Posted on September 30, 2021
We have had so much rain that getting out to walk is challenging when you work most of the week. I did get out one Friday in the middle of the day. The wetlands was hot and so humid. However, I was predominantly photographing dragonfly and that takes a lot of patience. Aside from the dragonfly I got to see some interesting critters along the way. I was having some frustrations along the way. My camera needs a service. The dial is not working properly. I hate the thought of having to send it off to Canon, especially now when I am not sure when I will get it back.
The walk is 2 miles long and is all along a boardwalk. The plus of that is you are not at the same level as the gator but you can get relatively up close to them. A zoom lens helps to get it a lot closer without actually being any closer lol.
So dragonfly were on my agenda today. I find them amazing. If you want to see more of the dragonfly I managed to photograph click here.
I always enjoy the Comorant, and both wetlands have at least one that is super friendly. It is not afraid of humans and I was able to get quite close to it.
I am not sure who named this bird but the Green Heron really does not have any green on it. This one popped up on the boardwalk railing as I was taking the Comorant. Of course birds have no shame, and I managed to photograph the poop shoot. Post that he flapped all the water off it’s wings and hung out for a while. I felt like today was angry Green Heron day, and you will see a few more images a bit later.
This is a female Anhinga. They fish for their food, and then once they have finished they will fly to the closest dry spot and they spread their wings and wait for them to dry. The way I understand it, they cannot fly to far with wet wings. I am always in awe of creation and how each wing interlocks with each other to enable a bird to fly. The male of course is far more interesting with white and black wings.
I always love to see an Iguana. This one was hiding out but if you look close at the body you will see signs of orange. To me they are so impressive. To others they are invasive.
A Glossy Ibis is fantastic to see when the sun is reflecting off it’s wings. Todays pic you get a little sense of it but not enough.
Every so often there is a covered walkway and a respite from the heat. If you look up there is a good chance you will find tiny little birds flitting through the trees. They are too fast for this lens. It seems like the lens takes forever to focus on the bird and by the time it does, the bird has flown off.
It’s in the walkways that I love to capture my favorite style of images. There were no leaves along the boardwalk but there were these pine fronds.
The White Ibis is chilling in my favorite tree. It is a great resting place for many birds and in the past I have managed to capture some Roseate Spoonbill in this tree.
I spotted this little Green Heron and took the top pic, then turned away to photograph dragonfly. When I turned back it was stalking across the water with this interesting Mohawk. Look like there is a new barber in town.
Tri-colored Herons are fun, and they normally fly around in pairs, especially the juveniles. There were 3 of them, this one on the railing and 2 in the water. It is almost as if they play tag.
I am sure you are wondering what this is. It’s not a gator. There was an Anhinga fishing in the water. As I took the shot, it dived down again to fish, and this is all I got of the bird.
Last but not least, I spotted this pensive looking Anhinga drying out in a tree as I was getting ready to leave the part. It really spoke to me. It looks like a juvenile based on the color of it’s feathers.
Thanks for joining me today on my walk. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and we are dealing with this right now. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home in February after his melanoma Stage 4 diagnosis. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it. While the medication has shown some positive signs of working on reducing the melanoma, we have to be aware that melanoma is very unpredictable and you honestly need to take care.
Thank you for joining me this month. This is a circle blog so take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Beth of Beth Williams Photo Blog is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.
Posted on September 27, 2021
“A red dragonfly hovers above a backwater of the stream, it’s wings moving so fast that they eye sees not wings in movement, but a probability distribution of where the wings might be, like electron orbitals; a quantum-mechanical effect that maybe explains why the insect can apparently teleport from one place to another, disappearing from one point and reappearing a couple of meters away, without seeming to pass through the space in-between. There sure is a lot of bright stuff in the jungle. Randy figures that, in the natural world, anything that is colored so brightly my be some kind of serious evolutionary badass ~ Neal Stephenson
Dragonflies fascinate me. They are so incredibly well created. Their body parts interwoven so beautifully right down to the fine hairs on their legs. Their wings are like silk and paper thin. Their eyes bulbous and alert, moving quickly to track what you are doing if you are close enough to them.
But they are a bit of a challenge to photograph. Dragonflies are busy critters, that do not stop for too long. When you are shooting in manual, very often they will fly off before your settings are correct. However, one thing I have learned about dragonfly is that they tend to go back to the same spot they took off from. So with a bit of patience and a willingness to give up 2 hours of my time in the midday sun, I managed to capture some of them on my walk around the wetlands.
Something interesting that I read is that a good percentage of the dragonflies life is that of an aquatic lava. The live in the water as they grow, then eventually pull themselves out of the water onto a branch where they apparently molt to become an adult dragonfly.
In some cases the male and female dragonfly look the same, but the male dragonfly appears brighter than the female dragonfly. In other cases, like the Scarlet Skimmer, the female is a dull brownish color while the male is bright red.
Apparently males dragonfly have 3 appendages with which to grab the female dragonfly, I am presuming in mating season. I can’t say that I have ever seen that. The female appears to be attached by the head to the male. Damselfly are the same.(See the last image) The damselfly on the top is the male and at the anterior of the abdomen you will find the copulatory organs. The male clasps the female on the top of the head and the female bends her abdomen up to the males copulatory organs. By the male bending its abdomen the sperm is forced to the copulatory organs. And there you have it, the creation of new dragonfly larva. Most eggs are laid in mud or water.
