December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

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This neon green sign is iconic in Ft. Myers.  It's been in the front yard of a private residence along McGregor Boulevard, a busy road through the city, since 1943 when George H. Gruesbeck, a devout 7th Day Adventist, put it there.  A couple of years ago, though, the sign went dark.  Apparently, the property was in foreclosure and the owner at the time couldn't pay the electric bill.  Knowing how popular the sign is in the Ft. Myers community, the John E. & Aliese Price Foundation Inc. of Ft. Myers stepped up and made the necessary arrangements for a separate electric meter to be installed just for the sign -- and agreed to pay the electric bill in perpetuity.  At the time, the story made national news.  You can read about it in this USA Today article.  
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Before the sign was re-lit, it was refurbished and an extra bit of text honoring the man behind it was added.  (When the sign was temporarily removed for refurbishing, I noticed its absence almost immediately and started asking around, "What happened to the God is Love sign?")  I've wanted to photograph this sign for quite awhile.  And, it was quite a challenge!  Neon is difficult, isn't it?!  Hope everyone in the blogosphere is enjoying a wonderful Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

November 11, 2015

Standing Sentinel

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Standing 4 feet high, the sandhill crane is one tall bird.  So, when this one popped its head up, suddenly towering over the rows of tombstones at Sarasota National Cemetery and gazing into the distance, it was a sight to behold. It really looked as though this regal crane was standing sentinel over the many men and women resting here who served our country.  Before I clicked the shutter, I knew this would be my Veterans Day post.  I'll be attending the annual Veterans Day parade today in downtown Sarasota taking in the patriotic scene along Main Street and expressing my appreciation to our military veterans.  If you have the opportunity, I hope you take a moment to thank a veteran for their service and sacrifices.  It's important to remember our freedoms aren't free. 

November 10, 2015

Honoring Our Veterans

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Since Veterans Day is tomorrow, I thought I would visit Sarasota National Cemetery and share some of the incredible artwork honoring our military veterans.  Dozens of photographs dating from the Civil War to present day are on display. Some are affixed on plinths and 16 are actually engraved onto glass on each side of a marble tablet, like this one. Each tells a unique story of service, duty, honor and sacrifice.  This installation shows a serviceman arriving home safely in 1950 to a long awaited reunion with his wife and baby boy.

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Each piece is perfectly positioned so the golden rays of the setting sun illuminate the image.  Yep -- that's pure natural light shining through the engraved glass.  Pretty incredible.  Of course, with just a few precious minutes of golden light, there's never enough time to properly capture these thought provoking images.  To all our U.S. military personnel present and past:  Thank you for your service! 

November 7, 2015

Christmas Creep

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For the past several years I've really been noticing Christmas creep -- retailers creeping up the time of year when they roll out their Christmas sales push.  Step #1, of course, is putting up Christmas decorations, especially the eye catching lights. I  think this is the earliest I've seen commercial decorations going up.

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I took these pictures in Sarasota three days before Halloween. A large crew from a company called Christmas Designers was stringing lights in the palm trees along University Parkway, a busy thoroughfare which leads to and from a major shopping mall.

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Even with a dozen workers and several bucket trucks on site, I was told it would take more than one day to get everything done. One guy mentioned that dealing with Christmas decorations is a full time job and that's all he does year round.  Imagine that!  They were a very happy, enthusiastic group of workers, getting the job done while having fun.   And, I'll note that the music they had playing was not Christmas-themed -- whew!  (Perhaps we can hold off on that until after Thanksgiving?  Although, yesterday,  I received a notice from Pandora that their Christmas channel is up and running and ready for my listening pleasure.)  

November 1, 2015

Theme Day: Ephemeral

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This month's theme day in the City Photo Daily world is 'ephemeral'.  I've had more than my fair share of ephemeral experiences with birds while trying to photograph them in the wild. I offer this experience. Yesterday afternoon (before I was even aware of today's theme day), I encountered a red shouldered hawk roosting on a tree branch at Sarasota National Cemetery (one of my new favorite places for birding -- more on that later).  Not satisfied with the lighting, I thought, 'If I can somehow maneuver to a better location before he flies away…' 

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Then -- **whoosh!** -- he was gone!  It happened so quickly, I thought I had completely missed the moment.  To me, birds -- especially birds of prey -- give new meaning to 'ephemeral'.  I think in the medical world, ephemeral is used to describe something that lasts one day.  I can only imagine birds sitting and posing for me for an entire day!  Thanks to my blogger friend Kay at Sequim Daily Photo who suggested this challenging theme day. To see other interpretations click here.

October 31, 2015


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I did a double take when I drove by this statue which is located on what I believe is public right of way in the city limits. A cape…and creepy crawly spiders?! Someone is feeling a bit devilish! (The Spanish moss hanging in the background enhances the spooky feel here, don't you think?) This kind of reminds me when I spotted this on St. Armands Key five years ago. Halloween pranksters! Hope everyone is having fun and safe Halloween!

October 30, 2015

Halloween Handful

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What's a couple of disembodied hands amongst friends and neighbors?  I'm not one to decorate my place for Halloween, but I do enjoy encountering fun scenes like this.  Very creative.  A bit creepy, but not too edgy.   As I set up my camera I thought, 'This is going to be a handful to photograph!'  Anyone else seeing Halloween decorations this year?

October 29, 2015

Beautiful Bay

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When I left the office last night, I had every intention of heading straight out to look for Halloween decorations to photograph. Then, as I crossed the Ringling Bridge over Sarasota Bay, I ended up at Ken Thompson Park.  This shot is looking back at downtown Sarasota (a rapidly growing downtown, I might add). After a day and half of dreary weather (yes, that's a lot of cloudy weather for the Sunshine State), it was delightful to encounter this scene with low humidity and a pleasant temperature.  Great end to the day!  Now, regarding the Halloween decorations -- I found some after I left the park (as well as some other holiday decorations).  Stay tuned!

October 27, 2015

Hooty Hooooo!

Barred Owl

By the time I arrived at Myakka River State Park last Friday evening, it was already dusk and I didn't expect any real photo opportunities. Then, I spotted a family standing next to a truck pointing up at the trees.  Curiosity getting the best of me, I pulled over.  As I grabbed my camera gear from the trunk, I heard the distinct call of a barred owl.  Sure enough, one owl could be seen roosting adjacent to the road.  (Several others were nearby but could only be heard.) Just enough daylight remained to squeeze out a fairly decent shot (with the ISO cranked all the way up and the camera on a tripod).  The family was really nice and we speculated 3-4 barred owls were nearby.   All of us (from a grandpa to a youngster under 10) were captivated by the owls' calls.   In fact, every time they caterwauled, our eyes grew big and we all giggled -- because we were so surprised by the unusual sounds.  If you'd like to hear it, I recorded a bit with my iPhone.  Just click here.  I've never heard so many owls -- with such a variety of calls.  What a hoot!  And, what a great, unexpected encounter.

October 25, 2015

Best Time of Year

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To me, this is the best time of year here.   It only lasts for a couple of weeks, from mid-October to the end of the month.  But that short window is wonderful: the searing temperatures have dropped, the suffocating humidity lifted, and the color of the sky is transitioning into a crisp winter cobalt blue. The migratory birds also are arriving.  And, to top it all off, it's still Daylight Saving Time, so we have the longer days to enjoy all of this. With the extra daylight, I was able to get to Myakka River State Park after work recently, and this is what I was treated to.   Gorgeous!  And, so peaceful.  I hope everyone is well in the CDP world.  I was sad to hear about Birdman.  His daily creative posts and visits to all our blogs certainly will be missed.  Thanks to Jack at Hartford and Naples in Season for digging deeper and posting a link to Birdman's obituary.  

September 26, 2015

Below $2!

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I can't remember the last time I purchased a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for under $2.  Recently, I've heard people talking about it...and prices finally dropped below $2 in Sarasota a couple of days ago. 

Those who have followed Sarasota Daily Photo for awhile may recall I used to post a photo of gas prices once a month from the same gas station. The last one I posted was about 2.5 years ago (believe it or not) and prices were hovering around….well….you can see for yourself here.  I'm bummed I wasn't able to continue to document the rise and fall of gas prices over the years. (C'est la vie, n'est pas?)  But, when I saw this low price, I knew I had to get a photo!  I was able to grab my camera out of the car and snap this photo before my tank was filled up.  How are prices in your area?

September 15, 2015


It wasn't until I downloaded this photo and looked closer that I realized the little dark blob just in front of the Great Blue Heron is actually a big flying insect.  Imagine that!  At the time, I just thought the heron was enjoying a good stare into space while he waited for an unsuspecting meal to happen by --- perhaps a lizard or small rodent.  Little did I know (according a bird website), the  GBH will "eat nearly anything within striking distance".  Hmmm…I don't recall him snapping at the air.  But, now I wonder if that blob could've been appetizer.

September 13, 2015

Oh, Deer…Still Flooded

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It's been a long, hot and busy summer!  We've had an usually wet summer here and some rural areas are still flooded.  When I visited Myakka River State Park yesterday, the road winding through the park was completely open and passable for the first time in several weeks.  The wooded areas throughout the park, though, are still under water.  So, park residents, like this deer, seemed very happy to venture out of the soggy conditions and enjoy a nice meal on dry ground.  In fact, this deer was so focused on munching on dry grass, it didn't mind me standing just 20-25 yards away.  Cooler temperatures are right around the corner here and I hope I'll be able to get out and about with my camera a bit more.  Hope everyone in the CDP blogosphere is doing well!

June 11, 2015

Dinner for One


If you're going to dine alone at Lovers Key State Park, you might as well do it in style.  I love how this osprey maneuvered his fish dinner within this split tree branch so that it's wedged in there snugly.  That way, when feeling peckish, the osprey doesn't have to clamp his talons onto the fish to keep it in position.  Rather clever, I'd say.

June 10, 2015

Lovers Key Beach

Lovers Key State Park

It's not that easy to find a desolate beach in Florida.  So, I was thrilled when I strolled around the corner at Lovers Key State Park and saw this deserted scene.  I encountered one other person on this stretch of beach and he was doing what I was doing:  meandering along taking pictures with his DSLR.  (If you zoom into the middle of the photo you can see him.  Otherwise, he blends into the background quite nicely.)  This is a wide shot of the area where I took the last two photos I've posted.  You see how close the green treetops are to the Gulf of Mexico?  That's what makes this area so inviting to ospreys.  Tomorrow we'll take another up close and personal view of this popular bird of prey.  

June 7, 2015

Lovers Key Hunter


Hunting is banned in Lovers Key State Park unless, of course, you're an osprey.  As it turns out, ospreys adore this park.  I spotted at least half a dozen nests lining the beach less than 30 yards from the Gulf of Mexico.  (Apparently, they subscribe to the adage 'location, location, location'.)   They can sit in a tree high above everything, then soar a very short distance to hunt for some sushi. This handsome fellow cruised right overhead as he was heading out to look for dinner. Those intense yellow eyeballs  and sharp beak are rather formidable, wouldn't you say? 

June 6, 2015

Lovers Key

Lovers Key

At Lovers Key State Park….channeling Clyde Butcher, Florida's modern day version of Ansel Adams.  Over the next few days, I'll share more photos from this heavenly slice of paradise in Ft. Myers Beach. Have a nice Saturday!

