October 8, 2017

Hello!

Burrowing Owl
Just popping my head up to say hello and let everyone know all's well. It's been a very busy past month preparing and recovering from Hurricane Irma. At long last, yesterday, the SDP Editor-in-Chief ordered the entire staff to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature -- DSLR in hand.  We visited one of my wildlife go-to locations near Ft. Myers to check on the burrowing owls.  Success!  This one was quite cute and a bit camera shy, playing peek-a-boo between the blades of grass. Love these little guys! Nice to be out and about again. Hope everyone in the blogosphere has been doing well!

August 25, 2017

Weekend Ready

Post Sunset Glow 
 I think one of these chairs has my name on it this weekend. 
 Happy Friday!

August 12, 2017

Quick Change

Sarasota Sunset
The entire SDP team ventured out for sunset Thursday night on Sarasota Bay.  We were poised for an incredible sunset, when all of a sudden a small cloud materialized next to the setting sun and quickly expanded into a very large cloud blocking the sun. (As the SDP Jr. Editor observed, it grew like Aladdin being released from his lamp.  The Editor-in-Chief, on the other hand, viewed it more as a map of Scotland, with Mother Nature paying homage to Sarasota's Scottish roots.) Anyway, the glow of the yellow-orange sunbeams radiating from behind the cloud and reflecting off the clouds above was quite impressive. Goes to show...you never know for sure what you're going to get with a sunset here. Happy Saturday!

August 9, 2017

The Big Orange

Big Orange
Have I mentioned we've been having some incredible sunsets this summer?
Happy Hump Day!

August 8, 2017

Aaah...Anhinga!

Anhinga Sunset
An anhinga drying its wings just before sundown on Sarasota Bay.
Aka: bird photographer's delight!

July 26, 2017

Shades of Pink

Roseate Spoonbill
A bit messy...slopping seagrass on that spoonbill, but nevertheless, those shades of pink are very pretty!  Spotted this roseate spoonbill Monday evening on Sarasota Bay -- a fun and unusual sighting in the summertime.  Typically, the roseate spoonbills have migrated north by this time of year.  Whatever the season, it's always a thrill to see one!

July 25, 2017

Monday Glow

Sarasota Sunset
Sometimes it's necessary to catch a sunset on a Monday. 
This was last night on Sarasota Bay.
 Hope your week is off to a good start!

July 11, 2017

Go Green

Fluorescent Seaweed
I'm not sure if I've ever seen seaweed this bright -- almost an electric green!  It washed ashore from the Gulf of Mexico onto Sanibel island during low tide, just as an afternoon thunderstorm was rolling in. 

Fluorescent Seaweed And, of course, there were lots (and lots!) of seashells tucked in the thick seaweed.  Isn't Mother Nature amazing?!  I don't recall seeing this seaweed on the beach the next day.  I guess it washed back out to sea.  Or perhaps it turned a dull greenish/brown hue and I didn't notice it...

July 9, 2017

Island Scene

Sanibel Lighthouse
Love the moodiness of this scene on Sanibel:  Abandoned colorful chairs as beachgoers get one last  dip in before the storm arrives.  The patriotic bunting draped over the lighthouse was a nice touch for the Fourth of July weekend.

July 8, 2017

Fighting Conch

Sanibel Shell
This is one of my favorite pics taken on vacation on Sanibel.  I was wading in the Gulf of Mexico with my Go Pro when I encountered this Florida fighting conch in the shimmering water with waves lapping over it.  (No staging!)  This is a pretty common scene on Sanibel, which is world renown for its abundance of seashells...and I never get tired of it.

July 7, 2017

Well Wishes

Bethanie Mattek-Sands
If you're a tennis fan or watch any sports news, I'm sure you've heard the news about the horrific knee injury American tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered yesterday during a second round singles match at Wimbledon. I blogged about Bethanie after seeing her in action this past spring at the Miami Open. She was so much fun interacting with fans after the match that she quickly became one of my favorite players on the women's tour. I've been following her silly antics and serious tennis play on social media and was happy to see she was doing well playing singles.  And, as the #1 ranked doubles player in the world, she was on her way to hold all four grand slam titles consecutively.  Then...this awful injury.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  Praying for the best care and a full recovery!

