All posts by Ed Rosack

Return to Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park re-opened a few weeks ago and I met Kevin M. there for a socially distanced walk around.  It was good to see him and good to go photographing.  I posted a few images from that trip at the end of last week’s blog (the bonus baby birds).  And here are some more.

This first one is a 600 mm combination wildlife / landscape image.

Pink in greenPink in green –  Roseate Spoonbill in flight.

The  pink bird in sharp focus against the blurry green Cypress Tree / vegetation says “Florida” to me. I’ve made similar images there before but I think this one is better (see this post:   https://edrosack.com/2018/04/01/orlando-wetlands-park-the-rest-of-the-story/).

Kevin is pretty handy to have along! I hear Barred Owls calling all the time, even in our back yard – except I hardly ever get good photos of them. We both heard this one.  I searched in vain and was happy when he found it so we could get some photos.

"Who cooks for you?"Who cooks for you? – Perched Barred Owl.

There are always interesting things to see at Orlando Wetlands.  This Least Bitterns is a good example.  It was flying back and forth between clumps of reeds fishing for its breakfast.

On the huntOn the hunt – Fishing Least Bittern

I like this photo of a young Night Heron that’s just landed in a cypress tree.

A young Night HeronA young Night Heron

And watching (and listening) to Whistling Ducks never gets old.

Formation flightFormation flight – A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Many people were enjoying the park on the Saturday we went. It was tough at times to give everyone six feet of clearance, but we managed.  If you plan to visit, check their web page for the latest information on access, services, etc.

You can browse other blog posts about Orlando Wetlands at this link: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/orlando-wetlands/.  And my photos from there are collected in this album on Flickr:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157639616792296

It’s good that pandemic restrictions are easing and we can get out a little bit again. Hopefully things will keep improving.  Please make sure you stay safe when you venture out.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there and take care of each other.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Another baby bird update

It’s still baby bird season here in Central Florida.  I thought I’d update you on several I’ve been following.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swans

Lake Cherokee Mute SwansAs of May 23rd, there are three surviving cygnets at Lake Cherokee (this photo is from May 17th).  On April 25th, I counted 6.

Lake Davis Mute Swans

Lake Davis Mute SwansThere are only two cygnets left at Lake Davis (this photo is from May 17th too).  On April 25th, there were 5.  They seem a little bit larger / older to me than the ones at Lake Cherokee.

There’s a lot of wildlife in and around Lake Dave and Lake Cherokee. One neighbor’s seen owls, hawks, eagles and otters there and it wouldn’t be surprising if there are alligators too.  Life for these young swans is dangerous.

All of the remaining ones seem to be healthy and growing.  Hopefully they’re big enough now to avoid any more predation.

Winter Park Ospreys

Wing exerciseWing exercise – These two chicks are still in this nest.  In this photo (also from May 17th) Mom and sibling duck out of the way as the other one exercises its wings.

They’re growing fast and getting stronger. I don’t think it’ll be too long before they fledge.

Bonus baby birds

Here are a few other young birds I’ve seen in the last week.  These are from a stroll at Orlando Wetlands Park.

Black-necked Stilts: Mom and chickBlack-necked Stilts: Mom and chick

A young Night HeronA young Night Heron in flight.  I think this one is a Black-crowned Night Heron.  They’re much more common around here than the Yellow-crowned ones.

Family cruiseFamily cruise – Mottled Duck Mom and ducklings

Okay – that’s all of the baby bird news I have. Now for a more serious subject.

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Memorial Day

Here In the US, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May (the 25th).  It’s a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy.  Every one of us owes them a debt we can never repay.

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Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there, stay safe, and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

MINWR – 11 May 2020

Like most of you, it’s been two months since I’ve been any distance from home.  I’ve kept making photos on walks in our neighborhood, in our yard, or along the way on necessary trips around town. But I’ve been itching to go out on a photo specific excursion and now our stay at home orders have been relaxed here in Florida.  So last Monday I drove over on a solo trip to check out Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite nature locations.

I made two circuits around Black Point Wildlife Drive.  I looked for sunrise spots and landscapes on the first pass. I might’ve seen a more colorful dawn than this one, but not recently.  And the calm winds made for a lovely reflection.

Tranquil bayTranquil bay – Along Black Point Wildlife Drive, about 15 minutes before sunrise.

On the second pass I scouted for wildlife / birds.  I didn’t see a tremendous number, but there were enough to make it interesting.

A little spottyA little spotty: Spotted Sandpiper and reflection.  I was happy to find this one since I seldom see them.

There was a feeding frenzy in one of the canals along Black Point.  Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons and Ibis were feeding on plentiful minnows.  The location was really nice  since it was next to a path where I could walk out to get a better angle on the action. Often when I find these, they’re far away or hidden behind mangroves and hard to photograph.

Got one!Got one!  A Snowy Egret catches a minnow.

If you click on any of these photos, you’ll be able to see a larger image on  Flickr.  You can then click again to enlarge it even more.  Look at the Snowy Egret’s beak to see the minnow it caught in that splash.

