Red-shouldered hawk and the Sunset

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I dug this old pic up from 2005 from when I took my old Canon 10D and 400mm f5.6 to the Everglades to do some nature photography. The sun was setting after a very stormy afternoon and caught this red-shouldered hawk admiring the sunset as much as I was.

It truly is amazing how photographs can bring you back to a certain moment. It seems I forget more than remember these days, but seeing this and I am immediately back in my old Ford Explorer, wet, cold and sitting on the side of the road watching the sun set when I noticed this hawk sitting on this old wooden structure about a quarter mile up the road. I moved my Explorer up to get the shot, took this picture, and shared a beautiful sunset with a magnificent creature. Certainly not a bad memory to recall!

The Fiery Searcher

 

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Found this not-so-little guy hanging around my office today and he must have wanted his picture taken so I obliged. My first time seeing this caterpillar hunter, the fiery searcher (Calosoma scrutator). Name sounds like something from a J.R.R. Tolkien book! I think a book could be written about this….

 

The flower is only a part of its beauty

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One of the most exciting things about moving to new area is that you get to see and learn about your new locale. Food is always a fun and universal pleasure, but what about the plants? For me, that is the best part.

Making the two-hour drive back home from work can be quite tedious and I find myself looking for distractions, a reason to stop and take a picture or two. It was one of these drives that a small patch of white flowers on the side of the road caught my eye. Being pretty tired, I almost didn’t stop but the flowers looked like different. They stuck in my head for a few miles and I had to turn around to investigate. To my delight, they were a species I haven’t seen before and quite beautiful. I snapped a few photos excited by my new discovery and, being a plant geek, knew that the fun had just begun. What were they? How often do they bloom? Are they native or an escaped exotic?

It turns out this beautiful plant is one of Florida’s native rain-liles, Zephyranthes atamasca. This species reportedly flowers after a spring or summer rain. This lasts for a month or so before the flowering ceases altogether. Also, the bloom only lasts a short while, making it a good thing that I stopped when I did as subsequent visits have not found the rain lilies blooming as they did that day.

Its not always easy to break out of the day’s mundane, but sometimes taking a break to stop and smell, or photograph, the flowers leads to its own adventure. While finding the rain lily was a treat, leaning about the plant and its precious nature made it that much more beautiful.

 

Mojave eyes

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They all said this was the one to get me. This mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) was one of the snakes in my collection for the longest time and despite being an aggressive specimen, I kept this rattlesnake simply because of its character. As it thankfully turns out, this was not the one to get me.