I usually walk in my neighborhood several times a week. It’s a good way to get some exercise and say hello to folks. I did something different last Friday and drove over to Orlando Wetlands Park for my morning hike.
It was still dark when I arrived and I could hear owls and whistling ducks calling on the way out to Lake Searcy – one of my favorite landscape places. I didn’t like the view this time since the water was low and the appealing mirror like reflections were missing. I ended up moving to a new location for this:
Middle marsh mystery island
Morning color was disappointing, but I do like the image. After sunrise, I wandered around and made some bird photos. There were many Little Blue Herons:
Pretty little blue
And the Palm Warblers are here in force, bobbing their tails as they pose in the reeds:
And here’s one of the whistling ducks. I caught it mid-preen:
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 – 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 Black Point 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 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.