odd. The guy here on the saddle bronc has just finished a full ride of 8 seconds. But even with the horse still bucking he looks calm, cool, and collected. It looks like he’s engaged in a conversation with the pickup crew right in front of the ice cream stand.
As you can see in the next picture though, this was a planned maneuver to block the horse and allow him to get off safely.
Pretty cool maneuver and one that takes excellent horsemanship on everybody’s part to pull off and make look easy.
Another few shots from the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo. This time it’s a Barrel Racer rounding one of the barrels. When I shoot action like this I shoot at about 3 frames per second. That’s pretty slow by some photographers standards and my cameras will shoot faster but that also produces a lot more shots to go through to select those you want to present or preserve. These four shots took 1 second to complete. The first shot at zero 16:57:14 by the time stamp and the last at 16:57:15.
If you think this is quick for one second the lady in the pink shirt is one of the pro riders and gets around the whole arena making three barrel turns in less than 20 seconds.
These guys may dress a little funny and look like clowns but it’s really a serious business that requires all the skill and athleticism or the riders. Here are a couple of close shots of them in action from the 89th Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo being held this weekend at the Heard St. Arena. It will be the last one there as it is moving to the new Mosaic Arena next year.