Created 25-Mar-09
Modified 13-Apr-14
55 photos
Scroll to the bottom for the photos! ~ Double-Click for a larger image

March 6th, 2014: 8000 Sandhill Cranes! Well it did not happen!!! The wet conditions at the Prairie -and perhaps the change in flow from the added water diverted to the Southeast part of the wet prairie contributed.

Cranes were found in the Lake Orange area, West of McIntosh and South of the area.

The birders have found "Sparrow Alley" to be fruitful grounds for the normal and less normal visitors. I hope that the area isn't closed to "protect" the construction site.

The unfortunate part of the "season" was the total lack of Whooping Cranes. We have always had "some" - but this is my first year with none. Keep hope dear heart -we have seen the rare birds during March - May. There is still a chance!

Feb 7th, 2014

Hello from Soggy Silver Springs!

Our low rain period of the year has turned wet and dreary too often in the last two weeks!! Still better than our recent cold spells - far better than the cold up North.

The host service, for the website, has added significant new features to the set of tools to construct and maintain the site. So ...given the amount of rain and dreary days we had lately .. I got to work with the new tools and options to revise the website. Blearily eyed! and frazzled - the changes begin with the Home page ( ) and the Latest Additions ( ) I hope y'all like the new look and feel of the updates!

Wildlife Photographers favor the smaller format of the APS-c and other less than full-frame sensors. The rational is the magnification gain afforded by the smaller sensor -which provides the effect of a longer - more expensive lens. The Wildlife Photographer's favorite 100mm-400mm Canon zoom lens and the 80-400mm Nikon lenses gain 30-60% with the use of a sub-size sensor. i.e. 1.6x400 = 640mm 1.3x400= 530mm. Nothing is free and other trade-offs are involved - but it is a cheap way to get range so you're closer to your subject.

The opposite approach is the best for landscape photography! The full-size sensor provides wide-angle lenses, with their 35mm film equivalent, view. The 16-35mm f2.8 mounted on an APS-c body would become 27mm-56mm ( @1.6x) and would not be as useful for panorama and other wide shots common to landscape photography. Full-frame cameras are more expensive, often much larger, and weigh more than the APS-c bodies. The image quality and saturation can be spectacular!

We are working on plans to go West this Summer, so the addition of the full-frame Canon 5D Mk III, made sense because of the opportunities for landscapes and vistas. The 16mm-35mm was added to offer additional wide-angle capabilities and to compliment the 17mm-40mm f4.0-f5.6 mm. The last few weeks has had much rain but still offered a couple chances to try out the new equipment.

The second row of photos ( in Latest Additions ) were taken with the Canon 5D. If you click the photo, a new larger picture comes to the screen. Click on the larger photo and a largest picture is displayed with the "lights turned off" and a black surround with nothing but the photo in view. The area above the thumbnail pictures now provides access to "Thumbnail" or the complete photo "Info."

The Sandhill Cranes were seen in large quantities near McIntosh and Wacahoota but also flocking North in quantities. I have not seen a Whooper this year ...yet! Travels to LaChua were curtailed by the approaching rainstorm. I did notice that the gators are tending towards the far side for basking duty.

I ran into Ranger Howard Adams ( leaf blower in hand! ) who will retire, after 36 years of service, in the Florida Park Service - at the end of this month. Howard is one of the most helpful and informative folks I've had the pleasure to work with ..and just a nice person to know! Please join me in wishing Howard a happy retirement and thanks for all he did for us!! ( )

The report is ducks, ducks, and more ducks at Saint Marks and the platform end of LaChua. The Circle B Bar Reserve is also in the plans for the next few weeks. Circle B is a real wonder of a place! It's small, diverse, and the rules are simple; no pets, open at 5 AM - closes after Sunset!

January 21st, 2014.

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. At its core is a network of 515 sites throughout Florida selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities.

January 19th, 2014

Hello! ...and welcome to the Winter of Florida!! { both weeks of it! }

We heard of the Snowy Owl sightings at Little Talbot Island, which is Northeast, of Jacksonville, Florida. The first sightings that I heard of were around December 28th. I planned to go - but the weather forecasts kept getting in the way! The weather forecasts during the last few weeks have been a bit off the mark so I went there anyway.

The weather was cold for Florida and the wind was pretty stiff. I may have pressed the term "layers" to the extreme, but set out, armed with the last sighting and rumors of the owl's location. Nothing! goes the day on Thursday!

Friday was a bit warmer, the rain was out of the forecast, and the Winter Coat Layer was added to advantage. The search began at the Southern end of the island and I worked North along the beach scouring the dunes. I swapped cell phone numbers with several "bird seekers" who agreed to call if they had a sighting. I stopped for my banana break and at mid-banana saw the outline of the white owl, in contrast to, the two-shades of gray darker sand!

We "locked-in" the sighting and moved down the beach to get something closer. The cooperative owl stayed put and were rewarded with a good series of pictures! The location was about 400 yards North of the last ( Southmost) parking lot. The owl was on the "second" row of dunes. Looking West, you will see a plume of smoke, which was all most perpendicular to the beach, at the birds location. The first sighting was around 10:40 AM. Bird seeking progressed to bird watching!

The Northern Gannets were seen diving off the beach ( well off the beach! ) and I got a few ID Shots. The dive height of the plunge to the water was spectacular! The birds started the dive 75-100 feet above the water. The area has reddish egrets that waded nearby. The quantity of shore birds was abundant!

We went North to Fort Clinch, on the report, of the a sighting. of a male Harlequin Duck. It too was cooperating on Friday and showed up on the North Side of the rock jetty, about two hundred yards off the end of the looooong fishing pier. The bird was small and distant but ID was no problem.

Oh Yeah! The Sandhill Cranes were found in large numbers just South of CR320 and SR441 -about 6 miles North of Williston. It was a weasel and stockbroker inspired trip, but we finally found cranes, on both sides of the road. Go early! Somebody will count them!!

The final solution to the bison continues! A collaborating report that five bison were seen riding, in a truck, that got on SR75 at Micanopy and headed North on SR75. { to the Florida Dark Service Management { ops } vendor Hajoes Sanctuary?? } We will never know, because it's a secret operation, that won't be disclosed. "Corralled at $325.00 Valued at $1600.00 each. Gifted to a vendor or paid for?? You'll never hear a word! Secrecy! Well beyond the mission!!! Regime Change - Please!!!!
_MG_6864 Baby Bison_MG_0198 Catchin not Fishin_MG_0107 Conflict LR0412_5020 Cedar Key0326_4254 Times part0412_5021 Power Broker0321_4197 Threat to Clean Hats3648 Florida banded Water Snake0316_eos1d3_4043 The Nest Expirience4041 Wood Stork