Category Archives: Downtown Orlando

Walking Lake Davis

I’d heard some reports of American White Pelicans visiting Lake Davis in downtown Orlando. When MK confirmed they were there, we agreed to meet last Tuesday morning for a walk and a look-see.

White Pelicans at Sunset

They’re winter visitors in Florida and I often spot them at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge over on the coast. I didn’t realize their stops at our in-shore lakes are as common as they seem to be now. In addition to Lake Davis, Wally Jones writes in his blog about a pod of them in downtown Lakeland on Lake Morton.

White Pelicans are interesting. According to this article, they can have wingspans up to nine and a half feet, making them some of the largest birds in North America. And they often feed together in small groups, herding fish in front of them. Here’s a video MK made of this behavior:

White Pelicans on Lake Davis.

The Pelicans were somewhere else during our walk, but MK has seen them since – so if you don’t catch them the first time, it might be worth another visit. Since I missed them that day, I’ll have to cheat a bit and use a photo of one that I made over in Merritt Island last December:

American White Pelican American White Pelican in flight (MINWR)

We did see many other birds that morning including some Mallards:

Drowsy Ducks Drowsy Ducks

Many Wood Ducks:

Dandy Drake Dandy Drake

A few Ring-necked Ducks:

Ring-necked Duck Ring-necked Duck

And even a family of these strange looking (to me at least) Egyptian Geese.

Egyptian Goose Family

The Egyptian Goose is native to the Middle East but humans have helped them spread around the world. They’ve been in Florida since the 1960s and as recently as 2009, Florida Fish and Wildlife didn’t think they bred outside of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. See this article for more info : http://wildsouthflorida.com/egyptian.goose.html.

Lake Davis is a lovely surprise hiding in downtown Orlando and a wonderful place for a walk! This search will bring up other posts on the blog about the area: https://edrosack.com/?s=lake+davis.

Lake Davis Morning Lake Davis Morning

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other. And if you (peli)can – make some photos!

©2021, Ed Rosack and MK Rosack. All rights reserved

A Cautionary Cygnet Saga

Since we’ve been following the Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis Cygnets here on the blog this year, I thought you’d be interested in another update. I apologize in advance for the somewhat disturbing photo below.

Back in late October, a neighbor saw one of the 6-month-old Mute Swan cygnets with what looked like blood all over its body.

Injured cygnet (Photo by Nicole Halstead, used with permission)

Worried about the bird, several people that live near the lake started calling Florida Fish & Wildlife and other rescue groups to get the swan some help. Many rescue organizations limit help to native species only, and since Mute Swans are considered invasive in Florida it was tough to find anyone that could assist.

A Lake Eola Park Ranger agreed to come over and It turned out the bird was severely wounded with a fishing hook caught deep in its neck. It was also bleeding from its mouth. The ranger tried to remove the hook, but it was in too deep.

Winter Park Veterinary Hospital regularly provides free veterinary assistance to injured wildlife and veterinary services to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland. They agreed to treat the cygnet and the ranger got permission for one of the neighbors to transport the injured swan.

Dr. Catherine Hellenga, DMV, and her team examined the swan.  It turned out that most of the blood was due to injuries to its mouth and tongue from trying unsuccessfully to get the hook out of its own neck.  The vet was able to remove the hook, and they also took X-rays and checked for possible lead poisoning from weights on the line – all of which came back negative.

They kept the swan for two days, providing fluids, treatment and excellent care until it was ready to be released.  Again with approval from park rangers, the neighbor transported the cygnet back to Lake Cherokee where the Lake Eola Park Ranger team helped release it and reunite it with family and friends.

Ranger releasing the cygnet

Recovering Lake Cherokee Cygnet

Cygnet release and flight to join siblings (Portions of this video by MK Rosack, used with permission) 

Unfortunately that isn’t the end of the story.

We all hoped it would be accepted back into its family and could stay for a bit longer on Lake Cherokee. The park ranger told us they’ve returned swans to Lake Eola after longer than two days and they’ve been accepted. But when this one was released, the cob acted very aggressively toward  it and drove the cygnet away.  

Parents usually drive young swans away at around 5+ months old. This cygnet and its siblings had already fledged and were probably old and large enough to survive on their own1. But after it was rejected, it started acting strangely and wandering out in the street – endangering itself and drivers in the area.  A police officer saw this and called animal control. They came and took the cygnet to a sanctuary in Christmas, Florida.

Our cygnet has adjusted well to its new home and has another swan for company as well as other feathered friends. It should do fine there.

