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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.