Day Out With New Camera: Bobcat

On my second trip out with my new Sony Alpha 6500, which was intended for landscapes you may have noted from my last post, we came upon a Bobcat at the Charles Towne Landing Animal Forest.  This South Carolina State run park includes a number of animals that would have been in the area in the 1600s when the first settlers arrived. The Bobcat is in an enclosure but he had chosen a perfect spot above his fencing to give us a barrier free view.

I had been taking test shots with various focus and exposure settings with the 18-110mm lens mounted.  Of course I wished I had the longer lens on, but I did want to see how the lens would perform and didn’t want to take a chance he would leave while I was changing lenses.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony 18-110mm f4  at 105mm

The Bobcat was asleep in the sun when we first saw him and it turns out I had ample opportunity to adjust the camera settings, drop the lens hood then the UV filter that wasn’t tightened enough, and take some photos with the shorter lens before he opened his eyes.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

He started stretching as I switched lenses. I should have changed to a faster shutter speed at this point but was still pleased with the images.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

After a look around the Bobcat dropped out of the tree and disappeared into the undergrowth.

Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Zoo
Bobcat at Charlestowne Landing Animal Forest; Sony Alpha 6500,  Sony – 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 at 210mm

Holiday Trimmings and New Camera

I’ve wanted a second camera to have at the ready for landscape shots when I am out shooting wildlife for awhile. Switching lenses for those shots then missing a bird opportunity happens regularly or I just don’t bother then wish I had those landscapes later. A lighter camera to carry when walking around town also had appeal.  I’ve taken the plunge and purchased a mirrorless system camera.

Long White Bridge at Magnolia Plantation
Long White Bridge at Magnolia Plantation

I originally was planning on a non-interchangeable lens camera to keep the size down. However, after much research and deliberation I decided on the Sony Alpha 6500. Image stabilization, the choice of lenses, and the way it feels in my hand were the final deciding factors.

Magnolia Plantation
Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation is trimmed with red and green for the season and provided a great opportunity for some landscape shots. I usually don’t take photos around the house because of the tourists but today the area was remarkably people free when we returned from walking around the dike.

Magnolia Plantation
Magnolia Plantation Gazebo

Click on any photo for larger view.

Resting Rookery

This pond is home to one of the rookeries where last spring and summer I watched Herons, Egrets and Anhingas raise a new generation.

Fall Pond
Fall Pond

Now in early December it is quiet with just a few ducks paddling out in the middle or staying tucked into the far corner. More ducks are expected but the warmer than usual fall along the east coast may be keeping them away.

Fall Pond
Fall Pond

The quiet is nice and I’ll be back throughout the winter to look around but I do look forward to witnessing the trees and the birds start a new cycle.

Brown and Orange Butterflies

The Chrysanthemums were a little past their prime but these butterflies and other insects didn’t care.

Brown and Orange
Common Buckeye Butterfly – click on photo for larger view

This garden has a path around the perimeter that winds up a hill to what was a farm. Passing by a foot or so below this garden bed made the butterfly action easier to see and photograph.

Brown and Orange
Painted Lady Butterfly (?), sharing with a bee – click on photo for larger view

October 20, 2017, Arlington House Gardens, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

Fall Blooming Narcissus

Narcissus are touted as spring blooming plants but here we are in December and once again this year I’ve spotted some gracing the pathway to the dike around the old rice field we frequent.

This path is lined with huge trees and not much light reaches the ground in any season making it a surprise that these bulbs can rejuvenate year after year. This is not an area that is currently being tended and doesn’t look like it has for some number of years.

Narcissus
Narcissus

A bee found his way to the bloom and checked each cup carefully.

Narcissus
Narcissus

Click on either photo for larger view.

Tricolored Heron Looking Around

Making a noisy production of it, this Tricolored Heron flew past me  up the canal.  I saw where he landed but the pathway along this part of the old rice field is lined with a lot of trees so I didn’t expect to see him close up. I got a peeking view of him through some branches, expecting him to fly off any moment as they tend to be skittish.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

He stayed put even when I passed by to another vantage point that included his gorgeous reflection and more of the fallen tree that he perched on.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron with Reflection

He continued to stay put as I moved on and rounded the corner for yet another view that included some fall color.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron in fall landscape

Click any photo for larger view.

September Gulf Fritillaries

I’ve seen a few Gulf Fritillaries around as recently as last week. In September they were everywhere you looked. These images were taken on the Morris Island end of Folly Beach where they were cavorting around in the flowers growing in the sand.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

Although they fly about independently, if one butterfly finds something good another will soon follow.

Gulf Fritillaries
Gulf Fritillaries

They seemed OK at sharing if there were two vying for the same spot, and can hardly push each other around the way birds might do.

Gulf Fritillaries
Gulf Fritillaries

September 9, 2017, Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.

Reptile Day at the Swamp

There aren’t many wading birds around my favorite swamp right now but I still like to walk around it at least once a week and I always see something. Sunday it was reptiles. We have had some cold weather but Sunday was in the low 70s (about 21 degrees C) and turtles, lizards and alligators were out soaking up the sun.

Turtles were crawling out of the water. They often just move onto the bank of the swamp making it easy to retreat. This one was more ambitious and got a completely dry spot.

Turtle
Turtle

The Brown Anole did a nice job selecting his wooden perch for camouflage and full sun. When I passed he disappeared down a crack in the middle of this dead stump.

Brown Anole
Brown Anole

The Alligators care little about being seen. Usually they can sink and swim many feet away in seconds if they feel the need to escape. The dead tree limbs this one was in between might have slowed him down if a real predator was after him. He was content with this spot; he hadn’t moved when I returned by him twenty minutes later.

Alligator
Alligator

Click on any photo for larger view.

Eastern Phoebe

Flycatchers around the marsh can be difficult to photograph as they like to perch on the side of a tree hanging over the water resulting in obstructed views. And they are fast!

This fellow was ahead of me as I wondered up the side of a pond,  flitting in and out of trees and occasionally swooping out over the water. He finally took a break on some pretty dried vegetation.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe – click photo for larger view

This time he was rewarded with a large catch. It looks like a dragonfly even though he has it scrunched up a bit. The leafless trees gave me a clear shot but also resulted in a lot of background busyness. He promptly turned his back on me and gulped it down.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe – click photo for larger view

Sunset and a Shrimp Boat

I was searching for a spot to take the rising “super” moon on Sunday. Unfortunately along with the full moon comes high tide eliminating the best spots to get most local landmarks in the shot. I finally decided to try the road that crosses Folly Creek which would have the bonus of a good spot to see the sun go down.

Sunset with Docked Shrimp Boat
Sunset with Docked Shrimp Boat – click on photo for larger view

A couple of commercial shrimp boats dock on this spit of land and make a nice addition to a sunset photo.

Sunset with Docked Shrimp Boat
Sunset with Docked Shrimp Boat – click on photo for larger view

My moon shots were a bust due to my own failings. I thought the horizon was clouding over and that the chances the  moon would be visible at the horizon were low. So I walked away from the car without my tripod. Using the bridge railing to steady my shots wasn’t enough at the required slow speeds. Maybe the weather will cooperate next month, or maybe the next, for another try.