Hello There! Wanna See Some Birds?

What do you do when you stumble right into a birder’s paradise with a 50mm lens and both your birding lenses are over 200 miles away? Simple! You take pictures with the lens you happen to have on your camera. This happened to me recently when I was visiting my grandies and their parents in North Florida. On that Saturday morning, my 8 years old granddaughter proposed that we’d go to visit the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine. Hmm. I had seen lots of alligators in Everglades and crocodiles in Africa, but thought we’d have a nice time together watching the alligators. So it was a “yes” from me. Little did I know that we would walk into a zoological park with hundreds of wild birds nesting at its outskirts.

bird trees St Augustine UD160Everywhere I looked, I saw trees heavy with numerous nests, babies, juveniles and their parents, some still incubating. I was a kid in the candy store.

birds and babies St Augustine UD160The air traffic was lively with birds still bringing in additional nesting materials.

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And then there were mothers and babies, little chicks and big chicks…some of them luckily a little closer to the path we were walking.

snowy egrets babies ud160

roseate spoonbill with babies ud160

Roseate spoonbill feeds baby ud160

snowy egret mom and baby ud160

young roseate spoonbills ud160And some colorful scenes of residents resolving differences, which is to be expected in such a tightly built neighborhood.

tricolored heron chases a little blue heron ud160Some incubating moms and protective dads ready to fight off any intruders.

snowy egret nesting ud160And a few birds whom I don’t see very often. Like this Cattle Egret inspecting her eggs.

nesting cattle egret ud160And others, who I usually see at the salt marsh…

tricolored heron UD160

adult roseate spoonbill ud160I could have stayed there for days…if I’d had my birding lenses and a tripod. We moved on and there were some exotic birds to see too, like this Scarlet Macaw from South America..scarlet macaw st augustine ud160

the girls ud160…a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo from Australia…

suphur-crested Cockatoo ud160…and the Black Crowned Cranes from Africa. Lots of wonder for the girls, including this girl.

black crowned crane ud160Surprise, surprise…this Alligator Farm also housed alligators and crocodiles of all shapes and sizes. Here just one lazy exemplar enjoying the midday sun.

alligator 2 ud160And there were caravans of ducks and turtles, small and big.

ducks in A F UD160

turtle caravan UD160

a big turtle ud160We thoroughly enjoyed the park, particularly the nesting colonies. And I promised my self never to leave home without one of my long lenses. You never know where the birds might find you.

nesting birds st augustine 16x9 ud160Speaking of home, we had some business to do earlier this week. My photo assistant in particular. We received 21 proposals for names for the osprey chick and the lottery had to be arranged. But it wasn’t the same procedure as last year. On Tuesday night, in the middle of writing a legal report, I decided it was time to have some fun. The names were printed and cut into long strips, suitable for wrapping around exactly 21 yummy treats.

names ud160

treats ud160While I was doing this at my laptop, Dylan parked himself right next to my chair and paid close attention.

Dylan follows the process us160Then I placed the ‘name-wrappped’ treats in Dylan’s toy basket which was doing service as the ‘hat’. As you can see, the names were on the inside so Dylan wouldn’t be able to read them. Just when I was placing them in the ‘hat’ he rushed close, seemingly ready to grab all 21 pieces. But I shouted “not yet” and he dutifully backed off…

treats in the toy basket ud160…for at least one full hour. He wouldn’t touch the treats. When I moved them closer, even put them under his nose and asked him to go ahead, he moved further away.

Dylan and the treat basket 2 ud160He just looked at me as in saying make up your mind mom. We circled around my office for 20 minutes. He wouldn’t pick a treat. Finally I gave up and placed them on his ‘mattress pad’ and put them on the floor …

Dylan does not want treats ud160…he backed further away. Whatever I said or how much I pleaded didn’t matter, he wouldn’t touch the treats. I moved the pad with the treats into the living room. Same story. I was about to give up and pronounce the Osprey chick “Nameless”. But that didn’t sound right. So I poured the ‘name treats’ into my hand and asked him to pick one. I had my camera in the other hand (sorry for the shaky pictures) and finally he came forward…

Dylan picks the winner UD160…and picked one!

