snowfall!

I wake up +
the world is transformed–
tiny flakes zip by me,
pleased with themselves.
even a single little twig is
covered in layers of sugar,
not a single one has been overlooked.

how sad,
the leaves missed out on the experience–
how good,
they were spared its destruction.

the flurry of white origami,
crafted by the Maker Himself,
cares not for me–
but He obviously does.

Taken outside Sanderson one of those snowy mornings God blessed us with 🙂

Donald J _____

Stump!  
Betcha that wasn’t what you were expecting me to say!  (If you actually were, you might have either heard me tell this story before or have incredible mental faculties… And by that I mean you saw the picture. 😋)

Earlier this year (which doesn’t narrow it down at all as that could be any of the other 11 months), my dad, Carrie, and I went kayaking at Weeki Wachee Springs in Northernish Florida.  As we rounded a bend, we saw some sunglasses and “poled” over to investigate. (I may have just made the world’s worst pun ever, given the fact that you use paddles, not poles, to steer and propel kayaks.  Also, you don’t pull a kayak over like you would a car.  So, apologies all around but I’m keeping it there because I can.  Also, can you believe how long this parenthetical statement is??)

We made this amazingly true-to-life sculpture of our President-elect using part of an onion we found lying around (I kid you not) and a leaf.  Bonus points if you know the Latin name of the plant from whence the leaf came to us on a bonny breeze (OK, we picked it up off the ground, but I will still be impressed).

In light of today’s importance, I thought I’d share this now. 🙂

Squid

P.S. Yes, I know the cypress knee we used isn’t a stump.  Why do you have to be so critical!  We were just making a pun and having fun. (hehe, rhyme) (shoutout to anyone who got that Ultimate Spiderman reference).

Photo Challenge, Day 1

A couple days ago, Bri the Missionary in the Making challenged me to join her in a photo challenge that she found on Blogger.  As soon as she said my name and photo in the same post, I was in! 😀  Today’s prompt word is Intricate, so I immediately thought of nature (which I almost capitalized… thanks a lot, Gabriel 🙂 ). My first subpoint on that outline was spiderwebs, but as it was already mid-day when I found out the prompt, all webs had disappeared.  I had just finished reading a book about a family of French weavers, and it had me thinking.  If we found a piece of cloth on the ground, we wouldn’t assume it was just a pile of yarn that had miraculously tangled itself just so as to be a sturdy textile, would we?  No, of course not.  In Florida was have these giant stalks of grass incorrectly called Palm Trees.  No, I’m not making this up.  Go Google it.  I’ll wait.  OK, now that you’re back (or are a Floridian and knew it already), let’s continue.  These tall stalks are very fibrous. Each layer has been woven together to create its tough exterior.  Yet, most people you talk to on the street will say that it is just a well-evolved plant. Hm, I’m not sure I see that logic.  So, today, I decided to highlight the intricate weaving of the palm trees that God so perfectly designed.  The sunburst was a nice bonus too. 🙂

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Now, unfortunately, there are some, *gasp* rules.

RULE ONE: The photo has to be taken on the day of the post, i.e. you can`t use old pictures. (This is the hardest rule for me, because I’m the kind of person that if, by a rare chance, I do upload my pics to my laptop on the same day I take them, I put off editing and sorting them for weeks.  So, this is a good disciplinary challenge too. 🙂 )

RULE TWO: No Plagiarism. Must be your pic and yours alone.

RULE THREE: You must follow the five prompts that I`ll be posting my along with my pictures, unless, you know, you find another photo challenge prompt site and decide to do theirs instead. *dramatic lonely sigh*

Alright, now for my nominee.  *drumroooooool*

Joy!

I’ve seen what you can do on Flickr, so I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with for this challenge! (If you accept, of course. 🙂 )

Squid

P.S. Did anyone catch 6+10=16? I was wondering if I had gotten anyone trained yet, so I didn’t do a post.

Babcock Birdies

I love alliterations, don’t you?  Recently I went to Babcock again and saw two new bird species! (Along with others I had seen before).  Ironically enough, the first picture that I took and was happy with was of a dog.  He seemed to be hunting but his handler had no gun. (that we saw) so he was probably just training.  He flushed a big group of bobwhite right in front of us, which was really cool.
Also, I’m experimenting with a new watermark.  What do you think?

