Sunday Stills – Pink – 06.13.21

The feature image is a photo of my good friend and fellow graphic designer, Morrigan. She donned her pink & blue wig for Halloween a few years ago.

This post is in response to TERRI WEBSTER SCHRANDT Sunday Stills challenge. The theme this week is the color Pink.

When you have 2 daughters (grown now) and 3 granddaughters, there is a lot of pink in your life. From Disney princesses to Hello Kitty and beyond, life is one big pink plastered party!


Payton’s 4th Birthday

Today is my middle granddaughter’s 10th birthday. Happy Birthday Payton! I’m not with her today and didn’t attend her party yesterday in Tampa because of my upcoming surgery. I did find some archived photos of all my grandkids decked out in pink.

Leigha’s 9th Birthday

Leigha just turned 16 so this shows how long ago these photo were taken.

Kristen – the youngest

Of course when Kristen was on her way, her baby shower was all pink because my daughter knew she was having another girl. She is now 6, soon to be 7 this year and is the smartest kid I know. She was completing full understandable sentences at 18 months.


Now to some Nature Photos

This is for Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #82.

Multi-colored sunset with lots of pink hues reflect the clouds and color in the pond.

Impressive reflection of pink skies at a pond in Jacksonville, Florida. It was getting dark as you can see the light on the light post in the background had already illuminated.

A sun moving towards the horizon at sunset overlooking the salt marsh in Jacksonville, Florida.
Pink skies over the salt marsh in the Timucuan protected lands.

Pink Birds

American Flamingo seen in the salt marsh at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in spring of 2020.
The lone American Flamingo seen at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in spring of 2020

We went looking for this bird who lives a life of solidarity in April of this year, but he eluded us. He is still in the area as birders have seen this bird in the mudflats along Lighthouse Road in the refuge the past few days. If you missed any of my prior posts about this bird, it is thought that this Flamingo got blown in with Cat 5 Hurricane Michael a few years ago that devastated Mexico Beach, Florida.


Roseate Spoonbill flying through the trees along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida.

One of the only pink birds that we see fly in the skies here in Florida is the Roseate Spoonbill. There is no other bird that this can be. However, people have mistaken it for the American Flamingo. Honestly, the American Flamingo is uncommon to Florida except in the Everglades at certain times of year. You might get lucky to spot one in the Florida Keys. Plastic flamingo lawn ornaments are much more common.

P!nk

Alecia Moore aka P!nk is a 3 time Grammy Award winning artist who has also shelved 7 MTV Video Music Awards, 7 Billboard Music Awards, 5 World Music Awards and 1 Emmy Award. She is one of the most talented artists in recent history. She has blazed a trail for other female performers encouraging them to be themselves! I’d love to see P!nk in concert some day!

Bird Weekly Birthday

Happy 1st Birthday Bird Weekly card.

On June 12, 2020, Bird Weekly was launched into the blog world. Since then, we have seen some incredible birds from all over the world. I find this to be a fun and rewarding challenge. I want to thank all my followers for all their wonderful comments. Thank you to all the contributors who make this possible.

Please visit the Bird Weekly page to find out more if you are new to what this is all about.

Announcement

On Thursday, June 17th, I will be having foot surgery. In my absence, Sarah with Travel with Me will be the guest host for Bird Weekly #52 – Birds with long tail feathers (6/18/21). Please visit her blog to find her Bird Weekly Challenge post when the time comes and set your pingback to her post. I will link her post to my page when I can get out of my fog.

Bird Weekly Roundup logo

I will be doing the Roundup for this week, Week #51 Birds with stripes, spots or freckles (6/11/21). Whoever has their posts in by Wednesday afternoon 6/16, I will include for the roundup post on Friday. If you post later than that, I will add you when I’m back up at the computer on Friday or Saturday. I just don’t know how the recovery will be or how I will feel.

If you haven’t ever participated in this challenge and you photograph birds as a hobby, I invite you to join!

Happy Birding and I look forward to another year! You guys rock!

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds with Stripes, Spots or Freckles

The feature image is a Limpkin tucked into cover in some grass. I still managed to get a good look and pretty good photo.

Week #51 brings us to birds with stripes, spots or freckles. I thought of this challenge because I was a little freckle faced kid. I have a lot of freckles on my face and all over my body, although they are starting to blend as more of age spots the older I get.

Many birds are easy to identify because they have a certain shaped head like an Oystercatcher or there is only one like the Osprey. Other birds, like Sandpipers and Warblers are difficult to identify. We rely on their stripes, spots or freckles. Often these identifiers are on the wing bars or on the chest. Learning to identify your bird species takes time and a really good field guide. I carry by Sibley’s Field Guide everywhere. I have one for Eastern North America for our home range and one for Western North America that I take with me on trips out west. They are written by David Allen Sibley who is an American Ornithologist and these guides are available on Amazon. For my overseas birding friends, I’d love to know what your favorite field guides are and who authors them.


Ovenbird

Ovenbird feeding and hiding in the forest. They have a freckled chest and yellow & black stripe over the top of their head.

The Ovenbird in the thick of cover has wonderful freckles on the chest and yellow and black stripe over the top of their head.


Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite perched in a large pine tree in Georgia has beautiful spots all over and a distinctive white stripe across the eye on the head.

The Northern Bobwhite aka Quail has spots throughout the body with that very distinctive stripe across the face and neck.


Gambel’s Quail

Gambel's Quail foraging on the ground in Las Vegas.

Gambel’s Quail male has beautiful stripping around the head and neck. Females have a less distinct striping around the eye. Both the male and female have white stripes at the back of their wings.


Carolina Wrens

Two curious juvenile Carolina Wrens perched on driftwood.  They have a buffed colored breast, brown head, back and tail feathers.  A white stripe over the eye.

These two curious juvenile Carolina Wrens were starting to get their rusty brown colors in. Their eye stripes were distinct and their spots were beginning to come in on their tail feathers.


Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is an easy bird to identify. The largest woodpecker in North America sporting that awesome black stripe through his eye and down the back of his head. That large tufted patch of red on the head stands out like a sore thumb.


Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed hawk perched on a fence.

Red-shouldered Hawks have freckles all over their bodies. Maybe this is why I love them so much. They remind me of me, but I don’t have yellow feet.


Chicken

Speckled chicken heading to the hen house because I didn't have food.

This speckled chicken was not having anything to do with me because I had nothing to feed her. She was giving me the cold shoulder by showing me her backside and clucking with disgust.


Osprey

A mated pair of Osprey high in a Cypress Tree with a next built on top.

A pair of Osprey nesting in an old Cypress Tree. Osprey are easily recognized with their black stripe across their eyes. These birds can be misidentified as an eagle or hawk with the naked eye, but once you get your binoculars on them, there is no doubt what they are.


Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted sandpiper along the shore in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Spotted Sandpiper has a few spots as a non-breeding adult like this one, but in their breeding plumage, they are very spotted all over. I’ve never seen a breeding adult as they breed from the central United States north into Canada.


Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper foraging along the shoreline at Little Talbot Island State Park.

This Semipalmated Sandpiper was “spotted” during migration on his way to Canada and Alaska to the breeding grounds. The breeding plumage was really coming in with lots of colorful spots and brown freckling on the chest.


Wilson’s Plover

Male Wilson's Plover trying to steer people and predators away from their nest on Little Talbot Island State Park.

This Wilson’s Plover with 4 other pairs had nests at the south end of Little Talbot Island. They sport the very distinctive black striped collar.


Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull floating in a pond.  They are distinguished from other gulls by their ear spot.

Bonaparte’s Gull has the very noticeable ear spot on the back of their head.


Next time…Week #52 – Birds with long tail feathers. (6/18/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #50

Week #50 challenge was Two or more bird species in one photograph. (6/4/21)

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

I really enjoyed this challenge because we were not focused on just one single bird. I left many of my photos uncropped so you could get more of the scene that was seen by me. Safety in numbers is one of the first lessons we are taught as children. Birds are quite similar and not just within their own species but they help protect others species by sounding an alert when a predator is near.

Two birds that tend to flock together during spring migration on the east coast of the U.S. is the American Robins and Cedar Waxwings. I couldn’t find my photos of them so I didn’t share any. Since my neighbor cut down most of his trees, the waxwings haven’t been with the robins the last two season. NO BERRIES!

Susan tried to capture two birds together. I included her swan. She stated that her phone’s storage alerted “FULL” so she wasn’t able to take another photo with the duck in it. Keep trying Susan! That kind of stuff has happened to all of us.



Robert’s Brown Pelican and Seagull

Maria’s Bullfinch and Common Redpoll

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #51 – Birds with stripes, spots or freckles. (6/11/21).

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Thursday Trio – Whitetail

Mama Cormier’s Thursday Trios

White-tailed Deer roaming the grounds at Princess Place Preserve in Palm Coast, Florida. Princess Place is a 1,500 acre preserve with a list of amenities. Regular campsites, along with primitive campsites are available, but I would call ahead or visit the reservation page at the link to ensure vacancy. Link for more information. There are several nature trails to hike, horseback riding, kayak & canoe launch, picnic area, restrooms and pets are allowed. Visit their website.

This land is rich in history and I copied this paragraph from the Flagler County website:

This beautiful 1,500-acre preserve is situated in the northern part of Flagler County. It was purchased by Henry Cutting in 1886 and passed on to his widow Angela Mills Cutting Worden, who eventually married Boris Scherbatoff, an exiled Russian prince. Angela assumed the title of princess and it was then that the once named “Cherokee Grove” came to be known as “Princess Place.” The original lodge, built by Henry Cutting, stills stands as Flagler County’s oldest intact structure. It is also home to Florida’s very first in-ground swimming pool.

Ghostly Spittle – Haiku

Written for: Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge #361 HOME and WEEP

At home with the ghosts
Sounds of weeping in the hall
Trapped murmurs haunt us.

Sunday Stills – Celestial – 06.06 .21

The feature image is a sunset in Jacksonville, Florida a few years ago. I really thought the heavens were going to open up.

This post is in response to TERRI WEBSTER SCHRANDT Sunday Stills challenge. The theme this week is Celestial.

Big beautiful Cumulus clouds were moving, shaping and forming quickly in the blue sky in Georgia off of Interstate I-95 with tall pine trees in the foreground.

Yesterday, which was Sunday, 6/6, D-Day for any WWII enthusiasts, Frank and I took a day trip to St. Simons Island, Georgia. I had been stuck in the house for over a week. I’m limited to what I can do because of my foot problem. I did find out the problem and I have a torn tendon in my right foot. I see a surgeon this coming Friday. No hiking…limited walking and not much exercise except low impact that doesn’t put pressure on my foot. AWESOME!

Anyway, this photo was taken from the car, moving at about 75 mph on Interstate 95 through the tinted window of Frank’s Prius with my IPhone. Not bad, but the clouds were amazing!


Sunrays blast from the clouds just above the sandy beach giving off a beautiful reflection in the water at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Taken last summer at Little Talbot Island State Park. I had to walk out into the surf to get this shot as the tide was coming in. It would have been bad if I had gotten knocked off my feet with my phone in my hand. Yep, taken with my IPhone.

This is for Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #81.


Almost full moon
Almost full moon

This is one of my favorite moon shots so I thought I would share it again as it goes with the theme this week.

Total solar eclipse observed on August 21, 2017.

Total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Here is the full post from that day if you missed it.


Someone fishing off the Skyway Bridge fishing pier in St. Petersburg, Florida with a beautiful orange, brown and gray sky sunset in the background.

Silhouette of someone fishing off the Sunshine Skyway pier in St. Petersburg, Florida. The view is the sunset over Tampa Bay.


I will conclude with one of the most celestial symbols we have on Earth and that is our beautiful angels.

FOTD – Tweety & Lily – Haiku

Our lovebird, Tweety nibbling on an orange Daylily.  The lily is orange and Tweety is green, blue and red.
Lily is in bloom
Tweety sniffs at her beauty
Close by end of day.

Cee’s FOTD Challenge

I found these photos in my archives while looking for something else. Thought I would share a moment from many years ago of Tweety, our lovebird spending time with Lily. He liked them all. The orange and the yellow made no difference to him.

Cee's Flower of the Day logo

Last Photo – May 2021

May supermoon rising through the clouds  with a creepy tree branch in the foreground.

The last photo from my Sony A6300 was taken on 5-25-2021 of the May supermoon rising up above behind our house. Seemed a little spooky coming up over and through the trees.


The Raw Photo

Three size round self-inking stamps taking for product shots for a listing on my Etsy shop.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/1016468144/logo-stamp-custom-logo-stamp-your-logo?ref=shop_home_active_1

The last photo taken on my IPhone was on 5/30/2021 of self-inking round stamps to be placed in a product shot for new logo stamps for business owners who can stamp their logo on envelopes or invoices. This stamp can be used to stamp cards for marketing to reach more customers. They get 800-1000 impressions before re-inking. The ink is a water-based ink and safe to use. The finished product images are below from this image and a couple of others that I took.

The Finished Product

Check out the product listing on my Etsy Shop. Shop Now for Logo Stamps!


In response to Brian at bushboys world “Last Photo” Photo Challenge – May 2021.

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – More than one Bird Species in a Photo

(6/4/21)

The feature image is a Great Egret indulging in his late lunch from a human’s bait bucket. The Ibis came over to investigate. In case you are wondering, this is the same egret that is in the Bird Weekly Logo. I watched this bird eat at least 3 bait fish.


Royal Terns

Royal Terns looking up with and a Willet  in the background on the beach at Ft. Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida.

This chorus of Royal Terns and a single Least Tern was being conducted by Mr. Willet in the background. You can see further back, the audience. This is pre-covid of course.


Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Willet & Oystercatcher

A Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone eat together on the beach at Ft. Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida.

Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones are often seen together and get along quite well. These two were helping each other find small crustaceans along the beach line of Tampa Bay.

A Sanderling poses for this picture with Willets eating in the background on the beach at Ft. Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida.

Another Sanderling stoically poses for this photo with at least 30 Willets gouging themselves.

American Oystercatcher feeding in the surf with a Willet walking by on the beach at Ft. Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida.

This American Oystercatcher didn’t seem to notice Mr. Willet passing him by as the small waves were coming in from the Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, Florida.


Roseate Spoonbills

Pink and white Roseate Spoonbills getting tucked in next to 5 Blue-winged Teals at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida.

Roseate Spoonbills are tucking themselves in with the Blue-winged Teals late in the day at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. They provided a great reflection along the mangroves in this pond.

Pink and white Roseate Spoonbills getting rid of a Tricolored Heron that was trying to steal their food at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in St. Marks, Florida.

These Roseate Spoonbills were telling this Tricolored Heron to git. Tricolored Herons are notorious for following behind other waders and stealing their food as they work hard to dig for their meals. If you notice the one in the middle is making sure he leaves the group. These birds were spotted at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee, Florida.


Black Skimmers

About 40 Black Skimmers flying in to land on the sand during low tide at Huguenot Park in Jacksonville, Florida with a gull in the mix and a Brown Pelican in the background.

Black Skimmers were flying in to settle down on the sand during low tide at Huguenot Park in Jacksonville, Florida. If you look closely, there is a gull on the ground and a Brown Pelican in the background.


Snowy Egret & Tricolored Heron

Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron feeding.  This pond was blue and the stage of the sun provided beautiful reflections of the birds on the water.

Another Tricolored Heron trying to encroach on this Snowy Egret’s personal space at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. They both found plenty to eat, however.


Great Blue Heron & friends

Several wading birds in this frame.  Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Snowy Egret, Roseate Spoonbills and Woodstork.

This Great Blue Heron had many friends on this day at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida. Friends include, Snowy Egret, White Ibises, Roseate Spoonbills and further back out of the photo are Woodstorks and Great Egrets. There was plenty of food here.

Great Blue Heron and Woodstork looking for food at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida.

Another Great Blue Heron in the same location hanging out with a Woodstork.


Domestics

Domestic Muscovy Duck, domestic Mallard and domestic white goose swim around the pond at a cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

A Domestic Muscovy Duck, Mallard and White Goose live in the waters at the cemetery. There were Canada Geese in the pond as well a little further down.


Teals

Blue-winged Teals and two uncommon Cinnamon Teals (a male and female) were seen at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge at the beginning of 2021.

Most of these dabblers are Blue-winged Teal with the exception of the two Cinnamon Teals. Can you guess which one’s they are? There is a male and and a female.


Red-bellied Woodpecker & Associates

Red-bellied Woodpecker eating a peanut, two Mourning Doves sitting in the feeders and a House Finch eating sunflower seeds.

This Red-bellied Woodpecker was hoarding on peanuts while the Mourning Doves sat in the feeders protecting that stash. The House Finch (on the left) could care less about what the others were doing. He was filling up on sunflower seeds.


Finches

Three House Finches and two Goldfinches get their fill of nutrition at our feeders during migration before their long journey north.

House Finches and Goldfinches getting as much food as possible for the next leg of their journey heading north for the summer. We are merely a pit stop in the migration pattern. They stayed for several months this year which was great to see.


Eastern Phoebe & Purple Finch

Eastern Phoebe posed up on a branch of our feeder system while an uncommon female Purple Finch is perched on a lower branch to the right.

Two birds that were first time visitors to our yard during the pandemic is the Eastern Phoebe which is a type of flycatcher and the Purple Finch. This is a female Purple Finch. We had 3 female and 3 male at one point. The Easter Phoebe is a common bird in Florida year round, but the Purple Finch is uncommon.


Carolina Wren & Mourning Dove

Carolina Wren drinking from our fountain with the Mourning Dove perched at the edge of the bowl waiting for a turn.

A Carolina Wren was getting a drink of water from the fountain while the Mourning Dove was waiting impatiently for a turn. This photo was taken in April 2020 at the beginning of shut down. The Wrens had a nest with three chicks. We put out live mealworms every evening and they entertained us every night for about a month.


Next time…Week #51 – Birds with stripes, spots or freckles. (6/11/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #49

Week #49 challenge was Black and white photos of birds with a spot of color (technical challenge). Your choice of birds for week of 5/28/21.

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

I knew we would have a lower turn out this week because not everyone has the technical ability to do this challenge. We will welcome them back in the weeks moving forward. I was impressed with the techniques you used and the different WP blocks. Here is an oxymoron haiku that I wrote for this theme.

Monochrome color
Magical transformation
A spec of genius.


In Color

I’m sharing one of my all time favorite songs of all time that goes with this theme. This too is the opposite of what we did. The song shows putting color back into photos which is quite difficult. This is why we always want to photograph in color and create black and white in post-production or in this case selective color. We have the technology to record everything in color and go from there.


Cee’s Scaup
Beth’s Painted Bunting
Maria’s Mew Gull

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #50: Two or more bird species in one photograph. Your choice of birds. (6/4/21)

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds Using Selective Color

Welcome to Week #49 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #49 challenge is birds using selective color with most of the photo being monochrome, black and white or sepia tone. Your choice of birds.

The feature image is a Laughing Gull approaching closer as we ate our picnic lunch on the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park. We don’t feed them, but if a chip blows out of our hands from the wind, we don’t rush to grab it from the sand.

Over the past week, I have shared some tutorials on how to perform selective colors in your photos using three different programs. I shared CorelPaint Pro 2021, Adobe Photoshop 2021 and Cee Nuener’s tutorials using Adobe Camera Raw. If you missed them and want to find out more, click on the following links:

There are many programs, some free and many mobile apps for you to use on your smart phones. I didn’t explore those options this time around, but maybe in the future. If you have a favorite and want to share, I would be up for discussing it for the next go round. We will be doing this again in the near future.


Black-crowned Night Heron

I thought I would leave my Black-crowned Night Heron in for this challenge. This is one of my all-time favorite photos and he has gotten around the blog a time or two.


Tricolored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with the bright blue bill and red eye in selective color.  These are breeding colors for this bird.

An adult Tricolored Heron’s face and beak will turn bright blue during the breeding season.


American Oystercatcher

I selected the reddish-orange bill and eye for the selective color on this American Oystercatcher that is otherwise black and white.

The American Oystercatcher stands out even when I don’t use selective color. His red-yellow eyes and bright red-orange bill make this an easy bird to identify.


American Avocets

Two breeding American Avocets in the mudflats at Henderson Birding Preserve near Las Vegas, Nevada.

The graceful American Avocet is a black and white bird with a grayish head in non-breeding plumage. These two were breeding adults with the rusty head and neck.


Domestic Goose

Blue-eyed domestic goose seen at Floyd Lambs Park near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Have you ever seen a blue eyed goose? I hadn’t until I saw this beauty at Floyd Lamb Park located near Las Vegas, Nevada. This domestic goose was not mean tempered like some domestic breeds.


Mallard

Mallard with his green head, yellow bill and orange legs walking around in the grass.

Male Mallards have so many beautiful colors. His bluish purple side tail feathers were tucked in or I would have added that color back in with the yellow, green and orange legs.


Domestic Muscovy Duck

The red warty looking face of this domestic Muscovy Duck stands out against its black and white body.

With a face only a mother could love, this domestic Muscovy Duck lives at the cemetery with some other domestic geese, Mottled Ducks and Mallards.


White Ibis

The White Ibis has a downward curved bill.  The bill and face is reddish orange and this one was brighter because it was in breeding plumage.

White Ibises have this orange-red curved bill, but this one had a deeper red. This was one of two parents with one young nearby.


Verdin

Verdins are small grayish birds with a bright yellow patch on the head and a chestnut shoulder patch (not visible in this photo). I gave you a comparison for this one. He stands out either way. These are desert birds found in the Southwestern part of the United States.


Hooded Mergansers

Two male Hooded Mergansers swimming along.  Their yellow eyes stand out from a crowd.

These two male Hooded Mergansers had several females around them. I cropped the brown feathered girls out of the photo. The males have the striking yellow eyes and the breeding females have a cinnamon colored eye.


Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture has a red head as opposed to the Black Vulture who has a black head.

Imagine if the Muscovy Duck and the Turkey Vulture mated….Okay maybe not! This redhead is nature’s vacuum cleaner. These birds are graceful in the sky and clunky on the ground, but they make the most of cleaning up roadkill.


Roseate Spoonbill

The Roseate Spoonbill has pink feathers that stand out against their white feathers.

The Roseate Spoonbill is one of six species of spoonbills in the world and the only one found in the Americas. Their feathers turn pink from eating crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates. The pigments in those food sources is called carotenoids.


Next time…Week #50 – Two or more bird species in one photograph. (6/4/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #48

Week #48 challenge was BIRDS BEGINNING WITH A “G” IN THE TITLE

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

“G” is for Go! We sure did go this past week with some awesome birds starting with a G. Welcome Susan Joy Clark for joining in the fun this week with an incredible walk around the park and some fur babies as the real stars.


Gannets, Galahs, Grebes and Geese.
Gulls and  Garganey and Gackles...to please!
Grosbeaks and Goldfinch and  Guillemots to tease.
Great this, grey and gold that
moments to seize!


Sarah’s Grey Owl
V.J.’s Garganey
Margaret’s Guillemots
Irene’s Great Egret
Beth’s Great Egret
My Greater Roadrunner

Marsha’s Great Big Hummingbird sculpture at the Bellagio Hotel. It resembles a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and was too beautiful to not include. Marsha thought outside the box.


I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #49: Black and white photos of birds with a spot of color (technical challenge). Your choice of birds. (5/28/21)

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Selective Color Tricks #2 – Photoshop 2021

How To Perform Selective Coloring In Photoshop 2021

There are many ways to do selective colors in all photo editing programs. Today, I’m going to show you one way to do it in Photoshop 2021.

Photoshop 2021 has a 7 day free trial and can be purchased for $9.99 per month after the trial period. Click Here.

Selective coloring is a popular post-processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color.


In this tutorial, you’ll learn the techniques on how to apply color on selected part(s) of the image using layers and masks in Photoshop 2021.

Step 1 Setting up the file

Open an image file of your choice in Photoshop by going to File > Open (Ctrl+O). In this tutorial were going to use Black_Crowned_Night_Heron_SC.psd. It was originally a .jpg from my SD Card. I placed my logo by copying it from the logo file and pasting it into my working image. Resized and moved logo to desired area.

Step 2 Duplicate the background layer

Create a copy of the background layer by Right clicking on it then choose Duplicate.

Click the duplicated layer, click OK. Once you click OK, you can see the new layer.

Change the name to BNW by double clicking on the new layer. This will become the black and white part of the image.

Step 3 Black and White

Turn the BNW layer into a black and white effect. Click the new BNW layer if you do not have it selected. Choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Slide the Saturation all the way to the left and click OK.

Step 4 Masking

Next step is to create a mask. Masks are used to hide part(s) of the image or the whole image. Masking is a very useful tool in image editing as it allows you to edit part of the image without having to worry that you will lose information.

To create a mask, go to Layers > Create Clipping Mask. Your layer palette should now have the following:


Use the Eraser tool, brush over the area you want to bring the color back.

NOTE: To increase or decrease the size of your brush, hold the windows key and select bracket keys [ ]. One will make it be smaller and one will make it be larger. You can click Z to scroll with your mouse to zoom in on the area you are working on. To zoom back out, click and hold the Alt key while scrolling.

Step 5 Merging and Saving

Merging the layers is an optional step. I like to keep my layers intact. Once you merge them, save them and close your file, you can never have them in layers again unless you start over.

To merge the layers, shift click on any layer you want to merge. Right click anywhere on the layers > Merge Layers. Now go to File > Save As Choose JPG then give it your desired file name. Save. If you wish to further edit the image in the future, do not merge the layers and save it as a .psd file.

FINISHED PRODUCT

Before

After

Photography Tips & Selective Color

On Friday, May 28th, the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge is Selective Color. This means your photos need to be monochrome with a spot of the original color left in. Yesterday, I posted some tips using Corel PhotoPaint Pro 2021. Tomorrow, I will post some tips and tricks in Adobe Photoshop 2021.

I want to thank Cee Neuner with Cee’s Photo Challenges for her generous expertise in helping provide information that I could share with my followers. She has been posting a new series of photography tips to include black and white/selective color blogs that you may find useful in your photography and post editing process. Here are the links to her four recent posts:

Part 1 – Easy Techniques to Try

Part 2 – Post Editing Basics

Part 3 – Editing Using B&W Mixer in Camera Raw (Adobe Suite Program)

Part 4 – Selective Color

Cee mainly uses Adobe Camera Raw which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Camera Raw is a free plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop, however is not free, but can be purchased for $9.99 per month. You can try it for free for 7 days. Click here.

In terms of understanding the difference, Camera Raw is an image developer similar to when we used to get our 35mm film developed after shooting off a role. Photoshop is the image editor, but there are editing tools in Camera Raw that are quite useful and can be quicker than Photoshop. I find that I have more control in Photoshop, but I’m sure it is because that is what I’m used to using.

As I’ve stated in other posts, there is no right or wrong way. There are lots of ways to accomplish selective color using these digital editing programs.

Selective Color Tricks #1 – Corel PaintShop Pro 2021

How To Perform Selective Coloring In PaintShop Pro

There are many ways to do selective colors in all photo editing programs. Today, I’m going to show you one way to do it in Corel Paintshop Pro 2021.

Corel PaintShop Pro is fairly inexpensive and you can try if for FREE for 30 days. Click Here.

Selective coloring is a popular post-processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color.


In this tutorial, youll learn the techniques on how to apply color on selected part(s) of the image using layers and masks in PaintShop Pro.

Step 1 Setting up the file

Open an image file of your choice in PaintShop Pro by going to File > Open (Ctrl+O). In this tutorial were going to use SELECTCOLOR.JPG.

Step 2 Duplicate the background layer

Create a copy of the background layer by Right clicking on it then choose Duplicate. Double click the duplicated layer then change the name to BNW as this will become the black and white part of the image.

Step 3 Black and White

Turn the BNW layer into a black and white effect, choose the Black and White film filter by going to Effects > Photo Effects > Black and White Film. The setting should depend on your preference or by the suggested setting of PSP.

Step 4 Masking

Next step is to create a mask. Masks are used to hide part(s) of the image or the whole image. Masking is a very useful tool in image editing as it allows you to edit part of the image without having to worry that you will lose information, as masking can be done and undone just by using the paint brush.

To create a mask, go to Layers > New Mask Layer > Show All. Your layer palette should now have the following:


Using the Paint Brush tool and a black foreground color, brush over the pencil as shown below.


User-added imageIn masking, a BLACK mask reveals the layer underneath while a WHITE mask reveals the mask itself.

You can easily clean up the edge of the pencil by zooming into the image press and hold down the right mouse button. This will then add a mask back to the “unmasked” area.

Step 5 Merging and Saving

Merging the layers is an optional step. To merge the layers, right click on any layer then choose Merge > Merge All (Flatten) or go to Layers > Merge > Merge All. Now go to File > Save As Choose JPG then give it your desired file name. Save. If you wish to further edit the image in the future, do not merge the layers and save it as a .PSPIMAGE file.

FINISHED PRODUCT

Before

After

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds beginning with a “G” In The Title

Welcome to Week #48 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #48 challenge is birds beginning with a “G” in the title (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “G”, ie: Green Heron or Common Gallinule).

The feature image is Ross’s Goose. I was on the search for this bird while visiting Sunset Park in Las Vegas. I was scanning the water pond intensely for a sign of this bird. With my camera draped over my shoulder and binoculars in the ready position, searching to no avail. My arms got tired and I lowered my binoculars and down at my feet…well, I had a visitor. The only one in the park that I could see.


Just a reminder that next week’s challenge is B&W with spot color. Your choice of birds. Can’t wait to see your creations.

Black-crowned Night Heron

On May 28th, the Bird Weekly Challenge is Selective Color. This means your photos need to be monochrome with a spot of the original color left in. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting guides for a couple of photo editing programs to help you with this if you have these programs available to you, there might be some new hints you haven’t tried. Stay tuned for those and I hope you will join us for that Bird Weekly Challenge.


Common Gallinule

Adult Common Gallinules with the brown and black bodies and red/yellow beaks and legs are feeding in the mudflats in Florida.

Above: These two adult Common Gallinules, AKA Common Moorhens were feeding on snails and other invertebrates in the mudflats near the Mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. They are quite common and live there year round. They are easily identifiable with their red and yellow beak and legs. Below: Two Juveniles hiding in the Mangroves not far from the parents.

Two juvenile Common Gallinules are hiding the Mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida.

Pied-billed Grebe

Two Juvenile Common Gallinules are caught looking at a Pied-billed grebe swimming by.

A Pied-billed Grebe swims in front of a couple of curious onlookers. Note that these two are the same two juvenile Gallinules above. Did you know that “grebe” means feet at the buttocks and they are appropriately named because their feet are located near their rear end. Their toes are lobed, not webbed and it helps propel them through the water. You will rarely see them in flight. They are divers and use their thick bill to kill and eat crustaceans, fish, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates.


Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe seen in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Eared Grebe is the most common grebe in the world. They breed in shallow wetlands in western North America. In the summer months, they dance and run across the water while courting. They breed by the hundreds and thousands and feast on brine shrimp before heading south where they turn gray and white in winter. We saw this grebe in Las Vegas in the spring.


Western Grebe

Western Grebe captured in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During breeding season, the Western Grebe is quite the dancer. It is known for its ballet-style courtship where both the male and female run across the water in synchrony with their long necks curved in an “S” shape. I’ve never seen this behavior but I’m sure it is a site to see!


Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner spotted at Lamb's Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Greater Roadrunner is found in the Desert Southwest of the United States and Mexico where they thrive. They have recently extended their range into Louisiana and Missouri. They are fast and if you blink, you will miss them. They are hard to photograph as they are usually a blur. I saw them often when I was a kid growing up in Texas. It had been many years since I had seen one until we were birding in Lamb’s Park in Las Vegas and saw this one streaking across the picnic area.


Great Egret

Great Egret that had just finished preening.

Great Egret’s are found on every continent in the world except Greenland and Antarctica. A real world traveller. They migrate south during the colder months, but may stay north in milder winters.


Geese

Geese hanging out at the fountain in Sunset Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.

An array of geese hanging out at Sunset Park in Las Vegas. The domestic geese were intertwined with the Canada Geese. This was the moment I was searching for Ross’s Goose before finding our feature image at my feet.


Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull flying over the sandy beach of Little Talbot Island State Park.

These two photos are the same bird. I captured this Laughing Gull in flight. He circled back and landed on the beach. I took about 50 photos of this bird because there were no other birds around at that moment. He was the star of the show that day at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Laughing Gull wading in the surf at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron in a mating dance on the Hillsborough River at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida.

Not a great photo! This photo was taken with my old Nikon D50, first digital camera and I was 3 stories high on a tower watching the mating dance of two Great Blue Herons. I was so mesmerized by the display that I was just firing off shots and not paying attention to my settings. It was nearing sunset and the noise was cray cray!


Green Heron

Green Heron stalking its prey in the mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

The Green Heron is small colorful heron but can camouflage itself in the swampy areas in which it habitats. They can be difficult to spot and a good pair of binoculars scanning an area near the surface of water will give you a better chance at seeking out this bird.


Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule feeding in the dense wetlands at Sweetwater Wetlands in Gainesville, Florida.

Purple Gallinules have been known to show up in Iceland, Switzerland, South Georgia Island, the Galápagos and South Africa. Scientists believe they are on the hunt for more adequate food as their habitat has been considerably reduced by development and severe drought conditions.


Gator

5-6 foot alligator was in pursuit of a family of Common Gallinules.  I was about 3 feet from him.

No, you are not seeing things. This gator was about 3 feet from me and since he starts with a “G” in slang terms and was chasing gallinules, I thought I would add it. It was about a 5-6 foot gator and was in pursuit of a family of Common Gallinules. They escaped into the Mangroves and the two parents and three babies were safe for another day.


Next time…Week #49 – Week #49 – Black and white photos of birds with a spot of color (technical challenge). (5/28/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #47

Week #47 challenge was Birds with a color in their name.

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

Many birds with a color in their name makes total sense. Like for instance, the Blue-footed Booby has blue feet, but a Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn’t have a red belly. On another trip down this rabbit hole, I want to research some history of why certain birds were given the names they were.

You all shared many shades on the color wheel this week!


Brian’s Scarlet Honeyeater
Sarah’s Blue-footed Booby (Boobys, Boobies???)
Susan’s Ruby-throated Hummingbird
I.J.’s Plum-headed Parakeets
Lisa’s Brown Creeper

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #48: Birds beginning with a “G” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “G”, ie: Green Heron or Common Gallinule) (5/21/21)

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Quote – Healing – Week #25

You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds… Claim and consciously use your power.

LOUISE HAY

Written for Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge #25: Healing

I’m going to stay with my family photo for the feature for another week. Mother’s Day weekend was a healing time for me. I have been heartbroken to not see two of my kids and my grandkids since January 2020. I’ve seen my youngest daughter on occasion because she lives in Jacksonville, but those times have not been quality times either, but it has been better than FaceTime only. No hugs, no hanging out for no reason…for over a year. Unfortunately, the pandemic has left us all feeling helpless and I know I’m not alone.

NO MORE; TIME FOR ACTION

I’m not a big proponent for vaccines, but Covid 19 is different. There was no question in my mind that I was getting the vaccine when it came my turn. I received my first vaccine 2 days after I was eligible. This was me doing something towards getting to see my family and healing my broken heart.

Two granddaughters playing a balance game.  It is a wooden ship with 25 pieces.  5 pieces of different cargo items are light and heavy weighted. Roll the dice to see what you have to mount on the boat without tipping it over.
Grampy playing the Boat Game with the girls.

Grampy, Payton and Kristen were playing the Pirate Ship balance game. It has a total of 25 pieces (5 of each of the following: gold bars, treasure chests, barrels, cannon balls and vases. Each item is weighted from light to heavy. Each person takes a turn rolling a die that has these images on each of the 5 sides with the 6th side as a wild pick and the person who rolls it can choose from what remains to try to keep the balance. This game teaches balance and has a bit of a strategy. Whoever topples the boat, loses. Kristen (in the middle) was the first out and then Grampy lost his balance near the end. Payton (on the left) won that game. This would have been great for Quotes on Balance but it hadn’t happened yet.

We played games most of the weekend. Games for the kids and games for the adults. Scrabble was the adult game and Payton joined in with Grampy the first night and my daughter Alecia the second night. There is no competitive nature in our family (cough cough with sarcasm). Payton will be 10 soon and she picked it up pretty quick. It is hard to beat my daughter. She is brutal. She beat me on Saturday night because I got stuck with the Q. Sunday, I won by 1 point. There’s no competition here! LOL!

I used my power as soon as I was able to change my situation to keep myself as safe as possible to receive the reward of spending time with my family. I came back from Tampa feeling restored back to my old self.


I hope you will be inspired to share your favorite quotes and join Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays. Visit her page for upcoming challenge themes.

Instructions

  1. Pick a quote to match the week’s topic.
  2. Write a response on your blog with a title that suits your post.
  3. Cut and paste #WQWWC logo if you want to use it.
  4. Use #WQWWC hashtag to get more views.
  5. Paste a link to your post on my weekly post in Mr. Linky.
  6. Or past a link in my comment section. I will visit your blog and comment.
  7. Visit other blogger’s who have participated and leave them an encouraging comment.

#Write Photo – Tower – Haiku

Written for #WritePhoto – Tower

Photo by KL Caley
Hello Rapunzel!
Are you there my dear beauty?
Allow me to see.

Frustration lingers.
Shadows form in the window
Two figures in jest.

Storming the tower
Like a madman on a quest
Sought are the answers

Info for the Challenge

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a statue of King Neptune with his trident poised to catch a fish in a lake reflecting the green of the surrounding trees.

The regulars already know this bit, but for those that don’t:

  • Each Thursday at Noon GMT I will post the #writephoto prompt
  • Use the image and prompt as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, as long as it is fairly family-friendly.
  • Please have your entries linked back to the original prompt post by the following Tuesday at Noon GMT.
  • Link back to this post with a pingback (Hugh has an excellent tutorial here)  and/or leave a link in the comments below, to be included in the round-up.
  • Please click their links to visit the blogs of other contributors and take time to read and comment on their work.
  • Use the #writephoto hashtag in your title so your posts can be found.
  • There is no word limit and no style requirements, except that your post must take inspiration from the image and/or the prompt word given in the title of this post.
  • Feel free to use #writephoto logo or include the prompt photo in your post if you wish, or you may replace it with one of your own to illustrate your work.
  • By participating in the #writephoto challenge, please be aware that your post may be featured as a reblog on this blog and I will link to your post for the round-up each week.

Quote – Beauty – Mother’s Day – Week #24

Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a Mother.

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Mother's Day photo of me and two of my kids, grandkids and hubby.
L to R – My son Freddie & Grandson Fred, Granddaughters, Leigha, Payton, Kristen, Me, my daughter Alecia and my hubby Frank.

Written for Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge #24: Beauty | Mother’s Day

This is my family that I hadn’t seen in almost a year and half. It was so great and the only way it would have been better is if I had my youngest daughter there. She was unable to come to Tampa for the weekend and was back in Jacksonville. It was a beautiful weekend that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I’m a week late posting this and that is okay. Sorry Marsha that I didn’t get it done sooner.


I hope you will be inspired to share your favorite quotes and join Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays. Visit her page for upcoming challenge themes.

Instructions

  1. Pick a quote to match the week’s topic.
  2. Write a response on your blog with a title that suits your post.
  3. Cut and paste #WQWWC logo if you want to use it.
  4. Use #WQWWC hashtag to get more views.
  5. Paste a link to your post on my weekly post in Mr. Linky.
  6. Or past a link in my comment section. I will visit your blog and comment.
  7. Visit other blogger’s who have participated and leave them an encouraging comment.

Water Water Everywhere #78 – Greenway

Photos by Jez is the host of WWE that is a weekly challenge posted on Monday.

The view of where to launch a boat to explore Lake Ocklawaha near Orange Springs, Florida.
Looking out at Lake Ocklawaha

On our way home last Monday from Tampa, we took a normal 3 1/2 hour trip home and stretched it into 10 hours. We went exploring in the the northern central part of Florida. We just followed brown signs to different county parks, wildlife management areas and this incredible view where you would put your boat in at Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway that winds into Lake Ocklawaha near Orange Springs, Florida. We found this to be a great place for an upcoming visit with our inflatable kayak. That was the purpose of the day…to find fresh water to launch for a future time. The boat ramp was to the left of this photo. We can’t wait to go on our next adventure and see what this part of natural Florida has to offer.

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds With Color in their Name

Welcome to Week #47 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #47 challenge is birds with a color in their name such as a Yellow Warbler or Great Blue Heron. As long as it is a color from the color wheel in the title of the name, it will qualify for this challenge. White is a color.

Speaking of Great Blue Herons, the feature image is a mated pair building their nest high up on a palm tree at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida.


Being a graphic designer, color is my thing. Being able to print out a specific color on a particular printer takes skill and a lot of practice because all printers are not created equal. Sometimes we just can’t accomplish it…that exact shade in someone’s logo.

Black-crowned Night Heron

On May 28th, the Bird Weekly Challenge is Selective Color. This means your photos need to be monochrome with a spot of the original color left in. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting guides for a couple of photo editing programs to help you with this if you have these programs available to you, there might be some new hints you haven’t tried. Stay tuned for those and I hope you will join us for that Bird Weekly Challenge.


American Idol

There was a special moment on American Idol on the last show. Since it made tears come out of my eyes, chills down my arms and involved color, I thought I would share the mentoring session and the performance. It was just that GOOD!

On Sunday night, Willie Spence had one of the best performances in American Idol history. Chris Martin of Coldplay was the guest mentor for the contestants for this week and he was humbled by what Willie did with his song, “Yellow”. Since this week for Bird Weekly is all about the colors of the name of birds, I felt the urge to share these videos with you.


NOW TO THE BIRDS

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This Yellow-rumped Warbler was a first time visitor to our feeders this spring. Frank and I call them “Rumps” for short. They have yellow on their underwings, but yellow under the tail feathers which give them their name. This warbler migrates by the tens of thousands of birds throughout the southern plains of the U.S., breeding in milder temperatures during the summer. We see them all over the area but this was a first to our feeders. This one thought he was the boss and tried to cover a large area of all the feeders without success. He would chase off the Goldfinches and they would leave, but they came back shortly afterwards…with reinforcements. We had a real battle ground out there for weeks. Bullies are not tolerated!


Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warblers have a bright yellow throat, black, gray and white body. This is a species that was given a proper name. This warbler species hops up the side of a tree much like a Brown Creeper and Black-and-White Warbler. This one just happened to be on the ground in the cover of grass. The one and only time I’ve ever seen one on the ground.


Black-and-White Warbler

The Black-and-White Warbler is one of the earliest warblers to migrate. They are combative and will fight other species for territory. Sound like someone else on this list? Their name makes since as they are fairly easy to identify with their black and white stripes.


Black-throated Blue Warbler

The Black-throated Blue Warbler is appropriately named with its blue back, white belly and black throat. They are difficult to photograph because they sputter around quickly. The black face with the black eye makes it almost impossible to get a clean shot at the face.


Eastern Bluebird

“You talkin’ to me?” What great personalities the Eastern Bluebird has! As with many species, the male is much more colorful than the female. They have a combination of blue on their head and back, orange chest and white belly.


White Ibises

These White Ibises were hanging out near the boat ramp at Lake Deaton in The Villages, Florida this past Monday. The two adults are in full breeding colors looking over their juvenile child who is beginning to lose the baby colors. I featured this on Carol’s Trio Challenge yesterday.


Red-bellied Woodpecker

Some birds may have a name that doesn’t make sense. Take the Red-bellied Woodpecker for instance…it doesn’t have a red belly at all. The patch underneath may be a gray, peach or yellow but certainly not red like what is on top of the head. I have so many Red-bellied Woodpecker photos, I could post one a day for 2 months and not repeat. This bird gets another go.


Blue-winged Teal

These Blue-winged Teals were camouflaged in the Salt Marsh and Mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. There were 6 mated pairs during migration where they eventually head north to the breeding grounds.


Red-shouldered Hawk

This Red-shouldered Hawk had a face only a mother could love. This was a juvenile that must have fledged recently. He was perched up on a stump near the entrance of the boat ramp at Lake Deaton. I snuck around the port-o-potty to get this photo. At the click of my shutter, he flew up into a tree but the movement was in slow motion. It took everything this bird had to get up in the tall pine tree to a safe high place.


Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are some of the most vocal birds around. They are appropriately named as the males have that beautiful dark red spot on the wings. I supposed they could have been called Red-Yellow-winged Blackbird. If they had named this bird by the female colors, it would have been called something totally different. “Brown-striped Mama”?


Lesser Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs are very similar in appearance and difficult to identify. One is larger than the other. Despite this fact, they are not closely related. The Lesser Yellowlegs is closer related to the much larger Willet. They are so appropriately named with those very yellow legs!


Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron thought he was hiding from me in the Florida swamp behind a Cypress stump. Nope!

Green Heron

The Green Heron is small colorful heron but can camouflage itself in the swampy areas in which it habitats. They can be difficult to spot and a good pair of binoculars scanning an area near the surface of water will give you a better chance at seeking out this bird.


Purple Gallinule

The Purple Gallinule could have been called a Rainbow Gallinule. This is one of the most brightly colored birds that is native to Florida. They are here year-round, but are not common. You have to know where to find them. If you ever visit and want to see this bird, check the different State Parks and Wildlife Refuges on Ebird.org for where they have been seen.


Pink Kite

Just for fun! When we were at the Blueberry Farm last week, they had a pink kite (not Kite as in the type of bird Kite, but a real kite made of Tyvek material) flying on a pole in the middle of the fields to keep the berry eating birds away. They also had a loudspeaker with birds of prey playing out of the surround sound. They are not a certified organic farm, but they do not spray their bushes.


Next time…Week #48 – Birds beginning with a “G” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “G”, ie: Green Heron or Common Gallinule) (5/21/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #46

Week #46 challenge was Birds perched on anything.

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

Last week we shared birds in flight which is a bit more difficult than birds perched up hanging out. We have birds coming in from all over the world. I want to welcome the newcomers this week and I hope you will visit their blog. Perched is defined as: alight or at rest. Well, we know that while birds certainly perch to rest, they also perch to eat and perch to take a look around as they are always on guard, looking for predators.

This was our second highest participation in one week. Thank you all for sharing your birds with everyone through Bird Weekly!


Lily’s Hawk or Falcon. I think it might be a Prairie Falcon but hard to tell from the light.
Marilyn’s Gray Catbird
Brian’s Satin-Bowerbird
I.J.’s Bee-eaters
Carol’s Wild Turkeys
Woolly’s Lilac-breasted Roller
My Osprey
Marsha’s Galah

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #47: Birds with a color in their name (Yellow Warbler, White Ibis, etc.).

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Thursday Trio – Ibises

Mama Cormier’s Thursday Trios

A family of Ibises were hanging out at the boat ramp at Lake Deaton in The Villages, Florida. We had stopped here on our way back to Jacksonville from Tampa on Monday. My camera settings were set for close up shots so the other two birds were not in focus. The two adults were in full breeding colors.

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds Perched Up

Welcome to Week #46 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #46 challenge is birds perched up on anything.

The feature image is an Osprey perched up on a Cypress snag eating lunch.

Birds are much easier to photograph when they are perched up on something. A perch is a place for a bird to rest and observe their surroundings. They use perches to scan the area for predators. Predators perch themselves up in search of their next meal. Most bird species will use perches to enjoy said meal.


Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird was perched up in the desert at Floyd Lamb Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bright lights are not the only magnificent sight in Vegas. The hummers here in Florida almost never stay still so when we went out west to visit, we were amazed at how long they would stay in one spot.


Eastern Phoebe

This Eastern Phoebe came around last spring and stuck around until winter. I haven’t seen it yet this year, but the Eastern Bluebirds just got back. Since the mosquito population has returned, maybe this guy will be back soon too. Eastern Phoebes are flycatchers that usually sit upright and will wag their tail from their low perches. It was raining on this day and this little song bird was waiting for the right time to strike.


Pine Warbler

This Pine Warbler was a frequent visitor to the feeders this spring. The birds were crazy about Frank’s newly built feeders. 2021 is the first year that we have had this species in our yard even though they are quite common in Florida year round.


Red-bellied Woodpecker

This Red-bellied Woodpecker entertained me for more than 20 minutes. Flying to the feeders and back to the palm tree in our front yard. He stashed his peanuts in the fronds of the palm.


Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren perched up on the water barrel near the garage with some kind of flying insect in its beak. He was enroute to the nest that had 3 hungry baby chicks. The female was right behind him with some live mealworms that we had put out.