Another interesting fact that I read, is that dragonflies are plagued by mites both in larva form and in full dragonfly form. The larva suck the blood of the dragonfly. Gnats are also blood sucking creatures that attach themselves to the wings of the dragonfly.
Dragonflies can travel up to 30 miles per hour. Dragonflies can change directions suddenly, going up, down, forward, backward or left and right.
Lastly, Dragonflies are predators, which is what I really love about them. They eat mosquito’s and flies, and when you live on the edge of the Everglades you have plenty of both. I am very happy when I see dragonfly in my garden.
“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are, and how magical are the dragonflies” ~ Ama HVannairachchy
Thank you for joining me this month. I love to get out and walk in the wetlands, and seeing the dragonfly really make my day.
Thank you for joining me for another 30 Minutes in the Life. This is a circle blog. While this is a culmination of more than 30 minutes, I believe these photo’s were taken in about 30 minutes when I realized I had not taken any. It’s a small circle this month. Please follow the link to see what my very talented friend Kim of This One Ordinary Life has to share this month.
Posted on September 6, 2021
Can you believe it is September? A few more weeks and life is going to change again. I will go from being a parent to a grandparent. It is so exciting and a little stressful as well. Having a baby during covid makes my heart beat a little faster.
With all this going on there has not been a lot of photography done. This year has run me down to be honest. But we did try to get a 2 day away in before the baby comes along and Richard and I traveled up to St Augustine. A place we used to visit regularly but have not been for a few years. We did take a detour last year on the way to Georgia and it was so busy we kind of by passed and went away from the historic district.
It turns out that this month Lynne chose a quote and it work perfectly with our St Augustine trip.
“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport”
— Steve McCurry
We love to travel. We have been doing the odd get away. Richard has been a little nervous taking his vacation because he doesn’t know whether he will need his vacation. I on the other hand am conscious that I still have 3 weeks vacation to take.
So we hit the road and 4.5 hours later we booked into a quaint little Bed and Breakfast right in the historic district of St Augustine. It was a 5 second walk to the main street and all the restaurants. A 10 minute walk to the cruise. This trip we did something different, something that we have never done in St Augustine. We took in the winery, the distillery and the brewery. And that was all before lunch. Oops, I needed food. Seriously though, they only give you tiny little glasses which are half full. But if you are heading to St Augustine I would recommend you check them out.
Richard loves the sunset cruises and so that was our goal for the first evening. We quickly grabbed dinner at Harry’s and then headed down to the quay to wait on the cruise. The weather was iffy to be honest and I was not optimistic that I would get anything worth while but I did manage capture a few images I was happy with.
When I looked at this picture I thought that Richard looked like he had been out in the sun all day. This is one of the side effects of the immunotherapy. His skin turns really red. The other side effect is that he gets a very itchy rash.
The boat trip was just a intracoastal trip and not out to sea, but I do enjoy seeing the under carriage of different bridges and this was was not too bad.
The company on the cruise was quite fun, and very chatty which made the slow moving boat a lot more interesting, and I managed to get a few sunset images as well.
We were fortunate that we made it back to land dry and we were able to get back to the guest house and to relax.
Day 2 was a marathon of walking. This was our booze walk, if you can call it that. We headed up through Flagler college, which is an incredibly beautiful university in St Augustine. This was the first time I had actually walked through the college.
On the far side of the buildings grounds, there is a fence that looks like it has been made out of old cannon balls. St Augustine’s history is that this is the oldest city in Florida, originally Spanish founded and occupied in 1565. St Augustine has a really interesting fort that you can visit. Richard would try and find a bit of shade while waiting for me. Me on the other hand was just distracted by all there is to photograph.
With it’s history, St Augustine is well known for it cemeteries and we passed one I had not seen before. Just to the side of the bench I see a little squirrel digging deeply for it food.
Our first stop was San Sebastian winery. They gave us a tiny tasting glass and we made our way around tasting wines at various stations. Some I liked and some I didn’t. We each have our own palate. What I did walk away with was a really smooth bottle of sherry. We also decided to buy some cheese and crackers and have our own little cheese and wine evening in the gardens of our Bed and Breakfast.
Next stop was the St Augustine Distillery where we got to taste, gin, rum, vodka and bourbon. I am a rum person and it was pretty good. The distillery has an eating place upstairs but we had one more stop before we planned to eat, so it was back to walking again until we arrived at Dog Rose Brewing Co.
I am also a beer person, but I tend to stick to something like Heineken, whereas Richard likes IPA. So he is at home at these different brewing companies and I find myself really restricted. When we were in Naples I discovered that a larger kind of works for me, and so I asked to taste a larger at Dog Rose Brewing Co, and I was not disappointed. In fact, after all that walking the first beer went down super fast and the second I took my time.
Last stop was a lunch garden before heading back to put our feet up and relax and catch up on the highlights of the Tour de France.
St Augustine is a great place to visit if you are looking for history. There is so many different areas to seek out that we did not visit this time around. It is definitely worth stopping at if you are heading to Florida.
Just a reminder if you are hitting Florida, remember the suntan lotion and a big floppy hat. It is hot here and you want to take care not to get seriously burned. Richard is dealing with the results of plenty of sun and not enough sunscreen. Melanoma is not something to play with.
This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly artistic friend Lynne of Lynne Grant Photography is up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook page or Instagram page. Definitely take some time to check her out.
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