Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Florida Part One

I just returned from spending a wonderful week in Florida with my friend Ken Blye. He and I were roommates together on a photo trip to St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs. He lives in the Orlando area and does on a lot of photography in the area, so he knows where the good places to photograph are. He and his partner are the inventors of the Puffin Pad, which I will write about in another blog.

I arrived in Orlando on a Tuesday morning and after settling in at Ken's house, we put together a shipment of Puffin Pads to be sent out. Later in the afternoon, we went out to photograph sandhill cranes. First we went to the Lake Mary area, where in a slight rain we photographed a sandhill crane on her nest. The crane has been on the nest at least 45 days and the question is the egg viable. We got some great pictures of the sandhill crane standing up and training the egg in the nest.
Sandhilll Crane on Nest

Sandhilll Crane Flapping

We then continued to Lake Sylvan in Sanford Florida, where there is a family of sandhill cranes who will cross the lake from where they were feeding to go to where their nest is on a hammock in the middle of the pond. Usually they will cross directly over from the shore to their nest; however, tonight we got a treat. They walked along the shore and past within 5 feet of me, in fact, they were so close it was almost impossible to take a picture, so I just watched them and enjoyed the view. The adults would fly from little hammock to the next little hammock and the baby chick would swim over.

Sandhill Chick Swimming

Sandhill Crane Leaping

Close-up Sandhill Crane's Face

The Family

Wednesday morning we did urban photography, not taking pictures of buildings but of wildlife that occurs within a city. Greenwood cemetery is within the city limits of Orlando and is a wonderful place to photograph bald eagles, would ducks, and the ever present coyote. The original tree, where the Eagles had their nest, the top broke off and the tree now is the home for the wood ducks, flickers and other birds. The Eagles nest is in another tree; the young eagles would be waiting in other trees for the adults to come with food, but would fly back to the nest on occasions. We were not lucky to see the adults coming in with food, however, one adult came back and landed in the top of a tree in excellent sunlight and we were able to get beautiful pictures of it including one where it took off from the tree.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle - juvenile

I was able to capture pictures of wood ducks flying overhead and also investigating holes in the tree.

Wood Ducks

The coyote was found wandering among the gravestones and was photograph from the car utilizing the Puffin Pad.


Next, we went to the top of a parking garage in Winter Park Florida where we could look at and osprey nest on top of an electric pole. The nest had a youngster in it. The male osprey was on another pole finishing up a fish

Osprey on Nest

Male Osprey on Electric Pole

We finished the day shoot at the Mead Garden in Winter Park where we were treated to a barred owl perched in a tree.

Barred Owl