Dylan picks the winning name ud160I was going to remove the ‘name ribbon’ from his mouth, but he did that very aptly himself. And I could see Jackie P. at the end of the ribbon when it landed on the rug. When he retreated, the name of the new Osprey girl came in full view: Bubbette by Jackie P. from To Breathe is to Write!

jackies ticket ud160

the winning ticket ud160Congrats to you, dear Jackie! The beach towel will be on its way next week. I am sure it will arrive in time for summer weather in Canada. I love that whimsical name. This osprey girl is very energetic and bubbly πŸ™‚ So… let me present to you Miss Bubbette as captured on Wednesday night on our evening walk. Both her parents were in the nest with her…

Bubbette with parents UD160…but she wasn’t shy to do her flying exercises. Sandy ducked as her wings swept back and forth right above her head. You go girl!

Bubbette wingersizes UD160This weekend my assistant and I will start our fledging watch. We’ll bring you the breaking news as soon as she is airborne. Sorry for the oversized post and thanks for visiting. Miss Bubbette and the rest of us wish you a wonderful weekend.


72 thoughts on “Hello There! Wanna See Some Birds?”

    1. Thank you Carrie! Happy you enjoyed the birds. I just hope Bubbette doesn’t fledge today…it’s rainy and we cannot go take pictures. I’ve asked her to wait until the weather improves πŸ™‚

  1. Your posts always delight me! This one didn’t disappoint! How wonderful to see all the those birds, though a crocodile would scare me in the wild. Talk about will power! Dylan probably knows he will never go without treats. Me on the other hand, would be salivating as you tied each name (well, that is if they were chocolate chip cookies without the chips, or a biscotti)! I love the name for the new osprey baby! Have a wonderful weekend Helen! Koko πŸ™‚

    1. So nice to ‘see’ you, dear Koko! I hope you are doing great. That park was a complete surprise, what a delight to visit with my grandies. I have never seen Dylan so disciplined. It was truly funny that he believed it was not OK to touch the treats…he was licking his lips and looking at me, but backed off from the treats until I offered them from my hand πŸ˜€
      Have a wonderful week ahead, my friend.

  2. Yay! I won and so did Bubbette! Thank you and Dylan so much. I’m sure Sam and I will enjoy the new towel! She just looks like a Bubbette to me with a fun personality. πŸ™‚ ❀ The other pictures of the birds were wonderful. You are a great picture taker even if you didn't have your favorite lenses. πŸ™‚

    1. Congrats to you, my fiend ❀ Bubbette is such a fun name for this osprey girl. I've asked her to wait with fledging until the weather improves (it's raining!) so that we can go and get pictures πŸ™‚ The towel has been made and is on its way here now, I will get it coming your way later this week. Dylan and I hope that you & Sam will enjoy it this summer! Hugs!

    1. Oh, I had to crop these pictures heavily, but the lens is super good (1.8) and I still got some pictures πŸ™‚ I saw “my” 100-400 mm lens on many cameras on tripods there and wondered what I was thinking when I left mine at home. Thanks Hien.

  3. You have rewarded for being so generous to your granddaughter. What a find this veritable bird sanctuary! Obviously you managed well with the camera on hand, Tiny!

    1. Thank you Peter! I am so happy we all agreed to go there…that was a wonderful outing. I had to crop my pictures very heavily, but happy I got some.

  4. Little by little everything falls in place and soon she’ll be flying. Isn’t this the way life is?
    Your photos are very nice Tiny! My good luck wishes to Bubbette on her maiden flight. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you my friend! I have asked Bubbette to wait a bit before fledging…it’s very rainy here and we cannot go out to take pictures today. Have a wonderful week, H.J. πŸ™‚

    1. Those roseate babies were so adorable with their light pink feathers and short bills πŸ™‚ Bubbette is exercising her wings even today when it’s raining…hopefully she waits for the sun to shine before taking flight so we can take pictures. Thank you val ❀

  5. I bet you were crying over than birding lens back home. Just like I cried over my camera back home when I visited Atlanta. But I have to say you did a fabulous job with what you had on hand. I especially love the pic of the egret parents with the pink on its nose. Beautiful shot! Poor Dylan. I’m glad he finally came through!!!

    1. Oh yes! I cried over that lens! Particularly when seeing “my” lens on many cameras there. I don’t know why I thought I’d just take some portraits of the girls…I drove and could easily have brought even two long lenses. Oh well. Luckily I got a few heavily cropped pictures of these adorable chicks. I’ve never seen Dylan exercising such restraint πŸ™‚

  6. Despite not having your long lens, you were still able to capture stunning pictures of the birds in St Augustine! What a fun day you must have had! Thank you for taking us along.
    Good name choice Dylan. Bubbette …I love it!

