Divine Instincts

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Divine Instincts

I really enjoy watching most of nature interact with one another.  I say most because, while I enjoy observing a pelican dive into the ocean for a meal, I have to turn my head if a lion is about to catch and devour a gazelle.  It all is our Creator’s plan but some is definitely more palatable to me. I surely do enjoy observing water birds and other fowl.  Of course, I have my favorites like the Great Blue Heron, egrets of various types, white ibis and at the top of my current list is the Roseate Spoonbill.  Having moved to Florida certainly has enhanced my birding opportunities and increased my observing much more water fowl. Today’s outing brought me close to a handsome Snowy Egret…all alone on a canal in south Florida.  I think they are beautiful birds adorned in their mating plumage.  They are very stylishly striking with their bright yellow feet and some on their legs.    But those “high-end slippers” are not just pretty…they are very functional as well.  The Snowy Egret is the smallest of the heron/egret family averaging about 2 feet tall compared to the Great Egret at nearly 40 inches tall.  But the Snowy’s smaller size enables him to move more quickly in the water and therefore grab some grub more easily. The next time you have the chance to observe an egret in a marsh or wetland, watch the movement of their feet in the water.  They swish their feet around stirring up what might be below the surface for catching and eating.   Once the menu item surfaces, he’s quick as lightening to grab it and down the hatch! So again, we can see that sometimes LESS IS...

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White Ibis

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

The White Ibis is a large shorebird in lower coastal areas preferring marshes as its main habitat.  Fully white feathered bird except for black wing tips usually not visible except in flight or stretching its wingspan.  The striking appearance of a pink face, bill and legs changes to bright orangey-red during breeding seasons.  In Florida, the ibis are quite plentiful being in the Least Concern category of conservation listings. The ibis are beautiful and graceful in flight take-off and landing as if gliding onto a runway. These large birds roost in trees at night which is a bit unusual to see for the first time.  They build their nests in trees as well. Still being a new-comer to Florida, I get a charge approaching a traffic light when I see a small congregation of Ibis on the grassy corners foraging for...

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Shorebirds Count on Barrier Islands

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

When vacationing on barrier islands, one can see a multitude of shorebirds taking advantage of the foraging opportunities to find their dinner.  They each have their own specific method of foraging determined on the tools with which they have…their bills.  The Curlew has the long down-curved bill, the herons have a spear-like bill and the sandpipers & plovers have strong short bills.  How interesting it is to observe the species at work.  Thanks to Cornell Lab of Ornithology for making this educational video available for us.Shorebirds on Barrier...

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A Pink Respite

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

A Pink Respite

Though we don’t always act on our knowledge, most would agree that we all need a brief respite now and then.  The last few months have been one huge push for me…get my house in NC ready to sell; sell it; find a new place to live in FL; and pack up for the BIG move to my new home in FL.  Even then, it has been a daily regimen of unpacking boxes, finding places for the things that make it “home” and de-clutter even more.  Push, push push. As God our Creator was designing and creating our world, even He knew to set a day aside for rest.  If God Almighty needs a respite here and there, why in this world would we not recognize that more often??? Yesterday, I decided I was doing myself an injustice to not take a break.  So, I packed my beach chair in the car and got a bottle of water and drove the five minutes to some of the most beautiful great waters of our world, the Atlantic Ocean.  In south Florida, the water is a lovely blue-green as we live in a sub-tropical weather area.  The sun was bright, the sand was very warm and the water refreshing just to look at, though there were plenty swimming and surfing. I found my little spot and got my chair positioned, sat down and pointed my face to the warmth of the sun.  I briefly opened my eyes to see a beautiful sight…there must have been 15-20 brown pelicans flying so serenely without even a flap of the wing right overhead…VERY close!  I could see their eyes.  They are one of my favorite water birds because of their having fought their way back after nearly becoming extinct as a result of the widely used DDT.  Quietly, I scolded myself for not bringing my camera…but then, I realize I actually saw more and soaked it in more deeply just observing instead of working to get the picture.  They were so peaceful and beautiful…just coasting so close. Tonight, I was thinking about that moment and how long distance birds conserve energy and take rest. This photo of a sweet Roseate Spoonbill at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge taking respite speaks to the natural order of life as God created...

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Great Blue Heron vs. Snake

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Heron vs. Snake

While visiting Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, FL, I was fortunate to witness a new sight with one of my very favorite water birds, the Great Blue Heron.  I had been watching him move about tactically in the marsh and saw he was very focused on his journey.  I thought, “He’s looking for a nice fish for lunch!”  All of a sudden he lunged forward in heron-style with great precision and there was his lunch dangling from his long spear-like beak…a snake!!  The next few moments were impressive. I estimated the snake to be about 4-5 ft. long of considerable girth.  He had caught the snake behind the head…smart move.  Guess he had done that a few times.  It was so interesting to see him work with the snake jerking and flipping the slimy creature until he got it just like he wanted it and then the descent down the throat began.  UGH!!!  The heron stretched his long neck out to give a direct path to  his luncheon treat to travel and pretty soon one could see the movement down the throat.    It certainly gave new meaning to “Bottoms Up!” And just as we human do, he stepped just a few feet forward and grabbed a drink to help wash it all down.  Just felt a little blessed to see that whole...

