Showing posts from June, 2012

In Memoriam: Canon EOS 40D (2008-2012)

Today I would like to pay tribute to a wonderful camera--my Canon EOS 40D.  It's been good to me for 4 years, and I've taken in the neighborhood of 200,000 photographs with this camera.  It's been my trusted companion, whether photographing nature, birds, wildlife, or my kids' birthday parties. But sadly, on June 21, 2012, the mirror mechanism failed, so it no longer moves to expose the shutter when I take a picture.

There was a green screen set up in the studio of my office this morning, so I decided to take a studio portrait. Perhaps one day I'll have some fun and put interesting photographs behind the camera in this shot. Here are a couple photographs from the last day I took pictures with this camera.

I thought it may also be good to take this moment to share a little bit about how a camera "ages." We're familiar with how cars age more by miles than by years. Cameras age more by "clicks" (actuations) than by years as well. Every time yo…

Orlando Wetlands Park, 6/23/2012

This morning I went to Orlando Wetlands Park with about 5 other people, and we had a pretty great time.  It was cloudy and threatened rain all morning, but it never really did.  Purple Gallinules were out in force--I counted 12.

A couple Sandhill Cranes also decided to sing their lovely song at close range.

My companions for the morning were also very interested in the flowers and butterflies, and it occurred to me that I often do just pass them by without much thought.

Cameron Wight Park, 6/20/2012

Today I went to Cameron Wight Park in the northeast corner of Seminole County looking for Barn Swallows.  I saw about 12 there--they were very active and fun to watch, though it was drizzling and none of my photos were much to my liking.  I did find a Limpkin there, though, who posed nicely for a photograph.

Earlier in the morning I was driving through Longwood and found a few Great Crested Flycatchers, so I pulled over and took a few pictures of them as well.

United Presbyterian Church Parking Lot

It had been raining all day, and the weatherman was predicting some major storms for the afternoon/evening hours.  In fact, in some parts of Central Florida, they were predicting golf ball-sized hail.  We just bought a new (used) car that I would like not to have a dimpled roof and hood.  But what do we do?  Go to the church parking lot so that my son can play ultimate frisbee in the rain with his friends.  At one point, though, the rain cleared, and I was struck by the beauty of the trees and clouds in the parking lot.  I had been photographing six Swallow-tailed Kites in this same parking lot before the rain began (it's just north of Jay Blanchard Park), but I switched lenses to photograph this scene.  In the interest of full disclosure, there was some pavement in the photo, but I removed it from the photo and replaced it with grass from elsewhere in the photograph.

An Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk and Three Wood Ducks

This morning I got to work a little early to see what may be hanging out around my office parking lot.  There wasn't much of interest there, but there were 8 Wood Ducks on the lake, so I took a few photos of them.

This evening I decided to drop by the Spring Hammock Preserve--I've never been there before.  There's a wonderful trail that takes you to the western edge of Lake Jesup.  As you get close to the lake shore, the trail becomes a boardwalk, and you can find giant Cypress trees there with Ospreys frequently heard in the trees.  I saw two Purple Gallinules at the lake shore, but I didn't get any photos.

Central Winds Park, 6/16/2012

Yesterday I drove by Central Winds Park on the way home.  I've been seeing Black-bellied Whistling Ducks there frequently here, and this time there were two sitting by the shore of the pond.  As an added bonus, I found an immature White Ibis by the playground--a pretty good use of 15 minutes if you ask me.

Geneva Wilderness Area, 6/16/2012

This morning I went for the first time to the Geneva Wilderness Area.  I had heard that there was a Great Horned Owl there, but unfortunately, I never located it.  However, I still had a pretty great time. I  heard several Bobwhites at at least one Carolina Chickadee, though none showed themselves, and Eastern Towhees were constantly singing all over the area.  Photographically, I enjoyed finding Eastern Bluebirds, White-eyed Vireos, and a Little Blue Heron. A couple Roseate Spoonbills flew by as well, which I found rather surprising.

As I was a walking through the trail, a Bobcat ventured on the path.  I think we noticed each other at exactly the same time, and both of us stood nearly motionless (save the tripping of my shutter).  After a few seconds, I made a move and the Bobcat took off.  Thankfully, a couple of the photos came out.

