Thursday we got up and headed off about 0630 or so for the 50 mile trip up to the Venice Rookery…this is a National Audubon Society site with an island in a small lake that has a serious number of nesting Great Blue Herons on it. The island is only about 30 yards or so from shore so it’s pretty easy to get some nice shots…as you’ll see shortly.
Neil got too busy Thursday afternoon to get the pictures edited and posted before we headed off early Friday morning (left the house about 0500) for a 600 mile trip up to Atlanta GA for the funeral Mass for Connie’s brother Jerry. We got there about 1430 and had a short nap before heading over to the funeral home for the visitation about 1630. We missed a turn and ended up on a freeway ramp at rush hours…so had to go one exit and then double back. Finally got to the funeral home about 1715 and had a nice visit with Jerry’s wife Carol and son Ronnie. After the visitation we found an Irish Pub for a beer and dinner…the beer was good, the fried mushrooms were excellent and the bowls of French Onion Soup and Clam Chowder were mediocre at best. Still though…they got rid of our hunger and we went back to the hotel.
Saturday we had breakfast than went over to the Mass at St. Jude’s parish at 1000. Following the Mass there was a reception at the Parish Hall and we got back to the hotel about 1400. Connie was a bit down so we just sat around the rest of the afternoon then headed over to an Applebee’s close by for dinner and to watch the SEC Championship Game. We had a couple of pretty decent steaks and Sam Adams Winter Lager…the steaks were amazingly good considering it was Applebee’s.
Got up and on the road about 0800 this morning and drove through the rain for about 200 miles then it shifted to mostly cloudy and then mostly sunny for the past 300 miles or so home. Temp in Atlanta this morning was 45 but we were up to the mid 80s by the time we got home a little after 1700. We stopped at a Walmart right off the freeway up in Sarasota and picked up a pizza that we had for dinner.
Ok, enough of that sad stuff…let’s have some pictures from our trip last Thursday. Life goes on ya’ know.
First up, Great Blue Herons…two shots of mature birds sandwiched around a shot of a pair of juveniles. The latter are probably from last year’s mating season and are likely just hanging around their family group until they mature.
We then heard a bunch of squawking behind and to our left (away from the pond) and spotted a group of Sandhill Cranes coming in to feed in the grass field a couple hundred yards away. We hustled over there for some shots of them eating. Once the cranes left we went bak to the pond and spotted this mother and a pair of recently hatched chicks in the nest. We especially liked the Mohawk on the little guy.
A pair in some sort of mating ritual dance.
Another shot of the juvenile pair and a male still in breeding plumage.
We spotted this flock of ducks that we were not able to identify even after looking at Peterson’s.
And finally this Blue Jay with some breakfast in his beak.
After this we headed home since it was getting on towards 1000 and Connie still needed to get in a couple of hours of work before we packed for our trip to Atlanta. We were originally going to also go up to Myakka State Park again…but given the work and packing we had to do left that for another day. It’s supposed to be clear all this week so maybe we’ll head up there for a hike and some more birds.
We’re toying with a trip for next May…once we make a decision I’ll let ya’ll know what it is.