Welcome to my mobile Blog which features pictures of wildlife and landscapes I’ve taken and the stories about the photo or the capturing of the pictures. Check it out on your iPad or phone it works great on all devices! You will need to click “Continue Reading” below the story snip to see the photos on your phone.
White birds with long white feathers have been admired for hundreds of years. In the mid to late 1800s these beautiful white birds were hunted for their feathers to adorn the ladies’ hats in the North East. These bird feathers were so "in style" that the desire to have these beautiful white feathers almost caused the total extinction of several beautiful bird species.
Once numbering in the millions across the southern states their numbers were reduced into the thousands in just a few short years. Historians of the era record phrases like "trees full of white beauty" "air filled with white and pink" "to numerous to even count" as they tell the story of the pre-harvest era. Audubon himself reported that the Everglades was one of the most beautiful places on earth because of the sheer amount of bird life he saw. He was truly inspired by the Everglades and it’s beautiful birds.
Before the mid 1800s the Everglades stretched from Lake Kissimmee, just below Orlando and Disney world, all the way to South Bay, the tip of Florida. There were a few thousand people living in that very harsh environment, Seminole Indians and some settlers. Fast forward 150 years and now you will find almost 10 million people inhabiting what was virtually a scary wetland full of big alligators, American Crocodiles, plenty of marsh from ankle to waist depth, and some impressively scary snakes.
From a human point of view we’ve had some pretty good success in taming the land, making it livable for us. We have taken once wet and muddy soil and transformed it into wonderful places to live, produce food, and enjoy outdoor entertainment. From a human perspective we’ve succeeded. From the birds and other wildlife point of view they have been decimated. No longer is the sky filled with white and pink and normally green trees aren’t white with roosting avian in the evening.
Like John Audubon in the early 1800s many photographers around the world capture pictures like this because we all have this uneasy feeling that in 150 years this is all that will remain of the once beautiful wildlife this planet once enjoyed. We want the future to remember.
I love it when there is pink in the sky. The Roseate Spoonbill is such an unusual bird that you have to look at it whenever it’s around. In the evening as the sun sets they like to move from tree to tree, looking for a suitable spot to spend the night.
At this time of the year in South Florida the breeding season is almost over for this round, the chicks have fledged and parents are checking out new places to see and for some exercise and new food sources.
This "Spoonie" flew in and landed in the tree top over a rookery below. He chased off a Great Egret and scared a dozen Ibis chicks preening new white feathers and sleeping. They are large and beautiful birds, one you can’t ignore when present.
I was scanning through the pictures that I shot this weekend at Green Cay Wetland Park in Boynton Beach, Fl when I stopped at this one.
Every once-in-a-while I see a picture on my media chip and wonder “Gee, who took that picture, it’s really nice?” It hit me like a ton of bricks that the photographer is me.
This Great Egret shot is pretty awesome. I will be doing a little cleanup work on the original but overall the shot does not need much before it’s printed.
This one is going on my wall.
This is a Great American Egret welcoming you to Green Cay Wetland Park.
I’ve done some crazy things to get photos but this may be the craziest thing I’ve done in a long time.
Recently Jo, my wife, and I were walking in Loxahatchee wildlife management area close to where we live in Palm Beach, Florida when we came upon this 8 foot ‘gator sunning herself on the path. Walking around her was not a good option at the time so the next best thing was to stop and take pictures of this willing ancient-looking model. Normally I don’t care too much for Alligators since we see so many in our excursions but today is different.
For some strange reason I decided to lay on the ground close to the beast, about 5 feet or so, well within her tail range. I was careful and quiet not to disturb her. I was able to take some pretty unique shots “face on” through the grass.
Before I could get back up off the ground a group of teen age kids came up and was standing at my feet. In hindsight they were a little too close too but, hey, I was sticking out there another six feet between them and Alice, even they knew the scaly beast would get me first. The kids were quiet, thank God!
As I finished taking pictures and started to stand up to move back, the Alligator blinked, then took one lunge forward and jumped right past me into the pond just to my left. One leap and she was almost airborne and gone, faster than you could blink an eye.
She jumped at least her entire body length in one leap, from a stand-still directly into the pond next to us. Needless to say, that it impressed the kids as they watched, and me too for that matter.
My plan for the pictures is to print and frame the head and tail shots in 16 x 20, then hang the head on the wall far left over the couch and the tail far to the right. In the center we’ll have a floral display so it will look like one, very long Alligator hanging on the wall.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is found on the east side of the US from Main through Florida, from the Atlantic to the Midwest throughout the year. In South Florida I hear these birds almost every time I walk outside and especially when Jo, my wife, and I are exploring the wetland or urban park areas of Central and Southern Florida.
Last weekend we were exploring Tree Tops Park near Davie Florida. We haven’t been to this area much in the past 20 years so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. The park itself is surrounded by known wildlife areas and beautiful trees plus it’s an equestrian park with many paths so we expected to have a pretty good birding experience.
I don’t know if it was the time of year or time of day but an hour-long stroll through the park and across the concrete boardwalk didn’t produce many birds to photograph.
I don’t like to leave an area without finding some avian beauty to capture on film, so to speak and I wasn’t disappointed that day either because from above I heard the warming call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.
It took just a few seconds to find him on a Palm Tree. His beautiful red-head glowed like a beacon in the bright afternoon South Florida sun caught my attention and the camera started clicking almost without my assistance.
This fellow posed for 20 or 30 pictures as he searched for bugs in the hole where he clung.
It’s great to have such beauty around you. Train yourself to stop for a moment and listen. When you hear, search. Then enjoy what you find. Nature is awesome. Enjoy it. Protect it. Help it.
If you would like to see and hear more about the Red-bellied Woodpecker click to All About Birds page where you can even hear their call.
Have a great weekend and happy bird watching this spring.
Snakes Alive, we often meet these critters in the wild while photographing birds, Alligators and Otters. Lovely creatures just a bit scary to unexpectedly come face-to-face with.
This weekend, just a few feet from where I was photographing an Otter and 2 pups I looked up to see this snake coiled in the reeds watching the action from above.
While he isn’t poisonous his bite would hurt not to mention disturb the Otter photo session.
Very watchful this herd moves across the prairie field and through the Orange grove.
The air is cool, the sun is setting and the warm glow offers a surreal like image of the passing deer as they carefully skitter past my position.