Here's a list of species I saw this morning:

Wood Duck 3
Mottled Duck 1
Northern Bobwhite 5
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Roseate Sp…

Lake Lotus Park and Econ River WA, 6/15/2012

This morning before I decided to go to Lake Lotus Park for a little bit before work.  Photographically speaking, I came away only with photos of a Limpkin.  I did see a Red-eyed Vireo fly away from me and then call as I was leaving.  To be honest, he was so back-lit that I could only identify him by his call.

After work I drove by the Econ River Wilderness Area.  I was hoping to see Eastern Bluebirds there, and I heard a couple, but I didn't see any.  In fact, photographically speaking, I was not much more productive here. I came home with photos only of a Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Well, it could be an awful lot worse. After all, both Lake Lotus Park and Econ River WA are absolutely beautiful parks. This is my second time going to Econ River WA, and it's the first time I walked all the way back to the Econ River. I simply could not do justice to the beauty of the river, with all the Cypress trees lining the edges of it. I didn't even try to photograph it with my 400mm le…

Central Winds Park, 6/14/2012

Yesterday morning I went to Central Winds Park. I spent a few minutes there.  It was a relatively slow morning, but I did see a Red-shouldered Hawk enforcing the "don't feed the alligators" policy, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher also posed for a photograph.

That evening I drove down to Jay Blanchard Park so my son could play Ultimate Frisbee.  As I arrived, I noticed six Swallow-tailed Kites roosting in a tree just north of the park.  One flew to the tree with a frog in its talons.

My One Year Anniversary

Today marks my one-year blogging anniversary. I began my blog to write a curriculum for all the major aspects of outdoor photography, but as I wrote posts about learning photography, I found my desires shifting and growing.  My desires now include sharing the beauty of nature, and in particular of bird life, as well as learning and sharing about responsible interaction with and enjoyment of nature.

It's been wonderful getting to know fellow bloggers and nature photographers as well. Many of my newer thoughts, convictions and desires for my photography, blogging, and simple love of nature come from them.  I'm a better photographer, birder, and conservationist now than I was a year ago.  In fact, I suspect I've learned more than I've given, but I'm extremely thankful for all those who've read and contributed to my blog.  So, thanks!
On a side note, my six-year old daughter is sitting with me as I write this, and she wants to say some things about the nuthat…

Hawk Harassment

Hawk harassment--it happens all the time.  A Red-shouldered Hawk sits perched in a branch minding its own business, doing no harm.  Then, for no apparent reason, a Red-winged Blackbird begins to pester the hawk until it finally decides to fly away.  But it doesn't end there; the blackbird follows the hawk to pester it as it flees.

Red-winged Blackbirds aren't the only culprits.  Blue Jays sometimes get in on the action as well.

And then there's those grackles.  Sometimes they get into the action as well.

Well I said that these birds harass hawks for no apparent reason.  The other day I was walking outside on a phone call, and I heard a bunch of commotion--there were Blue Jays in a tree going crazy.  I walked over to see the cause for the alarm, and there was a Red-shouldered Hawk perched over a nest.  I didn't see what it took, since I saw the hawk from behind, and it flew away from me.  I had neither my camera nor my binoculars.  But I strongly suspect it made off wi…

Central Winds Park, 6/11/2012

This morning on my way to work I dropped by Central Winds Park for a few minutes, just to see what I could find. A Loggerhead Shrike greeted me as I drove into the parking lot.  Then there was at least a dozen Northern Parula by the play ground and a Snowy Egret by the shore of Lake Jessup.  Although I didn't get any presentable photos, I did find a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which is the first I've seen in Seminole Co. this year. I also found 2 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flying over Lake Jessup.

Here's a complete list of species I found this morning:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 2
Wood Duck 4
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 2
Tricolored Heron 1
White Ibis 1
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 10
Red-shouldered Hawk 3
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Loggerhead Shrike 2
Fish Crow X
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatch…

Eastern Screech Owl

Back in April, I found an Eastern Screech Owl in one of my favorite biding locations.  I saw him there three or four times in the same location, perhaps guarding a nest.  I haven't seen him there in over a month now, so the young have probably moved on.  These are my first photos of an Eastern Screech Owl.