Green Heron fly byGreen Heron fly by

Speaking of Green Herons, there were three cars pulled over when I went around the corner at the rest stop on BPWD.  People were out and gathered by the canal photographing something I couldn’t see back in the mangroves.  In “olden” times, you could find a lot of interesting things by stopping next to other photographers.  You still can I suppose, but  now days I’m a little pandemic paranoid and getting too close to people can make me nervous. I passed up this stop and kept going – I learned later that they were looking at Green Heron nests.  I have to say though that MINWR seems about as safe as you can get.  It’s not hard to maintain social distancing by staying in your car and choosing  where to get out.

The next image is from a little later on Gator Creek Road.  At the time, I just liked the scene / composition with two birds on one rock.  I didn’t realize what I had until I got home and looked at it on the computer.

Sharin' StoneSharin’ Stone – Hopefully, I identified these correctly: A Semipalmated Plover on the left and a Semipalmated Sandpiper on the right. If so, it’s my first photo of both species. Two life birds in one image!

Which reminds me that I’ve wanted to mention an app.  It’s called Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Labs and it’s very good at identifying birds using photos.  It seems to be very accurate and complete.  And it’s free!  It called out the species in this photo for me (but I did ask my friend Kevin M’s. opinion too).

I saw other things on this trip too.  Alligators (of course), an opposum, Black Neck Stilts, Roseate Spoonbills and more.  One thing I didn’t see: the rock stacks on Gator Creek Road are gone – yay!

MINWR was a very good choice for my first post lockdown photo trip.  I was tired when I got back, but I felt rejuvenated.  I’m very lucky that I can find many of my favorite photo subjects so close to home.  And last Monday at least, they weren’t collecting fees on BPWD.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there, stay safe, and take care of each other.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A few phone photos

The first post on this blog went up on  May 4th, 2007. Who would’ve thought it’d still be going 13 years, 672 posts, and 2000+ photos later?

It seems like I should have something profound to say in an anniversary post, but I’m not feeling any deep, heartfelt photography thoughts today to share. Instead, I’ll just remind you: We all carry our cell phones around.  Make sure you take yours out and use its probably very good camera whenever something attracts your eye.

Here are a few sights I thought were interesting over the last several months when the only camera I had with me was my phone.

Light on leaves on a limbLight on leaves on a limb – From a neighborhood walk on May 2nd.

New palm frondsNew palm fronds – From a neighborhood walk on April 29th.

Red BottlebrushRed Bottlebrush – From a neighborhood walk on March 14th.

Fire in the skyFire in the sky – Just before dinner at Cracker Barrel on February 7th.

Lynn and I are doing OK here.  We’ve been sticking close to home and social distancing for what seems like forever.  Florida has started to lift our pandemic lockdown a bit and I’m thinking about venturing out for a some careful exploration / exercise with my camera next week at one of the parks around Orlando that are beginning to open up again. It’d be nice to get out for a bit.

Changing the subject: I hope all Moms out there are having a wonderful Mothers Day!  – Thank you for all you do – you make the world a much better place!

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”

Anonymous

I miss you Mom.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hang in there, stay safe, and take care of each other.  And if you can – make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Bud to Bloom in Black and White

Lynn has a Lily of the Nile plant outside our front door.  It looked stressed over the winter, but at the beginning of April it perked up and started blooming.  I kept an eye on it and made these five photos over three weeks to show the sequence.

Bud to bloom in Black and White 1April 1st

Bud to bloom in Black and White 2April 6th

Bud to bloom in Black and White 3April 9th

Bud to bloom in Black and White 4April 10th

Bud to bloom in Black and White 5April 21st

Cameras, lenses, and settings varied over time and some are single frames while others are multiple frame focus stacks.   I tried to make the look consistent across all the photos when I processed them and converted to B&W.  How’d I do?

Why did I choose to post these?  I put up things I like and hope that you’ll enjoy them too.  It’s not a good idea to post things I don’t like and hope you’ll like them.  Is it?

Changing subjects, here in Florida we’ll begin a Phase One reopening next week in most of the state.  Social distancing and other pandemic restrictions will still be in place. And we should all use our common sense and be cautious. But I did hear that state parks are reopening. We’ll have to see exactly what the rules allow.

Many have died, many more are sick, and even more are out of work.  Our hearts go out to all of you. I hope that we get through this as soon as possible.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Take care of each other.

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Baby Bird Brief

Lynn and I dropped off some things today at MK’s place. On the way home we checked on the Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis swans and then went by Winter Park to see how the Ospreys are doing.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan and cygnetsLake Cherokee Mute Swan and cygnets

The swans at Lake Cherokee seem to be fine. But last time I counted 6 cygnets and today I only saw 5. I hope one was hidden in the grass or behind the tree on the right.

Lake Davis Mute Swan and CygnetsLake Davis Mute Swan and Cygnets

The Lake Davis swans seem fine too and I counted 5 cygnets there, same as our last visit. If you’d like to see a few more photos of these birds, one of my Flickr friends (Kathy B.) posted a few in her Flickr photo stream.

