Monday, April 28, 2014
BABY SAND HILL CRANES
Friday, April 25, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
NEW WILDLIFE PANTHER KITTEN VIDEO
For earlier times with Yuma since his discovery, abandoned in the wild, see this video: http://youtu.be/H8fPCEm5hFY
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A COUPLE OF SPECIAL SHOTS FROM THE WILDLIFE PARK
Was over at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park again today, trying to get a decent shot of our new Florida Panther kitten.
As always, right click and "open in new tab" to view a larger image without losing this page.
This was the clearest shot I got. Aside from the distance and the fences messing up the focusing, Yuma is usually on the move- quickly!
Yuma's handler thought she might take a call...
Saw Lu out of the water for the first time in several visits so took the opportunity to grab a nice shot of our 6000 pound eating machine!
On the boat back to the Visitor's Center on Rt 19, I saw this pair of wood ducks in Pepper Creek.
A bit further up the creek, this anhinga was distracted from his drying by the presence of our boat and stopped to check us out.
Monday, April 21, 2014
AROUND THE WILDLIFE PARK
Some random shots around the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park over the last couple of weeks... For loading and layout, I have left these "small", but you can see any of them in a larger form without losing this page by right clicking and "open in new tab"
Bunnies appeared around the Visitor's Center in the days before Easter and the big Easter Egg hunt on Saturday 19 April, 2014. That day also saw the naming of our new baby Florida Panther, Yuma, "Son of the Chief".
On the Birding Trail, I saw a bird!
Another in my series of Tree Portraits.
High up in one old tree, a large crack. I am told that Wood Ducks like to nest in holes and cracks high up in the trees. The Park now provides nesting boxes along Pepper Creek for them now.
Three Wood Ducks near the big spring, note the difference in the head feathering of the two colorful males. I have my own suspicion that one is new? A young'un?
Waldo catching some rays on his raft.
A window decoration on one of the Park's golf carts used by staff for carting materials and workers from one end of the park to the other.
A rare spotting by eagle-eyed boat driver David of a wild gator swimming up the creek from the western end, entering the turn to Osprey Island.
While Waldo was away, this very large soft shell turtle used the chance to grab some rays on his raft next to the dock at the Visitor's Center.
A walk down the Birding Trail on a rainy day.
Three of our permanent resident manatees enjoy an undisturbed feeding as the park was virtually empty due to rain.
A Blue Heron hunted this small fish as I watched: if I had realized what he was doing, I would have had video! It was fascinating. He stalked it in super-slow motion, then fired his beak into the water as quick as any spear or arrow.
I added a "Flat Brutis" to my boat on Saturday: now 3 of the 4 boats have them. Eagle? Let's get with the program!
For those who need another reason to visit, there are pressed penny machines at each end of the park!
The wonderful unique blooms of the Weeping Bottle Brush Tree along Pepper Creek just west of Palm Island.
A young raccoon tried to cross the creek over our heads as we passed two weeks ago. At the end, he ran out of branch and seemed a bit confused as to what to do.
Out back by the maintenance shed, there is a very large turtle, I don't know why, but he is a beauty!
Before the first boat last Sunday morning, looking down from the bridge.
Long time boat driver and park volunteer Bob, often creates origami animals for waiting children. This adorable young boy was very delighted with his orange frog!
This last Saturday saw occasional sprinkles, but we ran the boats anyway, much to my pleasure, though my driving was sometimes blocked by overly large umbrellas.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FLORIDA PANTHER KITTEN AT THE WILDLIFE PARK
I went over to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park this afternoon for a training session for park volunteers. It was led by JD Mendenhall, and is part of a series of such meetings to help park volunteers improve even more on helping guests to the park better enjoy and learn from their visit and better appreciate the "Real Florida".
Shortly into the meeting we all traveled over to the Presentation Pavilion where twice each day a park specialist makes a presentation about a particular animal or group of animals to gathered guests. Today, JD was going to talk about our new Florida Panther kitten, and then we would be able to view it, far off, in an enclosure behind what will soon be its home, as it is being acclimated to the environment, noise, and people in the park. It is brought out for about half an hour each day at 10:30 and 2:30 for that purpose. Because of the unique circumstances of this kitten, it will never be able to safely return to the wild and survive on its own: the first other "animals" it ever saw when it opened its eyes for the first time were the Veterinarians that saved its life.
On the way over, I asked Park Manager, Kim Tennille, and Park Specialist JD Mendenhall to pose in the new park uniforms. That's the Fish Bowl behind them, the cornerstone of this area for the last 500 years or more.
JD opened with a fascinating telling of the story of this "miracle kitten" to an over-packed house.
We then each had a chance to view the kitten as it romped in an enclosure behind what will be its permanent home when it reaches 6 months. It is currently at 3 1/2 months and about 14 pounds.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
LUNAR ECLIPSE 15 APRIL 2014
In the wee hours of this morning, while most of you were tucked away for the night, the earth was making its way between the sun and the moon and throwing the latter into shadow, and I was sitting out in my yard trying to capture images of it.
As I sat, I thought of Galileo and his limited instruments and devoted efforts to making images of the heavenly body and how wondrous it was that within moments, I, a rather ordinary fellow, would be making available to anyone in the world with internet access detailed images of that same body with such a minimal effort.
I shot about every thirty seconds, and will be working on putting that together in a time lapse video later, but for now, here are three images highlighting moments from the event. The last was taken as the sky began to haze over and required such a long exposure that the traveling of the moon during same caused a bit of a blur, but it does show the color during the full eclipse.