June 1, 2015

Theme Day - Stylish

It's Theme Day in the City Daily Photo world!  This month's theme, courtesy of Grace at Perth Daily Photo, is stylish.  I had a photo in mind at the end of last week, then everything changed when the Tampa Bay Lightning, our National Hockey League team, won game 7 of their conference playoff series last Friday night to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.  I think the SDP Editor in Chief  could be heard all the way in Tampa yelping, 'Stop the presses!', just so we could accommodate the most current example of stylish.  Everything with the Lightning logo is very stylish right now in the Tampa Bay area.  How stylish?  This was the fourth sporting goods store I went to before I could find some Lightning garb.  The other places were picked over and sold out.  The Lightning players are speedy and fun to watch on the ice…and I'm looking forward to a good series against the Chicago Blackhawks, which starts in Tampa this Wednesday.  It's June and we're playing hockey in Florida -- how great is that?!  It will be tough, but I think the Stanley Cup is coming back to Tampa.  Go Bolts!  To see other stylish photos from CDP participants click here.

May 20, 2015

Happy 5th Anniversary

At some point during this busy spring season, Sarasota Daily Photo marked its 5th anniversary.  How has the time escaped?!  It seems every year I write that I wish I had more time to spend on the blog.  And, that remains true.  Although we're not publishing as frequently as we would like, the editor-in-chief (and the entire staff) is still committed to showcasing scenes from the Sarasota area and staying in touch with our many City Daily Photo friends around the world.  As you may know, the SDP editor-in-chief rarely signs off on flower posts, but this hibiscus (spotted in downtown Sarasota this past weekend) was just too stunning to leave on the editing floor…especially for this special occasion.   

May 1, 2015

Theme Day: Revolution


Nothing says 'revolution' like the Gadsden flag. The image of a coiled rattlesnake and the text "Don't Tread on Me' dates back to 1775, just before the beginning of the American Revolution.  As many as 24 years earlier, Ben Franklin drew a sketch of a rattlesnake divided into pieces in what's believed to be the first editorial cartoon in an American newspaper. The rattlesnake image resonated with colonists. Rattlesnakes (apparently) are only native to America.  They will warn with their rattle if someone infringes on their territory, and only strike if provoked. The phrase 'Don't Tread on Me' came to represent the colonists' unity against tyranny and England, and their fight for individual liberty and freedom. 

The Gadsden flag is named for Col. Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina. He was one of three members of a committee which created the Marines (with a grand total of four ships).  Col. Gadsden, it's widely thought, presented the Navy's commander-in-chief with this flag, believing it was important for him to have something distinctive and personal flying on his ship.  

I recalled seeing this scene in Sarasota recently…retraced my steps…and voila -- a theme day photo!   In my mind, I recalled just the Gadsden flag.  But, I was quite happy to see the American flag there too.    To me, these two flags side by side truly symbolize 'revolution'.

If you'd like to see other interpretations of this month's theme day, revolution, click here.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's submissions.  This was a challenging theme day!

April 26, 2015

Urban Sunset

Bird Key Sunset

As promised, we're back in Sarasota!  This was a recent sunset right in the urban core at Bird Key Park on Sarasota Bay.  As I've mentioned before, many times the best part of a sunset is after the sun goes down. What do you think? The pastels stretching across the sky and the bay that evening were amazing.   I'm starting to contemplate the next Theme Day -- Revolution -- thanks to a reminder from Jack at Naples and Hartford in Season via the City Daily Photo Facebook page.  This is going to be a challenging Theme Day!  (Fingers crossed I can make it.)  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

April 21, 2015

John Isner

John Isner

One of the very cool things about the Miami Open is that you never know who you'll see wandering the grounds.  (More on that in a moment.)  I was hoofing up the outside stairwell at the stadium court when I happened to glance down where players are transported to and from the tournament.  I spotted a very tall guy with a tennis bag and knew instantly it was American tennis player John Isner.   Big John, as he's called, (he's 6'10") was spotted immediately by this young fan.  Looking at this photo, I can imagine his little voice:   'Hey, mister!  Can I have your autograph?'  Well…well.  What would Big John do with seemingly no one around watching?   After finishing a hot, tiring match earlier that day, would he give the kid the big blowoff so he could jump in his ride and rest?  Or, would he pause for an autograph?  Big John has a reputation for being a nice guy, so I was curious to see what he would do.

John Isner

Not only did Big John sign an autograph, he posed for pictures.  Brilliant!  Makes me like him that much more.  Ranked in the top 20, Isner has been a rising star for awhile and I'm anxiously awaiting his big breakthrough.

This was the first tournament in awhile that I didn't encounter any players when I was actually roaming the grounds.  In previous years, I've spotted Rafa, Ana Ivanovic -- and somehow, Venus snuck within feet behind me one time and I realized it after it was too late.  But, my all-time favorite encounter was one of my very first.

I spotted this guy (when no one was around) and I couldn't believe it!  Roger Federer heading to a practice court.  It was 2006, he was ranked #1 in the world (amazingly, he's currently #2) and I just had a point and shoot.  And, boy, did I point and shoot!  What a fun, unexpected encounter!  This was before Roger won the French Open (to complete his personal slam), before he was married, and before he was the father of not one but two sets of twins.  And, I thought he had accomplished a lot at the time I took this photo!  That concludes our visit to the Miami Open this year.  Back to Sarasota soon!

April 20, 2015

Tommy Robredo


One of the great aspects of the Miami Open is the close proximity between spectators and players.  This was a match between Alexandr Dolgopolov (who we met yesterday) and Spanish player Tommy Robredo on Court #1.  This is an intimate court, and, as you can see, fans are pretty darn close to the action.

Tommy Robredo

Tommy Robredo has been on the professional tennis circuit for 17 years (believe it or not) and currently is ranked #20 on the tour.  He's one of those guys who seems to play consistently (when he's healthy) but that big breakthrough has been elusive. Nine years ago, he peaked in the top 10.  Robredo ended up losing this match in three sets to Dolgo. Bad for Robredo but good for Dolgo, who, as I mentioned yesterday, is trying to claw his way back to being considered a rising star. 

April 19, 2015

Alexandr Dolgopolov

Alexandr Dolgopolov

Alexandr Dolgopolov is one of those players that I try to see whenever I'm at a tournament.  (Check out my encounter with him last year here.)  His serve is a bit unorthodox, but he makes it work, and the combo is fun to watch.  Unfortunately, he lacks consistency. One set he'll play incredible…the next, it's as though he's mentally checked out.  As a spectator, it makes for some interesting viewing.  I first started watching Dolgo in 2011 when the SDP Junior Editor noticed him and predicted he was a rising star.  Sure enough, by 2013, he broke into the top 15 on the ATP tour.  I'm not sure whether he's had some injuries, but his ranking has dropped into the 70s. He's still young and has lots of tennis to play -- and possibly have that big breakthrough, which I would be really excited to see.

April 18, 2015

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

This photo really epitomizes Spanish player David Ferrer.  Currently ranked #7 on the ATP tour, he plays hard and is intense.  Always.  It's a great combination for a tennis fan!  Tennis commentator Brad Gilbert refers to Ferrer as "Little Beast", since he's just 5'9" and prowls the court with the ferocity of…well…a beast.  This was the first time I saw Ferrer play in person and he was lots of fun to watch. Incredible player.  Believe it or not, he's 33 years old -- which, more or less, is considered geriatric in the tennis world.  But, he's maintaining the intensity and sharpness..and keeping pace with the young guns.  Go Little Beast!

April 17, 2015

Moody Atlantic

Moody Atlantic

We're taking a brief break from tennis for a weather shot.  This was taken on Key Biscayne early in the evening as a storm was rolling in on the Atlantic Ocean.  The multiple shades of blue and grey were incredible.  I barely had enough time to take this photo before the skies opened up. Crandon Park, where the Miami Open is played, is about 1.5 miles away and as soon as the storm reached land the night matches were rained out.   But, the bad weather ended up working in my favor because more matches were squeezed in the next day (which was beautiful weather-wise), when I was roaming the tournament grounds. We'll return to the courts tomorrow with an incredible Spanish tennis player.  (If you're thinking Rafa…think again!)

April 16, 2015

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

I was really looking forward to seeing Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard at the Miami Open. Currently ranked #7 on the WTA tour, she's experienced an amazing past couple of years, reaching the semi finals in two grand slams and the finals at Wimbledon last summer. The tennis world has high hopes for her. But, since losing Wimbledon, she's been on a downward spiral.  Apparently, that's somewhat common for a young tennis player (Genie just turned 21) who suddenly is thrust into the limelight where expectations for success are heightened -- and the tennis world is watching their every move.  The top players adapt.

Yesterday, I mentioned that if a player is going to have a meltdown it will happen in Miami.  Right from the start of the match, Genie was off her game…and on an emotional roller coaster. While there were occasional glimpses of her incredible athleticism, those were quickly replaced with fits of despair (and even what appeared to be tears) until, at last, she completely lost it and smashed her racquet.  Not once…but three times.  What was especially unfortunate was that she was still in the match.  

It seems Genie is in a mental fight with herself. In this photo, she's taking the walk of shame, carrying her mangled racquet off the court after losing in straight sets to an opponent ranked around #100.   I sure hope she's able to pull it together, turn it around, and start winning again.

April 15, 2015

Mikhail Youzhny

Mikhail Youzhny

Mikhail Youzhny is a Russian tennis player who currently is ranked #58 on the ATP. Here he's returning a serve from Kei Nishikori (see yesterday's post) on the grandstand court during the Miami Open.  A few years ago, Youzhny was ranked as high as #8 and he's always interesting to watch.

There seems to be something about Miami that draws out fits of rage in tennis players. (Perhaps the relentless scorching heat has something to do with it.  Just a thought...) Anyway, Youzhny is infamous for his Miami Meltdown in 2008 when he bashed his racquet against his forehead with such force that  blood trickled  down his face.  It happened on this very court.  I missed that display in person; however, it's memorialized on YouTube if you're interested you can watch it here.  I'm pleased to report that he played well during this match and kept his emotions in check.

April 14, 2015

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori
As part of my annual personal March Madness, once again I headed down to Miami for the big tennis tournament.  Although the event seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis (this year it was the Miami Open; last year it was the Sony Open; and the year before that, the Sony Ericsson), it was a lot of fun, as always. Out of the gates, we saw this guy, Kei Nishikori. Currently ranked #4 in the world, he's the most successful Asian tennis player in history.  He also was the runner up in the U.S. Open finals last year.  And, Kei just happens to train right here in the Sarasota area!  In this shot, he was playing Russian Mikhail Youzhny on the grandstand court, and as you can see…he was rather focused on the task at hand.

April 12, 2015

Soothing Sunset

Myakka Sunset After a long work week, this was just what the doctor ordered Friday night:  a serene sunset at Myakka State Park.   The swirls of lavender, peach, lemon and tangerine were incredible..and, I think, enhanced because of smoky conditions in the distance.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

April 5, 2015

Spring Training

David Price

With Opening Day right around the corner for most Major League Baseball teams, I'd be remiss if I didn't post about Spring Training.  This year, I caught one game: New York Mets vs. Detroit Tigers in Lakeland (about 80 minutes northeast of Sarasota) where the Tigers play spring ball. As a little girl growing up in Michigan, I was a huge (read: HUGE) Tigers fan.  Every spring, while the snow was still flying in the mitten state, I'd hear about spring training games being played on a ball diamond surrounded by palm trees in a warm, exotic location called Joker Marchant Stadium. So, years laters, whenever I get to see the Tigers play at that very stadium….it's pretty cool.  On the mound for the Tigers was Cy Young winner David Price, who until recently, played for the Tampa Bay Rays.  It was great to see him pitch in person.

