April 29, 2011
April 28, 2011
So many pine cones were on the ground at Oscar Scherer State Park during my recent hike there, I felt like I was up north in the fall. Except that it was 85 degrees...the sun was out....and palm trees were everywhere. Oscar Scherer is home to the Florida scrub jay, which sort of looks like a bluejay. They all were hiding or otherwise occupied when I was there, which explains why you're looking at pine cones rather than scrub jays.
April 27, 2011
You never want to be in a hurry when you're trying to get on Siesta Key or off it, because inevitably you'll encounter this scene. The drawbridge on Stickney Point Road opens to allow tall sailboats and other vessels pass through. It used to open on demand whenever someone wanted to go through; but, the Coast Guard changed the schedule about five years ago so that it opens every 20 minutes, if necessary. The traffic stop this time was actually quite short, with the bridge going up and down quickly. When I lived in Michigan there was a drawbridge near Grand Haven (another popular tourist destination), which occasionally would get stuck in the up position. And, believe it or not, at the time there was just one engineering firm in the state which could be dispatched to fix it --- and it was located three hours away. Talk about a traffic nightmare! I've never known that to occur here; however, if it did, at least one would have palm trees to admire during the wait.
April 26, 2011
There I was at the celery fields, when I turned and saw this in the sky. It kinda looked like a red tipped stealth bomber, and it was soaring directly at me. I quickly processed that it was a sandhill crane. And with a wingspan of about 7-feet, they're not the most nimble of flyers. So, when it continued to fly straight at me....and my viewfinder became completely filled with a massive brown blob....I thought I was a goner. I could already hear the news story that night: "An amateur photographer is walloped into unconsciousness by a sandhill crane at the celery fields, as Gulfcoast birders watch in horror and rush to help the fallen feathered creature." Well, fortunately, it angled away at the last moment. This is the only shot I captured that was mostly in focus. Those sandhill cranes are big, but they're quiet!
April 25, 2011
April 24, 2011
April 23, 2011
This sign makes me smile every time I see it. I've never seen the driver, or the guard poodle for that matter, but many afternoons I see this car parked near mine. In my fantasy photographer world, I would love to see a poodle hanging its head out the front passenger window (guarding the vehicle, of course), looking back at the 'Beware' sign. Happy Saturday!
April 22, 2011
This handsome creature, perched atop a fencepost near the celery fields, is a red shouldered hawk. I drove by it and thought, "hawk". A millisecond later, after my brain registered "hawk!", I quickly turned around. I was pretty far away and was quite excited to snap this shot without disturbing it, even as I set up my tripod. Within seconds it was gone. You know what ended up scaring it away? A pesky little crow. It buzzed by a few times and finally the hawk decided it wanted some peace, and took off.
April 21, 2011
April 20, 2011
One year ago today the Deep Horizon oil spill started in the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, many pundits predicted the decimation of the Gulf, and subsequently, the ruin of the tourism industry in Florida. Well, I just heard on the radio that the health of the Gulf of Mexico today is equivalent to what it was prior to the spill. Imagine that! Not a drop of oil -- let alone tar balls -- ever showed up on a Sarasota beach. (Thank goodness!) This photo shows the scene at Siesta Key Beach last Sunday morning around 10:00 a.m. --- busy, busy, busy with lots of tourists have fun, fun, fun on the oil free beach. Good thing not everyone buys what prognosticators sell.
April 19, 2011
April 18, 2011
Some of the more lackadaisical birds here in Sarasota like to hang out at the Saprito fishing pier and gobble up any handouts that might come their way. This great blue heron scored a tidbit when an angler tossed some bait to it. I've seen great blue herons swallow an entire large fish in one gulp. So, this morsel really must have been just an appetizer.
April 17, 2011
I had the best time observing this adorable little meadowlark in eastern Sarasota County. I stopped to watch a sandhill crane near a field of cows when I noticed two little yellow-bellied birds hopping around the meadow. After a few minutes, I realized one was calling to the other which was holding something in its beak (see above) -- dinner! As hard as I tried, I couldn't make out what it was, but it was quite large, perhaps a dragonfly or cricket, definitely significant enough to feed a meadowlark family of four for sure. (Enlarge photo for a better view.) This bird had no intention of dropping that meal. With it clutched tightly in its beak, it hopped and hopped, and popped its head up over the grass repeatedly, looking for its mate who was chirping and chirping. I finally left because I thought I may have been upsetting the little hunter, even though I was a good distance away. By the way, I identified this cutie when I got home and consulted my 'Birds of Florida' guide book. My first meadowlark sighting!