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Dead Albatross Key to Our Future?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2012 in My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Dead Albatross Key to Our Future?

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a bird consuming all this plastic trash thinking it was food.  But, the albatross is known for foraging over open oceans in search for food. Whatever they see, that scoop it up and take it back to their home to eat and to feed their chicks.  Sad.  Scary, too. Thanks to Chris Jordan for this photo to alert us.   We are such a consumer-focused society that one by one we add to the trash from our homes, our schools, our workplaces and when we travel.  If you’re sitting out on a boat in the ocean and drop a plastic pottle, you might think, “Oh, well, what’s one bottle in the midst of an ocean?”  Right?  Wrong! You probably have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is a floating mass of trash/garbage…about 3.5 TONS of garbage!  Some estimate that the floating heap of trash is about twice the size of TEXAS!  We’re talking about approximately 538,000 square miles of trash. It’s a floating junk yard!  Much of it comes from land, one estimate being 80% of the floating junk yard comes from irresponsible disposal of trash on land and eventually makes it to the oceans. Our oceans are the biggest connection humans have to Creation and the beginning of our world. Think about...

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African Jackass Penguins

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 in Birds, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/GiJLHhzf8iM?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> Please click Read More to view video clip.

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Precious Eiders and Other Birds At Risk

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Precious Eiders and Other Birds At Risk

Thanks to Audubon for this alert:  Let your voice be heard!!  Ledyard Bay, off the northern Coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean,  is a haven for all four species of eiders.  Spectacled, King, Common, and Steller’s eiders feast there.  All of western North America’s King Eiders, an estimated half a million birds, stop here.  Proposed new offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, where oil spills can’t be cleaned up, could put this valuable place at risk. Please tell the Department of Interior: “No oil development in the Arctic Ocean” in a comment on the new 5-year oil and gas leasing program at http://policy.audubon.org/take-action    ...

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Blowing Rock Preserve

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 2 comments

Blowing Rock Preserve

Discover the resiliency of nature in a visit to the Blowing Rock Preserve on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, FL.  The area lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon.  Winding trails are under a canopy of native growth rich in vegetation, palms, insects, birds, sea turtles, lizards and snakes.  It is a protected area allowing sea turtles to continue to safely nest there.  A feature from which it derived its name is the spectacular Anastasia limestone rock formations.  At high tide, the cystal blue green ocean waves pound the coast lined with these rocks, blowing high shoots of water up through the holes in the rock formations…enough excitement alone to make the visit worthwhile! Visitors can search for treasures of shells and other sea life along the ocean beach as well as the river lagoon.  The Hawley Education Center on the lagoon side offers various FREE programs and exhibits such as Blowing Rocks: From Lagoon to Ocean & Beyond; Reef Revival: Underwater Coral Nurseries and more. Sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, the Preserve and Education Center appreciate donations. For more information, visit their website at www.nature.org/blowing...

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White Ibis

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Birds, Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

One of the things I enjoy about spending time in nature preserves or wildlife sanctuaries is the pure joy I feel as I am studying one of God’s creatures in the wild gaining an awareness of His omniscience in the needs and behaviors of each species.  It is, indeed, amazing to me to think that our Creator of the great Universe, focuses on each creature individually and all of us collectively, providing us and programming us for survival. King James Bible Psalm 84:3 says “Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.”   The gift of nature is an opportunity to learn, value and experience God’s handiwork bringing peace and enjoyment to me.  On this first day of the New Year 2012, I claim for myself more intentional study of God’s handiwork and His Word which always reveals new perspectives for my journey.  How about...

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Solving World Problems

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in My Blog, Ocracoke Island, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Solving World Problems

Ocracoke Island, one of the barrier islands along the NC coast, is such a quaint village.    The ferry ride is about a 45 minute experience in itself.  I like getting out of my car and taking in the abundance of nature and meeting other folks going over.  I’ve seen dolphins escorting the ferry across the water, sea gulls, pelicans, etc.  Stepping onto the island soil, one immediately feels the relaxing, laid back lifestyle of the residents as well as the visitors.  Even if you take your car over, there is much to do just walking or biking. One day a friend and I were navigating the island and turned down a road we had not visited before.  Small, quaint homes adorned the dirt road and we came upon a pond.  Thankful to have had my camera with me, I grabbed it and got this wonderful little scene of ducks facing the water, appearing to be solving the problems of our world.  Oh, were it that easy!  ...

