Tag Archives: travel

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled

Even a guy raised in NYC knows better than to continue down this path. I didn’t know how many Alligators used it, and I didn’t care.

We were well into the trip by the time I shot the image above and I had seen my share of large reptiles.

Alligator In Swamp
Alligator In Swamp

Several times while hiking I found short paths down to streams. If they looked like the one below I just kept going straight. Here I thought it must have been a pretty big tail to leave that mark.

Alligator Tracks In Our Path
Alligator Tracks In Our Path

My experience with Alligators had been limited to a few on a golf course, but they really are out there I found out. Of course they make for a great picture and story.

They weren’t just in swamps or back woods areas. We were shooting landscape scenes and plants around clear lakes. The photo below was taken with a short focal length portrait lens.

Alligator
Alligator

While this guy didn’t seem more than mildly interested in what I was doing we moved on. Looking at the under water shadow I knew he was fairly big.

But again, makes a good story.

Perfect At Hiding

Owls can blend into their surroundings better than most animals. A small Screech Owl can be invisible.

The only reason we found this little guy was another photographer, a local person, gave us detailed landmarks along a trail. Even then we missed him several times.

 

Screech Owl
Screech Owl
Screech Owl
Screech Owl

The Barred Owl in the Everglades region is perfectly fine with hunting in the daylight. This poor guy couldn’t keep his eyes open.

 

Willets On The Beach

Until recently I had no idea what a Willet was. Everything smaller than an Egret was a ‘piper’ to me. I really missed out not paying attention.

Willet
Willet

One thing that struck me was they had no fear of waves, or knew how to handle them. Consider their size, 17 inches, a small wave was like a tsunami to them.

Willet
Willet

Unlike a Plover or Piper that frantically runs back and forth following waves a Willet casually strolls along.

I found if a stood still at the waters edge a Willet would completely ignore me, walk past, and continue looking for treasures.

 

Wildlife Sunset Photography

Wildlife photography is what I do. Maybe I’m in a rut, maybe it’s a specialty. Whatever it is most all my photos involve animals.

I have friends, photographers, that feel the same way about sunsets. They live on the shore and beautiful sunsets happen often. I love their work, unfortunately I rarely get to an area open enough to even practice a shot like that.

However…

Sunset with Pelican
Sunset with Pelican

Several evenings while we were in Florida we closed the day at the Gopher Tortoise preserve. A beautiful beach included.

White Ibis At Sunset
White Ibis At Sunset

 

Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset

I was able to shoot unbelievable sunsets, some of my favorites birds, and with no hiking or bugs. Not bad.

 

 

Red Shoulder Hawks

While in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida I was told by a ranger all the Hawks I might find would be Red Shoulders. He said it was pretty rare to see any other type in that area.

Coming from Connecticut I found that strange. We must have 10 – 15 different kinds of Hawks. In fact I had only seen a Red Shoulder up close this past winter.

IMG_9694-2
Red Shoulder Hawk

 

IMG_9711-1
Red Shoulder Hawk at dawn

 

We hiked through swamps, pine forests, and saw grass marshes and I must have seen Red Shoulders 2 or 3 times each day. They appear to have acclimated to most all the Florida terrain. However I don’t remember seeing any on the shore line. Ospreys are very territorial so most likely they drive them away.

Watching The Great Egret

One of the things I had hoped to accomplish on the this trip was to shoot a series of a Great Egret. The Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret are the 2 largest wading birds.

Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)

The first hike of the week found one within an hour. A good start.

When you see a Great Egret in person you know right away, really big birds. The smaller Snowy Egrets also have bright yellow feet. Of course it’s not always obvious since they stand around in water most of the day.

I have read they also hunt differently, one has his beak out straight, the other neck bent. That kind of detail is beyond me. You would need to hang out in swamps or water a little more than I care to for that expertise.