April 16, 2011
It's not every day you see a woman fishing from a pier with nicely manicured nails, and sporting a bright pink bandanna. Do you think she was there just looking the part of a fisherwoman? Heck, no. Donna informed me she's been fishin' for about 60 years, but she prefers fly fishing. She's from Maine (says she belongs to a ladies' fly fishing club there and the A.G. goes out with them occasionally) and like many northerners, she's now happily splitting her time between there and Sarasota. Welcome...and happy fishing!
April 15, 2011
In the U.S., April 15th is Tax Day. But, not this year. Today's usual deadline has been extended to accommodate the District of Columbia, which is commemorating Emancipation Day today. Emancipation Day actually falls on April 16th, but since that's a Saturday, the recognized government holiday was moved to today, prompting the federal government to move Tax Day to Monday, April 18th. (whew!) On to today's photo....at least a month ago, I noticed the sign this guy was waving as I drove by on Clark Road in Sarasota. It really didn't phase me that he was dressed in full costume as Uncle Sam, standing along a major road dancing exuberantly with a cardboard sign. It was the name of the business on the sign that grabbed my attention...and made me chuckle. By the way, that's 21-year-old Nick out there. He told me he dances with that sign six hours a day.
April 14, 2011
These long thin legs and feet wrapped around the railing at the Saprito fishing pier reminded me of someone. The last time I saw legs like that they were...running down the beach! Be safe in flight, leggy one. On a completely different topic, I continue to have random Blogger problems. The latest is that I am no longer receiving email notifications for comments. Anyone else ever experience that? A teensy bit of research leads me to believe these chronic snafus are because my template is "old" by Blogger standards and Blogger no longer supports it. I like this basic black template, but there doesn't seem to be anything comparable with the new templates. Thoughts? Anyone....anyone?
April 13, 2011
When I spotted this brown pelican at Hart's Landing near downtown Sarasota last night I immediately thought he looked camera shy, with his long bill tucked down and his little eyeball staring straight ahead. In reality, he probably just wanted some alone time. Not only was a lady pointing a big camera at him, but four other pelicans were just feet away, hopping around, frantically flapping their wings, trying to dry off after a happy hour dip in the bay. What's an introvert pelican to do?
April 12, 2011
April 11, 2011
April 10, 2011
Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. I had never seen the movie (starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve) and was unfamiliar with the plot, so last night's performance was particularly enjoyable. There are so many twists and turns in 'Deathtrap', it's amazing -- and amusing. The actors were spot on and I was really impressed with the stage lighting. This was my first time seeing a production at the Asolo, and I'll definitely return. It's a beautiful facility and tickets are affordable (especially when you buy rush tickets the day of the show).
April 9, 2011
April 8, 2011
What is it about a 'No Trespassing' sign that makes people want to.....trespass? I sure saw a heck of a lot of people hiking and biking up this hill near the celery fields in rural Sarasota County. I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but I think the area is under construction as part of an improvement project to expand the bird viewing area.
April 7, 2011
This gold tree drops hundreds (if not thousands) of beautiful yellow flowers this time of year. It's like a gold path leading to it. As pretty as it is, most drivers who are familiar with this particular tree in downtown Sarasota avoid parking under it for any length of time because an unimaginable amount of flower petals and pollen will be plastered to their cars (including every crevice) upon their return. My recommendation: grab that suspiciously empty parking space under the tree...enjoy the gold petals...then head to the car wash.
April 6, 2011
April 5, 2011
Just looking at this picture, I want to imitate this bird: hand mid-air....forming into a menacing claw. I spotted this great egret atop a roof near New Pass. He was frozen in this position for quite some time. I'm really not sure what he was doing, but he was fascinating to watch.
April 4, 2011
Sony Ericsson Open, which I attend every year. I was fortunate this year to see Novak Djokovic, the #3 ranked player in the world, twice on the stadium court. (He ended up winning the tournament yesterday in an exciting 3-set match against world #1 Rafa Nadal.) It was a whirlwind adventure as always, catching lots of matches including, of course, my favorite Roger Federer. If you like tennis and/or sports photography, check out my Flickr page. It's going to take awhile for me to post my pics, so check back!