We only saw one very small chick in the Winter Park Osprey nest two weeks ago. It turns out it was the only one poking its head up at the time – there were two more hidden in the nest. This visit we saw all three and they’re much larger already. All the hungry babies were loudly begging for food and Momma was busy feeding them pieces of very fresh fish.

Lunch timeMomma Osprey feeding her three chicks

As we were getting ready to leave, Lynn asked if I’d made a video. And of course I hadn’t remembered to, so I went back and recorded a little bit. Thanks Lynn! The chicks in this remind me of mini dinosaurs.

 

Mary D. posted a comment on the last Osprey post. She saw a worker up there and hoped he was placing a wildlife camera. I looked and couldn’t see any sign of one.

You can read other blog posts about Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis at this link: https://edrosack.com/?s=lake+cherokee. And here are some more about Ospreys and Winter Park: https://edrosack.com/category/photo-ops-in-florida/winter-park/

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope all of you are staying healthy and safe out there in pandemic land. Take care of each other and if you can, make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis Swans

When we posted about the Lake Davis ducks a couple of weeks ago, I got a question in the comments about the swan on Lake Cherokee.

Lake Cherokee CobLake Cherokee Cob

lbphoto23 had only seen one swan there and asked if we’d seen two.  I answered at the time that “Yes, there are two on Lake Cherokee. If you don’t see them together, you can usually spot the second one somewhere on a different area of the lake.”

Well it turns out that there are actually eight swans on Lake Cherokee!  MK spotted her new neighbors this week paddling around with mom and dad.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan Family, ©2020, MK Rosack

Lynn and I had to drop some things off for MK, so I brought my camera and made some photos as we drove around both lakes on the way home.  The Lake Davis Swan family is also doing well – there are ‘seven swans a swimming’ there.

Lake Davis Mute Swan FamilyLake Davis Mute Swan Family

I’m happy that both families are starting out so well.  Last year, the Lake Cherokee family ended up losing all of their cygnets one by one.  Hopefully this year they’ll do much better.

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan FamilyLake Cherokee Mute Swan Family

MK has notice quite a few people swan watching.  If you do go see them, make sure you don’t get too close – give them some space!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  We’re doing OK here and socially isolating as much as possible.  I hope all of you are staying safe too – take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

Winter Park Osprey Nest

Lynn and I had to mail a package yesterday and stopped by this nest box near the Winter Park Post Office to check on the Osprey family.

Urban Osprey NestUrban Osprey Nest

They look like they’re doing fine.  Click on this photo to see it larger on Flickr and you can spot one chick’s head just in front of Mom.

This was a good social distancing spot – no one else was there.  We might try to check on it again when the chicks get a little bigger.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Lake Davis Ducks

You may remember this post from last year: https://edrosack.com/2019/07/07/orlandos-lake-dixie-and-lake-cherokee/.  I included a photo of a juvenile Wood Duck and commented that I was looking forward to seeing them in their breeding colors. Well now I have!

Wood DuckMale Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck, ©2020, MK Rosack

The gentlemen are indeed handsome and the ladies are lovely too:

Female Wood Duck and chicks, ©2020, MK Rosack

This family is very large – I count 16 ducklings around Mom!

Female Wood Duck and chicks, ©2020, MK Rosack

Wood Ducks seem to really like Lake Davis.  There were more than a dozen adults and many more babies.  Other kinds of ducks like it too.  This Mallard posed in nice light so I could make its portrait:

A colorful, curly tailed MallardA colorful, curly tailed Mallard

With pandemic lockdowns nearly everywhere here in the US, it’s nice that we have  close by spots for a little solo exercise (with a camera, of course).  MK and I made these photos on two separate trips around Lake Davis near her place over the last couple of weeks.  Thank you for your help with this post, MK!

I’m glad the ducks like this place as much as we do!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

In the Neighborhood

Lynn and I have been walking around our neighborhood a bit more than usual lately (six feet away from everyone, of course).  I’ve been carrying a camera and here are some things that caught my eye.

Spanish Moss is common around here – it decorates many of our trees.  This piece dangled in some pretty morning light for me.

Morning light on Spanish MossMorning light on Spanish Moss

By the way, Spanish Moss isn’t moss.  It’s an epiphyte and gets nutrients and water from air and rainfall. See this Wikipedia article for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_moss

We also have a lot of Cypress trees in Florida.  They’re deciduous conifers – the leaves turn reddish brown or orange in the fall and drop by winter time.  New growth in the spring is a vibrant green.

Cypress branchCypress branch

When we left on our walk, I’d seen a large bird take off from a tree.  It happened too fast for a photo and I couldn’t really make out what it was.  But I remembered to look for it again when we returned.

Watching the NeighborhoodWatching the Neighborhood

That’s when I spotted this pretty Red-shouldered Hawk watching intently from the gutter on a house by the corner.  Our squirrels and rabbits need to be careful!

Park closing info:  I don’t want to post anything about which parks and areas are open or closed in Central Florida.  The situation has been changing every day.  But many places have shut down – do your research first if you decide to head out.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Stay safe out there and take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families.  And if you can,  make some photos!

©2020, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved