Friday, April 21, 2017

From the 2004 archives

Yoho NP, British Columbia, Canada
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - A look back at a 2004 vacation stop in Yoho National Park.  Perfect weather and good hiking.  From this location we were heading back to the trail head at Lake O'Hara in the middle of the photo.  No hikers cars were allowed at the lake.  We took a bus to the exclusive resort there and headed out.  Only a small number of hikers are permitted each day.  You have to buy a ticket at the park visitor center and hope there are seats/spots available.  We got lucky to get our tix on the day we hoped for.
     The "friendly folks" at the resort were not happy if you ventured onto their area for the guests  and we expected to see 'no sweaty hikers' allowed signs.  Oh yeah, there was a designated time the bus left for our special parking area...miss it and it was a six mile walk back to the car.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Another bad hair day

I just can't do anything with my fluff.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - - The latest happenings from the Alligator Farm.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunrise, Easter morning

ORMOND BEACH, FL - - Easter sunrise at a beach near our house.  If you are going to enjoy the sunrise and do some beach walking you better bring a camera along.  Or you bring a beach chair and hot coffee.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Quit yakking, I want some food

Please don't forget about me.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLe - -  Poor kid.  The parents squabble while he/she tries to get their attention.
      (It appears I've screwed up the photo somehow...which shouldn't be a problem if I had the slightest idea how to fix it.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dance, dance, dance


TITUSVILLE, FL - - Some male snowy egrets who are yearning for love ... or at least a date ... resort to all sorts of things to garner attention. This fellow,. for instance, was practicing his ballet-style moves.  Note the moorhen nearby who was transfixed by this fellow's stellar moves!!  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Raptor rapture

TITUSVILLE, FL - - A short excursion to the wildlife refuge at Cape Canaveral found us on a drive out among the mangroves on a connection of marl/gravel tracks favored by fishermen.  It usually is also pretty good for a good collection of birds very early (just before sunrise) in the morning.  The very narrow roads - -with water on both sides - - meanders all over.  You can't get lost if you drive around enough.
     Way out there the navigator spotted a large bird perched on a scrub with a good view of the water.  I backed up slowly and there was an eagle maybe 15 feet away almost at our level.  Usually unfamiliar noise or movement with spook an eagle into quickly flying off.  Not this one.  It was a juvenile, maybe three years old and scruffy looking.  No real coloring that you expect to see in a mature bird.  It checked us out and then went back to checking out the waters nearby looking for breakfast.
     (I refer to the eagle as it because while the raptor probably is male, I can't tell.)
The real eagle-eye

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Green eyes and noisy neighbors

ST AUGUSTINE, FL - - Last post focused on red eye makeup and now it's green eyes which look sharp.  Explanation:  green eyes are for Great Egrets while red eyes identify a Snowy Egret.  This green eye tries to look regal while scouting out the neighborhood.
     When you've occupied room / nest in the apartment building you sometimes have to put up with
The eyes have it.

Waiting for the dancing to stop.
noisy neighbors.  You can't leave (because someone might swoop in and steal your spot) so you do your best to ignore the noise and antics of those around you.

Monday, April 03, 2017

My fine feathered friend

Of course, I'm just a shy kind of guy

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - - In the Spring, a young bird's fancy turns to finding a mate.  For that, you've got  to look sharp.  Note the red eye-liner and the gel in the head feathers.  Don't we look hot.

A little bird told me...

Hello!  Hello!

 ST. AUGUSTINE, FL -- Hello I'm back.  I took three months off because I couldn't think of anything to write, because nothing exciting was going on.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Vacation time

We've headed out for a few days of camping at Fort DeSoto on the West Coast near Clearwater Beach.  No snow in the forecast.  Happy Holidays 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Early Turkey Day

Herding turkey vultures

Trying to look regal while waiting for you to keel over
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - Early Thursday morning we stopped by Lake Woodruff Wildlife Reserve to check on what once had been a very good place for photographing birds.  Over the past two years the winter time population has dwindled.  It looks like it may be the same this Winter.  Unless you like taking photos of turkey vultures. They congregate almost everywhere. 
     Fortunately, they didn't ruin our appetites for the Thanksgiving Buffet at Brian Bar-B-Que.  It's been our turkey day meal stop for about four years.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Smile for the camera!

