Tag Archives: Spider

Black Point Wildlife Drive is open again!

Yay! Jim Boland’s newsletter let us know that they’ve reopened Black Point so when Tom M. asked if I wanted to go out photographing I suggested we head to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We met early Friday morning and drove over on State Road 50.

St. Johns River at dawnSt. Johns River at dawn

Our first stop was at the boat ramp on the St. Johns River. It’s a pretty place at dawn and the view was different this time since the water is several feet higher than I’ve ever seen it. Lots of rain here recently.

Once at the refuge, we headed straight to Black Point. The water there is a little higher than I’ve ever seen it too. The road surface was in great shape – I didn’t see any damage remaining from the hurricane.

Spiders and webs were very common. This one had set up in some great early morning light.

Banana SpiderBanana Spider – A little early for Halloween!

Some of our winter migrants are starting to show up and our regular birds were around, but not in great numbers. Belted Kingfishers teased us, and there were a few Savannah Sparrows foraging near the road.

Savannah SparrowSavannah Sparrow

We didn’t see too many ducks. I’m not sure if they just haven’t come down yet, or if they’re somewhere else.

We thought we spotted another Kingfisher over the canal on the right by the paved section near the exit. It was about the right size and seemed to fly like a Kingfisher. But then it landed in a tree and started acting like a Woodpecker – perched on the side of the main trunk and hopping around. I was pretty far away but took several photos anyway. When I got home and looked closely I didn’t recognize the bird. Kevin M. helped me ID it as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (another new life bird for me!). Unfortunately, the photos aren’t very good so I haven’t posted them. Maybe next time I can catch it closer in better light. It seems like I’m always saying that!

One more thing: We met a woman at the rest area on the drive who’d just seen a Bobcat. She was patiently waiting to see if she could get a better photo. We left before we found out if she was successful. I’ve seen a Bobcat out there before, but it was further along, not near the Rest Area. If you go, keep your eyes open!

I have many more Black Point photos in this folder on Flickr. I’m glad it didn’t suffer too much damage from Hurricane Irma and it’s open again.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Dealing with poor weather – Circle B Bar Reserve, 10-6-12

The Photography Interest Group decided to organize an expedition to the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida yesterday.  It’s about an hour and twenty-minute drive for us and since we wanted to try a new place a bit further out for sunrise, Frank, Kevin M., Lutfi, and I met at 5:30 to carpool over.  Talk about getting out of bed at “O-dark thirty”!  But I was excited, since I haven’t been to the Circle B Bar since last November – way too long to stay away from such a beautiful place.

It was getting foggy as we approached the parking area, but I wasn’t too worried – sometimes fog can add to a scene.  We arrived in plenty of time, and walked out to Wading Bird Way (see this link for a .pdf map of the Circle B Bar trails).  The closer we got, the foggier it became – and it looked like this right at dawn.

Frank, Lutfi, and Kevin M. at the Circle B Bar Reserve
Frank, Lutfi, and Kevin M. in the fog at the Circle B Bar Reserve

To make a long story short – the fog was dense and dawn brought no color at all to the sky.  There was no sunrise.  We didn’t even see the sun until about an hour and a half later.  Regular readers will know that I really like landscape photography and around dawn and dusk are the best times to photograph.  With yesterday’s conditions, it just wasn’t meant to be.  So what should you do in a situation like this?

First, enjoy the walk.  Being out in nature is a wonderful experience and doesn’t have to include photography.

From a photographic perspective, what else can you do?  For landscapes, try infrared – it can help cut though the fog, especially if you can include some foreground elements.

Foggy lake
Foggy lake

If you can get close, fog and mist can be a great background to isolate your subject.

Posing Limpkin
Posing Limpkin

And focus on details.  Find some smaller things that you can zoom in on.  Look for subjects enhanced by the mist.

Spider and web
Spider and misty web

Yes, not every photo expedition goes as planned.  Yesterday’s sunrise was disappointing (non-existent?).  But we saw and photographed many things:  birds (Sand Hill Cranes, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Osprey, Whistling Ducks, Hawks, Coots, Moorhens, a Purple Gallinule, Woodpeckers, and others), alligators, dragonflies, spiders, butterflies, and flowers while we were there.  All in all, a great day.  You can see more photos from the Circle B Bar in this set on Flickr, and check out Frank‘s, Kevin M.‘s, and Lutfi‘s too.

What do you do in situations like this?  I’d love to hear your suggestions.  Send me an email or add a comment to the blog.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Return to Black Point

The last time we were at Blackpoint Wildlife drive was back in May (http://edrosack.com/2009/05/16/birds-scarce-at-black-point-wildlife-drive-water-levels-down/) when water levels were down and there were very few birds anywhere around.

Yesterday, we made a return trip to see what the place is like after three months of almost daily rain in the Central Florida area.

We arrived right at sunrise, which was very pretty.
Sunrise reflections

Water levels are much improved: areas that were dry in May are once again filled.  However, we were disappointed by how few birds there were in the area.  My theory on this (which I didn’t come up with until the drive home) is that the severe drought in the area happened during nesting season and forced birds to build nests in other locations.  The nesting season lasts for several months and is just now ending, so it was premature for us to expect to see many birds back at Blackpoint until chicks have fledged.

I did manage to get nice photos of a green heron:
Green Heron in tree

And a Black-crowned night-heron:
Black-crowned Night-Heron

There were also some unusual flowers (1/14/2010 update – I think this is a “Spotted Bee Balm”):
Flower

And some very large (about 2 – 3 inches), horror show type spiders.  How would you like to walk through this web in the dark?
Wolf spider?

So, even without a large bird population it was still a nice trip with plenty to interest the Photography Interest Group.  And… there’s always Cracker Barrel on the way home!

Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks at Orlando Wetlands Park

Happy Independence Day !

I was at Orlando Wetlands Park again this morning with a few friends and saw a bird that I hadn’t seen before, there or anywhere else that I remember.  Here’s a photograph:

Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck in flight

These birds were different from other ducks I’ve seen in that when we first saw them they were perched in trees.  Fortunately, I have a copy of iBird Plus loaded on my iPhone.  iBird is an interactive field guide to the birds of North America.  It has a search function and by entering the location (Florida), the shape (Duck-like) and the Color Primary (Brown) iBird presented me with a list of 16 possible birds out of the 914 birds in its North American Database that match these criteria.

Scrolling through the list, I read descriptions, and looked at drawings and three photos of the Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck that pretty much clinched the ID for me.  There’s also other info like range, similar birds, and links to Birdpedia.  If you are interested in birds or bird photography, you should take a look at this app.  I enjoy using it.

Here’s a few more photos from this morning.  First we had the bird, now here’s the bee:

Bee on flower

A spiderweb:

Spiderweb

And of course, what would Orlando Wetlands Park be without a gator photo:

Calm water gator

Copyright 2009, Ed Rosack.