Monday, November 29, 2010

Sights from Safety Harbor - My World Tuesday

A lost boat near the Safety Harbor fishing pier. It's anchor must have come lose and gotten grounded in low tide.

Pelican flying over the fishing pier.

Two great egret flying by.

This was taken at the end of the trail in Philippe Park on the Safety Harbor side. The eagle was sitting on the closest utility pole in the water. Last winter I saw the pair up there all winter and then some time in spring they were gone. This is the first time I've seen one there since last spring. Hopefully, the mate is close by. This was extremely cropped with my 500mm lens.

I had my camera in the car a couple of weekends ago and decided to stop by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home from running errands. It was windy and there were hardly any fishermen there. There weren't any birds hanging around the pier but a few flew by and kept going somewhere. There were several manatees in the water but you could only see their snouts so I didn't take any pictures. I'm assuming they'll soon head over to the TECO plant to spend the winter in the warm run-off water. I also stopped at the tiny bridge at the end of Philippe Park to see if any eagles were around. Yea, there was one on top of the utility pole. I'll keep my eye out for the other one this winter.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Great egret enjoys a slice of bread.

I was watching this great egret for a while at Kapok Park. There was still a handful of bread slices floating around the lake but the laughing gulls, grackles and cowbirds kept diving down for them. This egret watched for a while and finally took off flying across the small lake.  As he came closer to a slice, a cowbird seemed to try and stop him from getting it. He grabbed the slice anyway and flew over to the other side of the lake. He seemed to be enjoying his slice but how yummy can a soggy slice of stale bread be? I guess it's no different than eating bugs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kapok Park on a cold day

Grackle eating a slice of bread that someone had dropped in the lake for the turtles. These birds almost look black but when you see them in the sunlight you can see their different shades of blue and gray.

Glossy ibis that has been hanging around the park for a while now. This was the first time I've seen it close to the boardwalk.


I was walking on the boardwalk when the above anhinga popped out of the water. She swam back and forth in front of me and seemed to be showing me her prize. She swam under the boardwalk to swallow it so I was not able to get a shot of that. I'm assuming she did. She swam back out with fish parts stuck on her beak.

Wet pied grebe had just popped out of the water.


I think the duck on the left was saying "Stop splashing me while she's trying to take a picture you ole coot."

By cold I mean a high of 72 degrees. A couple of weeks ago we had a cold blast in central Florida and I slept in that morning and headed out to the park later that afternoon. Someone had just dropped an entire loaf of bread in the lake and grackles were diving down for them. It turned out to be a nice day and I didn't even need my jacket.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble - Turkey at Lettuce Lake

I took this picture 2 summers ago at Lettuce Lake in Tampa. It's the only time I've seen a turkey in the wild.
 I had just gotten my first DSLR and was just learning to use it. These pictures were hidden away in my archives but I found them when I remembered I did have a lost picture of a turkey.

Hawk high up in a tree over my head.

This was the first time I had seen a glossy ibis.

This was how I realized how different many male birds look. The female anhinga has a light brown neck and she doesn't have the white markings on her wings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Climb Up Amicalola Falls

I think this was about a fourth of the way up the mountain. You can just barely see the top of the waterfall through the trees.

This is halfway up the mountain.

More from halfway up the mountain.

There wasn't too much water coming down. I think they had been having a short dry spell.

Looking down from the top.

Now for the trip back down.

Amicalola is a  Cherokee Indian word meaning “tumbling waters”. It is the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. We parked just past the visitor's center. Our hike started with a half an hour trek up the trail. Then we had to climb 600 stairs winding through the mountain and crossing over the waterfall. I take the stairs at work everyday climbing 4 flights to get to my office. I thought I would be in shape but I was still exhausted. When you get to the top you see it's worth the trip. We stopped for a snack and hung out for a while and took pictures. Then we started back down the stairs. Of course, you can drive around the side and up to the top, but how much fun is that?  There's a lodge at the top if you want to spend the night and cabins around the park area.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall in the North Georgia mountains - My World Tuesday

Starting to hike up the mountain.

A partial view of the north Georgia mountains.

Everything was yellow, orange and red.

