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.
Everywhere 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.
The air traffic was lively with birds still bringing in additional nesting materials.
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.
And some colorful scenes of residents resolving differences, which is to be expected in such a tightly built neighborhood.
Some incubating moms and protective dads ready to fight off any intruders.
And a few birds whom I don’t see very often. Like this Cattle Egret inspecting her eggs.
And others, who I usually see at the salt marsh…
I 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..
…a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo from Australia…
…and the Black Crowned Cranes from Africa. Lots of wonder for the girls, including this girl.
Surprise, surprise…this Alligator Farm also housed alligators and crocodiles of all shapes and sizes. Here just one lazy exemplar enjoying the midday sun.
And there were caravans of ducks and turtles, small and big.
We 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.
Speaking 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.
While I was doing this at my laptop, Dylan parked himself right next to my chair and paid close attention.
Then 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…
…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.
He 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 …
…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…
…and picked one!
I 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!
Congrats 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 🙂 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…
…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!
This 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.