Tag Archives: Porpoise

Pretty Pelicans and Playful Porpoise

MK has been trying to get us to go on the Dolphin Discovery Tour Eco boat ride out of New Smyrna Beach.  We finally made time and Lynn and I went with her last Sunday.  Howard and Nancy T. joined us for a wonderful two-hour  tour and a nice dinner afterward.

Brown Pelican in Breeding ColorsBrown Pelican in Breeding Colors

Brown Pelicans were very numerous.  They look pretty now in their breeding colors.  There’s a small island they use for a rookery and roost near the tour start and you get good views of them.

Pelican landing at RookeryLanding at the Pelican Rookery

This tour is offered once a day at 1:30pm.  We arrived about 1pm at the Marine Discovery Center, picked up our tickets and headed over to the dock.

The 40 passenger boat is covered so you can stay out of the sun if you want. We had nice weather although it was a bit windy and a little chilly too.  We were glad to have the sun and our jackets (I know, Florida people, right?).  There’s ample room on board, especially since it was only about half full.  The bench seats are comfortable and we had a lot of room to move around for the best views.

I was expecting to see porpoise (dolphin) – they’re quite common in the Indian River.  This is a typical view:

Four Dolphins, four vultures, a gull, a buoy, and two wrecks

But we were in for quite a treat.  On the way back to the dock, this group of four or five put on an exciting show for us right next to the boat.  I wasn’t expecting to see them breech like this up close.

Four Close Dolphins

Of course, I wasn’t well prepared and it was over very quickly.  I ended up just watching them and trying to shoot blindly without bringing the camera up to aim.  This isn’t a really great photo, but I’m lucky I got it.

Our guide pointed out a wide variety of other wildlife:  Ospreys, Great Blue, Little Blue, and Green herons;  Great Egrets, Cormorants, Anhingas, Black Vultures, gulls, terns, and more.

Osprey with fishOsprey with fish

The mid afternoon light was harsh – not the best for landscape photos.  But an infrared camera can tame contrast, so I used mine for an image or two.  Here’s one from the trip – I like the look of the weathered tree along the shore.

Weathered woodWeathered wood – A gnarly old tree along the Indian River

The Marine Discovery Center offers several boat, kayak. and walking tours.  They also have an indoor exploration area with exhibits, aquariums, and more.  Plan to go next time you’re in New Smyrna Beach.  Call before you visit, since they sometimes cancel due to weather.  I hope the dolphins will be as playful for you as they were for us!

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

©2018, 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.

Dolphin
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
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.