Whoopee.  We're going to be famous

No smiles during  yoga time
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - We took a ride to St. Augustine and the Alligator Farm to see what, if any,  damage the recent hurricane produced.  The alligators didn't look any the worse for wear.  The birds, however, were another matter.  It appeared the high winds had stripped most of the limbs of their carefully built nests.  And blew nearly all the residents out of the area.  We wonder if the avian nest owners will return to rebuild. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

The color green and a warning

Green heron and camouflage

Be careful
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - It's a bit early in the season to expect a lot of birds at our favorite viewing / photographing spots but our Friday trip to Viera Wetlands turned out fine.  There were a lot of the usual characters and a few who usually don't make an appearance where you can  photograph them.
     The green heron is usually a recluse.  We got lucky.  The info sign tells you all you need to know about watching how close to the water and weeds  you get and what to watch for. Of course, a good 50% or more of the photographers out were pushing their luck.

Crunch time

Crunch time
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - After waiting nearly three weeks one of the FEMA work trucks started clearing the hurricane debris from our street.  There's a second trailer behind the one you see with a total capacity of 100 cubic yards.  The trucks filled quickly; left for an off-load destination where the debris was ground  into wood chips and then returned for another load...about 10 trips per  team per day.  The individual; operating the loader was very good.  We didn't have much to rake/sweep up after they moved on to the next house.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hurricane to Veterans Day to meal time

Hurricane Matthew left our back yard covered in debris

It's hard to see the length/height of the debris piles...and they are still here

Showing the colors (Ormond Bridge) on Veterans Day

Lunch Time!! A great blue heron deciding on which wine to have with fish

Friday, October 14, 2016

Notes on crossing the road to get to the other side

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this blog
FRACKVILLE, PA - - My previous blog mentioned we'd seen signs for "moose crossing" and "goose crossing" in a number of New England states.  After some deep research, I discovered a Moose conspiracy.  It seems the actors union to which the moose belong played a fast one on the town committees in the areas affected.  The areas put up "moose crossing" signs to keep the tourists happy and thinking they might really spot a moose.  Hah.  If the moose do cross the road they do it in another area so they don't have to put up with weird human behavior.
     The areas of "goose crossing" actually do have lots of Honkers lolling about on nearby ponds.  They might waddle across the road but are more likely to take to the sky in flight formation and honking so you know they are coming.  The "V" formation flight should be heading North, but East, West, or South are just as likely to be their direction.  These are Canada Geese so if they come down from Canada and points North then they are Canadian.  Right?  Some folks will fight you on that distinction.
     We spent a day in the environs of Boston recently where it looks like things/house haven't changed in a long time.  Reminded me of Poughkeepsie where I grew up.  I was back last year and the downtown still looks like a bombed out wreck.  The thing which amazed me most were two bars which I might have frequented back in the late '50s for a beer or two.  They were dark, sleazy and run down then.  A bit over 50 years later they were still the same.  Why renovate when the same old crowd shows up every day?  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sights seeing

Set your easel by the sea (ocean) and inspiration will follow

A purple breakfast awaited us in York, ME

Ever wonder where parking metet heads go for Winter
BRATTLEBORO, VT - - In New England you can spend hours and hours of driving and get practically nowhere.  Like today we spent six hours driving from the outskirts of Boston to our current location:  active mileage - - 106.  But the leaves are beautiful; the houses historic and there's always something to create a conversation.
     Never did see what the subject the man in the top photo was so intently working on.  Not too much of a choice really...just sky; rocks; waves; ocean and trees.  I quietly watched him as he resolutely dabbed and thought; stroked and thought in a rhythm sort of like the waves on the rocks.
     York. ME basically closed shop after Monday's holiday, but  few hardy souls like Sandy's were open for those exploratory types like us out wandering. The breakfast - - eggs, bacon, toast and home fries - - was very good.  But when I asked for hot sauce the waitress who we figured was also the owner went far above usual service.  I has SIX brands to choose from.  I tried the three brands I didn't know,
     Later, while checking out the beach we spotted a dump truck more then half full of parking meter heads. And a city worker hard at work wacking meter heads off.  Hey, you've got to have something to do during the winter and refurbishing a money-maker for York will probably be a top priority.
     SIGNS TO THINK ABOUT:  Snowplow turn ahead;  Goose crossing;  Moose crossing;  Driveway plowing;  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Way up there in the big Down East

Mono shadows on a multi-colored foreground

"The Bus" is our home
ELLSWORTH, ME. - - Maine has been as good a place as any to wait out the outcome of what damage Hurricane Matthew inflicted on our house in Ormond Beach.  Luckily, aside from tree limbs (and two limb-caused holes in the roof) and  trash debris our home made it thru pretty good.
    Meanwhile I feel pretty good being away from home.  Strength and stamina is s†ill down from past trips but still my shadow-selfie.  We spent a day and a half on Mt. Desert Island better knonw as the location of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.  Today's trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain was notable for sustained wind speed of over 20mph with higher gusts.
     Now the planning begins since areas of I-95 have flooded and detours are not on good roads.  Going out of way West seems like a better deal but will add a day or two to travel.  At least we have 'house #2' with us. 

Monday, October 03, 2016

On the road

WILKESBORO, NC - - Greetings from McDonalds...where else are we gonna get free wi-fi?  We left home late Thursday and  have been traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway while camping out.  The quickest way we knew we weren't in Florida anymore..41-degrees on Friday night camping on Mt. Pisgah.  Best Oddity:  A church in rural NC advertising "Drive thru prayer"  
     Once on the road we quickly saw the first of many road signs we have been familiar with through out our past travels:  "Road work ahead"
     I'm feeling pretty good so we'll see where we end up going. The plan now is three weeks after an enforced 10 month stay at home.  Subject of course to the hurricane brewing in the Caribbean.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hot time

2010 Burro Pass (11,500')
ORMOND BEACH, FL -- Time drags.  Recovery is slow...especially if you are used to being a lot more active.  And used to being any where but home in OB.
     So I scanned through past summer trips and found a photo which made me feel good.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alligator Farm - - 6/11

Waiting for Mom to return with more food

Only the tough survive the  food fights

These small Parrot family (conure) members were hidden in the shade in a large wire enclosure.

Just a funny pic of one of the fat boys hangin' out..alligtor-style

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flower Dancing

A Great Blue Heron struts his/her stuff among the flowers at Orlando Wetlands

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Happy Mothers Day

ORMOND BEACH, FL - - We took a trip to St. Augustine's Alligator Farm Friday.  They have a rookery which, at this time of year, is like a huge condo complex of nests and young birds.  In honor of Mothers' Day I wanted to show how much fun it is to raise a young, hungry family.
     The great egret family (top) have taken to munching on mom's head until they get food.  Meanwhile the roseate spoonbill clan are loudly voicing their displeasure at the food service.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I'm back

ORMOND BEACH - - Sorry about the three month break in my blog but something got in the way: Cancer.  Stage 2, left tonsil.  Less than a week after birthday 73, the biopsy came back positive.  Two days later I started treatment:  7 weeks of once-a-week chemo; 7 weeks of 5-days-a-week radiation therapy.  Add in a two week hospital stay near the end of treatment for being badly dehydrated and you have a fun time.  Not only that, but the radiation gives the inside of your mouth a bad "sunburn" so that you can't eat solid food and that's why I'm on a feeding peg.  Hook up to the machine and get  food through a tube in your stomach.
     Anyway things are looking a bit more positive now.  I'm walking a mile-plus a couple of times a day and working on getting my strength and stamina back.  Losing 25 lbs. didn't help.  So that's the story for now.  Sort of regular blogs to follow.  CHEERS

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I can't find my snow shovel

80-degrees; fishing lines in the  water; boats on the river

A perfect April or May late December
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - The weather is weird all over the country.  We shouldn't be complaining.  In a regular year we might run the heat a few times.  This year, it's AC everyday.  People on vacation should love the weather, especially if they haven't been to Florida before.  Of course if you want to swim in the ocean, paying attention to the lifeguards and their information on rough waves and rip currents is a must.
     There will be a wake-up call sooner or later.  The temperatures...if only for a day or two..will drop to near 40 or lower.  The beautiful white, orange-ish, yellow and vermilion colored blooms on our bushes will realize that this really isn't mid-spring. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays

Alf and Murphy
ORMOND BEACH, FL - - On this Christmas Day, we take a moment to reflect on loved ones who are no longer with us.  For 17 years the above two fur balls made life in our house interesting.  We miss them.

