Friday, June 24, 2016

Atlas V Launch

Time for another Atlas V launch. This morning was a bit too bright for my liking but all I have to do is step outside and wait for a couple of minutes before...liftoff!

Atlas V

The rocket rose into the bright sky. Not another cloud in the area.

Atlas V

One of the fun things I like about launches is seeing what the contrail is going to do based on light, wind, ect. Got a little contrast in there but it was nothing too spectacular.

Atlas V

Back to work!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lake Apopka on Father's Day

I was pondering what I wanted to do on this Father's Day and opted to take a drive along the Lake Apopa North Shore Drive to do some contemplating since this would be the first one without my Dad. I almost decided against it since there was an approaching storm headed that way but when has a little rain stopped birding?

The only problem was that the storm was coming from the East meaning we wouldn't have that nice morning light. One of the first birds I spotted was a juvenile Black-necked Stilt picking at snacks in the water.

Black-necked Stilt

Nearby, a juvenile Common Gallinule sat on its nest and called loudly.

Common Gallinule

The first clouds moved closer and made the morning nearly dark as I tried for my first Osprey photo.

Osprey

Even with a bit more light I had to do some acrobatics inPhotoshop to show the next Osprey doing its own acrobatics during breakfast.

Osprey

American Alligators were pretty active this warm morning and they were cruising most everywhere. Some days you can hardly find a few.

American Alligator

The last time I was out here the Green Herons were constantly flying by instead of posing. At least I had one cooperate today.

Green Heron

I thought I had another Green Heron fly over the road ahead of me. It wasn't until I got home to look at my images that I figured out that it was actually a juvenile Least Bittern! Didn't know they nested out here.

Least Bittern

Something else I had never seen before was a female Red-winged Blackbird catching a dragonfly to eat. Thought they only ate seeds. I guess mostly...

Red-winged Blackbird

There were a lot of Anhinga around today and one female perched on a branch next to the drive.

Anhinga

I rounded the next bend and spotted an Osprey with a large fish. He just looked at me like, "Don't even think about it!"

Osprey

Another Osprey flew in just below the first bird on a perfectly placed branch. I eased forward whispering, "Please don't move..." but he decided to take flight as I snapped. I think I like this shot even better than the one I was hoping for.

Osprey

As usual, you loose count of the number of Common Gallinules at some point. Still a bunch of juveniles around.

Common Gallinule

I was pleased to have a couple of Common Ground Dove around, especially at this spot. They are typically seen near the end of the drive.

Common Ground Dove

Hunkered down on the bank of a canal was a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Male Red-winged Blackbirds are always calling from branches all over the property.

Red-winged Blackbird

Just below him was a young American Alligator prowling though the water as the rain began to fall.

American Alligator

Can't recall seeing so many Bladderwort blooms out here. Perhaps I was never here at the right time. There were large rafts of them all over the back stretch.

Bladderwort

Just before the last big turn heading toward the swallow area, a female Boat-tailed Grackle hopped up to take a look around.

Boat-tailed Grackle

Not too much farther along, a Pied-billed Grebe surfaced with a tadpole.

Pied-billed Grebe

It spent most of the time flinging it around and diving back under water to retrieve it again. It then began to thrash it about to tear off smaller piece. Made me smile for some reason. It was really shaking that thing!

Pied-billed Grebe

Once it made a small enough collection of pieces it began to eat them one by one.

Pied-billed Grebe

A juvenile Little Blue Heron paused for a moment before continuing to forage along the road.

Little Blue Heron

Another Black-necked Stilt family was feeding a bit farther into the Marsh with the parents flanking their chick as they picked through the grasses.

Black-necked Stilt

This shot reminds me of an Audubon painting the way it is posed.

Black-necked Stilt

I really was happy with this shot of the juvenile Black-necked Stilt. The background was perfect and those feathers are just to so pretty.

Black-necked Stilt

In between showers, a Rainbow weakly appeared for a minute or so before being swallowed up again.

Rainbow

Speaking of swallow, I was finally at the area where the Barn Swallows nest and many adults were there with juveniles in tow. I didn't even try for a flight shot today. Not in these conditions.

Barn Swallow

I relaxing tour of the property. Happy with some of the photos. Missing Dad.