Monthly Archives: November 2012

Mead Gardens: Yellow-rumped Warbler

I met Kevin M. at Mead Gardens Saturday morning for a quick stroll through this downtown Orlando park.  Since the weather was cool and clear, we didn’t think the sunrise would be very good, so we slept in a bit.  It was a relatively short trip, but very pleasant.

We sighted Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, an Eastern Phoebe, an American Goldfinch, American Robins and others.  The smaller ones sure can be difficult to photograph – they’re in constant motion and when they’re still for a moment, it’s always behind a branch.  Here’s one image I did manage to get:

Yellow-rumped Warbler?
Yellow-rumped Warbler – this one was out in the open and still for a moment.

We didn’t see any hummingbirds, although other people have recently sighted both Ruby-throated and Rufous varieties by the feeder.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many places in the world celebrate a thanksgiving holiday. In the United States, we pause on the fourth Thursday of November to commemorate our founders and give thanks. The “first Thanksgiving” took place in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts to celebrate a good harvest. In 1789, President George Washington declared it a national holiday. The date shifted over time until December 26, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress moving it  from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.

Thanksgiving dinner can be quite elaborate.  Turkey is the most common main dish, and Thanksgiving is sometimes called “Turkey Day”.  Bread stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie are also traditional.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey – This Tom Turkey was posing in a field next to the road into Blue Cypress Lake. He was initially so still that we thought he might be a decoy. There were several more on the other side of the road.

Wild Turkeys were endangered in the early 1900s, but are common now throughout the US and in Florida.  I’ve even seen some in my neighborhood (in Central Winds Park).  They’re native to North America and the largest game bird on the continent.  In the 16th Century, the major trade route from the Americas went through Constantinople in Turkey before going on to Britain. They associated the birds with the country Turkey and the name stuck.

I’m a very fortunate person and have much to be thankful for.  I realize this and sometimes worry about the odds catching up with me.  At the top of the list, of course are my family and my friends.  What are you thankful for?

You can read more about Blue Cypress Lake in this post, and see more photos from there in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – be thankful, have a great day, and go make some photos!

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Forster's Tern

I think I’ve confessed here before that I’m just a beginning birder.  I enjoy identifying the birds I see, although sometimes it’s tough for me to figure out ones that I don’t see very often. Gulls and Terns seem especially hard.

Anyway, I photographed this bird last weekend at MINWR and it took me a while to sit down and research what it is.  I was pretty sure it’s a Tern, but didn’t know which one.  The red / orange legs were a big clue, although the lack of a black head cap and the dark bill initially confused me.  It turns out (Terns out?) that Forster’s Terns lose their black cap in the winter and their bills turn from orange to grey / black.  Mystery solved!

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

They’re here in Florida only in the winter months – we saw a group of them along BPWD.  They were flying above the water and then plunging in to feed on fish.

In looking back through the rest of my photos from last weekend, the trip was quite productive.  I’ve a number of images that I’m pleased with.  Here’s a couple more:

VAB sunrise. Merritt Island, Florida
VAB sunrise. Merritt Island, Florida.  A four image panorama at 150mm: not my normal landscape focal length

Roseate Spoonbill landing
Roseate Spoonbill landing

You can see larger versions of these photos on Flickr by clicking on them. And I have more photos from MINWR in this set and BPWD in this set.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

U.S. Veterans Day

Germany and the Allied nations signed the armistice ending World War I  in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Armistice Day (later renamed Veterans Day after World War II) was commemorated for the first time on November 11, 1919.

Now every year in the United States, we pause on Veteran’s Day to honor the service and sacrifice of all men and women who answer the call of freedom. To all of our veterans and to those serving today – you have our deepest gratitude. We honor you for your service and sacrifices “in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Statues of GIs crossing a field
Statues of GIs crossing a field – Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC – Black and White Infrared

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. And if you’re a veteran, thank you for your service.
©2011, 2012 Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

MINWR – November 10, 2012

Yuck – the time changed again.  Sunrise is an hour earlier than it used to be.  An hour earlier than it’s supposed to be – for normal people anyway.  I guess that’s so crazy, get up too early photographers can make images other people can’t.

I was pretty tired on Friday night and really didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but get up I did (at 0430!) and drove over to meet Kevin M. at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  We ended up at a bend in East Gator Creek road where the low tide had uncovered a tree stump.  Muddy tripod legs in the dark are awesome!

Low tide, before dawn
Low tide, before dawn – Looking east from East Gator Creek Road in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida

Except for the early sunrise, this is a wonderful time of year to visit MINWR.  There are lots of birds around, including many winter visitors and if you’re lucky you can see other wildlife too.

Sunlight glints off water drops in a dolphin’s breath

After sunrise, we drove through Blackpoint Wildlife Drive and then went by the Visitor Center.  In addition to the Dolphin, we saw a River Otter, White pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, many Palm Warblers, Ospreys, European Starlings, Willets, Green Wing Teals, Northern Shovelers, Bald Eagles on the nest platform near the rest area, a Grey Catbird, a flock of American Avocets, Terns, Gulls, Great Blue Herons, Reddish Egrets, Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tri-colored Herons, Little Blue Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, many Belted Kingfishers, Wood Storks, Cormorants, Anhingas, Coots, Pie-billed Grebes, Black Vultures, a Ruby Throated Hummingbird at the Visitor Center, and several other species too.  The birds are definitely back!

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler on matching flowers.

We had good light early, but a lot of clouds moved in later, which made for some nice IR photos.  I had to leave early and get home to help with errands, but Kevin M. had an “all day kitchen pass”, so he stayed and visited several other places at the refuge.  He photographed a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher, that’s been hanging around about 3/4 of a mile from the gravel lot on Shiloh Marsh Rd. as well as a Florida Scrub Jay.

Clouds move in
Clouds move in

All in all, a great day for photography!  You can see larger versions of these photos on Flickr by clicking on them. And I have more photos from MINWR in this set and BPWD in this set.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.


Sandhill Cranes at the airport

The Orlando Airport has a very convenient cell phone lot where you can wait for arriving flights. We often see a family of Sandhill Cranes hanging out there.  Another reason to always have your camera with you!

Sandhill Crane Portrait
Sandhill Crane profile

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

The birds are obviously used to having people around them.  But if you’re photographing them (or  other birds or animals) – please be respectful and don’t harass or stress them.

By the way, I’ve finished a first pass through the Blog Categories and Tags.  I think they’re better organized now.

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

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.