This is a good reminder though, that we all need to be careful about what we do outside while enjoying nature.  Our actions can impact the environment and wildlife, sometimes in a bad way.  Pick up after yourself and never leave things like fishing line and hooks behind where they can injure animals or even other people.

Many thanks to Winter Park Veterinary Hospital, the Lake Eola Park Rangers, and Lake Cherokee neighbors for saving this baby swan!

And thanks to all of you for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care of yourselves and each other and watch out for wildlife too. And if you can – make some photos.

©2020, Nicole Halstead, MK Rosack, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

1. Here’s an article about cygnet development and when they naturally leave their families: https://www.swanlife.com/months-four-to-six

 

Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis – September 2020

MK and I walked ’round the lakes on Friday and I thought you might like an update on the Lake Cherokee Mute Swan family. When I first posted about this year’s brood, the cygnets were young and very small.

Proud parent - from April 16, 2020Proud parent – from April 16, 2020

And here they are from last Friday:

Proud parentProud parent – September 2020

Although three of the six were lost, these three look very healthy. They still have a lot of their gray baby color, but they’re as big as Mom. And MK reports they’ve fledged and she’s seen them flying around the lake.

Here are a few more photos from our walk:

ShorelineShoreline. Birds really seem to like this spot along Lake Davis.

Got my ducks in a rowGot my Mottled Ducks in a row

Egyptian GooseEgyptian Goose

Red-bellied Woodpecker and a grub(?)Red-bellied Woodpecker and a grub(?)

These two lakes in downtown Orlando are a very nice place to walk. There’s a lot to see (and photograph) and you can get some steps too. Thanks MK for inviting me and thanks for helping me spot things! I think we were lucky to get our walk in on Friday. Looks like we’ve got a bunch of rain heading our way.

You can see more of my Lake Cherokee and Lake Davis photos in this folder on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/albums/72157709436468286

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope all of you are staying safe – 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

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 Davis 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

Father’s Day 2019

Editors note: Here’s another post from our roving correspondent MaryKate – this time from right here in Central Florida.  She was kind enough to write this for us which let me have  Father’s Day off from the blog. Enjoy her post!


Happy Father’s Day to all Dads far and wide!


To celebrate, I thought I’d share some recent photos of a new swan family at Lake Cherokee in downtown Orlando.  I noticed a single swan in Lake Cherokee, and locals tell me (s)he has been alone for quite some time.  We were worried that something might have happened to its mate.

MK111623_DxO-Edit

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan

However, last weekend, the mystery was solved.  Turns out the swan couple was fine after all and had been up to some FOWL play.  They showed up together with their swan babies!

MK111590_DxO-Edit

Lake Cherokee Mute Swan Family

Mom and Dad are proud parents to three baby swans, two white ones and one grey.  Apparently Mute Swans can be grey or white when they’re young, and then their feathers all turn white as they grow.  My favorite is the grey one.

MK111626_DxO-Edit

Mute Swan Cygnets Close-Up

Especially today, it’s touching to see this swan Dad (and Mom!) taking such good care of their family.  I’m glad they found their cygnet-ficant others before Father’s Day!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Hope all fathers out there (especially my Dad and brother) have a very Happy Father’s Day!  Now go make some photos!

©2019, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Mead Gardens, 14 April 2018

Kevin M.  and I had a nice stroll ’round Mead Botanical Gardens in Winter Park this morning.  Here are a few of the things we saw.

Are you looking at me??Are you looking at me?? Marsh Rabbit
Are you looking at me??Are you looking at me too??  Black and White Warbler

Wood DuckWood Duck – These are usually at Mead Gardens, but we didn’t find them this morning. This photo is from a 2012 trip.

Across the pondAcross the pond – 3 frame, monochrome IR panorama

The Spring bird migration is underway here, and although there weren’t as many warblers at Mead as we expected it was still a very nice walk.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

No photo post today

We woke up this morning here in Central Florida, to news of the worst mass shooting in US history.

Please take a moment of silence and direct your thoughts and prayers to all the people killed and injured in Orlando this weekend, their relatives and friends, and the first responders and medical people helping them.

#plazalive

#PulseNightclub

Arlo Guthrie at the Plaza

I’m sitting here this morning writing this while wearing the new t-shirt  I got last night at the Plaza Live in Downtown Orlando.

During the Vietnam War, the US government required men to register for the draft.  I suspect that many of these folks and their loved ones were and still are fans of Arlo Guthrie and his song “The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree“.  He stopped by last night on his Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour to entertain a full house.

Arlo GuthrieArlo Guthrie

Sarah Lee Guthrie (his daughter) opened for him and she’s a wonderful talent too.

