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On my walk today I saw…

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Friday 2 April 2010

On my walk today I saw…

At last sun and warmth has returned. I had to go out. So I took a walk around a small pond which feeds into the main lake here and I remembered my camera.

Round the Pond

We have had lots of rain and the water levels are high. Tiny fish and a million tadpoles have made a temporary home of  submerged grass and dollarweed. (Tadpole bottom right)


Lovely shells of the fresh water apple snails are washed up. jpg 

The grackles are grackling… as only grackles can.

The redwing blackbirds are for once letting me actually get a picture of their red flashed wings, but when I try to get one in flight….. I get this .. 
redwing bbd sm   redwing feet

Coots and moorhens are dabbling, the big stately wood stork circled overhead before coming to join an egret for some fishing.

woodstork 4 woodstork 3

On one of the nest platforms by the big lake an osprey has settled with a fish in its talons.
osprey sm

On another, two cormorants are surveying their domain.

corms sm

There is a beautiful spicebush swallowtail basking in the sun

clouded green

Also by the main lake today I see the bald eagles, which for me is a bit of a “wow!”.

They may be making a nest in one of these pines.  Two people I have spoken to recently said they had seen them tearing off branches and flying backwards and forward from the trees.

No 1 eagle….
bald e1 
and 5 trees down the path,  no 2 eagle…. bald 2

They are big birds, this is a long shot of the tree with no 2  sitting on the second to top tier of branches on the left.


I think its quite something to see a bald eagle right in the middle of Orlando.


More Bees!

Every living thing is enjoying the sun, including me and the bees!! 
Sorry .. you just can’t get away from the bees entirely. A few more wild flowers are struggling up now and there is a patch of this pretty little thing on the grass bank near the shoreline.

It is Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass  Sisyrinchium angustifolium, easily overlooked, but with the most beautiful flower structure and a lovely ultramarine blue  In the centre of each blossom is a small patch of yellow. The style, which is long, is tipped by a  three-cleft stigma. Little tiny bees laden with pollen, which I think are probably Halicitid bees of some kind,  land on the flower and at  first seem to feed on the pollen from the top of the stigma then climb right on top, balancing on the point and thereby transferring pollen to their legs. It is comical to watch they shake the flower vigorously, and look like spinning plates on sticks.


I may send a photo up to Buglife for an identification, but they are probably not good enough quality. Shame I can’t draw one of these for the exhibition. Maybe my next exhibition will be USA bees..

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Anonymous Belle said...

Wow, so many great finds. Personally not a fan of tadpole, but the birds are simply lovely. I spotted three blue jays this morning.

3 April 2010 at 03:19  
Blogger Lisa said...

Lovely photos! It looks like the cormorants are in their breeding plumage, which look like shaggy old-man eyebrows.

I really love cormorants:

3 April 2010 at 17:44  
Blogger kimbiosis said...

lovely commentary, thanks for posting.
" It is comical to watch they shake the flower vigorously, and look like spinning plates on sticks."...
would be great as a pencil sketch, room for instanaity of expression, i think you are quite right to include this in your forthcoming exhibition at Lumen. Popped by there today whilst walking my dog, there s a lovely, peaceful park called st Georges Park, just at the back of Lumen, with curvy paths and vintage stones of the forever rested. i also noticed that the spring woodchip mulch in all the parks and squares of Bloomsbury, have the most earthy sweet aroma, perhaps you will notice it when you arrive, it s everywhere.
have a rainbow week dear lady

3 April 2010 at 18:01  
Blogger Esther Montgomery said...

I think the butterfly ought to be my favourite but, way out ahead, is the picture of the red wing blackbird in flight. (Though the cormorants come close.)

As nature walks go . . . yours was pretty spectacular.


3 April 2010 at 18:05  
Blogger Helen said...

Val, A wonderful walk in the woods with you. Love those bald eagles. Have only ever seen one or two myself -- what a treat to have a potential nesting couple nearby.

3 April 2010 at 19:33  
Blogger Lona said...

What a lot of beautiful finds on your walk. The Osprey with the fish and the eagles are so wonderful.The bees on the blooms are such pretty shots.

3 April 2010 at 22:15  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, NICE job catching the redwing blackbird. They're at our feeders daily, yet they're so hard to get photos of. Funny, the blue eyed grass won't be blooming here for several months yet. Cute bee snuggling them, though.

4 April 2010 at 00:42  
Blogger sharp green pencil said...

Hi to you all and a belated Happy Easter. I was so absorbed in work this year that it took me by surprise.I always hesitate to put my own photos on the blog as my basic camera struggles with both cloeup and distance..but it was such fn

Belle.. thank you!, but how could you not like tadpoles! :)..or are you not much for frogs either?

Lisa and Rob.. thank you.. me too. They are a real favourite bird. I have a particular reason because many years ago there was a a strange little cartoon on the TV in the UK with a cormorant as a main character.., but they are also very beautiful!

Kim How wonderful. I will seek the park out. Its really my favourite part of London!I stay for a couple of night every time I go to the UK Thank you so much for the info.

Esther: Well that was an exceptional day! especially seeing the eagles. We are only 2 miles form the main airport here in Orlando too. the feet of the redwing is probably my favourite too! I am not quite sure why either.. because there is a story there I think!

Helen: Yes I was amazed to see the eagles. I always associate eagles with mountains.. of which there are precisely none at all here.. not even a hill!

HHG: Thanks so much. In England it is rare to see an Osprey.. here they are 10 a penny.. but always wonderful to see them

Jodi: How fascinating.. they have just made an appearance here. I had to look them up because I dont think we have them in the UK.. certainly not one of our spring flowers. the bees were very comical. they are so intent on their work they don't notice you.

5 April 2010 at 11:46  
Anonymous John S. Ascher said...

The bee visiting Sisyrinchium angustifolium is a Lasioglossum female

14 April 2010 at 15:57  
Blogger sharp green pencil said...

John thanks so much. I am amazed you could tell what it was from my photos. I know you are an expert and thanks for taking the time to let me know.

15 April 2010 at 12:08  

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