Posted on January 30, 2023
I have confessed many times over the last 3 years that I have struggled to find my groove and to get back into the passion of photography. With covid slowing and in many cases shutting places down, along with Richard’s melanoma journey, and Mr Luka taking all my time, there seems little time to get out and do photography. However, the end of this past year and into January, my son-in-law’s mother has been visiting from Macedonia. Ljubica and I have done a whole lot of getting around and it involved me taking photo’s while she pushed Luka. Of course, he had to go with. I feel like I may have got the kick start I need for 2023.
Earlier this month I had time to myself and I decided to pick up my 100-600mm lens and go for a walk at Green Cay Wetlands. I have missed getting out with the lens but it is too heavy to carry and push a pram and try and keep Luka happy.
Today is all about getting back into nature, to re-orienting my head and taking deep breaths knowing that there are things I can change and things I cannot.
Nature is an interesting source of photography. Some shots you have control over and you can set it up as you want it, and other shots are on the fly.
This Little Blue Heron while wild, seemed quite comfortable with people getting up close to it. Sadly in the wetlands you have those people who are there to walk, without consideration of what is around them. I don’t mind people walking, I wish I did it better, however, when you see a bird sitting on the railing and folks trying to take photo’s, slow down and enjoy this incredible bird, as you go past. That way you do not scare the bird away. This bird allowed me to get fairly close but it does help to have a bigger lens so that there is no need to be on top of it.
I love birds feet and I especially love this kind of photo where the object is in focus and the rest is a soft blur.
While it is still winter we are starting to see signs of spring (which of course means the hot summer is not far behind. Although I am not going to complain too much as I will get two winters this year, as we head to Australia in May). What I love the the beginning of new life, while we are still seeing signs of old life hanging out. The lens also creates some awesome bokeh for the background.
I loved this particular image because of the contrast of the leaves. The brown underside stands out fairly starkly against the mottled green of the upper side of the leaves. What also fascinated me when editing was the background kind of reflected the contrast of the fern.
I don’t typically catch small birds but for some reason today I was lucky enough to do so. This little bird is called a Palm Warbler. These tiny birds are fast and move around so quickly that I was lucky to catch as many as I did today.
This Yellow Rumped Warbler is slightly different to the Palm Warbler in coloring. I happened to spot it in the tree eating some kind of berry. Fortunately it stayed on the branch long enough for me to capture it’s image. The differences I see seem to be the stripped effect on the wings and body and the yellow on the wings.
Of course, we have the controversial Iguana. I personally love them. They are so prehistoric and so incredible in design. Most people don’t like them because they are an invasive species to Florida. I see them eating the grass in the back garden. I am good with that. As spring arrives so does mating season, and along with that some interesting colors in the Iguana. They can go from muted greens and browns to bright orange, which is pretty cool to look at.
Along with changes in color, the birds start displaying changes as well. The Anhinga get this really cool color around their eyes. Both male and female (above and below) show this distinct marking during breeding time.
Nature includes leaves, new and old, and I love to find leaves and photograph them with this narrow sliver of focus. I just love the blur around it.
This cute little bird is ironically called the Little Green Heron. To date I am still trying to find the Green part but it is a beautiful bird all the same. It can stand still for the longest time and just when you about to give up it will dive for it’s food.
Another sign that spring is on the way. I love the unfurling ferns. The beginning of new life. So symbolic of new beginnings and so many new opportunities.
Today there were about 50 Glossy Ibis that had descended into this watery area. The Glossy Ibis is known as such due to their pearlescent feathers. Dependent on which way the sun is shining on the feathers you either get a plain brown bird or you get this pearl effect of colors. When the sun catches the feathers at the right angle they are stunning.
Last but not least on this walk about, is a critter that I really do not like. In fact I would go as far as to say they creep me out. Spiders are just not my thing. It may go back to being traumatized by a friend chasing me with a giant spider on the end of the stick, or the bamboo spiders we used to get in South Africa. Or it may even be the fact that I know a couple of people, my son included, who have been bitten by spiders and it has taken months of doctors visits, removing dead skin, packing the bite with antibiotics before the wound actually healed up. However, I am in awe of the incredible architecture spiders create. Who builds an amazing home on 4 twigs. Spiders are good when it comes to that, and I respect that, so long as they stay away from me.
30 Minutes in the Life is a small group of bloggers who get together once a month to put thought to paper and share on the happenings of their lives. Hopefully soon I will get back to rest of the Macedonia images, but in the meantime, take some time to follow the link to see what my friend and very talented photographer Kristina of Hello Olivia Photography has to share this month.
Category: 30 Minutes in the Life Tagged: #anhinga, #fern, #glossyibis, #ignuana, #leaf, #littleblueheron, #littlegreenheron, #nature, #naturelover, #naturephotographer, #naturephotography, #newbeginnings, #outdoors, #palmwarbler, #sharleenstuartphotography, #southfloridaphotographer, #spiderwebs, Canonusa
Posted on January 31, 2021
When I first started walking in the wetlands, many years ago, I loved to see the Great Blue Heron’s nesting at Wakadohatchee Wetlands. You got really close up to the nests in spring when the babies were being born. Fast forward some years and the Woodstork started coming in. The Great Blue Heron struggled to maintain their nesting areas against this colony of birds. They came in droves and took over. At first I was impressed with the Woodstork. They are definitely interesting to look at, but over the years I’ve kind of got annoyed with their take over routine. The Great Egrets used to nest in the trees as you first entered the wetlands and now the Woodstork have taken over that area as well. The Great Blue Heron’s have moved to trees at the back of the park which are much further away. The amount of Woodstork that move in means by the end of the season the area is super smelly and I am so over them.
My first sighting beyond these smelly, take over birds, was one of the resident Alligators who is probably looking forward to Spring as well. They tend to lurk below the nesting trees, when they aren’t sunning themselves out of the water.
Holding tight onto their spots in the trees the Woodstork have taken over is the Anhinga. Towards the end of winter the birds fly in and start to build their nests. Mating season is happening and one of the most incredible birds during mating season is the Male Anhinga. The eye color of this bird is stunning and it develops a very fluffy neck. The female however, does not change color. When the chicks are born they are the cutest things. The have these tiny bodies and these long necks. They feed like scavengers and it is incredible to watch them doing they. The chick puts it’s whole head down the mothers throat. The first time I witnessed I had a gag reflex. Yikes the poor mom.
As I continued along the walkway I spotted this Great Blue Heron wading in the water looking for lunch. I love them, To me they are majestic birds. We used to have one come to our back garden. Clearly someone had been feeding him and he was looking for that. I did not want to have him become dependent on me feeding him, but I would throw bread out for the fish in the canal so that he could go fishing. He would come by every day for the the summer and then he just disappeared. I used to call him Big Blue. Hanging out in the same waters sunning itself in the sun, fortunately for the Great Blue Heron, was another of the parks Alligator.
On the opposite side of the walkway there were a few Great Blue Heron, and surprisingly early, were two Great Blue Heron chicks. I am not sure if the first bird was protecting eggs or just trying to cool down. We have had interesting days down south right now that are sometimes warm and sometimes cold. This particular day was warm. The second photo is the chicks. When they are born they looks so cool. All head and beak with a mohawk. I am so disappointed that the Woodstork took over their nesting place.
And then I come to the walkway. I have committed to taking 1 image a week using my different lensbaby optics and so today I had the sweet 35 and I created a portal through the walk way. So come and join me with the second half of my walk.
Hanging out in the walkway trees are typically the tiny birds and this Palm Warbler was so challenging to catch. I probably took about 15 photographs just to get this one. The flit from tree to tree.
The Swamp Hen fascinate me. They are so rich in color and very similar to the Purple Gallinule. What fascinates me with these birds is their feet. They have the longest, possibly ugliest toes that I have seen on birds. They utilize them like fingers holding on to the reeds that they pull out of the ground to eat. Normally you will see a group of them wading around.
The glossy Ibis is another beautiful bird that hangs out in a group as a rule. This one had moved away from the group and started digging for food in a slightly different area. They are named glossy Ibis because of their stunning feathers. In normal light they look brownish but when the sunlight catches them their feathers become glossy and a different array of colors.
In the last stretch of my walk I spotted this Little Green Heron in the reeds also looking for food. This is a small bird of incredible colors and I love to watch them look for food. They are patient and they will wait probably longer than I am willing to watch them to catch their food.
Of course, I could not resist the tiny bit of fall colors in the wetland. When I spotted this leaf lying on the railing, I had to capture it. This is one of my favorite ways of shooting leaves.
Always a favorite for me is the Iguana that we find in South Florida. Not native to this region, they are often unpopular with local inhabitants. However, I think they are pretty cool. They are so unique in their markings and as seen below, quite vibrant in their mating colors. Of course, the are prolific in repopulating the area which leads to them being disliked. These Iguana live in the southern states due to the climate. During cold spells in winter, the Iguana freeze and will often fall from trees. Sadly some of them fall into water and drown or become gator bites. Others, surprisingly enough, seem to thaw and get up and start moving again.
And with that I am back to the smelly Woodstorks again, and heading back out of the park. I always enjoy this mile long walk out in the fresh air. I am going to need to get back out again soon.
Thank you for joining me this month. This is a small group of bloggers so when one or two are out it seems like it is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji Photography is up next. I look forward to reading what he has to share.
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