    1. Thanks Kathy! I had to crop my pictures heavily, but luckily that lens is very good so I got some pictures anyway. That was one of my best bird watching trips ever. The girls loved to see all those babies as well. Bubbette is exercising a lot today, but I asked her to wait a bit…until the rain stops and we can go out to get some pictures πŸ™‚

    1. Happy you came along for this ‘bird outing’ Susan. Some of the pictures came out quite well despite having to crop them heavily. The girls also enjoyed seeing so many bird ‘babies’.

    1. The impromptu visit to see the alligators with the girls did turn out to be one of my best bird watching outings! Bubbette is ‘wingersizing’ a lot even today when it’s raining…I hope she waits with fledging until we can go out and get some pictures πŸ™‚ Thanks Karen ❀

  7. Lovely photos at the Alligator Farm, how awesome to see all the nests and chicks! I really love the Roseate Spoonbill chick, first I’ve seen and so adorable, and the smiling RS parent. Well, heck, all the chicks are adorable!

    And hello, Bubbette! πŸ™‚ Great name, best to her as she grows healthier and learns to take care of herself in the big, big world. Happy flight day, Bubbette!

    1. You would have enjoyed that park, Donna! So many chicks of varying ages there…I was wondering why I was thinking that I’d only take some pictures of the girls on this trip…I drove there and could have brought all my lenses. Oh well, wiser next time πŸ™‚ I’m hoping Bubbette waits for a couple of days before fledging as it is very rainy here and no way we can go out to the park. Thanks Donna.

    1. Thank you Beth. It is a great park, despite the name. A visit this time of the year, early to mid May, will be the best if you want to see all these bird babies. It was a real treat!

    1. Glad you came to the Alligator Farm (what a misleading name) with us, Nancy! Dylan both made me smile and tried my patience…but all was well as the end result was a fun name πŸ™‚

  8. What a bonus to see so many birds Helen, the photographs are lovely! Dylan looks as if he thought he was not allowed to touch the treats ever – please give him a big pat from us and a wonderful weekend to you both! πŸ€—πŸ’– xxx

    1. That outing was a pleasant surprise and a real treat! Happy you came along, Xenia. Dylan was very funny…teaching me not to say “no” and then change my mind. His expression when I put the treats on his mattress, says it all πŸ™‚ Our weekend is rainy…Dylan misses his usual long walks and I’m hoping Bubbette will not choose to fledge when we cannot be there. I hope you weekend is beautiful and sunny ❀

      1. Thank you Helen, we had a sunny weekend here and our local osprey E.J. left her eggs in the sunshine to catch her own fish. Her partner George has only been bringing her the odd scrap and it is possible he is feeding another female on a nest two miles away. After E.J. returned to the nest she gave George the cold shoulder. Bubette is so lucky to have a devoted father! We wish you and Dylan a wonderful new week! πŸ€—πŸ’– xxx

    1. The birds in St. Augustine were a real treat. Dylan was too funny when he was supposed to pick the name…taught me not to say “no” and then change my mind. Happy Sunday!

  9. Sweet Tiny I am in awe of these pictures…over the moon fabulous! Love the pictures of Dylan. He picked a great name for the osprey baby girl. Hugs and nose kisses for you both from me and mine.

    1. Thank you, dear Mags, for coming along on our ‘surprise’ birds watching outing! Dylan was so funny…he didn’t like that I changed my mind and didn’t rust he could take a treat until I offered them to him from my hand. A lesson right there πŸ™‚ Many hugs!

  10. Bubbette….what a cute name for the baby.
    Great job, Dylan!
    Helen the photos are spectacular and I love seeing you and the girls out on another great adventure. Thanks for sharing the fun with all of us!

    1. That was a fun outing…and a complete surprise to me. I expected to see lots of alligators and nothing else. Dylan’s restraint in picking a treat was also a surprise πŸ™‚ As you know, he’s not shy asking for treats. I hope the weather improves so that we don’t miss Bubbette’s first flight!

  11. The Alligator Farm is bird-watchers paradise Helen. So glad you got there. Your short lens did a great job! And loved your naming ritualβ€”SO fun!

