Monday, June 29, 2009

male Blue Dasher

I have become a Dragonfly fan. It’s amazing what you see when you really look. A trip around the yard to see if the Amberwing was still here led me to this Blue Dasher.  It looks like it’s in the same family as the Amberwing. About the same size and poses for pictures just as nicely, but not as willingly. I had to chase him around the yard.

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Here he looks like he’s playing a bugle.c 059cs

I wasn’t able to get as close to the Blue Dasher, but you can see he has a cute little face also.

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This one is sitting on a cyprus tree near my sister’s pond. I like the fall colors. (June)j 118cs

It has a lot more brown in it’s wings.

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Very handsome little fella.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swallow-tailed Kite

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a large raptor.  Although, I don’t think they are as large as a Bald Eagle.

We watched 6 of them soar over the Hammock, off and on, for most of the afternoon. We don’t see them everyday. My husband has called to me many times that they are up there. By the time I get the camera and get out the door…they’ll be soaring off in the distance. Today I was able to capture a few shots.  None are very good, but I was thrilled to get these.  Our place is heavily wooded with very tall trees and even taller Palm trees. Every time I got the Kite in my view finder and somewhat focused, it would flash behind a tree and I’d have to start all over. They are so beautiful in the air….it’s hard to concentrate on taking pictures and not just watching them.

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This one looks like it’s watching me, but is probably looking for food. They can snatch a frog or small bird from a tree top.

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Rabbits are also on their menu and I have at least 3 that live in and around the yard. x 023cs A lot of the time they are just gliding. Most of the movement you see is the use of the tail as rudders. They lift up and down to  control the direction of their flight, as they ride the thermals.x 019cs

Today they were unusually vocal and it helped me to figure out which direction they might be coming from as they topped the trees and flew over our clearing. Most of my shots were taken almost directly overhead and then they’d be gone again.

Here is a short video.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Limpkin in the Hammock

My husband came home a few days ago and told me he’d seen 2 Limpkins at the end of our road, in the canal. I was photographing the Eastern Amberwing and was afraid it would leave before I got a good picture, and by the time I got there they were gone.

I have been riding my bike, everyday, along the canals. This is one of them. You can see a Blue Heron wading. There was a small gator here also, but it submerged.

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It took a couple of days but I finally found it.6.17.09 015cs

The Limpkin is a wading bird. Look at the length of it’s toes. They make for easy walking on water plants.

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It’s a very pretty bird. Hard to notice since it blends in so well.  I have some better pictures of a Limpkin on  But this one is close to home. First one I’ve seen.n 078cs

The canal is very shallow now. During the tropical storms or hurricanes they will be full.n 082cs

We’ve always thought of this bird as the “Elusive Limpkin”, since that is how it is referred to in the St Johns River guide that we use. From a distance you probably wouldn’t even notice it. The Herons and Egrets are so easy to spot, that you tend to over look this beautiful bird.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Macro Monday

Don’t know if this is all you do, or not, but here is my contribution for Macro Monday.d 014cs

If you know what kind of caterpillar it is..I’d like to know. I remember collecting them as a kid..but never learned their names. I love the fuzzy ones.  We used to build little paper houses for them.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

This is one of the smaller Butterflies that visit my yard. When it first flits by it doesn’t grab your attention like the Swallowtails. But take a picture and really look at it.

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Look at the beautiful pattern on the underside of the wing.

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They are even more striking with the sun shining through the wings. I think there is some sort of wasp  just over the right wing. It kept landing where ever the butterfly did and chasing it off. I don’t think it is a Honey Bee. The wings are longer than the body.

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Here’s a better look at the underside. It looks like it was painted on.Butterfly and Dragonfly 049cs

I wish I had been able to get a better picture of the body. That has a unique paint job too.c 028cs2

My bottlebrush bushes are very popular with the butterflies, bees, wasps and hummingbirds. Oh, and don’t forget that beautiful  Eastern Amberwing dragonfly, in an earlier post. She sat on the budded tip of the bush for quite a long time.