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Gettin’ High

Posted by on Dec 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Gettin’ High

God’s creativity in designing nature for our living and enjoying truly amazes me.  I remember driving back from a little shopping trip in Salisbury, NC with my mother.  I was in my late teens.  We had just passed by a field green with the fresh birth of the sprouting crop, and I said to my mother, “Mother, you will never have to worry about me smoking pot or taking drugs to get high, because all I have to do is just look at the green field over there and I feel high as can be!”  It’s so true for me…I am inspired by nature’s beauty whether it be majestic mountains, the vast ocean, wildflowers or birds and sea turtles.  It ALL gives me great joy, peaceful feelings and reminds me of how great God’s love for each of us is! I especially enjoy the contemplation on His inspiring artistic creation of how it all works together.  I’ll have to admit, though, too much focus on the food chain itself gives me a little nudge over to the “Oh, I DON”T want to see THAT.”  I recall watching a bird cam video of a robin’s nest with three little heads with gaping mouths to get the worm the mama robin would bring back to nourish her babies.  Away the mother robin flew to get more and without warning a squirrel jumped on the nest and began to kill and devour the babies.  I saw it before I could turn away.  As grossed out as I was I reminded myself of that was just a part of nature. So, God made the cat’s tongue rough so that it could gather hairs as it cleans itself.  He created the chameleon with a body that could adapt to changing its color to blend in with its environment for protection from its predators. The birds that I love so and give me so much enjoyment also can alert us to coming weather changes.  These are the things of which we are aware, but just imagine all that exists about which we know...

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Graceful Comorant

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Graceful Comorant

On my recent trip to Hilton Head Island, SC I had many opportunities to photograph a somewhat common shore bird, the Comorant.  The Comorant is a large, dark shore bird usually seen along the Atlantic coastline and inland waterways, rivers and lakes, etc.  These birds have webbed feet and long, usually pointed, bills referred to as a hook.  They swim fast underwater catching fish.  Comorants are unlike many other waterbirds and don’t have oily feathers.  They are often see with wings outstretched drying their feathers.  The have long bodies and long necks.  I think the precisely designed blondish neck against the black body is lovely and they are quite graceful drying out their feathers after a dip in the lake for dinner.  Quite entertaining to...

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White Ibis

Posted by on Nov 20, 2011 in Birds, Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

I saw my first White Ibis in Florida as we walked along the banks of the Jupiter Inlet.  We were posing for photos and then this lovely, lanky bird walks right toward us as if to say “Hey, you should be photographing me.  Am I not graceful?”  Of course, I turned my camera to the ibis and just love the graceful stroll he took right by us. The White Ibis are wading birds of the deep South, always looking down to see what they can find for dinner or a snack.  They have pink skin on their faces, legs and bills.  This pink turns almost scarlet in breeding season.  The birds appear totally white but the black edges to the underneath part of their wings is only seen when they are in flight.  Their favorite habitat is salt marshes, but they can also be seen walking along lawns probing for insects to...

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My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Back in the 1950s when we still used the very harmful pesticides with DDT, the beautiful and resourceful Brown Pelican rose high on the endangered species list.  Our unthinking, wide use of  this pesticide nearly robbed us of a most entertaining water fowl.  Thanks to our awareness of the danger of DDT to our environment, today we see strong colonies of this shore bird.  They are the reknown “come-back kid” for us all to enjoy.  They are quite fun to watch as they fly over the water, spot a fish and dive within seconds to retrieve its dinner.  The fish is history!  I got this photo at one of my favorite birding spots in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Preparing for another short birding trip there very...

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Black Headed Gull

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Birds, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Black Headed Gull

Sea gulls are some of the most entertaining birds that people really enjoy along the shore.  There are 50-60 different types of gulls with varying wing colors, bills and feet which help to identify them.  Sea gulls are scavengers eating fish, crustaceans, worms etc.  Vacationing families can be seen on the beach sharing a loaf of bread and the gulls come in close thrilling the little children.  Gulls are opportunistic feeders, so they go where the food is.  This answers the question many ponder when they live in the mid-west USA and see congregations of sea gulls in store parking lots.  With all the focus on a clean environment and anti-littering campaigns, we humans still leave behind plenty of trash that the gulls are happy to feed on.  The sad thing is that inside that bag with a half-eaten burger may be a plastic top to a bottle of milk.  Devouring that can kill a bird quickly.  Enjoy the sea gulls, wherever you find them, but keep your litter to yourself…the gulls will have plenty to eat as they scavenge about the...

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Great Blue Lifting Off

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Lifting Off

I really like this shot…we can see such detail.  He’s certainly quite focused! The Great Blue Heron is graceful and a joy to photograph!

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Great Blue Heron

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, Media home, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Great Blue Heron

I love spending time at the shore…just about any shore!  My preference is a wide sandy shore conducive to walking and discovering.  Enjoying the gifts of nature inspires me and, for me, bearing near the ocean enables me to commune with our Creator like nowhere else.  I especially enjoy exploring the backwaters where wildlife is in abundance.  One of my favorite shore birds is the Great Blue Heron.  I see gracefullness, sharpness of focus and a very precise hunter.  I caught this pose on a somewhat windy day in the back waters in Hilton Head, SC not too far from Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge.  This one photo meant a great day birding for...

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Dinner Watch

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in Birds, Portfolio, Shore Birds, Slider | 0 comments

Dinner Watch

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