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!!


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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10 min Experimentation…give or take a few teardrops

Today is my Dad’s birthday. Oh I so miss him. He always made things “focus”,  so maybe this is why my eyesight is cloudy?  Time to pick up my camera and snap a few shots!

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland     

It’s a gorgeous day, blue blue sky, temp in the 70’s however so so sad inside. Anger is all around and silly precepts; how money should be spent, how one is to honor their parents, alive or dead. Everyone has an opinion, fact is, who asked you yours?

 “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
Francis of Assisi

Was thinking about these things while attempting to figure out my new camera. Nature was inviting and the view outstandingly gorgeous. Why did I need to capture these moments? Well to SHARE of course!! And then this lil yellow bird flew in. Sunshine in a tree, difficult to see as it blended with sheer sunlight! These moments were purifying. Allowing me to absorb their beauty, subconsciously it was cleansing me from negative thoughts.

Such loveliness and right in my backyard!  Of course I knew that, however powerful emotions can trap you sometimes. Yes, fine line, like sanity vs insanity, unless you choose to stay curiously and lovingly kind, you can find yourself playing ping pong with negative emotions. One must remember they have wings, the wings of choice and leave if they must for “higher ground”, healthy abodes for mind body and spirit!

Captured some amazing moments in nature. Refreshing indeed and as I felt the soft ground beneath my feet thought of that scripture about the seed planted in good soil, my prayer; let me be free from hardness of heart, let me discern the reason for the season and choose the most healthy path!  After all it is a delicate balance this thing called living.

See transcended light again and this time it’s more dragonfly’s and even a red one! Balancing my 500mm in one hand, burst mode on, it’s shooting time!  Love it when they come back to rest on the same spot!

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Zooming in I become transfixed with the glorious reflections of webbed red! He must be the Cardinal of his species :)

Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires,
Man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.— Alphonse de Lamertine, 1819

Eyesight is a gift, vision a blessing and loving ESSENTIAL!! So much pain in this world yet so much beauty all around us!  A dichotomy indeed. We are all living and gifted so differently, so desperately needing respect and freedom of flight.

Caracara Hawk, endangered species

Lifting my glass up to you my Father in Heaven, how I miss you. This world is still as crazy as ever, and a bit crazier with you not in it. Miss you Dad, help me understand…amen

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It has been pouring rain here so made the best of it. In this case my granddaughter made the best model! Watching her dance in the rain was refreshing.

No fear, aggrivation or annoyance, nope just pure JOY

photo by Elena Evans-Chumsky


photo by Elena Evans-Chumsky

photo by Elena Evans-Chumsky

May she always remember . . . the innocent days

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Paradise Within

What a rainy last few days, torrential downpour however thanks to technology one can glimpse radar and work with the weather.

We found this little spot couldn’t wait to explore, backed up the car and followed a trail. Yup the view was everything we expected . . . and even a lil bit more.  Our dogs led the way!

This remote beach was uninhabited and Freckles and Pickles loved the “free run”.  Places for fishing and dogs were diminishing however this moment was perfect. We let them run “wild”,  it was pure joy, for them and us!

We brought the plastic bags just in case nature called however that visitation didn’t surface, rather an untamed sea, frothy invigoration and a magnificent sunset.

As we took in the breathtaking view we gave thanks. Each day a gift and we hold the power to choose to welcome the dawn and witness it set.  Reflections of what is in our hearts~

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