Spring has sprung with an explosion of color, like fireworks on the 4th of July!
I needed to get a good photo of a red shoulder hawk. I was at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management area a few weeks ago and I saw a nice one. The hawk was hunting in a location that would make it easy to get a good photo. So when I needed to get a red shoulder, I thought I would return to the TWMA. Hopefully my friend, the red shoulder hawk, would still be there. I knew it was a long shot; things rarely work out the way we want them to. I arrived at the Tosohatchee in the morning to take advantage of the morning light. I drove to the place where the he had been hunting on my previous trip. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen. I drove deeper into the TWMA to maybe find another hawk. I did see a kestrel, but he was too far away to get a good photo. I thought this may be a good time to go back and check on my red shoulder friend. I drove back to his hunting grounds and still no hawk. I still had lots of time, so I thought I would drive around and see what else I might find. I only got a few yards and I saw a pretty swallowtail butterfly on a thistle. I got out of the car and started to photograph the butterfly.
I took quite a few photos when I finally looked around me. There was not just the one butterfly; there were 15 – 20 of them on thistles all around me.
I was having fun with the butterflies when I heard my hawk calling close by. For the longest time I could only hear it calling to its mate. Then I saw it flying over the trees. The hawk was heading toward the area that I had seen him in before. I followed his flight through the trees. I was looking through the trees and I saw him. He landed in a dead tree. The tree that he landed on, although it was in plain sight, it was way too far away to get a good photo. We sat and watched each other for the longest time.
He looked at me and I looked at him. He must not have been totally looking at me. He jumped off of his tree and down to the ground, as if he found something to pounce on. I watched for the longest time, but I never saw him again that day. I failed on this trip to get my hawk photo, but just because you fail at your main objective, that doesn’t mean the whole trip needs to be a failure. Even though I wasn’t able to take any great photos, I still saw lots of cool things and had a great time in the field!
Back in October I was looking at a few of my favorite blogs and most of them had posted spectacular Autumn photos. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, the Autumn colors were spectacular! It was one of my favorite times of the year, not only for great photography, I just liked the Autumn. I have been living in Florida for 9 years now, so one of the things I have been missing was Autumn. So when I was looking at all of the beautiful Autumn images on the other blogs, I started thinking about Autumn and being in Florida. I have found if you know where and when to look, you will find little hints of Autumn here and there. You will not see the beautiful grandiose, colorful landscapes that you find in the north, but just little splashes of color scattered here and there. If you go looking for Autumn in Florida in October, you’re not going to find it. This year it started a bit early, we had an early cold snap and I think that may have triggered an earlier than normal Autumn. It seemed to get going in mid to late November. I have noticed in past years that it has been getting started in late November to early December and peaking around Christmas. I think because it starts so late and is not the bold statement that occurs in the north, most people overlook it. Also it gets spread out over a longer period of time. I took these photos just in the last week. So if you find yourself in Florida for Christmas, don’t think winter, think Autumn.