Tag Archives: Florida Scrub Jay

The year in review: My favorite 2011 Photos

I hope that all of you, your families, and your friends have a joyful and happy holiday season!

Photographer Jim Goldstein has an annual tradition of organizing a “best photos of the year” listing.   So it’s a good time to put together my own third annual “Favorite photos of the year” post.  You can revisit 2009 here, and 2010 here.

Again in 2011, I’ve been blessed with a huge amount of photo opportunities. The 2011 folder on my hard drive takes up about 178 GB of space. Wow – good thing storage is so cheap now days!  I’m still using the following system to rate my photos.  The numbers in parentheses are the counts for 2011 .

  • 1 star   – The photo is interesting (262)
  • 2 stars – The photo is worth showing to others (400)
  • 3 stars – The photo is the best of (or one of the best of ) any given photo shoot (81)
  • 4 stars – My favorite photo of a year (1)
  • 5 stars – My favorite photo ever (none, I’m not done making photos yet!)

Photos without stars are seconds or not so good versions of other photos. I usually keep them, but they probably won’t get any more attention. I’ve been using this system consistently, and it seems to work for me. I’ve reviewed my 2011 photos and selected what I think are my best.  Of course, this is all subjective and my opinion only. Feel free to disagree, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the ones I’ve picked.

You can click on each of these to go to Flickr and see a larger version.  Or you can click this link to go to the set on Flickr.

Here we go.  I have 3 mammals, 3 birds, 2 landscapes, and 3 miscellaneous subjects …

Bobcat in Tree, Circle B Bar Reserve
November:  Bobcat in Tree, Circle B Bar Reserve. I’ve seen Bobcats in the wild before, but I’ve never been able to take a good photo of one. We saw this one resting up on a branch and it posed for a while. In this image, I think it was trying to figure out how to get through the crowd of humans at the base of the tree. More info: http://edrosack.com/2011/11/24/landscapes-and-bobcat-at-the-circle-b-bar-reserve/


Baby mountain goat
July: Baby mountain goat, Mt. Evans summit, Colorado. There were several families of mountain goats on the way up and at the summit. This little one posed for me so I could frame him against the out of focus mountains in the background. It’s amazing to watch them scramble from rock to rock and never slip. More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/07/10/mount-evans-redux/


Young deer at Viera Wetlands
September: Young deer at Viera Wetlands. View large and check out the eyebrows and whiskers! More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/09/04/late-afternoon-at-viera-wetlands/


Barred Owl watches photographers
January: Barred Owl watches photographers. More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/01/30/catching-up/


Eastern Meadowlark
December: Eastern Meadowlark, Blackpoint Wild Life Drive. More info: http://edrosack.com/2011/12/17/merritt-island-scouting-report-saturday-december-10/


Florida Scrub Jay watches us
June: Florida Scrub Jay watches us.  One or two birds in this Scrub Jay family were real posers. And one of those was a “dive bomber”. It flew at our heads a few times trying to discourage us. More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/06/19/a-summertime-visit-to-minwr-blackpoint-and-scrub-ridge-trail/


Sunrise at the Circle B Bar Reserve
November: Sunrise at the Circle B Bar Reserve. More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/11/24/landscapes-and-bobcat-at-the-circle-b-bar-reserve/


It was a little cloudy this morning
December: It was a little cloudy this morning. Blackpoint Wild Life Drive. I’ve enjoyed playing with an Infrared modified Olympus EPL-1 camera.  More info: http://edrosack.com/2011/12/17/merritt-island-scouting-report-saturday-december-10/


Tomb of the unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery
March: Tomb of the unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. I’d never been to Arlington before this trip. As a US Navy Veteran and a patriot, I have to admit it made a huge impression on me. More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/03/19/washington-dc/


Flavia, in color
December: Flavia, in color. American Photo Model Shoot, Orlando, 12/3/11.  My first time photographing models was a real learning experience.  More info:  http://edrosack.com/2011/12/09/orlando-american-photo-model-shoot-workshop-december-2011/


