Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Journey!

Our Trip
We embark upon our journey and trip of lifetime in just a few days. Celebrating a landmark anniversary and a milestone birthday for me. Our trip has been in the planning stages for some time now and we are looking forward to the excursion! It is too early to say that I am excited, as I am still caught up in the details. Fears vanishing, I am sure, as soon as I place one foot aboard ship. We will be visiting, Portugal, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece and Croatia by cruise ship. Followed by a two-week land tour of Italy! Six weeks total, visiting places I have romanticized about for many years. Who would have thunk it??? Little old me and the hubster, embracing the great masters and all the genius that Europe has to offer. Our home in Florida, lived in for the summer by some friends. Once our journey is complete, we will fly back to Boston and spend the summer in Massachusetts, visiting with our children. Many of our friends have asked to see our pictures upon our return to Florida, in September! 
Be careful what you wish for PEOPLE! 
It will be interesting to see how many thousands of photos, I will capture. I will try to blog and post when I can. I hear that the internet service is slow aboard ship and patience is definitely not one of my virtues. Then relying on hotel and café wi-fi in the last leg of our trip. Above is a photo of the husband, opening a birthday/anniversary card from our friends Larry and Linda. When opened it plays the chicken dance. Hysterical because hubby is "The King of the Chicken Dance". 
If you follow my blog you know that, the man, can adapt this phenomena to any song. 
Hmmmm, I wonder if he can customize it to the Flamenco. 
Now try to get that image out of your head! Que pase un buen día! (Have a nice day!) 
Now. how you say...where is the bathroom???

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Forever Grateful!

Great Blue Heron
can grow: 40-52 in.
a very famous profile...
a fearless hunter...

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."~Gandhi~
Trying to escape the ills and evils of the world, a trip to the beach would surely be the elixir!  Barbaric media images, were now embedded deeply upon the scanner and keeper of my soul! The horror and the scoundrels who committed the horror, remain forever, a mystery to my being! Why? 
Families destroyed, life disrupted as we know it. Sweet innocence lost, their genius never to be. 
My roots are in the Boston area! I knew that some family members would surely attend the race! Panic filled my heart and the phone calls began! Thankfully all are fine! My sister and her family, stranded in Boston, were finally able to leave by train. 
Definitely a perfect 10 beach day, my therapy would begin. Hardy breezes cooled the high ninety degree temperature! A large heron greeted me as soon as I placed my feet in the sand. His massive wing span and overall size were truly amazing. He flew off in a hurried swoosh! Darn where is that camera when I need it? 
All settled, chair placed perfectly in the sand, cooler close by, towels laying flat, soda in one hand and my instrument of capture perched firmly on my lap, I was ready! Bring it on!
Moments later Mr. Heron, returned to my left. Engrossed by any tidbit that an angler might cast his way. Too pre-occupied and hungry to allow my shutter button to frighten him off, he waltzed toward me. 
Click, click, click, many photos later, forever grateful for his grand performance, he meandered along, scrutinizing the shoreline. 
The heron is a bird of immense symbolism and folklore. For me he symbolized hope, on this sunny day. A much-needed gift from the universe to divert my fears, enabling my tentative belief in humanity once again! 
Boston, a city steeped in tradition, founded by heroes, a legacy carried on, through all the efforts of those involved! Home of the BRAVE!!!
 We love you Boston! You make us proud! 

I was so impressed by this gorgeous heron that I decided to make him my new blog header. A peaceful reminder, that we must hold onto faith and hope, no matter the circumstances.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Wood Storks Of Corkscrew Swamp!

A fascinating creature...
Standing tall...I was protected by a fenced in boardwalk when I took this photo.
Always in pursuit of food...
Ok, so not the prettiest bird in the universe...
Yes, that is a gator in the background...
follow me...  
The wood stork is another common sight here in Florida. We usually see them by the road side, wading in almost any pool of standing water. They can stand erect, commanding a second look, especially in larger groups. My hubby often says that they are holding a union meeting! 
Quite playful, they seemed to go about their day peacefully. Not nearly as aggressive as the egret.  
Very regal looking creatures, larger than most of their sloshing buddies, dressed always in formal attire! 
A few facts: "Wood storks are tall, white denizens of freshwater or brackish wetlands and swamps. They can be identified by their long legs, featherless heads, and prominent bills. These waders feed on minnows in shallow water by using their bills to perform a rare and effective fishing technique. The stork opens its bill and sticks it into the water, then waits for the touch of an unfortunate fish that wanders too close. When it feels a fish, the stork can snap its bill shut in as little as 25 milliseconds, an incredibly quick reaction time matched by few other vertebrates. The storks prefer to employ this technique in isolated pools created by tides or falling freshwater levels, where fish congregate en masse. In some areas, such as Florida, breeding begins with the dry season that produces these optimal fishing conditions. Though wood storks eat small fish, they eat a lot of them. An average nesting pair, with two fledglings, may eat over 400 pounds (181 kilograms) of fish during a single breeding season. Wood storks are social animals. They feed in flocks and nest in large rookeries—sometimes several pairs to a single tree. Females lay two to five eggs, which both sexes incubate for about one month. Young fledge about two months after hatching."

~National Geographic~

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

More On Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary!

I feel happy, o so happy...sorry not the greatest shot but it made me smile...
Too Skinny...
Slowly I walk...
Their plumes were used by hat makers and they almost became extinct... 
Sitting Pretty...
I said... 
Suffice it to say, that the Egret is a common bird here in Florida. Hardly a day goes by, that I don't see at least one meandering about. It is also fair to say, that I have taken their existence for granted. Witnessing their antics at Corkscrew Swamp, has given me a whole new respect for these wispy creatures. Their delicate beauty added to the tapestry of the shrinking waterscape. 
Observing them for quite some time I became aware of their tenacious nature. They are very patient and strike their prey at lightning speed. Territorial, they scavenge gingerly about, foraging for any protein that swims, slithers or crawls. 
I used several different techniques to edit these photos! Actions, filters, textures and fooling around with levels for that matte finish look! 
Once again, Mother Nature, the conductress, of her universe! 
Have a wonderful and peaceful day! 

I was awarded Post Of The Week by The Smitten Image! Thanks Hilary

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our Day At Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary!

Roseate Spoonbill/Let Me Get This Out Of Your Way
Little Blue Heron
Roseate Spoonbill/ Little Blue Heron

Roseate Spoonbill/Morning Ritual 

Roseate Spoonbill/Me First 
We dropped Mom off at the airport, then headed south for about thirty minutes to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida. A local TV station had reported an abundance of birds due to the lack of rain. Birds seeking refuge in any water that remained, had been reported.  
Rain was in the forecast, it was overcast, muggy and a perfect day for photographing! The much needed rains would indeed grace us later that afternoon, accompanied by thunder and lighting. You can read more about Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary here
We entered the 2.25 mile boardwalk at the exit sign, fully knowing that the lake inhabited by the majestic creatures would be a shorter stroll. 
Walking about 3/4 of a mile to our destination and what a sight it was! We encountered seven different species of birds, there may have been more. Roseate Spoonbills, Ibis, Heron, Little Blue Heron, Limpkin, Wood Stork, Egrets, also alligators and turtles, all coexisting in the now shrinking lake. The true birders were all excited about a Night Heron, that they had spotted in a distant tree. 
Amazing what they can identify, as for me, it looked like a blob and my limited camera lens wasn't buying it either! 
It was an exciting and peaceful day and I have many more photos to share.
Mother Nature, and her cast of characters, is quite possibly the best show in town!

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