Spring Training

It was a pretty eventful game, including an incident highlighting the potential perils of sitting in the stands.  This woman took a foul ball to the face…and was escorted out of the stadium.  Fortunately, she looked like she would be okay. (Something similar happened at a Tampa Bay Rays game to a guy I know.  A screeching line drive foul ball drilled him in the chin. He now sports a beard to mask the scar.)

  Spring Training

We saw a nice play at the plate.  This is Tiger outfielder Javier Bentacourt sliding into home.  SAFE!

  Spring Training

And, there was plenty of activity to watch in between pitches. This is an osprey delivering a fish lunch to its brood waiting in a nest in the left field lights.  Active osprey nests also are located in the right field lights and behind home plate. A total of three nests in the stadium lights.  Interesting. Remember last fall, during nesting season, what happened to one bald eagle nest at Ed Smith Stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play?

It was removed from the stadium lights…and tossed into a dumpster.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter weekend!

April 1, 2015

Theme Day: My Camera-Shy Self Portrait

It's Theme Day for those of us in the City Daily Photo realm.  And, this month, the theme is unique:   'My Camera-Shy Self Portrait'.  I'm not camera shy.  But, if I were, this would be a pretty good depiction of me nowadays.   Seemingly everyone is talking about my alma mater Michigan State University, which surprised many by securing a spot in the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four as a #7 seed.  I'm always a proud Spartan -- but especially proud this week!  So, as I adjusted my Spartan garden flag last night I realized that was a perfect photo opp for theme day.  Go Green!  To see other interpretations of camera shy individuals in the CDP world click here.

March 25, 2015

Gulf Aglow

Ft. DeSoto Sunset 
I visited Ft. DeSoto, just to the north of Sarasota, this past weekend with a friend visiting from Michigan.  It's always nice to see the area through the eyes of a tourist!  With so many clouds filling the sky, we weren't sure if there would be a decent sunset.  Then … Mother Nature did not disappoint.

March 16, 2015

Urban Living


Meet Al.  He's a 2-month-old bald eagle living high up in a slash pine tree in Bradenton, the city immediately to the north of Sarasota.  Apparently, his parents have been nesting here for at least the past three years. 

Eagle Nest

This is home sweet home for the eagles.  (The nest is in the tree third from the left.)  Just 25 yards away is an 8-lane divided highway with all kinds of retail stores, offices and restaurants.  Very urban surroundings.  And, then, there's the dilapidated, vacant structure they live over.  Not exactly where you would expect to find an eagle nest, is it?  I learned about the nest (thanks to a friendly tip) because it was in the local news as a property rights vs. wildlife story.  Here's the skinny:  the City of Bradenton code enforcement division wants the property owner, who purchased the building in this condition, to clean up the eyesore.  The owner wants to comply and, actually, would like to raze the structure.  But….

Mama & Baby Eagle

…with our national bird having a young family in such close proximity there's a snag.  Florida wildlife officials say the building is too close to the baby eagle to be razed.  There needs to be at a least a 660 foot buffer between the nest and heavy construction machinery.  Code enforcement was prepared to start fining the property owner $150 a day for noncompliance, but they all had a meeting of the minds due to the eaglet situation.  From what I understand, they're going to wait for Al to grow up and leave the nest, then tear down the building.  So, all's well!

Bald Eagle

By the way, the eagles knew what they were doing when they scouted this location for a home.  While it's in a busy urban area, the Braden River is only about a mile or so away.  It's quite scenic.  But, more importantly, there's quality fishing for a bald eagle feeding a growing family.  This photo, I believe, shows the female, who, I was told is rather skittish.  Sure enough, she popped in at the nest just long enough to check on junior before taking off again (the photo I posted yesterday). She rested on a nearby branch -- and blended in amazingly well.   I love it when a birding tip turns out this well!

March 15, 2015

Majestic Take Off

Bald Eagle
Majestic.  Fierce.  Beautiful.
  The American bald eagle.  100% awesome.
(The backstory on this pic coming tomorrow.)