Only in Florida would someone think that a jacket was needed on an 83-degree day. This is because the person needing the jacket (me) spent the summer feeling like a steak that was regularly subjected to grilling, broiling, and baking with an occasional basting in oil. Some of these preparations are so intense that they border on unpalatable.
Autumn is my favorite time of year and it is even more so in the Sunshine State, because by the time November rolls around I no longer take the weather personally and am able to go outdoors without feeling as if I am in a do-or-die battle with the Australian Outback, or at least in training for a vacation there.
The birding trip to Palm Point was extended into Sunday, but Sunday wasn’t as rewarding a trip. The Blue Heron was on his clump of vegetation but the ibis were absent from their tree; also absent were any fish. The day before, I had talked to a fellow who had caught and released 30 catfish. On Sunday, a different fisherman said he’d been out there for hours without one bite. A few days before that, he reported that he’d caught 25 of the fish. This made me wonder if the birds knew that the fish weren’t biting and whether the excellent birding of the day before was due to the Saturday fisherman throwing all of his catch back into the water.
Over the weekend, we also stopped at Crystal River, the La Chua Trail, Bolen’s Bluff, Orange Lake, and Lake Lochloosa. I finally walked a mile in direct sunlight, breaking a personal record, which caused Mr. B. to have one of those “wonders never cease” moments where I succeed at doing something utterly ordinary that is done by everyone else without any remark or special citation.
You may wonder why I’ve only posted photographs of large birds. This is because I am completely unequipped to take pictures of small birds as they dart about in low bushes or flit from ground to branch. I have several dozen pictures of shrubs with no birds in them from this weekend’s activities.
Future birding trips will need to be equipped with certain essentials; birding sites, I am learning, almost completely lack in restroom facilities. This aside, a second camera bag needs to be packed with drink of choice (coconut water) and perhaps some kind of stinky bait-like thing that might attract a bird to swoop in and might also attract bears. Once you’ve gotten started on wildlife photography, I can see, it becomes addictive.
This was my favorite bird of the weekend. It flew to this branch and posed, and then it stretched out one leg as if on a ballet barre. It then pulled the leg back in and bent it up to its body.
The following were taken around Crystal River: