Let’s take a walk . . .

It’s a rare moment when children can escape the rigors of a fast-paced work environment to be with their parents, when this happens it’s nothing less then a Victory!!  Especially when this means a Trek through the wilderness with zones of precision captured via a view finder.  And this is totally what we did!!  “Let’s take a walk” I said.

He knew he was in trouble when I stated:  “Humm last week there was a trail through these woods, the foliage must have grown over” He looks at me with the raised eyebrow like “Spock” from Star Trek and shares a thought; “In the days of old they would use machetes” I started chuckling as I fastened my lens hood on and off we went on a Trek towards the ocean.

Looking back at him he gives me that look like; “What the hell have I gotten into”,  which TOTALLY had me giggling as I had given him a camera to take his own pictures.  His response; “Mom, you know I don’t like taking pictures”. “Why?!” I retorted.

“Most photographers I have met are arrogant, pompous and rude” 

Now I was laughing like when my ex fell down the stairs in a cast (don’t ask)  and stat responded; “Well now is your opportunity to change all that Mr. Photographer” and ran up the trail. He captured the moment.

It wasn’t a long hike explaining to him this is what I do on my days off, explore areas just like this so to; “capture nature in action”.  My son knew this was my passion and respected my exuberance.  WOW what a concept!! However I almost peed myself taking the picture realizing he may have been wondering just what the heck he got into.

It was sheer joy sharing my romping ground with my son. After all his recent jaunt with nature was something to share! He definitely was initiated into the realm of communication He was recently charged by an alligator on a golf course!!

With permission I share his story; (in his very own words)

“so no one is going to believe this and I am ok with that. Between my apartment and nearest convenience store is a golf course. Seeing I was walking I decided to go through the course. On the way there, no problem peaceful lovely. On the way back however I encountered a rather large alligator. It screams its alligator scream at me and charges. An alligator screaming sounds like a car failing to start mixed with demons. As any brave man would do in this situation I jumped six feet in the air, and landed on its jaw, narrowly missing landing in its jaw. I then proceeded to punch it on the head about 5 times in 1 second. I guess that was fight over flight winning. Then I proceeded to run home looked back and the gator had the same idea it ran back into the water with a splash.”  “I will never cut through a golf course at night again.”

Well we cut through the woods and made it to the shore, it was breathtaking!

And he held a camera . . .

And well……what he captured took my breath away . . .
(achem…i helped him focus..that’s all)

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Yup we took a walk….

Choose your priorities and eliminate all distractions. -Hawk

 

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Viera Wetlands in the Treasure Coast

For those of you looking to see Florida Wildlife while driving in a car, this is the place for you! Just never know what you may see.

It’s great for the wheel chair bound or photographers with large lens, you can pull to the side and cautiously step out to get awesome shots of spectacular nature and of course being aware of your surroundings as this is alligator mating season.

You can drive these well kept dirt roads around the four shallow-water cells where it will be easy to spot the American Alligator, waterfowl and even an occasional Osprey, American Bald Eagle, Kingfiser’s, warblers, Great Blue Herons and the Crested Caraca’s! These are a few off the top of my head and spied today a frisky Otter and the American Bittern! It actually waded out in the open, a rare treat indeed! Oh and let’s not forget the dragonfly’s and butterfly’s!  One day while visiting a Great Bald Eagle visited and swooped down right in front of me and consumed a coot.

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A second group of ponds; locally known as the “Dan Click Ponds” can be accessed from a dirt road on the north side of Wickham Rd., across from the main entrance. Shorebirds may be seen here most of the year and the wintering ducks!

The only time we haven’t been able to gain access was after heavy rains so be sure to call ahead of time.  321 255 4488   It’s about a 2 hr drive from Palm Beach International Airport. Off I95 North bound to Viera Exit, head West staying on Wickham road and you’ll end right at these wetlands.

