Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tallahassee Museum of Natural History and Science

I decided to go to the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History and Science (which used to be called simply the “Tallahassee Junior Museum” and for which I am utterly puzzled about the “museum” part of the name, never mind why it was previously only a “junior” museum, but I digress) to see their new guest exhibit of macaques. Here’s one of them.

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It’s a nice place, filled with assorted animals in natural, if spatially limited, environments. I was also interested in seeing the waterfowl exhibit, which purportedly had wood ducks. It turned out that the waterfowl environment was roughly the size of the largest puddle in my driveway (due, no doubt, to our dry summer), and thus there were no waterfowl to be seen. But it was fun to tour the rest of the place.

This red wolf was looking magnificent

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and they had Florida panthers there as well.

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The only other place I have seen white squirrels was at Ochlocknee River State Park—perhaps this one was brought in from there.

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Finally, I spotted this red fox snoozing in a tree, looking very cute.

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It’s a nice place. I wish Tallahassee had more wildlife or other animal exhibits like this, as you might expect from a capital city.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

More Sandhill Crane Photos!

My attempts to photograph the sandhill cranes that spend the winter in this area continue… A group of them was in a field nearby and we were able to drive fairly close to them. Getting out of the car was not an option since they are very skittish about people on foot, but this group seemed okay with us stopping nearby. As with previous attempts, sunshine instead of dark overcast would have been preferable in this early afternoon (they need to rename Florida "The Constant Overcast State").

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hickory Mound Wildlife Management Area near Perry, Florida

We (husband and I) decided to brave the cold (for Florida) and overcast skies and head out to investigate Hickory Mound WMA near Perry.

I imagine this is a wonderful place to go on a warm sunny day. It was a tad dismal today, but I’m still glad we got to see it. And it was of course another opportunity to use the new 500mm zoom lens. (I wonder if any sunny days will present themselves for such an opportunity?)

There were a lot of grebes in the waterways on either side of the road. I think these guys are so cute!

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It was very cold today (by Florida standards; with a brisk wind, it felt like about 45 degrees). This egret huddled in a tree.

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This was a popular place and time for great blue herons. This one was fishing along the edges of a tidal pool.

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The brochure said there were many different birds and ducks here. Perhaps it was the coldness of the day or the lack of sunshine, but our duck viewing was limited to grebes and mergansers. After scaring away many mergansers on many attempts to photograph them, I was able to get this one.

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On the way out we passed another great blue heron who was fairly near the roadway. I decided to focus mostly on the head and neck of this one. These birds are so wonderfully primitive looking.

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This is a neat place but I’m fairly certain it would be far more impressive on a warm and sunny day. We’ll try it again in a couple of months!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two Ponds in Tallahassee, Florida

It’s still a bit cold and/or rainy to be paddling, but I decided to walk around a few ponds in nearby Tallahassee to try out the new 500mm lens. This lens won’t be going paddling with me, but I wanted to see how it did taking photos of birds from a shoreline, which will be its most common use.

I picked a bad day. We had a major heavy rainstorm last night (the outskirts of the tornadoes that tore up central Florida) and so the ponds I visited (Waverly Pond and small Leon Lake) had been stirred up and so were very muddy with a lot of shoreline debris in them. And of course the sky was overcast.

Nonetheless, I like the lens! This pair of hooded mergansers were on (brown) Waverly Pond.

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The only other birds in sight were Canada geese, including this one resting in the grass.

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This one was relaxing by what we call a “tulip tree.”

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On Leon Lake I saw only two cormorants and that was it for its bird population this afternoon. I did get this photo and I am pleased with the detail, considering how far away I was.

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I look forward to more play time with the lens under better weather conditions.