July 3, 2017

Seeing the Light

Sanibel Sunrise
Nothing like sunrise on Sanibel island!
Great time of year to be here as we get ready to celebrate America's birthday.

July 1, 2017

Theme Day: Motion

Multiple Monarchs 
I hadn't visited The Butterfly Estates in Ft. Myers for a few years, so I was very happy to return last weekend and encounter lots of beautiful butterflies. This scene was quite interesting.  Several monarch butterflies were captivated by this plant...energetically flitting around, landing, and flapping their wings even more.  Lots of motion -- which (conveniently) is this month's theme day in the City Daily Photo blogosphere.  To see other interpretations of motion click here.  

June 29, 2017

Graceful Hunters

Sunset Trio_ 
Just before sunset, as the sky turned golden, these egrets were in unison patiently hunting in Sarasota Bay.   Such a peaceful and unique scene...with the calm water and and the birds' graceful stances!  

June 28, 2017

Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff
Ready for takeoff! 

Almost every time I go to the airport in Ft. Myers (RSW), I see deer in the adjacent fields.  Doesn't matter what time of year or time of day.  (The SDP Junior Editor spotted this one last Sunday afternoon as we headed to Departures and it was still there patiently waiting for me when I was leaving.) One has to think there's fencing around the perimeter to prevent them from wandering onto the tarmacs, right?

June 26, 2017

Frangipani

Frangipani 
With July's theme day, "motion", right around the corner, I thought I'd tinker around with this frangipani flower floating in the pool.  The photos showing motion were a complete failure.  On the plus side....I ended up with this lovely (non-motion) shot!

June 21, 2017

Sunset Flight

Sunset Flight

With the orange-yellow hues of sunset reflecting on Sarasota Bay, an egret takes flight.
This is the same sunset from my last two posts.  There was a lot going on that evening!

June 19, 2017

Acroyoga

Acroyoga
This was quite a scene!  I met Kylie last week while she was practicing acroyoga -- acrobatic yoga -- with her partner J.R. on Sarasota Bay. (I must confess, until we met, I didn't know acroyoga is a thing.) I can't imagine the strength, dexterity, and balance required to do this!  Kylie supported herself on J.R.'s hands and just the toes of one foot.... 

Acroyoga
And, she gracefully maneuvered into a shoulder stand of sorts by balancing her shoulders on J.R's feet.  Very cool!  What was especially amazing is how easy they made these physically demanding poses look.  I bumped up the shadowing on this shot to offer a better look at this pose.  Pretty amazing! What a fun, chance encounter meeting them during that spectacular sunset (which somehow didn't seem to distract them). Good time...great timing!

June 15, 2017

Triple Shot

Triple Sunset
It's been so rainy here recently, I haven't seen or photographed a proper sunset for awhile.  So, when it unexpectedly stopped raining last night, I quickly scanned the sky, then grabbed my camera bag and dashed to Sarasota Bay, confident the sun would sink below the clouds and create a nice glowing sunset.  I certainly didn't expect...this!  WOW!  This is the campus at New College of Florida and I had the place to myself until just before the sun went down. Then, people quietly started to materialize. This trio of young ladies was having a great time chatting and laughing and enjoying Mother Nature's show.  I walked behind them on my way to a different location, when I realized this was the shot!  I also captured some other interesting photos, which I'll share as time permits -- hopefully soon!  Hope everyone is doing well in the blogosphere!

June 13, 2017

One Year Later

Pulse Anniversary

It's hard to believe yesterday marked one year since the shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. -- committed by a man living in Florida motivated by hate, terror and the Islamic State.  It struck very close to home, with the first victim identified, Eddie "Top Hat" Sotomayor, from Sarasota. Last night, an intimate gathering of Eddie's friends and concerned members of the community gathered at a park downtown to remember Eddie and the 48 others lost. 

Pulse Anniversary
With storm clouds building (the symbolism not lost on us), 49 white balloons were released in remembrance of each victim.  I've only read or heard stories about Eddie.  By all accounts, it sounds like he was a fun, caring person.  His friend who organized the vigil said Eddie would've really liked this small, casual gathering...which is nice to hear.  So much more to say about the Pulse terrorist attack, but I'll leave it at that.

