ADVENTURES IN NATURE – part 1 (See the bottom of this post for more from this series)
I purchased my first DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera this past summer with the intention of doing some nature photography. In the few months that I have engaged in the incredibly relaxing, adventuresome and educational experience of observing, photographing and studying nature, I have had some wonderful experiences. My intention is to write a multi-part blog describing some of these experiences and things I have learned illustrated with photos that I have taken of the subject under discussion. This is part 1 of the series, and I encourage interested readers to subscribe to my blog by entering your email address on the main page to receive updates when new stories are posted.
I’m going to start off with an osprey adventure. St. Petersburg, Florida, is home to a very large county park, Ft. Desoto. It is a nature lover’s paradise located on the Gulf of Mexico with beaches once voted the top in the country. There is also camping, hiking and every manner of activity available in the park including guided nature tours. In that among the biking, hiking and nature trails – the park also has 9 ½ miles of open roadway that my significant other Rosie and I use for doing our so-called interval training when we are preparing for competitive cycling events. We park in a lot that is also home to an osprey nest that has been used by the same pair of ospreys for 4 years. In that there are regular nature tours conducted by the rangers, and in that these two ospreys have a large fan base, they have received names. The male is named Fleck by virtue of a fleck in his right eye at the 7 o’clock position, and his mate is named Jewel. I often photograph the pair and have gotten some quite dramatic shots, especially of Fleck such as this one that I recently captured (see below):
This particular recent day, I was at the park photographing a pair of baby Great Horned Owls and on completion, I decided to stop by Fleck’s nest to see if I might grab a couple of shots. I found him sitting on a power line with a fish in one talon. Knowing that he is never comfortable with company when he is dining on his sushi, I readied my camera for an action shot, and Fleck did not disappoint. I captured an amazing sequence of him, including the above shot. He then made a right turn, landed in the nest where his mate Jewel was waiting, and shared his catch with her. I was lucky enough to capture the complete sequence with my camera.
We had not visited the nest in a few weeks – our competitive season was over and we were not using the park for training. The last time we were at the park, Rosie left a pair of brightly colored flip-flops sitting on the ground adjacent to our SUV. On return, we discovered that the flip-flops were missing and after a brief examination of the area, we had come up empty – no flip-flops.
Fast forward to the day that the above photo was taken. As I photographed the two ospreys in the nest, I suddenly noticed a rather prominent odd-looking bit of nest material that constituted part of the make-up of the nest. It was one of Rosie’s flip-flops (see below photo):
You can see the flip-flop off to the right. Also, the birds had obviously purloined someone’s shirt that was hanging from the nest, and there was some other red material that is slightly visible on the left side of the shot. They are fascinating creatures to say the least!
The final story I will leave you with today is about an orb weaver spider that made his home on my front porch. Orb weaver spiders are odd looking as spiders go and have an interesting way of dealing with building their fascinating geometrically shaped webs. Once a day, the spider totally consumes the nest, rests for an hour and then completely builds a new nest. I have observed the nest building in real time and it is accomplished rather rapidly. Here is a photo of the nest with the morning sunlight reflected on it. The orb weaver is the tiny colored object in the center:
I mentioned that orb weavers are rather strange looking as spiders go. Below is a shot that demonstrates that – it is not very good technically in that the spider was building a new nest at the time and she was blowing in the wind and shot was made very close-up, but it illustrates my point:
Stay tuned for the next Adventures in Nature!
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