Red-shouldered Hawk

This is the pair of Red-shouldered Hawks that perched up on the fence at the park. I left the flying photo below in the post because that bird is the one that was on the left. It completes the story of why he was angry with me. He was in hot pursuit of the female on the right.

Red-shouldered Hawk got irrigated at me even though I was that close.  This photo is zoomed in and cropped but he was courting a female nearby.

Mourning Dove

This Mourning Dove perched up on the branches above the feeders making sure the coast was clear for the whole gang to embark upon the feeders. They are messy eaters and scatter seeds all over the ground allowing others in their flock to eat from the ground. They store the seeds in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. After they busily eat to their heart’s content, they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal.


Tri-colored Heron

This Tricolored Heron was perched up on a branch waiting for his photo op. He is in full breeding plumage.


Macaw

We got to visit this Macaw at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida. He was quite used to people and would say hello when you got near.


Bald Eagle

This Bald Eagle was just coming into adulthood. There was still some black mottling in the feathers on the head where it looked like he had stuck his head in a pile of black coal and shook it loose…a little on the dirty side.


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron stands tall as the sun breaks the darkness on an early morning sunrise over Cape Canaveral Space Center in Titusville, Florida.


Next time…Week #47 – Birds with a color in their name like Yellow-throated Warbler or Mountain Bluebird or White Ibis. (5/14/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #45

Week #45 challenge was Birds in flight.

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

Photographing birds in flight is sometimes quite difficult. Smaller birds like song birds are especially hard to capture because their little wings go fast, leaving the photographer not much time to click off the shot. Larger, slower birds like herons, egrets and storks seem to be a little easier to capture. You guys outdid yourselves last week and we had some new birds, never seen on Bird Weekly before. Crab Plovers by I.J. & a Skylark by Brian were a couple of notables. We had great participation last week and it made my heart smile.


Jez’s Ravens
Terri’s Barn Swallows
Aletta’s Cape Cormorant
Margaret’s Gulls
Joanne’s Geese
My Woodstork

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #46: Birds perched up on anything.

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

Quote – Lighthouse – Week #23

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.

Dwight L. Moody

Written for Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge #23: Writer’s Choice

The feature image is the top of the St. Marks Lighthouse at the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge just south of the Florida state capitol of Tallahassee. I am sharing a few of the Florida lighthouses that I have visited over the years. It is not the total list, but some of my favorites.

I have always been drawn to lighthouses. The mystery, the stories they could tell if they were breathing, yet somehow I can feel their pain when I’m around or near one. Maybe it is the spirits of those who worked hard to keep others safe in the maritime years that lighthouses were the beacons to get sailors home safe. Besides birds, this is my other favorite topic.


Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is located in Ponce Inlet, Florida. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida at 175 feet (53 meters) and the second tallest in the United States, only to the Cape Hatteras Light in North Carolina which is 207 feet tall (63 meters). Visit their website for more information if you decide to visit.


St. Marks Lighthouse

The St. Marks Lighthouse is located in Crawfordville, Florida just south of Tallahassee. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Florida and the oldest on the Gulf Coast. The current tower photographed above was completed in 1842. Read more about its history here.


St. Augustine Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is worth its price of admission. Not only do you get the opportunity to climb 219 stairs to the top, but you can attend their ghost tours in the keeper’s quarters. I’ve climbed this lighthouse many times and everytime is a new experience. The nighttime tours are the best and every month they hold a Sunset/Moonrise tour where you can climb the lighthouse to watch the sunset from one side and the moonrise from the other side in a matter of an hour. I haven’t been since the pandemic. Being up at the top railing once it gets dark and you can see the light rotating around St. Augustine and the intercoastal is quite amazing. The photo above was taken on one of these nights.

On the last ghost tour that I went on with my kids a few years ago, we were in the keeper’s quarters listening to one of the stories and someone blew on my neck, or so I thought. I could see Frank ahead of me so I thought it was my son trying to freak me out. I quickly turned and no one was there. A few seconds later, I felt the cold and as quickly as it touched me, it dissipated. St. Augustine is one of the most haunted historical cities in the United States. Visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse Maritime Museum website here.


I hope you will be inspired to share your favorite quotes and join Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays. Visit her page for upcoming challenge themes.

Instructions

  1. Pick a quote to match the week’s topic.
  2. Write a response on your blog with a title that suits your post.
  3. Cut and paste #WQWWC logo if you want to use it.
  4. Use #WQWWC hashtag to get more views.
  5. Paste a link to your post on my weekly post in Mr. Linky.
  6. Or past a link in my comment section. I will visit your blog and comment.
  7. Visit other blogger’s who have participated and leave them an encouraging comment.

Sunday Stills – Water – 05.02 .21

The feature image is a Great Blue Heron patiently waiting for a fish to pop up out of the water pipe at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida.

This post is in response to TERRI WEBSTER SCHRANDT Sunday Stills challenge. The theme this week is Water.

Also for Jez’s Water Water Everywhere.


Florida

With Florida being a peninsula and water on three sides of it, the St. Johns River that runs north (uphill) and the Hillsborough River running through Tampa Bay, plus Lake Okeechobee, numerous lakes and springs, Florida is the place for water! While I have waterfalls and other awesome water photos from other states, I will stick with my home state for this post.

Fishermen motoring off into the sunset through the salt marsh.

The Atlantic Ocean can be quite powerful during a storm. The Pelicans like to ride the waves along the 6 miles of sandy beach at Little Talbot Island State Park. The handicap accessible boardwalk on the right is no longer there and the dunes are gone. It was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Peek-a-boo, I see you! Calmer waters at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Whether you are on the west coast or east coast of Florida, there is always a fantastic sunset to be seen. Both of these shots were taken in Jacksonville on the east coast. The one on the right was me wading out into the surf to capture the sun’s reflection in the shallow water left when the tide was going out. The photo on the right is the St. Johns River looking west as if you were on the west coast of Florida. The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida. It flows 310 miles north starting at its Headwaters at Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County to the mouth where it empties out into the Atlantic Ocean east of Jacksonville.

A beautiful sunset adorned with rays behind building storm clouds. A lone bird is flying away from me.

A family of Manatees swim by at Blue Springs State Park.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge

This is the tallest of 4 bridges that connect Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Unfortunately, it is a killer! There have been at least 310 deaths by suicide, 43 survivors and many others missing. In 1999, the state of Florida installed six crisis hotline phones along the center span and began 24 hour patrols. By 2003, the call center at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay had only received 18 calls from potential jumpers. In January, 2020, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced they would be installing a Skyway Vertical Net, a barrier to prevent suicide. The $3.4 million project is expected to be complete by this summer.

A couple canoeing along the Hillsborough River at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida.

The rapids…yes I said rapids at Hillsborough River State Park near Zephyrhills, Florida.


A peaceful day exploring Little Talbot Island State Park when there were still trees. The erosion is really causing an alarming concern as the tremulous surf continues to push this natural beach further back with no dunes to protect it. The state has mentioned restoration projects but so far nothing has happened. It would be a shame to lose this barrier island in the next 30-40 years.

Last Photo – April 2021

Bird feeders with no bird at the moment. Last photo taken in April with my Sony A6300.

The last photo from my Sony A6300 was taken on 4-30-2021 of our bird feeders in our front yard. I was testing out one of my new SD card. I’m still a bit devastated over losing my SD card that had 2K photos on it, but I suppose it is time to get out and get some new photos going.


View of my backyard where a Sago Palm was taken out near the detached garage. Last photo from my IPhone. The area is still surrounded by a lot of green ferns.

The last photo taken on my IPhone was a part of the backyard. Frank had just dug up a Sago Palm near the garage (straight ahead). This will become the new site to a water feature with a granite waterfall for the birds. It may be a while before it gets done, but at least that wretched palm is gone!


In response to Brian at bushboys world “Last Photo” Photo Challenge – April 2021.

SQUARES – Fresh & Bright Salad


One of my favorite things to eat is a fresh Caprese Salad or Caprese Sandwich. This salad consisted of bright Romaine lettuce, fresh mozzarella, Campari tomatoes, fresh basil and an Italian Vinaigrette.

Thank you Becky for another month of fantastic squares! It is lunch time and I’m hungry now. Need to figure out what I’m going to have for lunch. Maybe this salad! 🙂


Day 30 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds In Flight

Welcome to Week #45 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #45 challenge is birds in Flight.

The feature image is a Wood Stork coming in for a landing with a large branch for nest maintenance.

Birds are hard to capture in flight. At least they are for me. I’m sharing some not so great photos this week to prove my point. Smaller, song birds are especially hard to photograph in the air and they usually happen when I’m taking one or more photos while the bird is perched. Perched will be next week.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse taking off in flight from one of our feeders.

Above, this Tufted Titmouse took off right when I got my camera up. Just missed it! The bottom photo is not photoshopped. The bird was taking a small flight from the blue feeder to the house feeder and I caught it in midair as he tucked his wings to land. Weird, right?

Tufted Titmouse flying a short distance from a blue feeder to the house feeder.  The action was taken in midair.

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler is flying towards a feeder, preparing to land.

This Pine Warbler was a frequent visitor to the feeders this spring. The birds were crazy about Frank’s newly built feeders. 2021 is the first year that we have had this species in our yard even though they are quite common in Florida year round.


Goldfinch

Goldfinch is flying from one of the high perches towards the feeders with gray skies behind him.

This male Goldfinch was really beginning to get his colors in. Against a gray, raining sky, those colors really popped.


Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal takes off with a peanut in his beak.

With a peanut in his beak, this male Northern Cardinal was sharing some grub with a Red-bellied Woodpecker (bottom right). The female Cardinal was nearby.


Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk got spooked and took off from his perch on a branch.

There is a notable difference between these two photos. The top images was taken with my old Nikon 70-300mm kit lens and the bottom photo is taken with my Sony mirrorless with a full frame 200mm lens. Technology has come a long way and quality really is in the lenses and not so much the camera body. Plus, I practice a lot and I think I’ve gotten better over the years.