My Grandfather's Pocket Watch
June: My Grandfather’s Pocket-watch. After the Orlando Watch Company repaired it, it’s working fine.  This is a 1921 Elgin pocket-watch, marked Wadsworth Referee 20 year 5069868.  More info: http://edrosack.com/2011/06/25/grandfathers-pocket-watch/

 

I hope you’ve had a great photo 2011 too.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some more photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A summertime visit to MINWR – Black Point and Scrub Ridge Trail

A few of us visited Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge yesterday for the first time in a while. We wanted to see what’s going on at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive and Scrub Ridge Trail. Since it’s now officially summer time here in Florida, the temperature and humidity is soaring and it’s hard to get motivated for a long hike to see / photograph nature and wildlife.  So it’s nice to go out to a place like Blackpoint where you can drive through instead of having to walk.

The water levels were quite low, which I think is typical this time of year. There weren’t a great many birds, but there were enough to make it interesting. We saw a few of the usual Egrets and Herons, as well as a couple of adult and three or four juvenile Reddish Egrets. There were also some Black Neck Stilts, a Willet or two and a wild and very muddy pig.

We decided to go by Scrub Ridge trail on the way home to check out how the Scrub Jays are doing. They’re fine, although somewhat feisty. Several of us were “dive bombed” and one came so close to Kevin M. that he felt the wind from its wings on his head.  While at Scrub Ridge trail we also saw a very young Gopher Tortoise and a rabbit.

I’ve included several photos from the trip below, and you can click on these to see larger versions on Flickr.

Florida Scrub Jay watches us
Florida Scrub Jay watches us – There was a family of Florida Scrub Jays out yesterday. One or two were real posers. And one of those was a “dive bomber”. It flew at our heads a few times trying to discourage us.

Juvenile Reddish Egret
Juvenile Reddish Egret

Rabbit
Rabbit – This little guy froze and looked the other way hoping we wouldn’t see him.

Wild, muddy pig
Wild, muddy pig

Willet
Willet

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Florida Scrub-jay – Finally!

You might remember this post from the end of January where I described a visit to Scrub Ridge Trail in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to try to observe the Florida Scrub-jay.  We didn’t see any of them on that trip.  Two weeks ago, several members of the Photography Interest Group returned and were able to locate one, but I couldn’t go.

This species is Florida’s only endemic bird and the only one that resides permanently in scrub habitat.  Development has reduced the amount of scrub land still available.  As a result, the Scrub-jay is listed as a threatened species.   Despite conservation efforts, it’s still in decline, with perhaps less than 3000 breeding pairs left in the wild.

Each breeding pair needs 20 to 40 acres to forage and Scrub-jays have developed some interesting adaptive behaviors due to their restricted habitat.  A pair mates for life, and they maintain small family groups that help defend territory and raise young.  The younger members of the brood can postpone breeding for several years to help feed babies, keep nests clean, and watch for predators.  They’re omnivores and forage on the ground and in mid to low-level vegetation for food.

Anyway, I returned to Scrub Ridge Trail last Saturday.  Kevin M. told me that the Scrub-jay they saw was to the left of the parking area.  This fits in with another fact about them:  They prefer relatively clear scrub and will leave an area after it’s grown up too much.  The official Scrub Ridge Trail is to the right of the parking area and is quite a bit more over-grown than the area on the left.  I wonder if the Scrub-jays used to live to the right  when the trail was originally set out and have moved on since.  I did see 5 or 6 Scrub-jays in the less overgrown area to the left, both on the ground and higher up.  This one was in a tree, keeping watch on me.  Maybe one of the non-breeding members of the family?

The elusive Florida Scrub Jay
The elusive Florida Scrub Jay

I also visited Blackpoint Wildlife Drive where there were some very pretty Spoonbills, and on the way back, I stopped on the causeway just before getting on the new bridge.  There was a group of Black Skimmers on a small sand bar just off shore and I had fun getting a few photos of them in flight – the first time I’ve photographed this species too.

A pair of Black Skimmers in flight
A pair of Black Skimmers in flight

I really enjoyed the trip.

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

© 2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.