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I posted this photo, not for the Butterfly itself, but for the color combination of the Butterfly and the Honey Bee. They seem to be working in harmony.c 033cs

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carolina Wren babies, now at The Haven for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife in Altamonte Springs, FL

A friend found a nest of baby Carolina Wrens in his van. Knowing that I have a bird and have raised birds, he asked it I would take them. He didn’t think the parents would find them if the van was closed up.

Here they are. Ready for supper. 6.17.09 009

I was Momma for an evening and a morning. Even though I hand raised Lovebirds, I know I am not qualified to take care of and rehabilitate a wild bird. They need to learn how to take care of themselves and be released back into the wild. I guess that’s the next thing I need to learn.

My neighbor and friend, Debbie, made some calls and gave me the name of a lady in Altamonte Springs, FL that took in injured or orphaned wildlife. I called her, explained what I had , and she said to bring them over.  She came highly recommended.

I had no idea that she took in so many kinds of wildlife.   Go to her website and check it out.    I am just reading her newsletter, and after seeing the kind of work they do…with all the animals I see in my back yard…I am going to become a member. I like helping out local organizations. This is definately one that is worth supporting.

Many thanks for all you do at The Haven for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

I just posted a couple of pictures on of dragonflies. We saw them in Silver Glen Springs.

While working on that blog entry, I saw a butterfly land on the bottlebrush bush. Grabbed my camera and headed out the door. It was gone…but I did see this small Dragonfly. I couldn’t find any info on it, so I have no name. It’s not much more than 1 1/2 inches long. It didn’t look like much. Just yellow wings but I took some pictures to see if I could get some clear close-ups. insect2 020cs

I couldn’t believe what I got with my little Kodak EasyShare z712 IS digital camera. I did nothing to this picture other than put my name on it.

This next photo I cropped a bit to bring it in closer.insect3 011cs

This is one of the first batches that I took and it had me hooked. The wings look like jewels or stained glass.Insect 028cs

Naturally it wanted to sit on the top of the hibiscus bush and I had my arms stretched as far as I could. I was surprised there were any clear ones, what with my arms shaking and the bush weaving in the breeze. When Jim got home I showed him this series….he suggested using a small stepladder…DUHH…I should have thought of that. That’s how I was able to get closer on the first two images, and the one below.

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I have varied backgrounds. The sky and when facing the other way, the trees.

I think I am thoroughly hooked on Dragonflies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

There are a couple of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds that come to my feeder. A lot of their time is spent in the Bottlebrush bush, but they do show up for a sip a few times a day.

I snapped this last evening. The flash really reflects the iridescence of their feathers.

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Dusk was just settling in. I’m surprised the flash didn’t scare it away. I don’t know if it’s a female or an adolescent. hummingbird 007cs1

But, this morning I was standing at the door trying to get a bit of video of the new squirrel toy my husband has been messing with. The  squirrel proof feeder is working so well, we now are trying to figure a way to feed them without letting them empty the feeders.

While standing there, at the ready, the Hummingbird flew in and I was able to get a little video of him.

So this will have to do until I can get better pictures.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Florida Manatee

I wasn’t able to get very good pictures..but we had a great time watching the Manatees.

We were cruising S on the St Johns River, FL. Near green marker 3, Jim spotted a Manatee. They don’t surface for very long..usually my camera is just getting into focus and they are gone.

We were in a wide part of the river so we shut down the engine and watched them. The slow current was pushing one way and the wind the other, so we remained in about the same spot.

We were quite a ways from them but they came up to the boat and looked us over. You can’t imagine how surprised we were.

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Their nostrils are on the top of their face. It makes breathing easier and they have flaps that close while they are underwater.

These two stayed together the whole time. I am guessing it is a mother and youngster, though both seemed about the same size. They surfaced together, side by side, several times. 6.11.09a 029

They never come completely out of the water like a dolphin.  You can see what appears to be a prop scar on the back of one.6.11.09a 022cs  We were not in a “slow speed Manatee Zone”,  and a couple of boats came speeding by. I tried to signal them to slow down but they ignored and continued on. Fortunately the Manatees were close to us.

