Archive for the ‘animal’ Tag

The Brood   6 comments


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They don’t start out life all colored in.

A short while ago, I published an image of a spectacular male Wood Duck keeping a watchful eye on his brood. There was good reason to be watchful: There were so many of them!

The female Wood Duck and her brood had taken a break from swimming the river, jumping up in a lineup along a fallen tree. There was a bit of a tussle as they scrambled up among the turtles that had been sunning there, but eventually everybody seemed to fit in and settle down.

If you look carefully toward the right side, you can see a bit of yet another young duckling. There may have been a couple of others there… I lost count after a while.

Wood. Duck.   3 comments


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From his log perch on the Silver River in Florida, a male Wood Duck keeps a close eye on his mate and their brood of baby ducklings.

For my preferences, Silver River is an amazing place to photograph wildlife from our kayaks. Motorboats are allowed to travel only at idle speed. No fishing is allowed. The five mile stretch of the Silver is essentially a wildlife sanctuary, attracting all manner of creatures. In fact, if you leave the Silver River and travel the nearby Oklawaha River, with fewer restrictions, it’s like night-and-day.

April is a great time to visit. The sun is getting warmer, flowers are starting to bloom, and the local critters are busy making ever more critters.

In this scene, I took some time to float near the male Wood Duck, who seemed quite unaffected by our presence. At the time, I thought he was solitary, but as it turns out, his mate was nearby and had a brood of eight or nine ducklings. (I’ll have an image of the brood coming up soon.)

If you haven’t yet seen it, one of my images of the Rhesus macaque monkeys at Silver River was picked up by Seeker Daily, part of the Discovery Network, and featured in a short video piece. You can find that video on YouTube, titled “Is There A Monkey Island In Florida?”

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The Lineup   6 comments


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Again at the Silver River in Florida.

This was taken on the back side of an island that used to be a tourist attraction. Whether the boat was used for ferrying guests, or was used as a prop for greater realism, I’m not sure, but it makes for a great haven for turtles.

I think that turtles make fascinating subjects. Even though they don’t move very much — which is good — the way they huddle together on exposed logs can make for interesting compositions.

I had any number of funny albeit puerile titles and captions in mind for this one, but Susan said, “Oh, don’t be such a boy.” So I promised I wouldn’t.

Suffice it to say, I wonder what’s inside that they’re willing to wait for so long?

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Grouch   3 comments


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After the chill of the evening wears off, a number of cold-blooded animals climb out of the water to warm themselves in the sun. Alligators tend to favor land or vegetation mats, turtles tend to climb up on logs that stick out of the water. In both cases, the chosen location is a good one in case a quick escape is needed.

This little guy — a Suwannee River Cooter, I believe — is actually only a few inches long, perhaps 5″ at most. I slowly nudged my kayak toward his carefully chosen log and snapped a few frames at 210mm.

Why “Grouch?”

This was the look he gave me just before grudgingly dropping into the cold water.

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‘Gator on a Rope   1 comment


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Not your average “Soap on a Rope.”

This, it seems to me, is one prime example of a giant bull Alligator mississippiensis, otherwise known as the American alligator. All I need to know is that they have big teeth and strong tails and that my kayak hull is rather fragile when it comes right down to it.

It was a warm day in late April on the Silver River, so the beast came onshore to collect some heat from the sun. Typically, alligators stay sedentary, preferring not to go into the colder water unless they feel threatened. If they do get scared, their normal safety procedure is to scramble directly into the water and submerge. That’s fine, as long as one’s kayak is not between the ‘gator and the water.

There’s a 3 knot current in the Silver River, so once I spotted this guy, I paddled upstream a bit, grabbed the camera and began to drift (from right-to-left in this picture.) As I came directly across from my subject, I noticed the OTHER tail in the woods… “Good ford!” I said, “There’s two of ‘em!” Evidently, this little puppy had a girlfriend.

Not wanting to disturb his marital bliss any longer (they do have reptilian brains, after all, and are not capable of much discernment), I slowly paddled… backwards.

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?   4 comments


Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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One evening, I was wandering around the garden with my new D600 and a sweet hunk of glass, the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, when Susan told me of a bee sleeping in a nearby purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), a plant with many uses not the least of which is… attracting bees.

Now, I don’t know what they put in that stuff, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen bees passed out after collecting a load of pollen. One time, we witnessed a bee waking up on a flower, stumbling around in a bit of stupor, then clumsily flying away to what we presume would be his home base.

Gardens are lovely because as you spend more time in the relatively confined space, you begin to focus in on little things that you might ordinarily miss. And if you sit long enough, nature comes to you, and you begin to recognize the patterns that individual creatures take through the landscape.

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REALLY Angry Bird   5 comments


Really Angry Bird

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He probably has every right to be angry, what with a camera pointed at his bath.

Mockingbirds are particularly cantankerous. They’ll squawk, sing countless songs, and chase interloping birds out of their territory. And around here, they’re everywhere.

This image was captured by setting the Nikon D7000 behind some cover foliage, then using a wireless remote trigger to take the shot. One thing we have over the birds is technology.

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