Sho’nuf…they done gone on another trip last week down to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. They got an early 0800 reservation and after finishing up the last of their raspberry danish for breakfast they headed out with Bubba Cups© of coffee in hand and cameras and such in the back seat.
Before getting into that though…I see that AOC and Tucker Carson are having *another* Twitter spat…or perhaps it’s just the latest round in their ongoing childishness, dunno. She tweeted that she was alone…he asked if that was a booty call and she said something idiotic and he said that she was just a rich little white girl and not a POC. Technically…he’s correct, Latino or Hispanic is an ethnicity and the race of those folks is actually caucasian so calling her a white girl is linguistically correct. However…they’re both acting like childish idiots and I really wish they would just shut up.
The other thing in the news is the whole hullabaloo about the supposedly classified documents that the former President took with him down to his fortress in Miami…and the progressives are demanding investigation into his mishandling of classified documents and violation of the Presidential Records Retention Act. While I really could care less about either…the President is by definition the ultimate original classification authority from what Neil recalls from many years in the classified defense and intel biz…and thus he can (and Presidents routinely do) just declare something to be declassified and thus no longer needing to be stored according to it’s now former classification level. It’s kinda of a crappy thing to do…but it is one of the things that the commander in chief has the authority to do. And while they were probably “Presidential Records”…unless they were the only existent copy of a particular record…which they are obviously not since there is at least a Powerpoint or Word or whatever file on the computer that produced them…then him taking them along with him doesn’t necessarily equate to violation of the act. In addition…there are so many loopholes and exceptions that various Presidents have instituted since the act was passed that it’s pretty common thing to do. In fact…according to an article I read on the issue yesterday President Obama actually redefined the rules during his term in office so that instead of the National Archives being the custodian of Presidential records as every previous Presidential Library has done that the records will remain under his control and not the government’s control…hence keeping any FOIA requests for his records and they’ve announced that only “legitimate historians that need to see them for a legitimate interest” will be allowed access…you can translate that to mean only people that he likes will be allowed access I guess.
Anyway…where was I?
Oh yeah…Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It’s normally 17 bucks a person to enter but we paid the annual fee back on 1/1 and that gives us unlimited entries plus a special web site for getting tickets at times that would be full for non members. They got stuck in a bunch of traffic on I-75 on the way south and again by a wreck once we headed east towards the sanctuary but eventually got there just a couple minutes after 0800. Quickly changing into hiking boots and strapping on all their camera gear they headed out. Due to COVID the boardwalk is still one way…you go clockwise around it…and typically the first half from your entering the boardwalk at 6 o’clock around to 12 o’clock is pretty sparse for wildlife while the second half runs along Lettuce Lake and back to the Visitor Center has water and more wildlife.
This time we actually saw a pair…well, we actually only saw the male as the female was sitting on the nest with her 6 or 8 day old eggs…but we heard both of them…Red Shouldered Hawks.
Heading into the pictures.
We ran into one of the Sanctuary docents about 1/4 mile into the boardwalk…we had been hearing the pair of hawks for a minute or two before getting to where he was and we spotted the nest off to the right side of the boardwalk.
Doesn’t look like it but mom’s in there…we could hear her. The ranger told us that the male had been sitting on a tree back a hundred yards or so towards the Visitor Center the past couple of days so Neil hot footed it back there and spotted him backlit.
There were a couple other photographers there as well so after they all took some shots Neil decided to walk back past him to get more pleasing lighting on the bird…he kept his head down and didn’t make eye contact so as not to spook him as he passed literally about 8 or 10 feet directly underneath before getting to the other side.
Connie meanwhile…spotted this Great Egret with mating plumage off to the left side and got some shots of it.
One Neil was on the other side he actually had to remove the long bird lens and go to his shorter 70-200mm zoom lens or else he would only have gotten the head of the male.
Connie eventually wandered back to where Neil was and asked what he was looking at…he just pointed over her head since she wad directly underneath it.
Then she continued a bit farther down the boardwalk and got another nice shot in the golden hour backlight.
We eventually got out of the sunny prairie like section and into the woods and swamp areas…which was nice because the temperature was climbing pretty rapidly.
Great Egret with breakfast…along with another couple of Great Egrets.
Connie was the only one in position to get this flight shot.
And a closer view of the hungry one.
Little Blue Heron…the more visible red neck is their version of mating plumage. It’s always red on the males but when not in breeding season it’s pretty hard to make out. This fellow was in deep tree interference and of the 15 or so frames they got between the two of them it’s the only one in focus…it flew off but shutter speeds were too slow and the branches too much for a decent shot of that.
Black Crowned Night Heron.
His mating plumage on the back of his head stood out in this shot.
This Great Egret flew up and landed on the railing…then left again. Nice flight sequence on this individual since it left in the better direction and a mix of Neil and Connie’s shots to get the whole thing.
This one asked for a head shot for his resume.
At our last rest stop Connie spotted this Green Anole.
Along with another mating plumage Great Egret.
Then just as we exited the swamp and got back out into the pine prairie area we spotted this juvenile White Ibis.
And with that our day was done so we headed home. We had a reservation at Rossini Trattoria Gastronomica up in Port Charlotte for dinner that night…and while expensive it was still cheaper than Rabia’s in Boston or the Renaissance Cafe up in Vienna where we used to live…and it was actually pretty darned excellent. Italian food that tasted like Italian Italian food back in the old country. Neil had Veal Scallopini and Connie had Mushroom Risotto with about a pound of butter in it after they split an appetizer of Beef Carpaccio. The bread was homemade and excellent and the wine was an excellent Italian vintage.
Yesterday we headed up to Englewood to the Elks Lodge there after the 1100 choir Mass for the Army of Hope picnic…that’s one of the Elks charities that benefits military families. We had lunch…talked to some friends from our lodge…and then headed home after a couple of hours…it’s an all day affair but we were tired so left earlier than the end.
Interesting things found on the net.