Scrub-Jay lotto…

I wanted to go to The North Brevard Strawberry Festival. Of course the weekend weather plummeted, turning cold and rainy, Johnny wasn’t too interested in going to the festival. He knew he would soon reap the benefits of strawberry preserves that I had intended on canning. While the Doral Golf tournament was on, he could stay cozy and not deal with traffic and people. Eden and utopia are closely matched in this scenario.

I decided that since I had already planned on going to the festival and now changed my mind, I still wanted to get out. There is a tiny road I see all the time, but I’ve never been down there. A sign says it’s Scrub Ridge Trail. Since it’s a side road within The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I figured it had somethin to do with Scrub-Jays.

A cool little bird, it is THE ONLY bird endemic to Florida. This excerpt came from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology;

“A species that today numbers fewer than 6,000 individuals in the wild and that exists nowhere in the world outside of Florida. In a state whose human population has nearly quadrupled since 1960, the Florida Scrub-Jay has lost much of its choice scrub habitat to citrus groves and subdivisions.” 

My tangent on destruction of property to accomodate condo developers will come at a later date.

After I read that the hiking trail is only one mile, I knew that I could take my time and maybe see some stuff. What are the odds of me finding a Scrub-Jay in an area I don’t know?  Nil quickly came to mind. But I didn’t care. It was better than bein hemmed up in the apartment all day. Johnny decided if there wouldn’t be traffic and old ladies in funny hats, he was in for a hike.

15 minutes later, I was hopping out of the truck, with camera gear and Johnny in tow. There were two paths to pick from, and we chose the north path.

The first thing I noticed was there had been a recent controlled burn. Very recent.

 CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE 🙂

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The refuge has controlled burns often; I understand the concept to a point, but I can’t help but think it displaces wildlife and that’s where my confusion lies. But, that too is another suject for another day,

My heart sank when I saw the burnt palmettos. That, with the cold and rainy day made me think I shoulda stayed home and watched golf. We walked the back trail and saw nothing.  Egrets and ‘spoonbills farrrrrrrrr away, a couple of gator slides, and a 9 Banded Armadillo.

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We went as far as we could before the ground turned to marsh. The rain wasn’t helpin. We circled back and at the fork, took the high road in. I silently hoped I made the right choice. I thought this had to lead to the truck, but if it didn’t, it would be fine. The marl was nice to walk on, and it was dry. About a 1/4 mile. Nothin. Then a Scrub-Jay appeared. On the right,

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Then another. With breakfast even. BONUS!

Those two flew off to dine, and another came to the bush at my shoulder. Happy to pose for me, I shot a few images

Florida Scrub Jay.

I can’t believe our luck!  The only thing that topped that was I had picked the right road to get us back to the truck!  WINNING!!! What a great day!

Bird Migration at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

It’s been awhile, so I wanted to share some images I have of the wonderous end of a journey led by instinct for the birds that end up on a little parcel of land in Central Florida every year. Their goal is to produce the next generation, and this is where the crowds and cameras come into play. After the labors of their travels bring them here, they settle in for the cool weather we call winter. This is what I see………………………………

CLICK on images for better resolution. 🙂

Egrets in air combat
Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
MINWR
Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Royal Tern Ballett on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

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Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
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Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Royal Tern Fishing
Royal Tern on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Royal Terns

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Sunrise on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

There you have it. Now you know where I’ve been. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do sharing it.. Have a great day!

Susan

Go Pro Beach images to help me bake

What?

Yeah. I got started making sugar cookies today, and Johnny went surf fishing. He got nothin.  Nada. One Whiting. Same as yesterday. I told him it was too cold. He didn’t listen. Took all of two hours for him to come back home. Lol…………..

I’m taking a break from baking and looking at images. Found a couple, three to keep me baking, and not loading up and runnin out there. Thot you may like to see last weekend.  Still usin the Go Pro. Love that little powerhouse.

Wide angle

Just me

Quiet

I had high hopes for the last edit in black and white, but it just isn’t workin for me.

