Went to my parents house for dinner this memorial day weekend which also meant I got to do a little bird photography while I was there. I was very happy to see the pileated woodpecker show up and saw three orioles, although they all decided to show up when we were inside eating. Also caught a glimpse of a humming bird as well as several other birds.
I snapped these photos of a helper we have for keeping the bushes at the back of our lot in check. There are actually 2 of these little guys, and their mom. We’ve seen them a few times this summer. One time the two young ones took turns running through the neighbors swing set. They were dodging back and forth through the swings. Most of the bushes in back are nothing special, but we keep an eye on our lilac bushes, they’ve been fine so far. I really like the stripe down its neck.
This year on vacation to Eagle Crag Lake in the Adirondacks I took my mom’s kayak down to the swamp at the end of the lake. I’ve done it several times and this year decided to bring 2 of my cameras with for some photos. Its a pretty neat place to go. There is no path or road around the swamp so you are really alone. There is a lot of neat plants and wildlife to be seen. I saw several Kingfisher’s hunting for fish. No beaver’s to be seen or heard this year, but I assume they are around. Here’s a few photos I took, and a panoramic as well. Enjoy.
Tracy’s mom has some huge butterfly bushes this year, and they were just covered with tiger swallowtails this year. I brought along my flaky Infrared Digital camera to try and take some shots to see how they look in IR. It was pretty tough, those butterflies would not stay still, and it was difficult to get really close because they just fly away. I was persistent though, and got a few neat shots.
This past weekend Tracy and I landscaped the area where we planted two dogwood trees a few years ago. We wanted to let them grow and settle in a little bit before we did the mulching. Now we have a cherry tree added in and a hydrangea plus bee balm for the humming birds and a daisy too. Tracy did a really good job with the edging and mulching. Me? I did the digging.
Spring got here almost a full month early, and the plants and flowers are all blooming way early because of it. I took a chance to get out of work early on a beautiful day to head to Highland Park to look at the lilacs. They are in peak bloom despite the fact that the Rochester Lilac Festival isn’t until May 14-23rd. These photos were taken May 3rd, 2010. In 2008 I visited Highland Park on May 24th, and the Lilacs were in peak bloom, so there is quite a wide range of time for the flowers to bloom depending on the spring weather. Learn more about the lilacs at the the Lilac Festival Home Page.
This year we had a really early spring, and the majority of the plants and trees are at least 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule for blooming. I took this early opportunity to drive to Highland Park in Rochester, NY to look at all the varieties of lilacs while they are in peak bloom. The Lilac Festival itself isn’t until May 14-23. I am not sure there will be many left blooming at those times. The park is really amazing, and boasts one of the largest collections in the world.
“Today, over 500 varieties of lilacs cover 22 of Highland Park’s 155 acres. Rochester’s famous Lilac Festival is a lavish array of flowers, attractions, and special events that signal the arrival of spring. The 1,200-plus lilac bushes in Highland Park create a floral rainbow ranging from the deepest of purples to the purest of whites.” – About Highland Park Lilacs
Tuesday 11/17/2009 Day 5: Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
After visiting the awesome Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, we headed up US-1 towards the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is closed 3 days before a shuttle launch to prevent people from hiding out to see the launch from up close. The refuge borders NASA Kennedy Space Center, and we were sure to drive down to the beach to get close to the pads, although we had already seen the launch the day before. The majority of the pictures from our trip to Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge are available in much larger sizes in my Flickr photo gallery.
After briefly stopping at the visitor center for a map and directions we headed out to take a few wildlife drives, and race out to the manatee viewing platform. Unfortunately there were no manatees at the viewing area, so we returned down the road and took the Blackpoint Wildlife drive. It was an awesome drive and we saw tons of birds and wildlife.
On the way to the wildlife drive we saw many vultures, some Great Egret’s and some Snowy Egrets.
Once we started on the drive we saw several alligators, and some more birds, as well as an Osprey on one of the Bald Eagle platforms.
We toured the wetland area and saw lots of birds including lousiana herons.
We saw a Bald Eagle land on a far away platform. On the way out we shooed a snake off the road so it wouldn’t get run over.
After doing the wildlife drive, we headed down towards the seashore on a winding road through the marshes. There we got some super close up views of a great blue heron.
Then after rounding a corner we had to stop the car after another alligator was blocking the road. He was huge! There was no way around, so form a safe distance we got out of the car to see him and take some photos before he slid back into the water. A definite highlight of the whole trip.
We then made it down to the seashore where we could see the launch pads at sunset and the beach. It was a great end to the day and to the whole trip.
Sunday 11/15/2009 Day 3: Florida Institute of Technology and Cocoa Beach
On Sunday we took a break from our traveling to relax before the shuttle launch. We did go south to Melbourne and the Florida Institute of Technology to walk through their botanical gardens which was nice. There were lots of varieties of palms, bamboo, and lizards too. A lot of the trees had giant pathos plants growing all over them, but the leaves were huge compared to how large they get indoors in Rochester.
For me, it was fun to see lizards everywhere, but I have a hunch they are like squirrels down there to Floridians. I took the opportunity to take some infrared photos while we walked through the gardens, as the palm plants make really stunning pictures.
After we walked through the gardens, we went back to the hotel to spend the day at the beach. There were strong rip tides because of the remnants of Hurricane Ida that went up the coast, but we still did some wading. It was a very rough surf, and you really got pushed around by the waves and currents. But you gotta go in the ocean when you go on vacation, so we did.
As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery. Day 4 includes our photos of the shuttle launch.
I had a little time this afternoon to play with some of the photos we have taken recently. I have some pictures to share from Tracy’s trip to Millinocket Maine to visit her grandparents, and from my trip to Letchworth State park to try and see some fall foliage (or foilage as Marge Simpson calls it). I was a bit late to see the best fall colors, but it was 65 degrees and sunny at the end of October, so I wasn’t complaining. Tracy took some really great panoramic photos from up in Maine. They are viewable in the panoramic photo gallery.
Now here is one of the neat panoramic photos Tracy took in Maine. Every winter Ambajejus Lake near Millinocket Maine has its water drained. If you look carefully at this photo, you can see Mount Khatadin in the background, bottles used as floats to protect boaters from submerged rocks, a green pickup truck on the beach, and the green “sea wall” that denotes the beach area. Also note the fantastic fall colors.