Not sure if your neighborhood is like ours, but we've seen Santa's Helpers buzzing around the streets on golf carts...pulling carts loaded with packages...and wearing brown!!  Not a red nose or elves clothing to be seen anywhere.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fish for breakfast

"I think I may have a problem."
ORMOND BEACH, FL - -  It's been nearly a month since my last post.  We've gone a few places to check out what has changed in the five months we were away...not much.  And our photoshoots involved much of the same subjects as last year. 
     One new discovery has been Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive,  an 11-mile (one-way) meander mainly through the wetlands on the North Shore of Lake Apopka but also a stretch of the shore line.  We found more birds than we've seen in a long time.
     As we were driving along we spotted a Great Blue Heron make a strike at a fish.  The bird was below us in a drainage canal so we couldn't immediately tell if got lucky.  The GBH quickly took off and it was evident it has speared something big.  Luckily the bird landed on the other side of the canal and we could see it's problem:  big fish; bad angle for swallowing and really stuck on it's bill.  Add to that that other birds will soon show up trying to steal the fish.
     We watched for a short while, didn't see much progress and then drove on.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Home, again

ORMOND BEACH, FL - - Well, here we are.  Back at home in Ormond Beach.  We've cleaned out our VW "Bus" and again marveled at what we had stuffed inside.  You would think after six (five month) trips out West we would have packing down to a science.  Close, but not quite. 
     You could say that things are about back to normal...what ever that is.  We've been out to a couple of our bird locations.  It looks like our feathered friends are still on vacation.  So we'll take it easy and wait a bit for the weather to cool down (80's) before checking again.  Fortunately we know our favorite restaurants are still open.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

1498; 1499; 1500

WEST END, NC - -  I know there were doubters out there.  Too many pieces; they won't finish the puzzle.  Here it is all done.  1500 pieces, no empty holes.  Now, what do we do with it??

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Blue skies

French streetscape

John Burroughs two story cabin

Saugerties lighthouse
SOUTHERN PINES, NC - - After 10 days of rain, grey skies, more rain and mostly miserable weather, today the skies are blue.  Thankfully, there was no serious flooding where we are like there was in South Carolina.  So, what do you do when the weather is crappy: hang out in our favorite coffe house; spend lots of time (Lydia) on a 1,500 piece jig saw puzzle or grab an Amtrack train to Poughkeepsie, NY to visit my mother and brother.
     Some of the weather followed us tp Pok but we went out exploring just the same.  John Burroughs was a literary naturalist who liked to hang out in the woods.  His two story cabin, called 'slabsides' because of the rough-sided wood he used to build it, is now  nature center.
     The Saugerties Lighthouse went into use in 1869 and continued until 1950.  It is only 46 feet tall and was used to cover a very narrow section of the Hudson River.  It is now maintained by a local lighthouse association and functions as a two unit bed and breakfast.  The nature trail you traverse to reach the lighthouse could be termed 'interesting.'
    Last Sunday we were in Penn Station in NYC ready to hop on our train but aware of the bad weather in the Carolinas.  Thirty minutes to go and one moment the schedule board says our train is on time and the next minute "CANCELLED."  (In all, it was cancelled four days straight.)  We got lucky and were able to get on another train headed to New Orleans, but going through Greensboro.  The train stopped at 12:15am and Lydia's brother picked us us.  Luckily we got near our destination.  Not sure how a lot of the other cancelled passengers fared.  (Our route home to OB...I-95...ended up having 75 miles closed for a period of time but we still have a couple of days yet before we're due back.)    

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guard Kitty

Want to find out how sharp my claws are??
SEVEN LAKES, NC - - Max, the guard kitty at the family BBQ reception we recently went to,  didn't sound off much.  Just a flex of the claws was enough to let folks know if they were on the invite list.