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It was a pretty foggy morning, and it had rained through the night, so things were generally sparkly.

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I love discovering hearts in nature, and these were very pretty vines with drops of water on them.

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Northern Mockingbird.

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler. (I think)

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Pine Warbler…

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First new species of the trip, an American Bittern!  Since he was about 6 feet from us, I was able to get a close-up of him. Yay!

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There were female Anhingas were in the trees!  We saw probably 2-3, and they would croak at us like frogs or gators.  It was hilarious and unnerving at first.

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The amazing second new species, a Common Yellowthroat! (Not to be confused with a Yellow-Throated Warbler.)

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Hiding from me…

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Here I am!

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This is an Ornate Moth, which I finally looked up after seeing it a couple times.  Such a beautiful butterfly!

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A Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver, dangling from the sky!

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This one that we saw later was eating a bumble bee!

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Glowing leaves.

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Palm Warbler… don’t you think it looks like a Japanese divider screen thingy? 🙂

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Pearl Crescent butterfly.

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A Green Heron in a tree… not their normal habitat, so it was a fun sighting!

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Floridian flora…

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And fauna.  A black racer snake I think?

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White Peacock butterflies.

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Monarch butterfly?

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Taking off!

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Thought this was a cool reflection.  What do you see?

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Squid

Flowers, a Sukkah, and Artsiness

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The morning of October 2nd I took Leo outside and shot some pictures.  This flower’s stalk is about 3 1/2 ft tall, so I couldn’t help noticing it.  Does anyone know what kind of flower it actually is? The leaves were very cool-looking I thought. 🙂

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Then I wandered over to our sukkah, which my step-dad built to celebrate The Feast of Booths, AKA Sukkot.  If you are not familiar with the Levitical calendar God gave to the Israelites, please read Leviticus 23.
Anyway, God told us to build a temporary shelter to live in for a week during the feast, but since we live in Florida, (please refer to my post on Floridian mosquitoes) we just dined in it.  Traditionally the roof is made of palm fronds, and it was to those that my eye was attracted.  The dew had not yet evaporated, so I got some fun water droplet shots.

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After I came back inside I still had my camera on so I followed the cat around, waiting for the perfect shot(s).

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And later that day at the park I took this picture of Adam.

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Squid

Tallahassee Trip: Day 2, Part 1 – St. Marks

This is my extremely overdue post on my second day in Tallahassee which was spent mainly at St. Marks National Wildlife Preserve.   Sorry about the delay, but I hope the pictures are worth it!

I loved the hills in the Panhandle of Florida!

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Bagworms in the sunlight.

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As soon as we got into St. Marks we stopped on a little bridge and looked for some birds. We found some!  My friend Gabriel says this is most likely a White-eyed Vireo.  My first one ever! (that I know of) Yay! We were pretty far away, and he was a small bird, so good luck finding him! 🙂

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Thorny vine-resembling plant. It was growing straight up from the ground with no support.  Anybody know what it is?

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We then stopped at the visitor center and saw a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in a tree! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on, but it was a great first bird to see!

We drove around for a while and found a trail to walk.  On it we saw this vibrant dragonfly which might be a Red Meadowhawk.  Anyone know for sure?

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Big black bumblebees on large thistle-like flowers. (are they thistles? Anyone?)

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I am almost confident that this is a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.

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I liked this osprey flying overhead.  The original picture was quite bleached, but Picasa saved me! Now it looks artistic, don’t you think?

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We saw crabs!

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These flowers were beautiful!

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Not pictured, 2 Belted Kingfishers. 😀
Since we had heard from the man at the visitor center that someone had reported a Pygmy Rattlesnake the day before, we left the tall grass and headed back to our car.

Surprisingly, our next find was a Great Egret in a dead tree in the middle of a pond/lake.  When we drove back past him many hours later, he was still there!  It was a bit odd, but pretty funny!

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We went to another trail which was located behind the restrooms.  There we spotted this Great Crested Flycatcher.

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And a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

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This is a test of your eyesight.  Can you find the tiny bird? Mwahahahaha It might be a Titmouse or Chickadee… What do you think?

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Another woodpecker, this time either a Hairy or Downy.

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Back to Mr./Mrs. Flycatcher!

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Prairie Warbler!  Another first for me! (Warblers are hard to find, sorry if you can’t see him)

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Another first, a Mississippi Kite! Sorry the picture is so noisy, (photographer lingo for grainy) I had to crop this because he was so high in the sky.

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When Dad and I first saw this bird we really hoped it was an Ovenbird, (we’ve never seen one) but it wasn’t.  It may be a juvenile Eastern Towhee, Gabriel thinks, but he’s not sure.

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Now this is definitely a Carolina Chickadee. 😀

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Our first Yellow Warblers of our life and day!  We’d see more later on in the day, but that might be in a later post.

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The Mississippi Kite circled back over us again.  They are a type of hawk, so he was most likely hunting.

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There were LOTS of Cardinals around.

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That trail was full of mosquitoes, deerflies, horseflies, and yellow biting flies, so we left.

While we were driving along we saw an otter try to cross the road in front of us!  It ran back into the bushes when it saw us, so we stopped and backed up slowly to not frighten it.  We waited for about, I don’t know, 1 minute, and got tired of waiting.  So we started to drive away.  As we passed the place where we saw it go in, it darted across the street behind us!!!  The smart little fellow…  🙂

The next things we saw did not try to run (or fly) away from us.  Roseate Spoonbills!

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A little Snowy Egret and a Tri-Colored Heron.

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Eventually we reached the end of the road which dumped us onto this little point with a lighthouse and lots of shorebirds!  Gabriel was kind enough to identify them for me, so here goes.

“2 Sandwich Terns and 3 Laughing Gulls (juvenile).”

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Sorry about the blue thing in this next picture, I got the car’s mirror on accident.
“1 Ruddy Turnstone, 7 Willets (I believe), and 2 terns (possibly Least Terns; not in breeding plumage).”

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Some type of Rail… maybe Clapper?  A very shy little guy.

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I love this simple picture…

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At first I thought that this was a Kildeer, but Gabriel corrected me that it is most likely a Semipalmated Plover. I consulted my field guide and think he’s right.
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This one has, “9 Ruddy Turnstones (they all have black coverts), 1 Piping Plover (it is the one with a black “collar”). There may be one Sanderling.”

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This one is either a, “Laughing or Bonaparte’s Gull.”

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Eight Double-Crested Cormorants.

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Cute little feller…

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A Black-Bellied Plover, still in breeding plumage!!!  This was a first for me, and I had always wanted to see one!

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Red-Winged Blackbirds with a female Grackle I think.

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The lighthouse.

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A large flock of Black Skimmers flew by!

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About the time when I took the Cormorants picture, a weird bird flew past my dad and me.  We described it to some of the other birders there, and they said it was probably an Oystercatcher!  See the black-headed bird with the bright orange bill in the picture? That’s it!  I took this picture later, when we found him again.

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“1 Marbled Godwit, 21 Willets, 7 Ruddy Turnstones, and a mystery tern (again, it might be a Least Tern).”

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“1 American Oystercatcher, 1 Marbled Godwit (off to the right side; not in focus), 5 Ruddy Turnstones, 8 Willets, 14 mystery terns (they might be Least Terns).”

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Some of the gulls and other various birds were lying on the sand.  I thought it looked kind of funny. 🙂

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We saw the Roseates again.

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We were happy with our successful day and thanking God for his glorious creation when we saw some cars pulled over ahead of us.  Usually that means that there is something to see, so we slowed down.  At the same time we saw the birds and chorused, “Kingbirds!”  We had never seen Eastern Kingbirds but had always wanted to. There was three that we saw, and boy were they amazing!

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Haha, here I interrupt myself for a short minute, to ask if anyone knows what this bug is.  I know, I should stay on topic, but too bad!  Any ideas?

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A nice huge grasshopper.

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Back to the Kingbirds.

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A little Hairy (I think) showed up too.

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OK, I am not waiting for another post, here’s the second Yellow Warbler we saw!  What a stunning shade of yellow, right? Wow!

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Soon we decided we should start heading back home, so we reported back to the visitor center and recorded our finds. I bought a new field guide, (a Sibley one!) and a St. Marks t-shirt.  We left with happy hearts and full SD Cards. 🙂

Squid

My next and final post in this series will be of my nighttime experimentation while in the car and a great rainbow!

Squid