June 8, 2017

In Flight Meal

Burrowing Owls
Sometimes you just get lucky, pure and simple! These burrowing owls were enjoying the afternoon recently sunbathing in the wild in Cape Coral, about 80 minutes south of Sarasota. When one of the owls took off toward me, I was so focused on the bird's movement (literally and figuratively), that I didn't notice it had something clamped in its beak. 

In Flight Meal When I downloaded the files and looked a little closer, I discovered that it had an in flight meal of what appears to be a cricket.  How about that!  This photo is cropped quite a bit...but, offers a better view of the size of that insect.  Quite a lunch! 

June 4, 2017

Skimmers Galore

Black Skimmers

There's a sizable black skimmer colony located on Lido Beach right in the city limits in Sarasota. When I say on the beach, I mean...On. The. Beach. The nesting area is cordoned off from the public, since skimmers are a protected species.  Nevertheless, I was surprised by the size of the colony -- skimmers galore!

Black Skimmers Naturally, out of the dozens and dozens of skimmers here, one cute little ham was ready for his close-up! (What a poser!) This pic shows why skimmers are also known as the 'scissor bill' bird. They're the only bird whose lower bill is longer than its upper. That long lower bill really comes in handy when they skim the water hunting for small fish!  Love these unique seabirds.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

June 3, 2017

Dinner for One

Dinner for One Caught!  In the act of devouring fresh greens al fresco! 
Is it me or does this cute bunny rabbit appear to look a bit guilty of....something?
Taken this week at Conservatory Park in Sarasota.

June 1, 2017

Theme Day: Nature

Coreopsis Field
The SDP Editor-in-Chief caught in the act...frolicking in a vast eye popping field of coreopsis! (If you were here, you would've done it too.)  This is one of my favorite local spots for nature photography: Myakka River State Park here in Sarasota.

This month's City Daily Photo theme day is 'Nature'. Many other interpretations from around the world are posted here.  Enjoy!

May 31, 2017

Sherbert Sky

Myakka Sunset
A moment like this...all you can do is take it all in.  (After clicking the shutter, of course.) 
 Taken recently at Myakka River State Park.  Never gets old.

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Sarasota National Cemetery
It was very busy yesterday afternoon at the cemetery with many people paying their respects and contemplating the sacrifices so many individuals and families have made for our nation and freedoms.  I'll be spending the morning with a true American hero: a 92-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who endured the unimaginable...and 75 years later is quick with a joke, sharp as a tack, and willing to share his personal story to remind us freedom isn't free.  God bless him, those who have served, are serving....and those who gave all. 

May 25, 2017

Gliding

Paragliding
I visited the Celery Fields in rural Sarasota recently and encountered this guy paragliding.  This mound is the only somewhat large hill in the area, and he was practicing taking off.  After observing him for a few minutes and seeing him nearly carried away time and time again by the sheer force of the wind, as he frantically tugged the lines scrambling to control the chute, I was convinced he was a novice. Nope. He told me he'd been at it for 12 years -- but, he described the conditions that day as very challenging and equated it with bridge soaring. When he was almost dragged down the hill again, I thought it best to let him concentrate. I was exhausted for him just watching.  Can't imagine the upper body strength paragliding requires! I must say...that's one outdoor activity I've never been interested in trying.

May 24, 2017

Itty, Bitty Raptor

Burrowing Owl Look! 
Up in the tree! 
It's an itty, bitty raptor!

How itty, bitty?  Well, the SDP editorial team's trusty 'Birds of Florida' book indicates burrowing owls are a mere 9 1/2 inches tall.  I've only observed them on the ground or flitting a few feet to roost on a post.  So, seeing this little guy fly several yards to a nearby tree -- and sit awhile -- was quite a treat.  He blends in quite nicely, don't you think?  Happy Hump Day, everyone!

May 23, 2017

Those Eyes!

Burrrowing Owls
I was in the Ft. Myers area over the weekend and had some great luck finding more burrowing owls in the wild!  I visited my now favorite burrowing owl location....and immediately saw not one, not two...but five of these adorable little guys.  All were out and about in the middle of the day in the 90 degree heat.  Very exciting stuff for this wildlife photographer.  (I just love those big, buggy eyes!) This nest (or den -- not sure what they're called) is adjacent to a park and directly across the street from houses.  It's an activate neighborhood, but the little owls don't appear to mind people coming and going -- including those with a big camera and tripod.