Red-shouldered Hawk got irrigated at me even though I was that close.  This photo is zoomed in and cropped but he was courting a female nearby.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed Kite flying high overhead looking for baby birds to prey on.

Swallow-tailed Kites are back for the summer. I saw one fly over my house last week. It is a little early but the temperatures are rising and the birds hanging out at our feeder are no more. There is plenty of food around and we won’t offer up all the finches, cardinals, titmice and other songbirds to these beautiful birds of prey. Why can’t they just prey on the squirrels or snakes. Leave the baby birds alone!

Swallow-tailed Kite flying high overhead looking for baby birds to eat for their next meal.

Great Egret

Great Egret was preparing to land near a nesting spot.

This Great Egret was coming in for a landing near a nesting spot.


Pelicans

In the U.S., we have two Pelican species. The Brown Pelican on the right and the American White Pelican on the left. As most of you know, Pelicans are my favorite bird. As if I can choose only one…but I have. Brown Pelicans dive bomb from high in the air to retrieve their next meal. American White Pelicans work as a team to corral schools of fish beneath the water’s surface.


Next time…Week #46 – Birds perched on anything. (5/7/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

SQUARES – Bright Berry


Is it love? Why….yes it is! This bright red heart-shaped strawberry was hanging on it’s vine begging for me to pick it. I did and within a day, it was a deep dark red and tasty!


Day 29 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

Thursday Trio – Mergansers

Mama Cormier’s Thursday Trios

Three Common Mergansers swam next to our inflatable kayak that we took to Grand Teton National Park. There were actually six in total, but I was only able to get 3 in the frame at a time. They were close, the boat was rocking and I was trying not to lose my paddle while taking a photograph.

The full blog of our String Lake Paddle can be found here.

Quote – Balance – Week #22

But you do have choices about how you spend your time. Balancing what you need to do with what you want to do can lead to happiness and success.

Stephen Hall

Written for Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge #22: Balance

The feature image is the balance between nature and creativity. It is a Zen Garden that Frank made that is interactive for anyone who wants to take it apart and put it together through their own meditation. Your mood can dictate the design by bringing the mind, body and soul together allowing you to relax and create something from material that came from our natural surroundings.

The Balance

Being outside in nature is our place of europhia. The photos above demonstrate the need to keep your life in balance. The photo on the left is where I’d really like to be right now. The photo on the right is my reality…writing about being at the beach rather than experiencing it. One can’t exist without the other.


I hope you will be inspired to share your favorite quotes and join Marsha’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays. Visit her page for upcoming challenge themes.

Instructions

  1. Pick a quote to match the week’s topic.
  2. Write a response on your blog with a title that suits your post.
  3. Cut and paste #WQWWC logo if you want to use it.
  4. Use #WQWWC hashtag to get more views.
  5. Paste a link to your post on my weekly post in Mr. Linky.
  6. Or past a link in my comment section. I will visit your blog and comment.
  7. Visit other blogger’s who have participated and leave them an encouraging comment.

A-Z Challenge – U is for Upland Game Bird


Upland Game Birds are a select species of birds in the Phasianidae family with the exception of the Northern Bobwhite and Scaled Quail that are in the Odontophoridae family, plus the Plain Chachalaca in the Cracidae family. All these birds have similarities to chickens and are hunted for their meat. Partridges, Pheasant and Grouse are part of this select group. Included in this list of birds considered Exotic Game Birds are Guineafowl and Peacocks.

We once had a Helmeted Guineafowl show up in our neighborhood that was noisy! A real loud noisy pain in the you know what. She was calling to her mate that never showed up. She laid 24 eggs in one of our flower beds but they were never fertilized by a male. We got new neighbors about 2 1/2 months later and within a week, that bird had disappeared and has never been seen again. The new family was not from the United States.

I only have two of these Upland Game Birds to share today. The Northern Bobwhite (Quail) & Wild Turkey. The feature image is the same Northern Bobwhite as in the below photo, but he was calling to other quail nearby.


Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite perched in a pine tree at the entrance of Okefenokee Wildlife Management in Georgia.

The Northern Bobwhite is a small quail with a short crest on the head. This male was calling to 2 other birds that we never spotted. I have to wonder if they were both female. The calls were the same. It was because this bird was calling, we spotted it high in this pine tree at the entrance of Okefenokee Wildlife Management in Folkston, Georgia. The females look the same but are duller in color. Their face is more cream colored than white like the male.


Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey male and female in the woods in Florida.

Gobble Gobble! This Tom would make any Thanksgiving table look great! Looks like he had other things on his mind from this photo. Normally, there are several females to one male. The male breeds multiple mates and form all-male flocks outside of breeding season, leaving the females to raise the chicks. When they are threatened, the females tend to fly away while the male runs through the woods, rather than fly. Such typical 1950’s manly behavior! Guess they have never heard of equality.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - 2021 badge

A-Z Challenge – T is for Titmouse


Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a small gray bird with a loud voice that echoes through the forest that it inhabits. They are frequent visitors to feeders. In our yard, we have the best of both worlds. With a large lot filled with trees, there is plenty of cover for the titmouse to build nests and have plenty of food in the feeders. We have a water feature in the backyard located where all the trees are maturely grown and they tend to build nests for the next generation. This fountain gives them a place to drink and bathe.

On the feeder, they will pick out a large seed, carry it to a perch and crack it open using their black stout beak. They will whack in over and over until it opens. They prefer sunflower seeds, but will eat suet, peanuts and other seeds. They are only found in the eastern to central parts of the United States.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - 2021 badge

SQUARES – Merry and Bright


Do you realize that it is exactly 8 months until Christmas! In about 6 1/2 to 7 months, we will all be in the thrills of the holiday season. Getting ready to bake our wonderful treats, hopefully preparing to see family members, buying gifts for loved ones and writing our Christmas cards are a small part of the holiday season. Of course, spreading good cheer and wishing others well while celebrating the true reason for the season, the birth of Jesus resonate merry and bright.

To help you with the Christmas card task, address stamps provide a quick and easy solution, saving you time and helping your envelopes look a bit brighter, consider getting a merry and bright return address stamp. They are available in self-inking or a traditional hand stamp. The traditional hand stamp allows you to choose your stamp pad colors and reuse it using any water-based ink sold at local craft stores.

I custom make all the stamps myself and they are available in my Etsy store. These are my designs. Don’t wait until the last minute. Christmas will be here before we know it. Find this and other products in my Etsy store. I ship worldwide.

Our Eyes Open Designs


Day 25 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

A-Z Challenge – S is for Sanderling

Sanderling strolling along the shoreline.

Sanderling

Sanderling posed up on the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
Sanderling foraging at the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jax, FL

Sanderlings are small plump sandpipers. In breeding colors, they have rusty, black and white mottling. Non-breeding are pale gray with specks of black and white like the one above. Sanderlings can be seen on every continent except Antarctica. Their breeding grounds are on the High Arctic tundra, but they winter mainly on sandy beaches. They are fast and hard to photograph. When they run, their little black legs are a blur.


I share this Disney Pixar animated short every chance I get. It is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen from Disney. It won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2017. It is about overcoming fear and building self-confidence. I found the full version. The last couple of times, I shared cut versions, but it was missing important scenes. This was one has what we used to have on our DVR.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - 2021 badge

SQUARES – Brighter Times


Koi Ponds are always intriguing to me. Often times there is a waterfall of some sort which makes this not only eye pleasing but provides a zen feeling to one’s aura while observing the brightly colored fish.

This particular pond was in the gardens near my mom’s house and was the last time I spent quality time with her before she had her stroke that sent her up to heaven. She was actually with me on this day sitting on the bench next to the pond…out of breath and tired. She uncharacteristically was patient while I took these photos.

Day 24 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds that Begin with an “F”

Welcome to Week #44 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #44 challenge is Birds beginning with the letter “F” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “F”, ie: Ferruginous Hawk or House Finch)

The feature image is a male Northern Flicker spotted at the edge of the golf course and county park that we were hiking in Bozeman, Montana on our last day of vacation in September, 2019.

I have shared some new photos and some photos that have been posted previously. Unfortunately, I’m still having nausea from getting my vaccine on Wednesday. For the most part, I’m feeling better but I’m not 100% yet. I’m looking forward to getting back to my normal self. Thank you for your patience and all the kind comments. Just so you know, I wouldn’t change my decision on getting the vaccine at all! Hope you enjoy my “F” birds because I could have certainly inserted some “F” bombs while creating this post as my tummy gurgled and I felt fire pushing into my esophagus like it was going to tear me apart.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker spotted at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park as we had finished our paddle on our last day to visit the park.

This Northern Flicker was spotted at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park as we had finished our paddle on our last day to visit the park. What a treat!


House Finch

Female House Finch perched up on some bushes at Floyd Lamb Park near Las Vegas, Nevada.

A female House Finch was perched up nicely while we were hiking in Floyd Lamb Park just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada a few years ago.

Male House finch on our feeders this past winter.

This is one of many male House Finches that visited our feeders this past winter and spring.

Male House Finch Variant

Two male House Finches.  One on the left has the dark red breast and head.  The one on the right is a variant and has orange & yellow plumage on the breast and head.

This is not a great image, however, I’m sharing it to show there was a variant visiting our feeders in December, 2020. Rona isn’t the only variant around. These are two male House Finches. The one on the right had yellow and orange plumage. The difference in colors has everything to do with diet. The variant finch on the right has been eating something with more Beta-carotene in it which causes yellow to orange pigments.


Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay perched up at Cape Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville, Florida.

Florida Scrub Jay proudly displays his attitude at Cape Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville, Florida. Their habitat is a small range and you have to get lucky to see them. This is not a bird that makes it on our yearly list every year.


Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk landed on a power line while we were driving down the highway in Emigrant, Montana.

Ferruginous Hawk seen along the main highway in Emigrant, Montana during our visit in 2019. There were two hunting in the field behind this powerline.

