Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wood Stork

Wood Stork
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), Searching for his favorite foods of fish, reptiles or amphibians at the Thompson Sports Complex in Gulfport, FL.

Wood Storks or as they are sometimes called Wood Ibis, are the only storks in America. They can be found in Florida in swamps, marshes and ponds.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

St Pete Skyline

St Petersburg, FL Skyline

I just happened to glance out my window and saw this the day before yesterday. These amazing clouds were due to a cold front coming in. The light on the buildings in the distance is what I noticed first, then the clouds. I just had to shoot this--it was calling.

There is no HDR or blending in this image. As a matter of fact, other than straightening, and noise removal, I didn't do a thing to this. This is how it came out of the camera.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wood Stork

Wood Stork
This Wood Stork was probing for dinner in the pond at the Thompson Sports Complex Park, in Gulfport, FL. The Wood Stork is the only real stork we have in the United States.

Wood Storks stand between 40-44" tall. Their heads are bare. They fly with their necks extended. Wood Storks can be found on or near the coast, cypress swamps and mangroves. They nest in colonies. Wood Storks are resident in Florida and Georgia and rarely along the coast from S Carolina to Texas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

I went to my friend's house in Bradenton, FL yesterday looking for White Pelicans. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any, but I did manage to shoot this Brown Pelican. This guy was very cooperative. It actually was pretty easy because I was on a pier where a fisherman was cleaning his fish. This one was just waiting around for a handout, so I was only a few feet from him.

Brown Pelicans have brown heads in the Summer and are all white in the Winter. They feed on fish, alone or in groups. They make spectacular dives, flipping from their backs just as they hit the water, then going in bill first. They swallow huge fish and you can see it wiggling while they're trying to swallow it while it's still in its pouch.

Brown Pelicans nest in colonies in trees or on mangrove islands. They are resident in Florida and are very common near the ocean, bays, estuaries, and a few wander inland.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tricolor Heron

Tricolor Heron

This was shot 3 days ago at Sawgrass Lake Park in St Petersburg, FL. He was just wading around looking for dinner in the shallow water.

I'm always excited when I spot Tricolors. There are plenty Great White Egrets and Great Blue Herons around because they've lost their fear of humans, but I don't see as many of these guys. I'm not saying they're rare, they seem to be more secretive and shy than the others. Green Herons and Reddish Egrets are also pretty elusive.

This one didn't pay much attention to me. He was too intent on hunting. I was lucky to be able to get this shot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackles are very common in St Petersburg, FL. We have 2 species here, this one and the Common Grackle. The Boat-tailed Grackle  is much larger, up to 16 inches, while the common Grackle is about 12 inches. They hang in marshes and along the coast. They can also be found on farmlands.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


This Giraffe was shot at the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL while my daughter and son-in-law were on a mini-vacation last week. He was kind enough to pose for me like this.

Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) can be found in the dry savannahs and in open woodlands south of the Sahara Desert. They are the tallest land mammals with a height up to 20 ft. The also have a long, prehensile tongue that can extend its reach by 15 inches. Their tongue is a bluish purple in color and their primary food is Arcacia leaves. There are nine subspecies distinguished by their coat patterns.

Giraffes give birth standing up, which means the baby's first sensation is a 6 ft. drop. Imagine coming into the world like this! The newborns must learn to run almost immediately by its mother's side, because Giraffes are preyed on by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

White Ibis

White Ibis

This curious White Ibis came within a ft of me at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. These birds can be found all over Florida usually in flocks on people's lawns probing for insects. According to a landscaper friend of mine, the probing is actually good for your grass; they are aerating it and keeping the insects down. They can also be found near the shore or on the banks of fresh water looking for small fish, crustaceans, with crayfish being one of their favorite foods.

Males and females look similar, but the male has a longer beak and is slightly larger than the female. Juveniles are brown and white and during breeding, the adult's beak and lores are deep red. Their wing tips are black, which can be seen in flight, but normally when they're on the ground the black tips are tucked under the white plumage. Ibis are both beautiful and friendly.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu

This magnificent animal was photographed at the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. My daughter and son-in-law decided to take a mini-vacation in South Florida and lucky for me, I was able to join them for a couple days.

We had gone to Busch Gardens in Tampa last Saturday and was very disappointed. Most of the animals were gone, or the exhibits were closed due to the holiday celebration and the crowd with school out was outrageous! There was nothing but long lines everywhere. It took 45 minutes just to get through the line to get our lunch. I expected that, but with most of the animal exhibits gone or closed and the ones that were open behind glass, is a factor for me to cancel my long-running annual pass. I've had it since 1988, and have always enjoyed the park because of the animal exhibits. I think I'll be going one more time just to see if all the exhibits remain closed, then I'm going to cancel my membership. If not, I'll hang on to it for another year or so.

Anyway, back to the Lion Country Safari. This place was only $30/per person to get in, and a great place to go. Families in particular will enjoy it, and it's only 3 hrs. (but well worth the trip) to Loxahatchee from St Petersburg. It starts with a car safari where the animals roam free, and the humans are locked in their cars. They give everyone a CD to play as you drive through at 8mph explaining what each animal is and a little bit about them. After the safari, you park your car and go into an amusement park where you can feed several animals, a petting zoo, and fish feeding. From there, you can walk over to the water park. It's small, but one can easily spend several hours there. The amusement park and water park are designed for kids, but we adults enjoyed it as well.

The photo is of one of the animals from the safari. It is a Greater Kudu. They are from Southern and Eastern Africa and the second largest Antelope. They weigh up to 690 lbs. Box sexes have the spinal crests, but only the males have a beard. Their horns curl around 2 1/2 times and average 4 ft long. The are herbaceous eating many kinds of leaves, herbs, fallen fruits, vines, tubers, succulents, flowers, and sometimes varied with a little new grass.

This one came quite close to the car allowing me to get a great shot of him.