Wildlife Sanctuary

Dec 30, 2008 by Janine |
On our wedding anniversary, (the day before Christmas Eve) we visited the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. It is a wildlife hospital, rehabilitation center, and sanctuary for unreleasable wildlife. I worked at a couple of different wildlife rehab centers for a few years, and while I generally do not agree with facilities being open to public tours due to added stress to the animals, the BWS does a great job of separating the patients (wildlife being treated and eventually released) from the permanent residents. They feature public educational programs and display exhibits of non-releasable animals, which provide some great photo opportunities.

They also exhibit a variety of snakes, including venomous species.

This is a more "typical" pygmy rattlesnake, as compared to the one we saw at ENP. Much smaller and more subdued in color.

Indigo Snake- note blue iridescent sheen to scales

Afterward, we went out for a meal and walk on the beach. It would have been romantic except it was exceedingly windy so we didn't walk very far.

Christmas Everglades trip, part 2

Dec 27, 2008 by Janine |
Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! I was shopping with my mom today and noticed Valentine's Day merchandise already out in the stores! Seems like it gets worse every year. Anyway, back to the Glades...

The highlight of our Everglades trip was this pygmy rattlesnake. It was the largest I have ever seen. This is the best photo I was able to get:

White Pelicans were abundant at Flamingo. Low tide had exposed the sandbar where hundreds of them congregate alongside cormorants and gulls. I always think that they look so abstract flying overhead.

This female Harrier buzzed us as we ate our sandwiches at the marina. She flew directly in front of the sun and I had mustard on my hands.

The crocodiles were out enjoying the late morning sun.

Big 'un and little 'un.

Osprey in coconut palm.

Roseate Spoonbill at Eco Pond.

After hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, Eco Pond was a mess. The storm surge had flooded the area with salt water and mud. It was closed to visitors for several months, and even after it was re-opened there were few signs of life. All of the alligators had reportedly drowned or been swept away with the storms. This week's visit was the first time seeing a gator since 2005. And I didn't even notice it until I got home and looked closely at the pictures. I think the spoonbill saw it.

It was great to visit the Everglades again. We live a lot further away now so we will not be visiting very often. We did explore some local attractions this week, which I will be posting about in the next few days.

Merry Christmas

Dec 25, 2008 by Janine |
Earlier this week we went to ENP- it was our first time back since August.

Our first interesting bird of the day was a dark morph Short Tailed Hawk flying over the Royal Palm visitor center.

There were plenty of black and turkey vultures hanging around.

The Anhinga trail was pretty quiet otherwise, saw a light morph STH but was too far away for a picture.

More to come... off to do family stuff today.

Have a safe and joyful Christmas!

Swamp walk

Dec 17, 2008 by Janine |
A colleague at work gave me a really great photography magazine this week. Its a collection of award winning photographs and looking through it has inspired me to try and take more/better pictures. An opportunity came up today, I was able to get out of the office and walk some interesting natural areas.

I experimented with some different post processing techniques for these.

Swamp milkweed seed pod

Sundew, a carnivorous plant. The wet prairie is dry this time of year so the sundew and other wetland species are dormant until the rainy season begins.

Baby gator


Dec 11, 2008 by Janine |
Rich found this dead cicada today so I decided to use it for a photo shoot.

In other news, I have started a fitness routine and diet plan. The diet plan just consists of trying to eat "healthy," namely more veggies and less junk food, nothing revolutionary. The exercise plan consists of weight training and cardio, 6 days a week. I have been at it two weeks now and last week I lost two pounds. Woo hoo!

On a completely unrelated topic, when we first moved to Palm Beach a couple of months ago we noticed this sign next to the sidewalk at a busy intersection:

We used to pass by it every week or so, but the last time we drove by that way the sign had been removed. I looked up the Ordinance 3043 on the Riviera Beach website and it turns out that the law is real. According to the text of the ordinance, found on the Riviera Beach City Clerk website:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to appear in public or in view of the public wearing pants below the waist which expose skin or undergarments"

First time offenders are fined $150.00, and subsequent offenses are punishable by $300.00 fines or up to 60 days in jail.

Guess the term "fashion police" has a whole new meaning here in Palm Beach County.

The sky is frowning

Dec 03, 2008 by Janine |
On Monday night Jupiter and Venus were joined by the moon to create an image of celestial disapproval.

I don't really have anything else to report so here are some shots of a green anole and baby ribbon snake in the back yard from a few weeks back.