American Flamingo

American Flamingo standing on one leg in one of the ponds at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

The lone American Flamingo located at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee, Florida. I share this every chance I get. This is more uncommon (rare) than the Florida Scrub Jay. Flamingos are symbolized with Florida culture but the truth is, they don’t habitat the state except in the Everglades. They migrate there and are difficult to spot. This one Flamingo is believed to have gotten caught up in Hurricane Michael and has never left the area. When I say lone…it is the only one at this refuge or anywhere in the panhandle and most of Florida!


Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher perched up on a branch in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This Vermillion Flycatcher was a wonderful surprise while we hiked in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017. This was taken with my small 210mm lens. I can only image what this photo would look like with my full frame 200mm lens I have now. Okay, I’m done dreaming about what could have been.


Next time…Week #45 – Birds in Flight. (4/30/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #43

Week #43 challenge was Baby Birds.

Disclaimer: If anyone has an issue with me using their photos in the round ups, please kindly let me know. I haven’t had anyone say anything, but I don’t want you to think I’m using your photographs for personal gain. I’m here to show what great work you are doing with your photography by showing you off in these posts.

Sorry I’m late for the round up and will be late for this week’s Bird Weekly – Birds beginning with the letter “F” is coming up. I had my 2nd Moderna vaccine on Wednesday and got really sick from it. I’m feeling a little better today.


I guess Week #43 Baby Birds proved to be a hard week for everyone. Thank you for being patient with me as I try to recover from the past two days. I hope to post Week #44 Bird Weekly today by end of day.


Lisa’s Sparrows

I encourage you to visit these blogs if you haven’t already and see what amazing things they have going on. If I missed your post or there was a problem with a pingback, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to the list. Remember to pingback from my post of that week and not my page. Liking my page is encouraged!


Next up: Week #44: Birds beginning with the letter “F” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “F”, ie: Ferruginous Hawk or House Finch)

VISIT MY BIRD WEEKLY PAGE FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING CHALLENGES AND RULES!

I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

A-Z Challenge – R is for Roseate Spoonbill


The feature image was a feature image for my Bird Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.


Roseate Spoonbill

A curious Common Gallinule was looking on (right).

Roseate Spoonbills are pale pink and white birds with a patch of brighter pink on the shoulders and rump. They are so named because of their spoon-shaped bill. Crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates contain pigments called carotenoids that help turn their feathers pink after they eat them. The more they eat, the brighter pink in their feathers.

They forage in shallow marshlike areas and they are feeding here with the migrating Blue-winged Teals along the mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

Roseate Spoonbills can be found in the coastal areas of the United States in Florida, Texas and Louisiana. They also can be seen year-round along the coast of Mexico, Central and South America and all over the Caribbean Islands.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


Blogging from A to Z April Challenge - 2021 badge

SQUARES – Bright Eyes


To me, the Osprey has some of the brightest beautiful yellow eyes. Osprey should be the state bird of Florida instead of the Northern Mockingbird. I wonder if I could petition to make that happen. I mean, the Northern Mockingbird was designated in 1927 as our state bird. Hmmmm?

Osprey enjoy fresh fish. Sometimes from great heights, they will dive to pluck fish out of the water, shake off a bit and fly away in one fluid movement. Although there are times that they don’t quite get a good grip on their fish at the moment of impact. They may struggle a bit just off the surface of the water until they adjust their find with those powerful talons. Once they have the grip they want, they will fly up into a nearby tree to indulge in their meal. It’s quite sad when they drop their catch after all of that trouble.

Day 20 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

A-Z Challenge – Q is for Quail


The feature image is a male Gambel’s Quail, notable by the comma-shaped forward facing crest. The male has the black patch on the belly and around the face. The female lacks the black markings but has the same comma-shaped crest.


Gambel’s Quail

Gambel’s Quail spotted near Lake Mead in Nevada.

Gambel’s Quail live in the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts in the western part of the United States. They inhabit thorny and brushy vegetation and can be seen along river valleys and creeks. They are ground feeders and would rather fun like chickens than fly. They are fast on the ground and difficult to photograph if you are hiking in their territory. They will visit feeders located in their small patch of habitat. If you live in their area, you can attract them with a feeder and water at ground level. Add sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet and milo. If you happen to be birding in Hawaii, you may see this quail on the slopes of Mauna Kea volcano as they were introduced there by the Hawaii Division of Fish and Game in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s. A few remain on the Big Island, Lanai and Kaho’olawe.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


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A-Z Challenge – P is for Pelican


Pelican Island, a part of the Everglades Headwaters NWR complex located off the western coast of Orchid Island in the Indian River Lagoon just east of Sebastian, Florida was the first National Wildlife Refuge in the United States in 1903. President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order on March 14, 1903 to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting. Shore birds like egrets, herons and pelicans began to thrive. There are two pelicans found in the United States.


American White Pelican

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans can be found in a good portion of North America. American White Pelicans cooperate when feeding. They corral schooling fish towards the shallows blocking them in making it easier to scoop of the fish. The pelicans in the photo above were doing just that as I watched them turn direction several times until they got closer to shore and began dipping their beaks below the water surface.

Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican are plunge divers and will dive from great heights to attack their prey. It is a magnificent sight to watch them feed. The Pelican in the photo above is a breeding Brown Pelican (Atlantic) which is apparent from the yellow on the top of the head. Juveniles are quite clumsy when learning to plunge dive. They are observed in doing so from barely leaving the water’s surface and jabbing at whatever may or may not lurk under the water.

Did I mention this is my favorite bird?


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


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SQUARES – Bright Light City


Las Vegas, Nevada

The first two lines of the lyrics to Viva Las Vegas sang by Elvis Presley is “Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire”. Everything about Las Vegas sets my soul on fire every single time we visit. Frank & I don’t go to Vegas as typical tourists for all the shows and thrills this part of the city is known for. I do participate in one Texas Hold Em’ tournament when I go. It is nice to spend a couple of days and nights exploring those bright lights, however, we go there for the natural attractions outside the city. We relish in the beauty that is the red rocks and desert. The birding is phenomenal in March/April.

The Las Vegas strip is filled with bright lights, mostly neon, but I found beauty in the lighting of the hotels. I chopped them up into squares, but I wanted to show the panoramic that I took from the other side of the street in front of Bally’s which is your above squares. I had to get out of the proverbial box for a minute.

Panoramic night view of the Bellagio with The Cosmopolitan on the left and Caesar's Palace on the right in front of the fountains.

Viva Las Vegas (the song) was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Viva Las Vegas (the movie) was written by Sally Benson, directed by George Sidney and starred Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret.

Day 19 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

A-Z Challenge – O is for Owl


Last October, the theme for Bird Weekly Photo Challenge was Owls. Read about them here.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owls usually adopt a nest that was originally built by another species, often an abandoned Red-tailed Hawk or other hawk species. They could be nests by crows, ravens, herons and squirrels. These owls may also use cavities in live trees, deserted buildings, cliff ledges and man-made platforms. The clutch size is 1-4 eggs that incubate for 30-37 days.

Top photo was Mama & one of the owlets in a large oak tree at Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine several years ago. The tree did not survive Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Bottom photo was Mama with her two owlet chicks nesting in a large oak tree at La Chua Trail (Paynes Prairie State Park) in Gainesville, Florida just last year.

See other Bird Babies on the Bird Weekly Challenge for Friday, April 14th.


Owl Stamps

Available in my Etsy shop, these two Owl Stamps are favorites among my customers. Shop Now by clicking on each image.


This is my first time participating in April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. As a birder and photographer, I will be sharing a new bird with you every day. I host a weekly photo challenge called Bird Weekly and would love for you to stop by anytime. Join in if that is your thing too.


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SQUARES – Bright Future


DO NOT DISTURB Sea Turtle Nest sign displayed at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida.

Thanks to conservation efforts, deliberately disturbing Sea Turtle Nests can cost you some money and may get you arrested and put in jail. Sea Turtles are on the Threatened or Endangered Species list.

There are seven species of sea turtles on the planet and six of them are on the threatened or endangered list because of humans. Some of the hazards for sea turtles is them getting entangled in fishing gear, the loss of habitat due to coastal development, poaching and ocean pollution including plastic. All seven species are threatened or endangered.

Seven Sea Turtle Species

  • Leatherback
  • Green Turtle
  • Hawksbill
  • Loggerhead
  • Olive Ridley
  • Kemp’s Ridley
  • Flatback

Sea Turtles live in almost every ocean basin in the world, nesting on tropical and subtropical beaches. They will cross entire oceans during migration. They are true long haulers. Some loggerheads will migrate to Baja California Sur, Mexico to forage and then return home to Japan to nest. The loggerhead is the only sea turtle that is on the threatened list, whereas the other 6 are on the endangered list.

What can you do to help protect sea turtles?

  • Reduce marine debris that may entangle or be accidentally eaten by sea turtles.
  • Participate in coastal clean-ups.
  • Reduce single use plastic and keep it off our beaches.
  • Carry reusable water bottles and shopping bags.
  • Keep nesting beaches dark and safe.
  • Heed the warning signs and stay away from the nests that are cordoned off by Park Rangers.

Being aware of the dangers these sea turtles face and thanks to the many biologist, marine biologist and foundations, the future is getting brighter for these awesome sea creatures. We have to continue to be diligent as human beings in respecting nature and the sea turtles that existed long before us. If we don’t take the steps now by doing our part, these sea turtles will become extinct.

Day 18 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

SQUARES – Bright Yellow


Bright yellow Hibiscus flower with sprinkles of dew drops.

This bright yellow Hibiscus is a mood booster! Sprinkles of dew lay gleaming on the pedals. Too bad they only last for a day!

Day 17 – Squares – “Bright”

Click the panel below to visit Becky’s site and the April Squares Photo Challenge with the rules:

Also for Cee’s Flower of the Day!

Cee's Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge Badge