Sara Lee GuthrieSara Lee Guthrie

“Alices Restaurant” is a favorite tune of mine and one of the first fingerstyle songs I learned to play on the guitar.  It was a special treat to see and hear him perform this and many other songs.  It was also special to hear him and Sarah Lee talk about their life, family, and friends.  Here are a couple of things I learned:

  • In the Alice’s Restaurant movie, Arlo, Officer Obie, Judge James Hannon and his seeing eye dog all portray themselves.  Relations between Arlo and Officer Obie were frosty at first, but they became good friends.
  • The Alice’s Restaurant song is 18 1/2 minutes long which is the same length as the famous gap in Nixon’s Watergate tapes.  Arlo suggested that Nixon listened to the song and that’s why he had to erase that section.

Arlo GuthrieArlo Guthrie and his band

Photography notes:  These were all made with a Sony RX-100 III point and shoot camera.  I took this one because I’m never sure what the camera policy will be at the Plaza – it seems to vary.  The Sony only has a 24 – 70mm equivalent lens, but we had seats up front.  I used it wide open (f/2.8) in aperture priority with the spot meter.  I manually varied ISO between 800 and 1600.  The shutter speeds varied between 1/60 and 1/200 seconds.  I shot in RAW and used DXO Optics Pro to process the RAW files.    This SW is excellent at removing noise and preserving sharpness – even with the smaller sensor in this camera.  The camera’s auto white balance did OK, but I used the eyedropper to set it based on Arlo’s gray shirt.

Lynn and I really enjoyed the concert.  And I like my new t-shirt too. We need more songs about social consciousness, activism, and protest.  There’re certainly enough subjects to write about.

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

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Orlando – Downtown in the Dark

People probably don’t think of Orlando as a metropolis or street photography mecca like New York or Chicago, but it does have a photogenic downtown.  I wrote about a daytime stroll there in this post back in October of last year.  I suspected that it might be even more photogenic at night.  Last Wednesday evening I went back with Keith H. and Tom M.

The new Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was finished after our last trip and I was looking forward to seeing it at night.  It’s an impressive building and the architecture and lighting make it an attractive photo subject.  Here are two views of the main entrance:

Dr. Phillips Center 1 Dr. Phillips Center 1 – The new performing arts center in downtown Orlando

Dr. Phillips Center 2 Dr. Phillips Center 2

City hall is just west of the Performing Arts Center.  This view is looking up at the front doors from the base of the steps:

Orlando City Hall Orlando City Hall

Church Street Station is even further west and a bit north.  This sidewalk next to the SunRail tracks passing through caught my eye:

Down by the tracks Down by the tracks – Near Church Street Station

You can see other photos from this trip and many more from downtown Orlando in this set on Flickr.  I’m sure you can find many images of your own when you wander around downtown.

If you go:

  • Street parking is hard to find.  There are convenient parking garages – we used the one on South Orange Avenue at the Plaza Cinema Cafe.  I’d like to find a garage with access to the roof and a good panoramic view.  If you find one, please let me know!
  • The area by the Dr. Phillips Center / City Hall is well-lit and photogenic.  Lake Eola is also very popular with photographers.
  • There are a lot of people around early in the evening so the areas seem relatively safe, but be careful.
  • A wide-angle lens and tripod will help your architectural photos.  A high ISO capability and bright lens would be good if you want to try hand-held street photos.

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

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

James Taylor at the Amway

Lynn and I went to see James Taylor last Tuesday.  He played at the arena downtown and the place was packed.  I guess there’s still a lot of us old timers that like his music (and can still hear).  He played a lot of his hits and a few newer songs too.

James Taylor and his All Star Band
James Taylor and his All Star Band – In concert at the Amway in Orlando, Florida. November 18th, 2014.  (ISO 800, f2.8 @ 1/80 sec., 70mm eq.)

Like any large sports type arena, the acoustics and sound mix weren’t the best, and the prices for this type of entertainment (along with parking and popcorn) are very high.  But it was a very good show and we both enjoyed ourselves.

Photographically, this is a very tough assignment.  Unless you have a stage or press pass, your camera gear and access will be limited.  For these events, the Amway has a very restrictive camera policy:  Your camera has to “fit in your pocket”.  Even though we had good seats, we were still pretty far from the stage.  My Sony point-and-shoot camera does fit in my pocket and I thought the photo above was worth keeping.  But I still wish the lens was longer than 24-70mm equivalent.

Back when I was in the Navy, I had to go to sea for months at a time and leave Lynn behind in Charleston, South Carolina. We missed each other terribly.  One of my favorite songs from then was James Taylor’s  “Carolina in my mind”. It was wonderful to hear him play it live – with Lynn in the seat right beside me.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.