Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bring Out Your Dead

You guys have seen too many birds of prey lately. Here's a vulture for you. Got anything dead?

Blue Jay Way

I guess they didn't have a scrub jay to bring out and show the folks at Oscar Scherer, so they had this guy. As a former mascot, I can't say I was too impressed. I tried to get the photographer from the Sarasota Herald Tribune to take this picture and put it in the paper, but she politely refused. Something about it wasn't visually interesting. Well, yeah, but it's a guy dressed as a blue jay! That's what people want to see in the paper!

Portable Gator

OK, there is one more animal. This baby gator was also on display at Oscar Scherer. They're cute when they're small, but once they get to be about 11 feet long, you don't want to hold them this close to the body.

Golden Eye

You may have thought I was done with the birds from last weekend, but I'm not. This great horned owl was yet another of the animals I saw at Oscar Scherer State Park last Sunday. I love those big golden eyes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Killer Kestrel

Here's another of the rescued birds from the Earth Day celebration at Oscar Scherer Sunday. I've been searching for one of these guys in the wild for a long time, and never seen one. This little guy is an American Kestrel. They never took this guy out into the sunlight, so this picture isn't the best it could be. They've got a touch of blue in those feathers around the head, and the beak has a blue tint to it as well. He only stands about 8-10" high, but he's a fierce hunter. Someday I'll see one in the wild and get a good picture, watch and see!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Ospreys?

How many ospreys did I shoot this weekend? I don't know. I lost count around 5. I was walking down Powerline Road in Myakka, and each of the powerpoles I passed had a nest at the top. About half of the nests were occupied, and most of the occupants would take off and circle around me until I got almost to the next pole. I've walked that trail before, and the birds usually just stare down at me (like the one below) and squawk. I don't know why they kept circling this time, but it made for some impressive pictures.

Wingin' It

I spotted more than ospreys at the Myakka River this Sunday. This red-tail hawk took off from a tree nearby, and I managed to get a single picture before he flew out of range. I spotted a couple of others, but couldn't get the camera on them quickly enough. I need more practice with shooting quick critters, I guess.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bloomin' Beans

The coral bean plants are in bloom again. I love these things. I've heard that they attract hummingbirds like nobody's business, but I've never seen them around.

A Better Mousetrap

What else did I see at Oscar Scherer this past Sunday? How about this barred owl? If you happen to be a mouse, that beak is going to put a hurtin' on you. Well, it might put a hurtin' on you even if you're a person. I guess it sort of depends on what kind of mood this owl is in. Luckily, he was pretty happy when I saw him.

Fish Food

This fellow doesn't have a fish, and if you have one, you'd better give it to him!

Another Week In April

The calendar page for this week in April is a big gold fish. This guy is a decoration at Baywalk in St. Petersburg, Florida. They've got all sorts of gold fish and octopus and crabs and I think a couple of birds, too. But this particular fish was the one that caught my fancy, so it's the one I'm sharing with you this week. You wouldn't want to have to flush this guy if he were to pass away while in your care.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

No Sharing

This guy does not want to share his fish with you. Trust me.

A Doe Or Two

Somehow, I shot two deer today. I guess that makes me luckier than most hunters. I've only seen deer in Florida less than half a dozen times, and never when I was out shooting, but today I got lucky, and saw these two does. (Yes, yes, I did see and photograph deer in Ohio, but that's not nearly so exciting to me as seeing and shooting them on my home turf.) They were about half an hour apart, and over a mile separate, so I'm pretty sure it's two different deer. Both times they just looked at me, and slowly walked away. I think they were coming out of the woods to get a drink from the nearby river. With the dry winter and spring, many of the water holes they would normally frequent are all dried up. I found these ladies in Myakka River State park today, which I visited after Oscar Scherer. I've got plenty more pictures from both locales, so it should be a good week to hang around the blog.

Hawkeye (Not Pierce)

I stumbled by accident on an Earth Day celebration (the day after Earth Day?) down at Oscar Scherer State Park today, which meant I got in for free, and it also meant they had lots of things to see and do above and beyond the usual pretty scenery. For me, the most exciting thing was a booth from a wildlife group where they showed off some of the birds they had rescued. It's a rare chance to get up close and personal with creatures that normally fly away before I can get within camera range. The first fellow I want to show you is this red-tailed hawk. This is the same species I shot up in Ohio, only then I was a few hundred feet away, and here I'm about 5 feet. All good pictures, but different. I offer up the picture below in case you wondered why they are called red-tailed hawks. Now you know.