Recently met up with Wildlife Photographer Ron Bielefeld and what did he have me do? Instead of driving we walked around the reserve. He with his 600 mm and without a strap!!  He had me sit down on water low taking pics of the ducks and Great Blue Herons. On his vest he had a built in ready made seat!! Yes my butt got wet, however learning the ropes from this 35 y/o National Geographic veteran. He was so patient and as he was sharing his knowledge didn’t an otter pop up out of the water with a snake in his mouth!!

When the pupil is ready the Master is at hand”  Mabel Collins 

Learned great tips this day. When Ron asked me what my goal was he kind of snickered looked down and made two swipes with his boot in the sand.  He probably has heard my answer from many of his students. He looked at me the sun bright in his face and his right eye half closed.  “I like your enthusiasm”  his response, he paused and then patiently laid the groundwork for excellence.  Below is one of my photographs he thought was a “workable RAW”   It brought a private sting to my nose and tear to my eye, seeing he chose my favorite of all favorites; the Great Blue Heron.

So now it’s your time to get out and visit nature, just never know who you will meet and greet!! If you venture to Viera, you won’t be disappointed.

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Wabasso Beach and Her Visitors

It was a brisk Friday morning, had off work and was determined to make the best of it which of course meant VISIT NATURE! Where else can one go to clear their head and heart?


Working in the health field is challenging. Every day you come face to face with patients fighting for understanding, struggling for homeostasis. Sometimes your co workers are fighting the same battle. Life is tough enough without having the burden of someone else’s judgement. Understanding is key and we need to set our mind and heart on the beauty deep within. Yes it was time to take a Trek to the Sea, you just never know what you will see or how the wind will move across that vast body of water. And this day it would just be me, the lifeguard and of course “her”

My nose and earlobes were cold which made me smile. Haven’t felt my cheeks taught like this since brisk fall days spent in New England, minus the salty air smell. Wasn’t near an ocean in Connecticut, had to rely on the white noise devices.  Recently heard of a form of light therapy for depression as patients shed their prescriptions and become healed with ambient LIGHT!

“Let your light shine before others”.  Matthew 5  

Wouldn’t it be great to have you hit by the effervescent love, overwhelming joy, compassion, hope and care from your boss, co workers, family and partner?!!   No wonder people go home and pour themselves a “stiff one” or desire a “stiff one”; fact is they fear of becoming a “stiff one” and sadly the dead do walk among us.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”  Gandhi

Every day caution flags are hung, today there would be multiple warnings.

Belong to this amazing group on Facebook called NATURAL FLORIDA.  A bunch of like minded photographer’s came together and formed what I think is one of the best groups on Facebook today. Sharing and educating each other through art forms, prose, writing and photography, we gather insight. Even have weekend assignments and actually one of the main reasons visiting the ocean this day, we were to capture “GULLS” in nature. However as I scanned the beach not one bird in sight but then I saw this “brown spec” it was an OSPREY! Oh he was so brave plunging into those wild waves and what keen eyesight! He soared high in the sky and almost levitated , he hovered over a spot despite the strong winds.

Then plunging with his talons he grasped deep into those waters and emerged with something.

Oh definitely was stoked, remember holding my camera up to the sky yelling SCORE!!!  Knew I got the shot but was my exposure right, did I read the light meter correctly? Yes the joy was felt despite my fears. Soon after many birds visited this once barren shore and it continued when we visited the Inlet too! The diving Pelicans were so entertaining! As I uploaded the frames my joy was complete. There were some pretty amazing moments.

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Yes was revitalized this day and my heart felt thought!?!  To be as brave as these amazing creatures, diving head first into a roaring sea full of rip currents and sharks to emerge unscathed with sustenance for another day.

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Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge

Those who know me understand my passion for wildlife and “jaunts in nature”. Glorious day when the weather allows me to venture out to discover beauty all over again. Today would be no different and this trail was laden with all types of butterflies.

 

 

 

 

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Pelican Island, located in Florida’s Indian River, was the first unit of the USA’s National Wildlife Refuge System!!  And today was investigating once again a piece of history, preserved land where once other famed naturalists and ornithologists roamed.  Thanks to them the path has been made clear, secure, nature protected and grounds now solemn.

It’s documented as many as 60 roseate spoonbills were killed per day on Pelican Island during the early part of the century; the “Feather Wars”.  Wood Storks, Spoonbills, Ibis, Great White Egrets and Herons were all close to extinction. Why?  Sadly they were being killed for vanity, feathers for expensive hats.

And here  I was  walking where these poachers tread and some great hero’s who fought for the slaughter to stop. As I ventured down the trail saw a lone bird, looked like a juvenile Ibis or maybe it was a Limpkin, hard to tell without any binoculars. Already looked totally nerdy with one 35mm around my neck and my 500 mm balanced on my shoulder, yes I was armed to the max. Was able to snap a picture before he flew off, actually it’s as if he was leading the way!

So when I got to  “Joe’s Overlook” I said a prayer entering to what felt like Holy Ground and as I peered over to the left what did I see but a lone Roseate Spoonbill!

That bird was looking directly at me, sweet thing. And then a lifer, my very first reddish Egret flew in!! There they were together and I just held my breath and fired away! Yup and not for a feather in my hat!

Again, overwhelmed by the beauty of the moment tears escaped from my eyes. If it wasn’t for the mosquito’s I think I would have stayed a bit longer. Definitely long enough to get as many snapshots as I could.

Making my way back towards home, looking up saw another amazing discovery, SPIDERS who made their web way above a human head! Again was giving thanks and thinking how adaptable nature is, intelligent indeed! They were feasting on flying insects, also on the trail signs of other predators and remnants of life. So much to discover here.

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It wasn’t until I started putting this blog together I found out a local resident, Paul Kroegel, who cared about the pelicans on the island became the staunch protector and enlisted the support of noted ornithologists, such as Frank Chapman, who helped establish the Audubon Societies. At the urging of Mr. Kroegel, the Florida Audubon Society, and the American Ornithologists’ Union, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an Executive Order on March 14, 1903 that permanently set aside the three-acre island as a wildlife sanctuary; and made Pelican Island the first National Wildlife Refuge in the US!  You can imagine my astonishment as this refuge was just a few miles from my new residence.

Since then, the National Wildlife Refuge system has grown to become the world’s largest network of lands managed for wildlife with over 500 refuges totaling over 93 million acres.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
― George Gordon Byron

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An Osprey Message

Decided to venture out myself, as it had been awhile since I trekked the wilderness alone. Nature was revealing herself and the domain was Osprey; giving sight through the illusions. What keen vision, hovering above the waters they can see and wait before pouncing in the waters for their next meal. Knowing once he hits that water it will take great effort to lift up again. They also have special valves that keep water out of their nostrils when they dive for fish. Their feet are specially adapted for holding on to slippery fish. They have spiny footpads called spicules, long, sharp claws, and a toe that can be turned backward to keep fish from escaping. Eagles have these too.  It was an honor to witness and capture on film.

Combined with the observation of this Osprey feasting left me holding my breath with each press of the shutter. It’s then I realize this bird was flying right over my head and very tolerant of my presence. Hot tears streamed my face yet again. _MG_0329Powerful wing spread and majestic in flight.  Osprey is different than other hawks in important respects.  No other member of the hawk family leaves its natural element of the air (Consciousness) to enter the element of water (the Unconscious). Even fish eagles like the Bald Eagle do not enter the water, but clasp their fishy prey with their claws as they skim along the surface of the water.

Yes it’s an honor to share with you all my latest encounter

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Storms . . . reveal what is inside

Best made plans can be halted with the death of a loved one, blunt force trauma or maybe a lingering disease which eventually squelches all hope. Tossed by the sea of doubt you become hard of heart. Now you are among the walking dead. Deafened conscious you seek only to survive.

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, they will be saved.…  Matthew 24

for joanie

Oh I think about these things, today the external storm is Ebola. Supposedly dormant in a fruit bat in West Africa. Before this it was SARS in a bird and an Ape blamed for AIDS. REALLY? Has nothing to do with the fall of man’s integrity, nothing to do with greed, malice or envy? No it’s nature’s fault.

Father forgive them for they know not what they do . . .

I think of Jesus words before His death on a cross. Those words; “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”  Words spoken from the Immaculate Conception to Our Creator while hanging naked, nailed to a cross, mutilated beyond recognition.

When does the insanity stop?

Yes I think of the many who died long ago from a broken heart. The day their innocence was stolen. The ones they trusted abused them, parents kept a blind eye, after all compromise and avoiding confrontation was their legacy.

Fondled with lies, they felt alive and lived on

©  Rachel Warner Photo

© Rachel Warner Photo

Yes one must forgive themselves for choosing weapons of survival. Gossip, slander, hate, covetousness, adultery, addictions, drunkenness, atheism and….yes abortion.  Choices because the echo of truth within is deafening and it hurts to the core.  The thought of facing this truth alone is unbearable. So we falter, choices are impulsive or “rational”,  the electrical magic of the heart communicating with the brain is deadened, coherence lost and the desecration continues.  Caught in a shallow grave of a union,  you greet each day as an obligation seeking the draw of a new card; black lotus?  However you barely remember beauty, your mind is shutting down, as you believe the lie;

why think when others control your destiny?  

And the lie continues, you stay trapped, however a believer is praying for the eyes of your soul to open and the miracle trickles through!  The Lotus is reflected

A thing that is striking about the lotus is that although it often grows in mud, and returns within it at night, it always flowers clean the following day

do few things but do them well . . . heart felt love grows purely 

God still speaks today and has mercy on His defiled creation US! He has sent many AND His only begotten Son who paid the price and yet sin still abounds?! Father I Am not worthy to receive You but only the say the word and I SHALL BE HEALED 

This storm is you. Something inside of you. Generational seed . . .

Healed from all who have abused, healed from all abandonment, all neglect, all the lies, all the pomp and circumstances, as radical forgiveness radiates our bones, converts our DNA into the width the breath of love, if only we will believe! Father help our unbelief. Cast out all doubt, all fear, all anger and let us live and breathe Your truth once again, amen

will you forgive yourself this day? And live knowing “no weapon formed against you will prosper”  let the sleeper’s awaken

I hear the drums

the music in heaven

our ancestors rejoice

   the end of this age is near

And I saw what seemed to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had gained the victory over the Wild Beast and over his statue and the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass and having harps which belonged to God.  Rev 15:2

reconnect with our emotional sea and receive its sustenance

Lyrics by: Donovan

If you want your dream to be,
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings greater ends.
Heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free,
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well.
Simple joys are holy.
Day by day, stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day, you’ll grow, too,
You’ll know heaven’s glory.
YES It is time to live 
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Out Live Love on a Cloudy Day . . .

 “Out live love on a cloudy day…” Drove to the wetlands and the climate changed. Ahh yes those familiar clouds. Isn’t that so like life, overcast hearts, and what did this day teach me? OMGosh a grey sky can background an almost Audubon preface, especially when hungry Osprey’s decide to visit!

Ironically met some of my most favorite people that day, my sister Rachel and two other great photographers! Well we adjusted our cameras and shot away, nature did not let us down! Two lifer’s for me! Osprey catching prey and a Brown Thrasher!

all one has to do is adjust their vision

Never underestimate the “reason for the seasons” in your life.  The pain and sorrow one may cause you is an opportunity to open up the seed of faith in your heart! Let it transform you, let Grace overwhelm you!!

_MG_0214

Reflections of what was, fact is, if you still yourself you will see just what all that buzzing is about! I cracked up viewing the two dragonflies in the below picture, never saw them until the upload

Did capture this Cattle Egret dancing on the water and these dragonflies held their ground!

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So did this little Pied Billed Grebe! This cloudy day was delivering epic reflections.

Tri Color Heron wading nearby got lucky too

And then I hear the “HONK”, oh my day would not have been complete without the sighting of my favorite bird; Great Blue Heron. Out stretched wings he proclaims his territory with his unmistakable call. He lands with focus and his stance is royal. Listening it’s as if our Prehistoric ancestors are right beside us.

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And wouldn’t you know it, just when dusk was approaching, the sun came out. Yup sweet reflections while out living love on this cloudy day~

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