Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summer Days..

It's still midsummer here and hot, hot, hot!

This morning I looked out the back window and saw Bart at the kiddie pool so of course I whipped out the camera. He's looking good today.

And then around noon the friendly neighborhood UPS man delivered two new camera lenses I had ordered. Unfortunately, the one I was most excited about, a 100-400mm, was cracked along the focusing sleeve area and so it got packed back up and DH took it to the PO on his way back to work after lunch. That was fast! The replacement should arrive next week.

Meanwhile, the 28-300mm one is very nice and I am very pleased with it. This will replace the 75-300mm lens I have been using for most of my photos. It has no more zoom than that one but allows me to back out for a wide angle scenic without having to change lenses, which will be fantastic. I took it outside to test it. There's not much color except green these days since few of the flowers we have planted can survive this kind of heat on such a longterm basis, but the lantana was of course thriving and covered with butterflies.


I like this lens; I think I'll keep it... It will be particularly handy on trips to places like St. Marks NWR where I need both zoom and wide angle. Assuming, that is, that it ever cools down enough to actually want to walk around outside...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cardinal(s) in the Birdbath

It's hot all over for everyone. I noticed that a cardinal (and then another) came to visit the birdbath in the front yard. In the last photo, a finch has joined the somewhat wet male cardinal...

I was going to provide captions but you can imagine what they would have been...





Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bart Bathes

We finally got around to naming the barred owl that was born near our house several months ago and has been hanging around with his folks in our trees ever since. He sits low in a tree sometimes and whistles back and forth with us (he whistles a lot--we call it whistling, some barred owl sites call it wheezing or hissing). We suspect that one member of the owl family is the reason we are missing a goldfish from a pool in the water garden; I recently spotted Bart sitting on the picket fence that surrounds the water garden area. I was about 7 feet away looking out the bedroom window down at him. He couldn't see me because of reflections, but when I moved to another window for a closer look, he did spot me and flew off. He's been back at least once, though, waggling his head around as he looks into the pools.

Bart (he's getting big enough and getting adult color to the extent that we can't be sure from a distance if it actually is Bart or one of the adults, so we have named all three of the owls Bart) likes to bathe in the kiddie pool we have in the back yard for the dog (who drinks out of it but isn't much for getting into water). I took the screen out of the kitchen window to facilitate photos of this event. I missed him in the water this morning since the camera was in another room and he was out by the time I got back, but I did get him sitting on the edge drying off.

I'll get him in the water sometime. I also took a screen out of the bedroom window in case I can catch him on that fence again.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Withlacoochee River/Meadow

We went out to our little-piece-of-heaven property on the Withlacoochee River yesterday to do some much-needed mowing. We hadn't been out there for several weeks--this is not the time of year in Florida to enjoy sitting on a deck overlooking a river. It's just too hot (we hit 100 degrees yesterday) (mowing was a joy...). So our visits over the summer are strictly in and out for maintenance.

The drought has kept the river level very low and there is essentially no current. About a quarter-mile downriver from our place is a natural dam made of fallen tree limbs and other debris that has gathered over the years. Normally the river flows over all this stuff, but it's too low right now.

The water hyacinths have taken over the river from that dam area to our property. I'm sure that in another month they will have taken over more river. Of course I walked down to the river from our access with the camera to document how bizarre this looks:

For comparison, here is how the river looked last December from nearly the same vantage point:

Frankly, I thought it looked really pretty, but I'm sure this is a bad thing on a lot of levels. When the water level rises sufficiently, all those plants will flow merrily downstream. I wonder where they will all end up?