This was the only bird we saw. A vulture flying overhead. We didn't hear any either. It was so quiet up in the mountains.

Trees around the reflection pool at the bottom of the waterfall.

On our last day in Atlanta we decided to go hiking in the north Georgia mountains. We drove about an hour outside of Atlanta to Amicalola Falls. I've heard it's packed with people on the weekend during fall so it was nice to be able to go up on a Monday.  When we first got there around 10am, there was no one there which made it nice for all of the pictures.  As we were leaving a couple of hours later people were starting to come in the park. I was tired and hungry so we headed over to Dahlonega for lunch.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fall trip to Zoo Atlanta.

All of the trees at the zoo looked like the above.  Beautiful colors everywhere.

I saw this beehive high up in a tree.

The moon was still out right before lunch.

Meerkat poking his head out.

Baby giraffe at Zoo Atlanta. The keeper said it was almost 4 months old. It stayed in the back the entire time I was there so it was hard to get good shots.

Xi Lan is a new big brother this month.

The weather in Atlanta during our trip was just too nice to stay inside for even a second. I left everyone sleeping in one morning and headed out to the zoo just to get outside and walk around. The trees around the zoo were gorgeous. I think this is the first trip we've made to Atlanta since we left 8 years ago during the leaf changing season. I really wanted to see the pandas since we don't have them at the zoo in Tampa. My first lap around the zoo found Xi Lan sleeping. A quick second lap before I left found him eating. It wasn't until a couple of days later that they announced his mother, Lun Lun, had a baby. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Walk around an Atlanta Park.

A large hand fed group of mallards greeted us at the lake.
I can't believe this waterfall is right in the heart of Atlanta (on the Emory campus).

There were tiny warblers everywhere.

The leaves were just turning.

Canadian geese trying to sleep.

Walking back to our car we saw this hawk go flying by. I ran after him and saw him perched in the woods.

We met some of my hubby's family in a park on the Emory University campus. It's a fairly large park with a lake in the middle. The weather was perfect, sunny and 70 degrees. There were a lot of ducks there that get fed on a daily basis so they came swimming up when they saw us walk towards the lake. We saw a handful of canadian geese that must be stopping over on their way south. And the hawks, there were tons of hawks everywhere. When we were driving through the city we saw hawks sitting on the lamp posts on Interstate 75. Guess that's why they named the basketball team after them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sundown on Gandy Beach - Skywatch Friday

One last stop on the way home from work happened the week before the time changed. I stopped at the Gandy bridge beach because it is so close to work. It got dark fast. There were a lot of birds on the beach. Most were trying to sleep but there were a handful of people there and some had dogs. 

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Black skimmers flying away from a barking dog. This looks like a classic Florida boat to me.

Black skimmers coming back to the beach. He's looking at me like "where'd that dog go?"

There's a huge population of plovers on Gandy beach.

Black bellied plover's got an itch.

Oystercatcher couple. There's usually a handful of oystercatchers on Gandy beach but you have to look for them. Often they hide at the far end by the utility tower.
Another black bellied plover in non-breeding colors. In the winter his belly and head are black.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Georgia birds and a chipmunk

Red bellied woodpecker  Yellow bellied sapsucker up in my in-laws' tree.

There were tons of these little birds high up in the trees. I think it's a type of warbler. It's almost impossible to get pictures of them. They don't stay still for a second.

Female cardinal.

Blue jay high up in the pine tree.

Chipmunk with a cheek full on my in-laws' back deck.

Hubby & I spent Halloween weekend in Atlanta with his family.  He was turning 50 and wanted to spend it with them. We got to Atlanta early Friday afternoon and as soon as I got out of the car I heard birds calling from everywhere. His parents have a large yard with old growth pine trees all around. After unloading the car, I spent an hour walking around the yard looking for birds with his mom. She said the woodpeckers have been annoying lately. They've been banging on the side of the house.  They're going to need to keep an eye on that so they don't get any real damage from them. My goal for this trip was to get a some shots of chipmunks. I only got the one above. I've never seen them in central Florida. My other goal was to get some shots of fall leaves. I have those to post later.