Showing posts from 2018

Little Big Econ State Forest

Since May, I've been doing a lot of hiking at the Little Big Econ State Forest. The area is one of my favorite places to hike, especially in Central Florida. You can see major portions of the Econ River as well as some of the St. John's River, and there's a beautiful mix of pine flatwoods, marshy flood plains, and everything in between. During the summer the only birds here are breeding birds that I've photographed many times before, so I decided to bring my macro lens with me and focus on flowers, insects and other wildlife. The culmination of these efforts is a vastly expanded catalog of photos with a much greater diversity of species. I decided to celebrate this with a video slide show focusing on all the tracts and trails of the State Forest and Wildlife Management Area. I hope you enjoy it.

Indigobird, 6/3/2018

Yesterday one of my friends found this exotic bird at his feeder. He called a few of us to come over and see this bird. We spent a good amount of time trying to turn it into a Pin-tailed Whydah, but there were several things that didn't sit well with that species. First, the bill was whitish with a tinge of pink, the legs were orange, and the bird appeared to be molting into an adult plumage that didn't match any whydah we could find. Turns out the best fit is an Indigobird. We recorded the bird singing, and the recordings appear to be a spot on match for recordings of Village Indigobird on xeno-canto. Here's the strange thing. I checked iNaturalist and eBird, and there are no records of any indigobird anywhere in the United States. So while it would be wrong to say this bird is "rare" because it's certainly an escaped/released pet, it's still pretty great to see one that apparently isn't a common pet in the United States. It was quite an experience!

Wildflowers at Lower Wekiva River Preserve, 6/2/2018

I took a 7-mile walk around the Lower Wekiva River Preserve this morning. I wasn't able to take my normal route, though, since the trails were flooded in a couple places. So I ended up walking some areas that I'd never been to before. I ended up seeing a fair amount that I don't normally see,  so it looks like I need to add more variety to my hikes here.

Ever since May, I've been hiking with my macro lens instead of my 400 mm lens. I'm trying to concentrate on learning my butterflies and dragonflies, while also photographing other bugs and wildflowers I see. The change has been fun and very enjoyable, though I suspect when migration starts again, I'll go back to my old ways.

I had a wonderful time with the wildflowers I'd seen. The Meadow Beauty and Butterfly Pea were the first I've photographed. I've photographed Rose Rush before, but it looked more blue. I've photographed Tarflower several times before, but I think they're pretty so I'…

Bell's Vireo on Canal St., 3/17/2018

Over the weekend, a friend of mine found a Bell's Vireo at my favorite sparrow spot in Seminole County. Apparently, it flew into his field of view while he was looking for sparrows. I wish I could be so lucky. This species belongs in Texas and winters along the Pacific Coast in Mexico and Central America. But occasionally one shows up in Florida, and on even rarer occasions, it will winter here.  That's a special treat for me, especially in my home county.

Northern Waterthrush at Lake Apopka, 3/10/18

A few days ago I finally had time to visit the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Many of the rarities that have been wintering here have made themselves scarce. I didn't see the Long-tailed Duck, the Ash-throated Flycatcher or the Vermilion Flycatcher. There were still lots of birds to see here, though.  There were lots of sparrows at the Lust Rd gate, including a Song Sparrow, two Grasshopper Sparrows, an Eastern Towhee and lots of Savannah and Swamp Sparrows. My favorite photo of the morning, however, was this Northern Waterthrush that I found along the loop trail road north of the pump house. I saw two Northern and one Louisiana Waterthrushes, but I was only able to get a photo of a Northern.

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.