Couple more with the Canon…………………… I’m starting to feel a lil better…. 🙂

Wave

waving

Allllll right, Back to icing one million cookies. I feel better now. A little water always helps.  🙂

Bringing Johnny into the world of 1080p

Where the heck have I been and how did this blog die after such serious dedication? I dunno. Life. It’s hectic and the subliminal pressure of the holiday takes it’s toll on me anymore. Time I get home, it’s time to gather something to fix for supper. Or hurry up and get a jacket and run out to the river to soak bait until the day is absolved with the setting sun. Or this last week, melancholy cloud cover. And cold. I hate cold. That’s why I live in Florida. All my life. Never seen snow. There is a reason for that. The cold. I hate it. Nice to look at the Alaska show on TV. But its on TV. The tv is in my living room. In Florida. It’s warm.

The holiday is almost here.  I know we are in the minority as far as getting excited about the holiday coming up; don’t get me wrong, I cant wait for the week off I am granted every year. I just do not like the “go out and spend every dime you have on an obligatory gift” that is anymore the norm. Two people that spend every day together and buy what they want through the year describes us. We both work for a living, so you know we are not rollin in cash. But we live a very nice, comfortable life. We live simply. If we want something, we get it. And we appreciate things. And each other. 🙂

Like a new tv. I wanted a hd tv. He bought one a couple years ago from a friend who was going through a divorce, and compared to the Emerson tv with the VHS and dvd slots on the bottom of the unit, the 720 hd was cool to him, That is his idea of hd. “We have a TV!”  Bless his heart. My  GoPro camera will record and play in 4k, and the 720 just wasnt getting the job done.

He is old school, and refuses to replace anything until it is past dead. We do a lot of shopping at the antique store across the road. Like, for a flour sifter. The round rusty one with a wooden tipped handle that shakes the flour through the screen.

Sifter

A covered cake platter. Aluminum. Like the flower club ladies would bring to luncheons. . A vegetable peeler. You remember the aluminum one that would wobble, but had blades sharp as a Mandoline? Hours have been lost in that shop. The lady there loves him. No wonder. I am sure he has contributed more to her bank account than her ex husband who has to pay alimony.  He went through three percolater coffee pots before I stepped in and bought a Bunn. They would work fo a while, but at $30-$40 each, it was getting expensive to brew coffee in a 1960 era coffee maker. It smelled divine, i have to agree with him on that. And it was hot. When i say hot, i mean like 150 degrees. Not energy efficient or time friendly, the asbestos shrouded cord with a ceramic slot by the plug is a tell-tale sign of that. Coffee was good though.He was aghast at the Bunn. Insulted even. Still grumbles now and then. But I’m good with 10 cups of hot joe in 3 minutes.

Coffee makers

I tried to tell him it was a sign of personal growth to explore new avenues. He thinks personal growth  is being able to use 1960 era equipment to accomplish 2014 tasks. Struggling with anything and accomplishing the goal is his idea of growth. Accomplishing the impossible is cool. But for me, it does not always have to be the hard way.

So you can begin to see the spot I am in. Not a bad spot. Just living with a man that will resist change ( I.E. stepping into the year 2000, let alone 2014) can be a difficult fence to walk on at times. Love him with all my heart. But…….

I made a deal with Johnny. I told him that I was going to go get us a tv and that would be Christmas. If he moaned, growled, complained, even raised an eyebrow, I would decorate every single inch of our living quarters with holiday themes. He doesn’t want a tree. He never does. The apartment is small enough, and a tree is cumbersome. I love the lights. The pine scent. I dont mind the needles, although they do haunt us for months. Last year i put up a small tree. Three footer. In a corner. given to me by a lady at work whose mom had it. for years. The mom died, and she gave it to me. Subliminal guilt. “Here is my moms tree. Use it and give it a good home.” Shoulda said right then and there I didn’t want the beat up thing. Hey! She didnt either!  Hell, she gave it to me!!! And we are not close friends. i think coz her leg hurts, she didnt want to take it out to the dumpster. Maybe she thot she would put it up at work, and realized that would be a lost cause. Anyways..I didn’t make it gaudy, A few lights.Some decorations.  He finally quit grumbling when he saw I was happy with the little Charlie Brown, bent up pieces of wire.

I bought the tv Thursday. Living hell of a nightmare. Started at Target. I would pick a tv I wanted. Go find a worker to see if they had it. 15 minutes later they come back and say of course they don’t. Not to be deterred, I would pick out another one. Same thing.” Yes we have it on display. No we dont have one available”. This was Target. Went to Walmart. OMG. Thought I had it made. Not many people in the electronics department. I picked out a tv. Asked someone to check on it. Another 15 minutes later they haven’t come back.

I had an idea. I called the store. Operator welcomes me to Walmart. I ask her to connect me to electronics. I see the girl answer the phone. I ask for help at the tv’s. . I tell her to turn around and I wave at her. She says she will send someone over. Lol. She was not happy. Sheesh. Still took a little bit. A lady shows up and I show her the tv I want, and she disappears to see if they have it.. 10 minutes later she brings it back. With a huge gouge on the side. Like a forklift gouge. “Really?” “What, you don’t want it? I had to load it by myself ! ”  Oh. I see. Because i don’t want a forklift damaged tv you bring out, I am a difficutl custormer. I asked her to go see if they had a different one. Gone. Like the wind. Never to be seen again. Something happens when the Walmart people go into the room behind layaway where the tv’s are. They never come back. I call the store. Again. Same thing. Connect me to electronics please. Send help to electronics please. Argggg. Then I see it. On the other side of the department. Like 20 Tv’s. On a shelf/ display.  PAYDIRT BABY!!!!! HA! The girl in the abyss that isn’t coming back must have forgot about the DISPLAY with 20 TV”S !!!  I saw a guy walking,thru the department, and asked him to help me get it down. He obliged, and then I dragged it to the hunting department. Found a lady waiting for her husband to decide betweeneTrilene and Cajun Red fishing line; I knew that decision would give me enuff time to get a big cart from the garden department. I gave her the “can ya help me out here?” sad look, and she nodded. I told her id be rite back, and when I came back with the cart, she helped me load the box. Bless her heart.

The kid from the garden shop helped me load the box in the back of my truck, and I took it home. Proud as a peacock, I called Johnny and asked him to get rid of the Emerson.When I got home I asked him to come help me drag this box in. Instant resistance.” It’s too late, You arent going to do that tonight, are you? It’s getting late.” I steeled myself and calmly told him I would have it going in 15 minutes. To let him be involved, I threw him the remote and asked him to put in the batteries., I figured that would keep him busy while I put the stand together. After everything was done, I turned it on. He was overwhelmed. Big box. Vibrant colors. 50 inches of lcd lights and surround sound. HD. Thank God football was on. I flipped it there. He didn’t say a word. As Arizona whipped the The Rams, I saw the transformation. He eventually mustered “that’s a real nice picture Sue.” (Sue is my serious name; used to make a point or ask a life or death question, usually). Then, as I began to wallow in my victory, he announced he was going to bed. Lol.  End of story.

Now, in closing, don’t come beef with me about holiday workers, excuses for poor service at Walmart, or anything else you may have taken offense at that I wrote. I don’t want to hear it. Everything I said is true. And let me finish by saying I too have worked retail, so I get it.

Have a great weekend.

Susan

Loggerhead Shrike

I love these little song-bird looking birds of prey. While they don’t have talons to hold prey, they will often-times impale their food so they can eat it. Also known as the Butcher Bird, they are plentiful in the south east, but in Canada for some un-known reason, they are suffering population loss at an alarming rate.

click on image to enlarge 🙂

Loggerhead Shrike

Osprey Mom Teaching Fledgling to fish

Hi. We made it through the first of the holiday tribulations and are getting back to a normal routine. Funny how long it doesn’t take for me to get accustomed to the traffic and lines. Not one for the whole Black Friday thing, we opted to do our holiday a different way,by Johnny and his crew playing a gig for the members of the group they belong to. It was a nice, close knit way to spend the day giving thanks. Seeing as how we were at the gig all day, instead of the traditional turkey feast, starving, we opted for Waffle House. 🙂 Different, but we had fun with the folks working, which gave us a moment to appreciate everything we had, mostly and foremost each other. No matter if we were in a field all day playing guitar, or at a mansion, as long as we were together, that is what the day was for us. We are rich… 🙂 Hope your holiday was great.

Enough of that. Let’s get to the title of the post, shall we?

Went fishing yesterday, and while the current wasn’t doing what we wanted it to do to produce the “bite”, there was a bunch of activity going on. I kept hearing the screeching of Osprey, and lot of it. Incessant even. Being around the water, it is a familiar sound, but this was non-stop. The birds were acting differently; dive-bombing, yelling at each other, and all clustered up over the river, diving, diving, diving.  With not much luck.Not the norm at all.

Then I realized. This was school. “How to catch your own fish, because now you can fly” school. I wanted to share this; I will call this my first of hopefully many “documentary” stories with images. Photo Journalism is what they call it I think. 🙂

One of the many Osprey. So you can tell  the difference between a male and female Osprey. The male has a white chest, while the female has a spotty, “necklace” or freckles if you will….  As you can see, this is a male.

Click images to enlarge…….. 

Osprey on the huntBelow, you will see the art of hovering, dive bombing, retrieving, and returning with food.

This is how you hover.

Osprey and flidging.

Bend your wings and dive like this to gain speed. Keep your eye on the prize……………

Diving Osprey

Before you hit the water, stretch you legs and extend your talons, so you can grab your food. Keep your eye on the prize.

Osprey diving

Get ready to get wet, but that will work in your favor. Grab your prize.

Osprey hitting the water

Now that you have what you want, take it and go.  Like this.

Osprey success

While the fledgling was paying close attention, it took no time to try to beg the food and take it as it’s own.

osprey fledgling wanting food

Hey!  What about me??

Osprey and fledgling learning to hunt

A couple aerobatic maneuvers teach the baby how to keep its food in the event of a rogue trying to steal it……….

Osprey and fledgling.....

That’s that for today.  I hope you enjoy this as much I did when I saw it. 🙂 It did have a happy ending. the baby shared the fish in a nearby tree………… 🙂

Susan

Last day ~~ Triumph

My Photo 101 Odyssey

Triumph.

Winning comes to mind.  Which is what came to mind when I was able to execute these two images.

The first one was a shock…………. Taken with my Oly, it was one I was proud of.

Shrimpin

Until I shot this one

Fishin

I never got this printed, but seeing it again makes me think I may  🙂

I want to thank@cherilucas,
@michelleweber,
@jenhooks,
@rootjosh  for the last month of assignments, and opportunities to learn new things. I hope you have a nice holiday season.

Susan

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Howdy and Happy Saturday

Hi! I hope you had a good week; time to unwind and take some down time. Yesterday was my birthday, and Johnny blew me out of the water with a GoPro. I’ve been wanting one for the longest time, and after I got through the box of a million accessories, I realized that although compact in size, this lil guy has tremendous capability.  I figured out how to download the app to my fone, so I can dictate whether the mode will be movie, image, burst, etc.  and we went out to the refuge. All I have is this one image right now, but I like it. 🙂

Goin out to the NOTU and the Refuge again today, to practice.  I hope you have a great weekend.

GOPRO at dusk

Love

Johnny is a volunteer counselor and has been since I’ve known him. Every week, he meets with his “crew”, a group of wonderful people that are trying to learn how to depend on solid spiritual ground to guide them, instead of themselves. His mentoring shows them they can achieve positive results in life, something they have not known. Johnny is my hero. Tonight, something moved me to do this for him. I hope he likes it when he gets home. 🙂

love

Photography of Central Florida