They have big wide tails to propel them through the water.6.11.09a 027cs

The water of the St Johns River is like a dark tea. That’s why it is so hard to photograph them here. 

The day before I had to clear the prop of hydrilla, an invasive water plant. We had gone up the Salt River Run to Salt Springs. Once in there with clear water and hopefully no gators, (they are on the run  in) I was able to see where it was wrapped around the prop and on the rudder. It loaded up again on the run out so once in the middle of Lake George, I put on my snorkel and mask and with a dock line in hand, I dove under the boat, figuring I’d be able to see once I was under it… face was about a foot from the prop and rudder and I never saw it. Having done it earlier I was able to get it by feel. Kind of an eerie feeling…not being able to see what was in the water. We have seen gators crossing the lake. They are out there…

I posted these pictures on May 4, “09. The Manatee can weigh 1000 lbs. It’s very big. They come into Blue Springs during the winter for the warm water. It’s 72 degrees year round.1.19.09 Blue Springs, Hoontoon Island 039c

This is crystal clear water. They are all below the surface. They can be between 9 and 10 ft long when full grown. That’s a lot of Manatee. But they are very docile and slow moving. That’s why you see so many with prop scars. Because they move so slow it’s hard to get out of the way of fast moving boats.

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Not very impressive photos…but the meeting was unforgettable. When they were done checking us out…The 3 of them gave great splashes with their tails and then we didn’t see them again until they were farther up river.  We have anchored near that island on almost every trip N…this was our first encounter…but we’ll be looking more closely next time.

Monday, June 8, 2009


On my way into my sister’s place to photograph her Peacocks, I spotted this momma Opossum crossing the road with 6 little ones riding on her back.5.7.09 031cs

I have one living in my backyard, someplace. I only see it once in awhile and never with little ones.

She was slow moving and stopped to watch me when I got out to take a picture.5.7.09 026cs When she stopped, one of the little guys slide down for a quick meal. She’s having trouble trying to walk and drag him at the same time.5.7.09 028cs

He’s decided he’d better get aboard or get left behind.5.7.09 034cs

Once everyone was settled in, I stepped back and let her go on her way. She was headed towards a nice drainage ditch that would give her cover and access to water.5.7.09 036cs

Opossums are marsupials. The only one in North America. When the babies are born, very tiny, they find their way to the pouch where they remain for 2 1/2 to 4 months, until weaned.

I read they eat cockroaches (we have huge ones in FL called Palmetto Bugs) that are found in the palms, roof rats? don’t know what they are, but my Mother always said there were fruit rats in the woods. I don’t remember seeing any, but one year I left some tangelos on the tree and when I got home a few weeks later…they were all eaten but the outside.

So…Opossums…you are welcome to stay at our place.  We’ll be watching for you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Raccoons…..the twins

I think these must be litter mates…so we’ve dubbed them the “twins”. They are raiding the turkey feeder. These two usually come in early. Around 4pm. I think they are trying to avoid the larger ones.4.5.06 Raccoons 001cs2

We have a fairly large coon that has been coming for a couple of years. He’s easy to spot because of his crippled paw. He’s affectionately known as “Gimp”. We don’t supply them with all the food they want..they are kind of like the clean-up committee. If the turkeys don’t come in and the squirrels have not finished it up..they get a treat.

We had so many big trees go down during hurricanes Charlie, Francis and Jean, a few years ago, that there is lots of wildlife habitat.4.5.06 Raccoons 011c

Here’s one of the twins coming out the tree pile.4.5.06 Raccoons 012c

Look   at the faces..aren't they darling?                                   4.5.06 Raccoons 003cs  

4.5.06 Raccoons 006c The pictures above were taken in early April.     I took this a few days ago.      He came out to see the Peacock. He’s used to seeing wild turkey at the feeder, but that was the first Peacock.                  5.28.09c 022cs        I don’t throw food out when they are there. I don’t want them to associate humans with food. I would love to have them as pets but I wouldn’t be doing them any favors. They run when I come to the door or open windows, or if the dog barks and we’ll keep it that way.