Before I take a look back at 2017 as a whole, I wanted to take the time to share some images and thoughts from my last photography outing with some of my Florida friends prior to us heading out to Colorado.
In July, Tom & I took a break from packing, boxing, and cleaning our south Florida home and made plans with a group of my friends for what would be my “farewell shoot” in 2017 from Florida. My good friend Annette asked me where I wanted to meet up or what I wanted to photograph. Hmmm … I wanted owls … barn owls I told her. That being said, we made plans to meet up in Belle Glade, which is located in western Palm Beach County. I was quite excited!
When we arrived, I ran out of the car without my gear of course, to give out some hugs to everyone only to have a BOBCAT run across the ditch right next to where we were assembling! Dang … not one of us had our cameras out. Reminded me of how many years ago, we all watched a bald eagle come out of nowhere and pick up a fish from the lake, right next to us. Haha. You think I would have learned. However, after the excitement of the bobcat we all settled in and found a yellow-crowned night heron sitting quietly in the bushes.
After not immediately finding a barn owl, we decided to explore the nearby waters. Amost immediately a tern made a splashdown on the surface.It then proceeded to fly away to the other side … guess it was something that we said, perhaps.
There were many black-necked stilts present … of varying ages … and the parents made sure that we knew they were there by calling our presence out.It was a community of stilts and they were in the water, on the shore, and in the air. Many of them were going about gathering up their young. I have always loved the black-necked stilts. I find them quite elegant in their stature and in their movements and as parents, they are top notch. Love the red eye on this female.As I mentioned, they were quite active.Their young were foraging about in the shallows of the water, quite independently I might add. Such little fluff balls for sure. 🙂 And check out those long feet!Sometimes they were congregated together … all set up in a row.We even found a few out in the grasses.Along the gravel road, as we traveled about, we came across what turned out to be common nighthawks. From far away, we couldn’t tell what they were, but upon closer inspection, it was easily identifiable. Such a beautiful bird and one that I had never photographed before, I was quite thrilled with this encounter.A few of them stayed on the roadside, but others flew erratically about, darting around us and eventually returning to the original spot. I’m not sure, but I think that they had a few young ones with them, which possibly weren’t as skilled in their flight.Tom has always seen many of these on some of the “hills” of south Florida when he would fly his RC gliders, but not me. I read a bit about them and one of the things that I found most fascinating is that they have been known to consume as many as 500 mosquitoes in a single day! I say, let’s have lots of these birds around … not being a fan of mosquitoes myself.So by now, many of you might be wondering … did you ever find the barn owls? Of course we did! And of course, this was mainly the view that I was afforded … LOL. I was amazed at their size when spotted so close up.At one point, we spotted a hawk up in a tree (red-shouldered, I believe) as it scouted around for its next meal. I love the look of intensity in its eye … combined with that sharp beak … you know that it means business.It eventually found its way to the top of the tree, and flew away after some prey.Upon closer inspection … Look who else was in the tree …. another beautiful barn owl! I wonder if the hawk knew that the owl was there. I think that the owl knew because the owl kept its eye on the hawk until its departure. So in the end, yes, I did in fact get my barn owls, amongst other birds and even that bobcat sighting. As fascinating as all of that, it was really the presence of my dear friends that made the day most special. Thanks so much to Annette, Connie, Donnie, Ivan, and Rob for being part of Tom and I having such a wonderful day out in Belle Glade. Thanks to Rob for taking our commemorative shot … especially with the bonus barn owl in the shed window ;-). Great day, fun times, amazing friends. Until we all meet again.
Funny story too … and true one … is that when we gathered for the group shot, we wanted it to be in the shade since it was so hot and humid. There was this giant tree to our left side and we thought that it would be a perfect spot for an owl to hang out and so we inspected it for a few moments. No owl … or so we thought. In fact, a barn owl flew out of the tree as we were setting up for this shot! I think he wanted to say goodbye to me too. ❤
Next up: A look back at 2017 … it was a roller coaster one to say the least.
© 2017 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography