A couple days ago I got a bug to go over to the GTM and get some landscape pictures. The weather was getting warmer (63F) and it was sunny to boot. I grabbed the wide angle and a telephoto lens, the tripod, the external mic for video (it was very windy), an extra battery and stuffed it all into a backpack. I jumped into the car and took off.
The GTM is just a 3/4 mile from our back door so you may ask “why didn’t you just walk?”. It’s one of those “you can’t get there from here”. We live on the west edge of a wide tidal marsh that abuts the ICW (intra-coastal waterway) which runs north-south which abuts a tidal marsh on the east which is part of the GTM. The only way to get to the GTM is to drive the long way around.
One of the great benefits of living on the marsh is the wide open views of the marsh and the many inhabitants. Egrets, herons, hawks, eagles, clapper rails (heard more than seen) and that’s just the feathered friends. We also have raccoons, armadillos, opossums, deer, and other critters. One of the seasonal birds we see is the white pelican. They congregate on a beach just south of our house. They are close enough that we can identify them but too far to count. Our estimate is between 75-150.
While driving to the GTM, I went by a boat ramp on Guana Lake. I slowed to check the water levels of the lake, part of the GTM. This is one of the places we like to kayak. The water level in the lake is controlled thru a dam and at times can be so low as to not be able to launch a kayak. What I saw surprised me. There were about 200 white pelicans! I did a U-turn and pulled into the boat ramp.
I jumped out and set up to get some pictures. The birds were not close but I could at least document my sighting for Linda. While I was setting up, the main group drifted with the wind farther south. A small group swam back and forth in front of me. While snapping pics I noticed what I thought was feeding behavior. I switched over to video mode to capture the action. It looked like they were just swimming back and forth with an open beak in the water. Every so often one of them raised their beak up and looked to be swallowing. (After reviewing the video at home that seems to be what they were doing)
Moving on I made my way to the main entrance to the GTM. I collected my gear and went on a hike. My goal was to walk to the ICW where I could get some open water and beach shots. One of the things both Linda and I need to improve is getting landscape pictures. While I was walking along the beach looking for some type of landscape, I came upon a little bird running back and forth along a mud bank. The bird did not seem to mind that I was there. I sat down on the wet low tide beach to swap out the wide angle lens to a telephoto. Just forget the landscape, get the bird shot!
On the way back I spent most of the walk off the trail looking for an eagle nest that is in the area. I was hoping to get to a spot to observe if there are any chicks in the nest. Finding the nest was a fail, but several days later I found I got a deer tick for my trouble. Linda made sure Dart’s tick medication was current since she is concerned I am bringing ticks to Dart, instead of the other way around.
Today, Linda took a test to be a licensed drone pilot and she passed. It looks like we have another major expenditure in the works. Now that she is licensed, there is no way to stop the acquisition of a drone. She already has the BEAKS Wildlife Sanctuary asking her to take pictures of their property once she is ready.