Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Almost Paradise

My family has been visiting Venice, Florida since before I was born. My grandparents bought a condo right on the beach which became our biannual vacation spot. When I was really little, there was a great blue heron who visited us when we were in town. We think he would notice the big mess of plastic beach toys and seashells on the porch, because Papa said he didn't visit as much when we weren't there. Chopped up hotdog, shrimp, turkey, and one interesting time, a pizza crust, were all on the menu when Freddie would show up. We were amazed at this animal who was at least as tall as we were, as there certainly wasn't anything like him on our porch in suburban West Virginia! Perhaps this is where my interest in birding was piqued. We'd sit on the porch or just inside the sliding glass door tossing small pieces of leftovers to him, playing a game to see how close we could make him come without scaring him away (or losing a finger!), and trying not to stir up too much of a ruckus which would make the seagulls and pigeons and starlings swarm the porch. Grandma isn't much for bird poop, and pooping is a seagull's main job.

Over the years, I'm certain there have been many different Freddies, and other species have come to share and leave memories burned into our minds with a gulf-coast sunset backdrop. These are some pictures from a trip in January 2008 with several of the species who have watched me grow up on that beach.

Bald Eagle resting on the airport radio tower by the beach

Brown Pelican... the COOLEST to watch when they're fishing from the sky... Kamakaze!

A pair of Osprey nesting in a tower over the state police barracks, right next to the Venice Rookery.

A motley crew... (please correct me), but I'm pretty sure (based on my Sibley book, but if it's wrong I'm not blaming the book, just my identification skills!) that on the left is a Ruddy Turnstone, then a Snowy Egret, and I have yet to pin down the one on the right.

One of my favorite pictues I've ever taken; three Great Blue Herons nesting at the Venice Rookery. The bottom one has a boyfriend that flies to the shore in search of the perfect stick for their nest. He brings it back, she examines it and places it carefully in the perfect spot in the nest, if she is happy, then they make some baby herons. I have video proof, but it's pretty graphic! Not for young eyes :)

A single heron on the other side of the rookery's island.

This was my first Black Crowned Night Heron... I was completely stumped at the time because it was so dark, all I could see was eyes and the white breast against the dark background; but come home, add photoshop and lighten up those shadows and he jumped right out!

Here he is again cropped in a little closer.

This Great Egret visited every day we were there; not my best/sharpest photo of him, but definitely the coolest angle.

I like the composition and color of the sky in this one.

One of many beautiful sunsets we have been so lucky to see for so many years.

No comments:

Post a Comment