December 15, 2017

Big Beast

Hidden Beast

This is why you shouldn't stroll through the brush in Florida.  I spotted this big beast sunbathing next to a water filled ditch in rural Sarasota.  As I drove by, I did a double take and had to turn around and verify what I thought I'd seen.  This guy is huge!  Can't imagine walking along and stumbling across it.  The claws alone are scary.  Makes me wonder what it's eating out there in the wild to maintain such an impressive girth...

November 27, 2017

And So It Begins

Kicking off the holiday season with the traditional unraveling of the Christmas tree lights!

November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Wild Turkeys
Gobble gobble!
"Hey, don't worry about her.  Park rules are in effect: Shoot photos. Not turkeys."

Encountered these wild turkeys wandering in a field at Myakka River State & sound.  No stuffing, mashed potatoes or gravy in sight.  Wishing everyone in the City Daily Photo community a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 16, 2017

Standing Guard

Bald Eagle

When I was on my way to the Veterans Day parade last weekend, I spotted a bald eagle flying overhead....which reminded me that I never posted this handsome guy.  I encountered him a while ago standing guard in rural Sarasota County. Would you believe me if I told you his mate suddenly showed up?  Well...

Bald Eagles
Yep.  This happened.  Love nature!

November 12, 2017

Veterans Day Parade

The annual Veterans Day parade was held yesterday morning in downtown Sarasota.  Very patriotic with thousands coming out to thank veterans for serving our country.  As I snapped this photo on Main Street, it struck me...

 This could have been a scene from the '50s.  What do you think?

Lots of ROTC cadets marched in the parade.

Always love to see the parade goers proudly waving the American flag.

And, so nice to see the younger generation paying tribute to our vets.

The topper for the morning's event was....a military flyover!  Two F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve roared over the ceremony.  Awesome!  Thanks to all the veterans.

November 7, 2017


Who can resist the the bright orange beak and orange-yellow eyes of an oystercatcher? Not me! Such a unique seabird. I spotted this guy this past weekend during a relaxing day at Lover's Key State Park near Ft. Myers Beach.  Oystercatchers prefer environs south of Sarasota, so it was fun to encounter this one....who appeared to have his head cocked and ready for his closeup.  Nice!

October 8, 2017


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 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


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


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


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.... 

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


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

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.