Orchid Show and Everglades

Jan 30, 2008 by Janine |
Saturday I took my mom to the World Orchid Conference in Miami. I did not realize there were so many types of orchids. It was pretty overwhelming to see so many. I'm not a huge orchid fan but I am fond of the fragrant ones so it was great fun sniffing around to try and find which one smelled nice.

I don't know what this one is.

I heard that the great horned owl chick had hatched so we went to Everglades on Sunday to try and get a photo. It was pretty cool and breezy though so it stayed hunkered down most of the time. It did peek out now and then.

We went down to Flamingo in search of crocodiles, but only saw one smallish one hiding in the mangrove tangle. The ospreys nest at the marina every year and I think the chicks may have hatched, although they were too small to see yet. One parent was on the nest and the other one stood guard.

On the way back we checked the owl nest to see if they became more active as darkness fell. It was too dark for photos but I could hear the chick calling and heard the parent calling back.

Wetland Walk, plus Warbird

Jan 26, 2008 by Janine |
Took another quick walk through Green Cay last week.

I got a dirty look from this Little Blue Heron:

Pied billed grebe in pea soup:

Anhinga in typical pose:

I was peeking over the boardwalk looking for Sora when I heard a loud rumbling noise approaching and looked up to see this B-17.

I thought it strange to see such an old plane. So we looked it up and found out it is nicknamed "Nine O Nine." More info here. Interestingly, it reminded me of the poem "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randall Jarrell, so I then looked that up. And would you believe that the first search result shows the poem, plus a close-up of "Nine O Nine", which you can see here.

I saw many vintage aircraft flying around that day so maybe there is an airshow coming up.

Here's the Sora I found after the plane had gone:


Jan 22, 2008 by Janine |
I went digging through some photos from a couple of years ago looking for some pictures of baby limpkins. While searching I found this sunflower just about to open.

Hoping the weather will be better this weekend than it has been the past few days. Very windy and cloudy with occasional drizzles. For now the sunflower will have to do.


Jan 18, 2008 by Janine |
After work today, I took a quick spin through the marsh trail at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. There were the usual suspects present: ibis, herons, egrets, and a solitary wood stork. Only saw one alligator and no snail kite or limpkin.

Moon through Cypress:

The best sighting of the day was this Red Shouldered Hawk.

Here, he reads up on his prey.

He posed nicely for me for a few seconds, then flew off.

Wetlands walk

Jan 12, 2008 by Janine |
Took a walk around the Green Cay wetlands. The weather was sunny but not too hot and wildlife was abundant.

There were plenty of Sora rail visible foraging in the marsh. They are usually secretive and tough to spot, but I saw at least ten. They can still be tricky, as they are easily spooked and will dive for cover if startled.


This Phoebe was greedily gobbling down these berries, until he encountered one that was just too large and had to spit it out.

Obligatory gator shot. An elderly guy chastised me for walking by a gator without taking a picture, so I made sure to photograph this one!

As I neared the end of the walk, I suffered from the "New Memory Card Curse." Which is, shooting conditions are good, so I fill up one card. But when I switch to a new card, either 1. the wildlife is gone or 2. the light is crap. Sure enough, as soon as I started a new card, the clouds rolled in.

Green Heron

The limpkins were making noise again. One was calling loudly from the boardwalk, while the other hid in a clump of vegetation. I am hoping that they plan to nest.

Its a great place to walk. There's tons of approachable wildlife to photograph, plus I meet some interesting people, to say the least.

Some Birdies

Jan 08, 2008 by Janine |
Went back to ENP to see if I could get better shots of the White Tailed Kite and the nesting Great Horned Owl. Well, the WTK never showed, and the GHO remained hunkered down in his/her nest with only eyes peering over the edge.

Lots of meadowlarks around, and the late afternoon sun lit them nicely. I find their song very relaxing. It was disappointing not to find the kite, but the meadowlarks made up for it.

We also went by Black Point Marina in search of crocodiles. Lots of people fishing so wildlife was pretty scarce, but this yellow-throated warbler was not troubled by us.


Jan 05, 2008 by Janine |
We had some record low temperatures here in South Florida this past week. It got down to the mid 30's F. Its warming up now, but its dreary and rainy and generally miserable. Was thinking about going out tomorrow on a photo expedition but it depends on the weather.

Here are a couple of pictures from our trip to Everglades National Park on New Years Eve.

I think this is the same cottonmouth that we have seen on our last two visits. It looks to be the same size and we see him in almost the exact same spot each time.

This gator came to check us out as we watched the sunset. We see him regularly as well and we have named him Allie.

The owls didn't show well but it was a nice evening out. The cool front was on its way and the air was cool and refreshing. The stars were amazing far from the city lights. As we approached the entrance of the park, the glow from the city lights got brighter and brighter, and we saw fewer and fewer stars.

Stings and Venom

Jan 03, 2008 by Janine |
The 94th Aero Squadron was awesome. The food was excellent and we had a table by the window so Rich had a great view of the planes thundering down the runway. They also provide headphones so you can listen to the air traffic control. I enjoyed the 40's era music playing and all the war memorabilia and propaganda posters. I highly recommend it if you're in the area.

Here are some more pics from the beach. We had to be careful where we walked at Crandon because there were numerous jellyfish and man-o-war washed up on the beach.

Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia physalis)

Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita )

I did some research on Mr. Centipede the other day and found that he is a species of Scolopendra. While this particular specimen was about 5", other members of this genus can exceed 11" in length! And all are venomous, so its a good thing I was watching my step.

This ghost crab played dead until I nudged him with my shoe.
Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata)

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Happy New Year

Jan 01, 2008 by Janine |
I haven't written any resolutions although I do plan to make some changes in my life. For one, I plan to post here more regularly and also get on forums/chat/etc more and catch up with friends. I am also going to try and eat better and take my vitamins every day, and get back into bike riding a few times a week... I guess I just wrote some resolutions.

Its Rich's birthday today so we are going out later to a restaurant at Miami airport- The 94th Aero Squadron. It has WWII themed decor with French cuisine. I don't think he cares too much about the food as long as he can watch the planes.

We went to Crandon Beach on Sunday and ENP last night. I am ashamed to say that we went to bed before midnight and didn't see in the new year.

I have a lot of pictures from the past couple of days to sort through so I'll be posting throughout the week.

This is the biggest centipede I have ever seen. I had no idea they got this big here and seeing this guy was quite worrying.