    1. I had no idea what was waiting for me at the Alligator Farm…and had left home without my long lenses because I thought I’d just take pics of the girls. Luckily my 50 mm lens is of high quality (1.8) so I could crop the pictures heavily. Wiser next time. Dylan was so funny when he was supposed to pick a treat…and I got an almost 2 hour break from work πŸ™‚

  12. Well this post is jammed full of excitement. Whether or not you had the correct lens that alligator farm which appears far more similar to a bird sanctuary was capture beautifully. It seems like bird watchers heaven but do tell the ducks to get out of the water when the gators are around!
    I think it’s hilarious that Dylan did not want the responsibility of choosing a name. Your description had me in stitches. Congrats to Jackie!

    1. Thank you for coming along, Sue. That park is truly a treasure, there were so many bird watchers/photographers…with ‘my’ lens on their cameras. I hope we can go there next year this time again so I can capture the many babies that were out of reach this time. Luckily the ducks had their own streams to swim in, safe from the alligators πŸ™‚ I had so much fun with Dylan who taught me not to say “no” and then try to get him to believe it was okay to pick a treat. He got two more eventually. I love the fun name he picked…and Bubbette is now fledging any day. I just hope it’s not today when it’s raining.

  13. Beautiful images, Helen, and the narration, a delight; I am grinning from ear to ear!
    I couldn’t help but think of the flocks of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos living in my little corner of the world. Thankfully, though, they love the very tall trees, which is their natural habitat. They can be extremely noisy; so I’m rather pleased the ‘tall trees’ are quite a distance away. It is lovely, though, to see them. They are a very social creature and are very intelligent, making wonderful pets for those so inclined. &
    What a wonderful boy is Mr. D. Although a shaky start he produced the goods. Well done to him and JackieP.
    Lots of Love to you both πŸ™‚

    1. I am happy this oversized post brought a smile, dear Carolyn πŸ™‚ This Cockatoo was all alone from what I could see, but very interested in people. I can easily see it is very social. I know that the birds in the ‘parrot’ clan tend to be noisy, but this one was very quiet…probably because s/he had nobody to chat with. I’m sure Dylan wanted to teach me a lesson – say what you mean and don’t change your mind πŸ™‚ The name he picked was really fit for the osprey girl. Bubbette is wingersizing a lot today, but I hope she waits until the rains stop and we can go out to see her fledge. Much love and hugs XXX

  14. Helen, a feast of birds for us to view – these are glorious and I’m just slightly kicking myself! I never read about the birds (or alligator park)whilst up in st. Augustine… this looks amazing!

    Yeah, welcome Miss Bubette – a terrific name. I had to laugh at Dylan and his reluctance to pick a treat but got there in the end! Happy Photographering!

    1. Thanks Annika! I wish you’d known about this place when you were here. This time of the year it is a heaven for bird watchers, but the name of the park just alludes to alligators…so I also had no idea how nice a place this was. I laughed at Dylan many time during the ‘naming lottery’, but he tried my patience too πŸ™‚ Finally he chose only one treat and that was a very fitting and fun name for the chick. Have a great week ahead…we’ll be on ‘fledge watch’.

  15. Bubette, what a beautiful name, and what a glorious assortment of birds to happen upon, making an already wonderful day even better!

    1. I love the name Bubbette too. She is almost ready to take flight, but I hope she waits until the weather is better (it’s raining!!) so that we can go out and see it.

    1. Yes, it was an educational outing for the girls. The older one wondered how I could know all these birds πŸ™‚ She knows many of them too already.

  16. What a lovely day, with lovelier photos to boot! πŸ™‚ I’m sorry for the delay with comments, but I am catching up on all of my favourite posts. Hope you are doing well, my friend.

    1. So nice to hear from you, Takami! I hope you are well. I had a great time with my grandies…and all the birds πŸ™‚ Hugs from Dylan and me.

  17. This series of photos goes to show that it’s better to photograph with whatever you have available than not taking any photos because you didn’t bring the right kind of equipment. All beautiful images. What a zoological park, indeed.

    1. Thank you Otto. I still don’t know why I was thinking I’d only take portraits during this visit, I could easily have put my whole lens backpack in my car. But, as you say, better something than nothing πŸ™‚ That park was wonderful!

  18. I’m very sorry I missed my chance at a naming! I dropped off the blogosphere for a while. Summer is a much more distracting season as it is finally warm enough to be outside in Michigan! What a funny tale of a reluctant pup with naming treats to choose from!

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