I saw a lot of Roseate Spoonbills the first three days of my Florida trip in January but at a distance, behind low scrub and/or in low light. Finally on the third afternoon we came upon a flock of mixed wading birds in a marsh that was close enough to the road for clear photographs.
The flock was working from our right to the left, both wading and taking short flying hops.
The Ibis and Spoonbills seem quite content to hang out together.
This Roseate Spoonbill trio really show off the darker pink band on their wings, a contrast with the White Ibis that has just a hint of black on his wing tips.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, 1/28/2018
A fellow photographer spotted the Pelicans at quite a distance when we stopped to view some ducks along Black Point Wildlife Drive. We watched them approach for what seemed like several minutes but probably was only 30 seconds, hoping they would land in the pond in front of us.
Instead they treated us to an amazing aerial ballet, with the birds shifting position in the group, breaking apart and reforming, in an elegant flight display.
The American White Pelican is one of North America’s largest birds, with a wingspan from 8-10 feet (2.5-3 meters)!
As they glided by I could see that the individual birds adjusted their altitude as well as their flock position and no matter how close they got to each other there was no evidence of an in-flight bump.
Photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.
The turtles are the most likely to be seen sharing space with other creatures around the swamp and ponds. They crave the sun just like the alligators on this reptile ramp and don’t show any fear in the presence of an alligator that could easily eat them.
Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.
I don’t know what this “foot in the air” display from the turtle just to the right of the egret is all about, but a little further along in another small pond I saw it again, with both hind feet straight out.
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.
A bee found his way to the bloom and checked each cup carefully.
My sunset photographs rarely do the real scene justice. Often it is because there is nothing in the foreground to make a good composition. These dead trees on a nearby beach are a little something but I didn’t get a great angle.
Knowing the right spots for the time of year is a help. So is luck. Now that we are in our second year in South Carolina I might do better with the locations. For the luck, all you can do is get out there.
I counted at least six young Alligators hanging out with their mother. They were being very still and and the mother was under the water when I passed by going along the edge of the pond. When I returned a few minutes later I heard the tell tell “mewing” sound of one of the young calling.
Standing still for a few minutes I started to see them move around and the mother rose to a protective position. They were about 12 inches long and sometimes their heads bobbed out of the water and other times you could just see their tails switching the duckweed around.
It was almost sundown and time for them to be settling in for the night.
I first became aware of Green Walls when Liz of the New Zealand based blog Exploring Colour posted about an installation in Balclutha, NZ. It is an impressive sight that uses mostly native plants and made an otherwise utilitarian looking space inviting.
Just a couple weeks later at the Smithsonian’s Mary Livingston Ripley Garden in Washington DC I was surprised to find a short Green Wall. Much smaller than the Balclutha version with smaller plants, the colors and textures were a visual treat.
Although not called a Brown Wall, that is what I would call this next construction, or perhaps an Insect Condo as a sign indicated was its purpose. I didn’t get close enough to see if it had occupents but it did look inviting.
Maybe this sign would slow down a stinking thief. I wondered if the gap in the Green Wall was due to theft or plant failure.
I found this sign more to my liking. #SmithsonianGardens