May 12, 2017

Weekend Ready

Weekend Ready
Weekend's almost here...and I've got my eye on the prize!
Taken on Lido Beach...just minutes away from the office.
Oh, yes...I'm weekend ready! 
Are you?

May 11, 2017

Wee Fella

Baby Sandhill Crane
"S'up?"

When you're a baby sandhill crane and so little you have to plop down and rest under your mom's tail feathers while she munches on dinner.  Such a cute, fuzzy wee fella!  Hard to believe I photographed him just over a month ago.  Bet I wouldn't recognize him now!

Thankful I'm able to enjoy special moments like this in nature right near my house. Linking to Michelle's Thankful Thursday, which I just love!  Great idea.

May 7, 2017

Painted Sky

Sarasota Sunset
We've been having some amazing sunsets in Sarasota recently, which is a bit unusual for this time of year.  The entire SDP staff was discussing this issue and concluded these are the kinds of colorful, eye popping sunsets we traditionally experience in February -- but, not this year. Seems Mother Nature is working on her own schedule...and that's just fine with me. Better late than never. Happy Sunday!

May 6, 2017

Golden View

Coreopsis Field
It's been a few years since I've been at Myakka River State Park with the coreopsis in bloom. It's quite a sight: yellow wildflowers as far as the eye can see!  The last time I photographed them, they were in full bloom...and I was much more adventurous...wandering way out into the field. (Check it out here.) Last night, I just walked down a short path with my GoPro and captured this scene.  There's something captivating about being surrounded by brilliant yellow flowers and bright blue sky!  I suspect even more will be in bloom within the next couple of weeks.  If the timing works out, maybe the SDP staff can make it back out there.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

May 5, 2017

Dinner Time!

Dinner Time
RAT!  It's what's for dinner!
This photo was taken just moments after this barred owl pounced on a rat climbing on that very tree branch.  I couldn't believe it!  I always imagined owls swooping down and snatching a rodent or rabbit from the ground and carrying it away in its talons.  But, this guy landed on this branch...sat there for a minute...swiveled his head once...and then...WHAM!  Dinner's ready!  Very exciting for this wildlife photographer! I wonder if the owl heard the rat scurrying on the bark from a short distance away and then landed here in preparation for the hunt. Sure makes me glad I'm not a rat.  Or an owl having to hunt my dinner.  

May 4, 2017

Tucked Away

Barred Owl
With it being overcast last night for the first time in awhile, I thought maybe the barred owls would be out early at the neighborhood park. Bingo! This handsome fellow was contentedly tucked in a tree roosting, with a human family running around nearby making a lot of noise. (Being camouflaged so well, the family never saw him.) I ended up having quite an incredible encounter with this guy, his mate and two little ones. Nothing like observing a family of four owls at dinner time! (That's definitely foreshadowing a SDP post!) Although I saw and heard the two juveniles, they were very good at hiding. I'll post more as time permits. Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

May 2, 2017

Pretty in Pink

Roseate Spoonbill Pretty in pink. 
And, with that reflection...twice as nice! 
Roseate spoonbill spotted recently in rural Sarasota County.

May 1, 2017

Theme Day: Let's Eat!

Bananas
As I write this post, I have visions of fellow City Daily Photo bloggers submitting pictures of every kind of mouth watering epicurean delight imaginable.  And, then, there's SDP with...bananas.  It very well could be one of the most boring (and unappetizing) submissions for this month's theme day.  But, bananas are big news to me! ((drum roll))  After 10+ years, I believe I've successfully re-introduced bananas into my diet!  Many years ago, I started experiencing food sensitivities to the point where my diet became very limited. As I eliminated processed sugar, dairy, gluten, preservatives (you name it), I started eating more and more fruit. Healthy, right?  Not for me. I began reacting to the fructose.  A few years ago, I successfully re-introduced blueberries and blackberries (fruits with the lowest amounts of natural sugar), which was very exciting.  Recently, I randomly ate a banana....and survived -- without a hint of a reaction!  I'm pacing myself but I'm confident enough to say, 'The bananas are back, baby!'

