Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eagles, owls, herons and tarpon.

I pulled into the Old Ferry Dock Landing earlier this week and looked up and saw a crow in hot pursuit of a mature eagle. Fortunately my camera was next me because they were closing very fast.

I got another shot as the eagle went into a dive to pick up speed and get the crow off his tail.

This was a successful maneuver and the eagle cut into the trees, unfortunately blocking any additional pictures.

The great horned owlets that I've been following have apparently left the nest, as I haven't seen them in the past week. Here are a few of the last pictures that I took.

The St. George Island great blue heron's eggs have hatched and the nest has two very active hatchlings.

Fishing has been excellent for both trout and reds, plus tarpon are beginning to show up. I've had a couple of inquiries about doing photo trips or a split photo/fishing trip and may be putting together something along those lines. Let me know if you're interested. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Carnivores in the bogs, savannas and trees.

The upland savannas and bogs are very colorful with the emerging pitcher plants.

These plants reside in damp soils too poor to support most plant life. They supplement their nutrient intake by absorbing insects that they trap in their "pitchers".While the pitcher plants are probably the most prevalent carnivores across Franklin and Liberty counties, the sharp eyed travelers may also spot butterworts (Pinguicula spp.), sundews (Drosera spp.), bladderworts (Utricularia spp.), and Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula) - this last species is native to the Carolinas and has become naturalized in north Florida in limited locations.

The great horned owl nest has generated a great deal of interest, but now they have become "branchlings"-actual word-they are more difficult to photograph because they tend get up into branches with more needles. There is also a significant difference in size, possibly indicating an age difference of several days. 

The smaller bird spends more time in and around the nest, while the larger sibling is all over the tree.

The ospreys have gotten very active on their nests and probably have eggs by now.

The herons have started to stand in their nests more, so we should be seeing some nestlings very soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring has sprung and things are getting busy!

All the citrus trees are loaded with fruit, as this orange shows with last year's fruit and the start of this year's crop.

Click on the picture and watch the little owl's eyes on the snake! (These pictures were shot at 8 frames per second, so this happened in about a half of a second)

I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to get one the mature great horned owls bringing a tasty snake offering to the the two nestling owls. Actually at this stage they are now "branchlings". The term used to denote that the young owls are venturing out on the surrounding tree branches, but are not flying yet(fledglings).

Here's a shot of each of them on their branches today.

Still have ospreys and herons on nests, but it's fishing time so I can't check them as regularly as I'd like. Between the trout, which have really turned on in the past 10 days, spanish mackerel which are all over the bay and the bream which are destroying fly rod time to go to work. If you haven't booked your tarpon days get with me. It looks like they may start early!