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Hal Scott Preserve, 2/17/2018

On Saturday, I visited Hal Scott Preserve to look for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. I found two, which was really nice to see. I also saw several Carolina Satyrs, and I got my best photos of the species. I then went to Tosohatchee, where I saw lots of interesting bugs. I'm playing with the video capabilities of my new Canon 7D mark ii with fluid head, so I put my photos in the above video using ProShow Producer. I also added the photos from the slideshow below.

Orlando Wetlands Park, 2/16/2018

This morning I decided to hike a little bit of Orlando Wetlands Park. My main goal was to try taking some video with my new Canon EOS 7D mark II and Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head. The head works beautifully, and the 7Dm2 took wonderful video, though the autofocus seems to make a clicking sound while I'm recording. Good practice is to use an external mic for audio anyway, so I'm not too concerned. I put together a short video of some of the footage I collected today. It's nothing special, but I kind of like it, especially since it's the first video I've taken with the camera. But note to self. I need to get rid of the noisiness.

Immature Bald Eagle, 2/10/2018

This past Saturday I walked to the St. John's River from the end of Brumley Rd. It's an eight mile walk to get there and back. On the way, a juvenile Bald Eagle flew right by me, and I thought it would be fun to try out the autofocus system on my new Canon 7D mark II. I registered my C3 setting to Shutter priority mode at 1/1250 sec with the autofocus system set on all focusing points (I may change this later). The camera functioned beautifully and just about all my photos came out sharp. I'm incredibly impressed with how this camera performs.

Gull-billed Terns at Orlando Wetlands Park, 11/24/2017

I decided to wander around Orlando Wetlands Park this morning and found a wonderful surprise. Two Gull-billed Terns were parked together right next to the main trail. I've never been happy with my photos of this species before, and I think today's photographs were my favorite.

Ducks are increasing in numbers with every visit. This morning there were bunches of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, lots of Northern Pintail, one Northern Shoveler, one Wigeon, a Gadwall, many Ring-necked Ducks, and a few Lesser Scaup, not to mention Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks everywhere.

Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, 9/25/2017

Two days ago, one of my friends found a Baird's Sandpiper at Orlando Wetlands Park, and several of us saw it yesterday (and it's still being seen today). I drove out to it during my lunch break and came back to the office all excited. Of course, my friends at work thought I was nerding out over a bird that "looks just like any other sandpiper."  The bird was on Wetlands Blvd between Limpkin and Bobcat Rds.  It was very kind to us because it was hanging out with both a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Least Sandpiper, so we could compare sizes. It's a beautiful bird.

There were only a few other shorebirds there: about 12 Least Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral, 1 Semipalmated, 4 Limpkin and 6 Lesser Yellowlegs.

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 7/15/2017

A couple weeks ago I visited the wildlife drive at Lake Apopka. I decided to use my macro lens and see if I could go my whole time just photographing insects and spiders. I made it all the way until the sod fields near the end of the drive, when I had to put my 400 mm lens back on.

I saw two species of spiders, a Black and Yellow Argiope and a Larinia species orbweaver. These were probably the most challenging to photograph. The Lavinia sp. was pretty small, and it had become quite windy, so just getting a sharp photo was a bit of a challenge. I photographed two odes, a Rambur's Forktail and an Eastern Amberwing.

I also had some fun photos of butterflies and moths, in particular, a Southern Skipperling, a Fiery Skipper, and a Yellow-collared Scape Moth. The scape moth was probably the most fun find of the morning for me.

And last but not least, I found a really cool hoverfly and another really cool beefly.

After I made it to the sod fields, there were about 400 or so Swallow-tai…

Geneva Wilderness Area, 7/27/2017

After having such a wonderful time this past Saturday at Lake Proctor looking for butterflies and dragonflies, I thought I'd try a different park with a similar habitat. Geneva Wilderness Area is a little closer, but it has three ponds with similar habitat. So I decided I'd check those ponds before work. They are surrounded by pines with grassy fields near them, and from what I'm learning that's a pretty good type of place to look for dragonflies.

I didn't see nearly as many dragonflies as on Saturday, but I did get about 15 species, and two of them were new to me: Carolina Spreadwing and Cherry Bluet. There were several species that were at Lake Proctor as well: Banded Pennant, Golden-winged Skimmer, Halloween Pennant, Little Blue Dragonlet, Atlantic Bluet, and Rambur's Forktail.

On the way out to the ponds, I also saw a Twilight Darner. I'm learning that these are more common here than I had originally thought.