A red-letter day for Billy! (Dec. 2)

Nov. 30:  After a busy holiday weekend (US Thanksgiving), we hoped Monday would bring things back to “normal”.  We headed over to try for the woodpecker again (no luck), then drove the other side of the buffer sanctuary.  On Monday & Thursday you may drive all the way to the lake.  It showered on & off all day with sunny breaks.  Not too hot (about 24).

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When I found out Bill hadn’t photographed the water hyacinths last time we were here (instead, just a Glossy Ibis with a couple of blooms behind it) he thought he should do it this time.  There weren’t the profusion of blossoms like last time – but even one is beautiful.

There were marsh flowers everywhere, though many too far away to photograph.  Some beautiful spiky blue ones & the yellow ones which we have up north amongst the lily pads.  Round little yellow balls about the size of a tennis ball.  There were also pinks & reds + lots of yellows & whites.

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Here is a white pond lily in full bloom.  You can even see the yellow stamens inside.

The most common hawk we’ve seen is the Red-shouldered.  Here are 3 separate individuals along the way.  The Florida sub-species is quite pale compared with its western cousin.

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I was thrilled to see this aligator sunning on a hummock!  It was too close to photograph the whole beast!

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A Purple Galinule  showed up alongside us also – this one isn’t quite as colorful as usual – his bill is a bit faded but his purple is pretty good!

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In comparison, here is its cousin, the Common Moorhen (also known as Common Galinule), with its bright bill.

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This female Belted Kingfisher was just about to take flight.   We know she’s female because she wears a rust belt (males wear only blue).

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At the end of the road we stopped at a lookout tower, on which were perched a number of vultures – both Black & Turkey.  This Turkey Vulture sat for a close-up – what a beaut, eh?

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This little bandit (Loggerhead Shrike) was bringing other info to our attention.

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As we left the area, the rain was moving away…voila.

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A little snake was lying on the road, so I got Bill to photograph it, then scared it out of harm’s way.  Banded water snake (non-poisonous) about a foot & a half long.

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A couple of Limpkins were present on our return – subtle beauty in those feather markings.

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This Wood Stork looks much better in its native habitat (rather than begging from fishermen or sitting on a roof).

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These swamp lilies were also blooming far away from the road, however I found a site next to the road near the exit for a closer look.

Today we didn’t get insect bites because we were in the truck.  Walking is a misery for us.  These no-see-ums are horrible & we suffer the most intense itching for days.  No hydrocortizone cream helps at all!  ACK!  Nearly turned around & went home!

Dec. 2:  Off to Clewiston.  Well, actually about 45 minutes south of the town on the Big Cypress Indian Reserve.  The forecast is for rain nearly every day of the week we’re here, so not sure what we’ll be up to.

Arrived about noon & got the power turned on just in time before a huge downpour of rain!  You may not think this was crucial, but it was 30C & we needed AC to cool off the trailer (which of course houses our travelling kitties).  Had to wait until it stopped for Bill to go out & finish setting up.  Had lunch, Bill had his nap, then he checked for something he’s been checking for every day for a year now.  It’s a new camera lens from Canon (EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM).  He has been trying to buy it from the Camera Store in Calgary (on back order) as well as checking with B&H Photo (one of America’s most esteemed camera stores located in NY, NY).  We’ve talked about this for a year now & he finally decided he’d contact Canon directly & ask them what is going on with this lens & why it is never available.  The website didn’t work very well – hence a phone call.  As he was discussing his woes with the woman on the phone, she said B&H had the lens available on-line now.  He looked while on the phone & sure enough, it said it was available!  He quickly hung up & called B&H.  They had it & he ordered it.  Seemed like a dream.  I guess if it arrives Friday, we’ll really believe it.  It is a lighter lens than the big one he is carrying now.  It is rated very highly & should “lock” onto his subjects just as easily.  Here’s hoping!

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Here are the travelling kitties.  Katrina is a marvellous traveller & emerges from the bedcovers  immediately after I enter the trailer at our new destination & announce “we’re here at our new place kitties!”  (that’s her at the front)  Natasha, on the other hand, sometimes waits hours before she will show her little face.  This shot is not while travelling just a shot of them asleep on the bed.

Dec. 3:  Promise of rain, so Bill worked.  The only exciting thing that happened (& it was VERY exciting) was that one of the employees knocked on our door & said to watch out in the woods because a panther has been seen!  That’s a Florida Panther (otherwise known as a cougar).  I think she didn’t expect my reaction.  My face lit up & I said ‘Wow – I’d love to see a panther”!  HA!  Anyway, we couldn’t go out because of the rain – although there wasn’t really very much of it.  We did go out at one point & watch a flock of swallows overhead.  They included:  Barn, Tree, N. Rough-winged & a Purple Martin!  Cool.

Dec. 4:  Friday & the day we are supposed to receive the lens.  Billy checked this tracking this mornibng & it said it was delivered yesterday at 2:40 PM!  We phoned them & YES – it is here.

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VOILA!!  There is the camera with new lens (& doubler) at the top – making it 550 power.  Below is the old 500 lens.  It is heaver than the whole setup above!  Oh joy!

Supposed to be a rainy day today – at times, heavy.  However, it didn’t really rain all morning, so we set out in the truck with the lens to give it a try.  No sun today, but here’s what Bill got with his hew device:

A series of shots of a Black Vulture landing beside his bud (who’s waiting with open arms!)

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White Ibises  [Ibi? ] rooting in a field – then flying (note 1 dark juvenile in the middle.

Series of a Great Egret taking off (on angel’s wings).

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Close up of a Red-shouldered Hawk.

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A large flock of Rough-winged Swallows were perching on this wire, right above a canal.  Here are a few of them.

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Since I began this blog with a water hyacinth, thought I’d end with one.  Here you can see the purple & yellow markings in the centre of each flower.

Oh, my Billy is a happy boy!

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1 Response to A red-letter day for Billy! (Dec. 2)

  1. JB says:

    I don’t think those no-see-ums will bother you much next year, in Maple Creek, in December! Nice lens.

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