There's an art to photographing food which I have not mastered (or even started to develop), so this theme day was a challenge!  To see more interpretations from the CDP community click here.

April 30, 2017

Meadowlark

Meadowlark
I've only seen an eastern meadowlark one other time in Sarasota.  That was almost 6 years ago to the day! (You can check out the SDP post here.) I encountered this handsome fellow recently at Rothenbach Park on the east side of Sarasota County, where he was camped out near the entrance awaiting my arrival.  I hadn't been to that park for years, and since I was in the vicinity, I decided to take a quick detour. What a pleasant surprise when I spotted him. Hard to miss that brilliant yellow!

April 29, 2017

Jumpin' Mullet

Sarasota Sunset
Sunset on Sarasota Bay last night.  Lots of mullet were jumping!  And, believe it or not, by chance I captured one on camera.  Just as I pressed the shutter, this guy soared out of the water right into my shot.  Look at that form and height!  For those wondering why mullet jump, the entire SDP research team looked into that very question.  While there are many theories, the bottom line is...no one knows.  Maybe they're just having fun and taking in the scenery.

April 23, 2017

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
This adorable little guy is a burrowing owl. I've heard that Cape Coral (near Ft. Myers -- about 80 minutes south of Sarasota) is home to the largest burrowing owl population in the world.  The SDP team conducted some research, then the Junior Editor and I set out in search of these pint-sized birds of prey last weekend.  It was the middle of the afternoon (when most owls are hiding), so I didn't have high hopes. But, as soon as we arrived at the first location, I spotted one immediately. Very exciting! They actually live underground and like to roost on manmade posts nearby or stand outside their burrow, like this fellow.  Quite fascinating! We even spotted a fuzzy little baby poking its head out of a burrow.  (Could be a future SDP post...possibly.)  They're so small and low to the ground, they really blend in with their surroundings.  It was unusually windy the day the SDP team was out, and since I was shooting at a distance with a long lens, the conditions were quite challenging even with a tripod. Looking forward to returning and seeing them again soon!

April 22, 2017

Lido Beach Sunset

Lido Sunset
Nothing quite like a Lido Beach sunset! 

Lido SunsetXX
It's important to arrive early and have just the right set up. The SDP Editor-in-Chief stepped up last night and took this assignment herself.


And, this is a quick peek at Lido Beach and the Gulf of Mexico at dusk. (The SDP staff has been experimenting with time lapse videography using a GoPro Hero 4 procured during last year's budget cycle.)  Gorgeous evening -- and a great reminder why I live here.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far!

April 9, 2017

Peek-a-Boo Moon

Peek-a-Boo Moon Peek-a-boo!
Spotted last night in Sarasota.

April 8, 2017

Spring Training

Orioles-Pirates
The regular Major League Baseball season just got underway, so I guess I should share these Spring Training pics before they get too dated! Living in Sarasota, I'm within close proximity to many Spring Training facilities. And, it's always fun to spend a spring day at the ballpark. This year, I made it to two games just up the road in Bradenton, which is the spring home for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In this photo, the Pirates were playing the Orioles and the Pirates baserunner slid safely under a tag at first base.  SAFE!

Spring Training
I don't think this Orioles player made the cut to join the Big Leagues. I looked up #17 on the current Orioles roster, but couldn't find him. Some fans sitting in front of me along the right field line temporarily moved out of the way, so I was able to get this shot showing the player hustling to first base.

Austin Meadows
Following the games, some of the players will pause to talk with fans and sign autographs. This young man made quite an impression on me the way he spent so much time interacting with fans and genuinely engaging with them.  His name is Austin Meadows and he's a top prospect for the Pirates. I understand he's starting the season playing AAA ball in Bradenton, since he's so young and the Pirates don't have an open slot for him yet. Seems like he has a winning attitude and hopefully he'll have a long, successful career. 

Travis Harrison
Home run swing! And, this was taken during the first game I attended this year: Twins vs Pirates. That's Twins outfielder Travis Harrison taking it deep. I noticed this year the games weren't sold out -- not even on St. Patrick's Day, which traditionally is a very popular day to go to the park. Not sure why, except maybe the tickets are getting a bit too expensive for some families. Hope everyone has a terrific Saturday!