Category Archives: Photography

Changing Horizons. Literally.

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. – Christopher McCandless

Last night was gorgeous, clear skies and calm waters all around us.  The lights from the beach establishments reflected beautifully on the strait between the ocean and the bay at the north end of the nature reserve.

clearwater beach at night
The strait beyond the nature reserve as seen from our terrace

And the bay side did not disappoint either. With the lights from the city dressing up its calm waters, the bay looked somewhat more grown-up and sophisticated than the laid back birds’ paradise I’ve often pictured.

Clearwater fl bay at night
The bay side at night as seen from our terrace

Approaching home in the cool night after a walk with Bumble, the lighted palm trees brought a warm feel of the approaching holidays.

xmas lights Sand key fl
Lighted palms bring holiday cheer

That was last night. This morning was a different story. We woke up to an eerie landscape.  Only a builder’s crane stuck up from the fog on the beach side of the strait.

crane in the fog
A crane sticks up from the fog

Then, gradually, we could see the tallest buildings, the nature reserve and the ocean emerge from the fog.

nature reserve  Sand key park in fog
The nature reserve emerges from the fog

I was on my second cup of coffee, when the fog finally drifted on to the ocean like a long snake on the water.

fog on the ocean gulf coast sand key clearwater
The “fog snake” swims out to the ocean

As the salt marsh was clearing from the fog, I had to check on Papa Osprey. He was in the nest, perched on his favorite spot enjoying the first rays coming though the fog. But he had no breakfast. I was happy the visibility was rapidly increasing, PO could finally go fishing.

osprey in the morning fog
Papa Osprey (as seen from our terrace) soaks up the first rays when the fog is lifting

I hope you enjoy your fishing today, wherever it might take you. May your horizons be pleasant and your suns bright.

 

Pre-holiday Sing-out. In the Salt Marsh.

It’s been a busy week for many of us.  But for the birds in the salt marsh it’s been a cool and quiet week. Lots of hunching and huddling, rain and winds early in the week, then cool temperatures throughout.

Walking into the salt marsh the other day, however, I was in for a surprise pre-holiday sing-out. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a beautiful song performed flawlessly by a Northern Mockingbird.

A Northern Mockingbird greets with a beautiful song...
A Northern Mockingbird greets with a beautiful song…

Next, I approached Papa Osprey’s nest. Eyes half closed, and looking like an opera singer, Papa was singing his heart out! It was a long and beautiful song. The chorus repeated twice. I wish I understood the lyrics, but I have a suspicion that he was singing for Mama Osprey. “It’s almost Christmas…Darling come home!” Or something similar.

papa osprey yawns
Papa Osprey sings his heart out!

Nearby, a beautifully dressed Snowy Egret was singing too. The subject of his affection might have been a shy-looking lady on the other side of the water.

snowy egret singing
A Snowy Egret sings for…
snowy egret starts to develop plumes
…his beautiful date.

Little further out an Ibis was serenading…someone. I’m guessing it was one or all of the girls in a tree nearby.

ibis singing
An Ibis serenades…
...the girls in the tree.
…the girls in the tree.

Then I heard another Osprey calling. And singing. It proved to be Papa’s friend Steve. Maybe he was calling for Mrs. Steve, whom I haven’t had the pleasure to meet as yet? Or just getting into holiday spirit? I have no idea, but he was certainly participating in the sing-out wholeheartedly.

Osprey Steve  is singing too
Papa’s friend Steve is singing out too…

A slow warming trend has been promised for the weekend and into next week, so the birds have something to look forward to even before the holidays.

I hope your weekend will be warm  – in the home and in the heart. ❤ Tiny

 

 

Cold Front. Huddling and Hiding.

I came back home last night to the tune of strong winds and a passing cold front. By this morning, the wind had calmed down a bit and the skies were blue again, but it was cool.  I would say cold, but I don’t want to offend anyone. Anyway, I felt the need to get moving again this afternoon so I went out for a walk to check on my feathered friends.

Two Willets and one pair of feet...
Two Willets and one pair of feet…

The beach was quite stormy. And completely empty, apart from a few Willets. When passing the salt marsh,  I found the birds hunching in the grass or hiding in the trees. Even Papa Osprey and his friend Stanley were not perching upright as they usually do. That’s what a cold front does to you.

blue heron CF2
A Blue Heron hunching by the water…
snowy egrets and an ibis huddling CF
Two Snowy Egrets and an Ibis huddling together…
black crowned night heron and juvenile huddling CF
A Black-crowned Night Heron and a juvenile hiding in the bushes…
reddish egret CF
A Reddish Egret hunching in some bushes…
yellow crowned night heron freezing CF
A Yellow-crowned Night Heron hiding in the tree…
A Great Egret huddling in the shelter of some bushes...
A Great Egret huddling in the shelter of some bushes…
A Wood Stork taking shelter in the long grass...
A Wood Stork taking shelter in the long grass…
osprey stanley huddling CF
Stanley perched on a lamp post next to the park…
papa osprey CF
Papa Osprey at his nest…

The birds were clearly feeling the chill. Winter has arrived to Florida. And that means the start of the nesting season for many residents in the salt marsh.

Speaking of nesting, I have to tell you something I discovered later this afternoon. I saw Papa Osprey flying together with another Osprey.  And singing. I took some pictures of them on the run and when I enlarged them, I saw the other Osprey also had a “necklace”. Stanley and Steve don’t have one, but Mama Osprey does. Couldn’t be sure though it was her so I leave it like that. We’ll see soon enough.

I hope your week is going great!

Wordless Wednesday: Little Feet. And how to use them. Frame by Frame.

You can use your little feet to run around among the treasures on the beach...
You can use your little feet to run around picking shiny bargains…
two sanderlings on the beach
…or you can lean on one foot to have a lengthy, relaxed conversation
two royal terns
…or you may stand on one foot to rest the other while learning to know your neighbor
royal tern mom and teen
…or you can run after mommy or someone else important you need to talk to
gull taking off
…or you could use them to get away from sticky situations
...or you can use them as landing gear
…or you might use them as landing gear to ensure a soft landing
northern mocking bird
…or you could park your feet on the top of a tree and sing your heart out
mourning dove
…or you can curve your toes around a safe branch to ensure stability in life
house sparrow
…or you might just sit on your little feet in deep thought – and go nowhere at all.

 

A Short Walk in Search of Fall

Earlier this week, I decided to go look for signs of fall here in my neighborhood.  Even in nature that’s mostly evergreen, there should be some signs of the seasons changing. Other than somewhat cooler temperatures with occasional cold fronts, shorter days and migrating birds.

When I looked carefully, I found some seasonal colors in our garden, on the beach, around the bay and the salt marsh in the park. We don’t see the type of stunning color palettes you have up north, but I found a few small spots of eye-popping color. I hope you like the Florida fall colors I picked up on my walk.

Sending warm thoughts and prayers to those blogging friends who experienced the epic snow storm this week, and are now expecting flooding. Please stay safe. You can read about their struggle on Amy’s blog.

Love always, Tiny

Fall colors in our garden...
Fall colors in our garden…
Fall flowers on the beach...
Fall flowers on the beach…
Changing colors on the beach...
Changing colors on the beach…
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh...
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh…
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Late bloomers...White Bird of Paradise next to the bay...
Late bloomers…White Bird of Paradise next to the bay…
Blooming grass on the bay side...
Blooming grass on the bay side…
A blooming tree in the park...
A blooming tree in the park…
Color popping seed pods in the park...
Eye-popping seed pods in the park…
...and a head popping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash :)
…and a head-bopping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash 🙂