Thursday, January 27, 2011

End Of Days

I'm pretty sure my cat is dying. She had a cold back before Christmas. She'd sneeze every once in a while, and slowed down on her eating a lot. A few days into her being sick, I got sick, too, so we were sick together. I got better, but she didn't. She finally stopped sneezing, and I waited for her appetite to pick back up. It never did. She quit eating her dry food completely, but she would still take a soft treat. So I got her some wet food, which she ate for a while, but then ate less and less until all she would do was lick off the gravy. Then she quit doing even that. She's drinking, but not very much. I finally took her to the vet earlier this week, and he thinks it could be a number of things, liver, kidneys, thyroid, cancer, etc. But the tests didn't come back and show anything definitive. She's lost almost half her body weight so far, and tonight I realized that she's gone deaf. She used to meet me at the door when I got home in the evenings, but lately she's not noticed I was home until she could see me. I finally realized that tonight when I actually had to touch her before she realized I was home. I tried to get a response out of her with a loud clap or a yell, but she didn't notice. I suspect all of these things add up to something terribly wrong. I've had her for about ten years now, and she was a stray before I got her, so I don't know how old she is. It could just be her time to go. I've recently seen her sitting there, looking at an empty wall, paying no attention to anything, looking completely in the wrong direction. That's out of character for someone who makes sure to lay down in the spot most likely to be underfoot. I'm not going to spend a fortune at the vet to extend her life for another short period of time. We'll see what he says tomorrow, and then it may be time to let her live out her last few days in peace.  She's still got a lot of spunk in her for someone who hasn't eaten much in a while, though.  I learned that when I tried to get a syringe of vitamins down her throat.  So she may stick around for a while yet. I'll let you know what happens.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Circle B Bar Eagles

Before I quit posting for the night and hit the hay, here are a couple of bald eagles at the Circle B Bar Preserve in Lakeland. They have at least two eagles nests there, and somehow I got shots of eagles flying out of both nests in the same day. Trust me, I didn't flush 'em, I was way too far away. They just happened to take off while I had the camera on them. You can't actually see the nest of the one above, I cropped it out of the picture so you could see the eagle a little better. I was much farther away from that one when I took the picture. The one below I at first mistook for an osprey, but that impression didn't take long to correct once I trained my lens on him. Then all of a sudden he took to the sky and left no doubt that he was something a lot bigger and badder than any old osprey.

Fine Feathered Friend

I saw something flying by during my recent trip to Circle B Bar Preserve in Lakeland. It was too fast and too far away for me to tell what it was, but I was able to train the camera on it and hold down the button. It wasn't until I got the photos home and out of the camera, then do some enhancement that I realized it was an owl! Click on the shot above to see a larger version and you'll see an eye that leaves no doubt in my mind. I can't tell you what kind of owl for sure, but it's an owl. He's also got a twig or a piece of string stuck in his tail. Perhaps that's why he was flying around during the day, trying to shake it off because it was keeping him awake worrying about it. Or maybe not...

Not A Bird

Perhaps you're tired of the bird pictures tonight. If so, then here's a fellow that's most certainly not a bird. I spotted this 6-7' alligator out at Myakka River State Park this afternoon. He was one of three biggies sunning himself along the Powerline Trail. He was also the only one who was out in the open, so his are the only pictures I'm sharing with you. The others were bigger, but if I can't get a clear shot of them, what's the point?  The water level out there is really low, since it's the middle of the dry season around here.  Each of the three gators had staked out a deep hole that was no doubt his and only his.  I guess they just hope it lasts until the rains come.  I think I've read that they'll get down in the hole and wallow around to make it deeper and hold more water, but I don't know if that's true.  Sounds good, though.

Pair Of Kings

I sure do take a lot of bird pictures, don't I? Not sure why that is. (I blame Meredith, but you don't know who that is...) Anyhow, what you've got here are a couple of kingfishers. They're tiny and skittish, which makes them really hard to photograph, but I've gotten both these pictures in the past two weeks, so I figured they were worth sharing. The one above is from Robinson Preserve last weekend. There were several of them out there, but this is the one that let me get the closest. The one below I show today out at Myakka River State Park, and he was the second one I saw during the day. He seems to have a little more color to him. I need to do some research to see if maybe that's breeding plumage, or if the different coloration is a boy/girl thing. Or I could just not worry about it.


One of my favorite birds hereabouts is the roseate spoonbill. But they're pretty few and far between, so it's rare I get to shoot them. I was up at Cockroach Bay a couple of weeks ago, or at least the road that dead ends into Cockroach Bay, and I stopped to shoot some birds near a fence. They turned out to not be very interesting, but way out in the flooded fields were a few spoonbills, just chilling out. As I watched them, they decided to fly from one spot to another, one at a time. I shot and shot and shot, and I got this when the very last one finally joined the rest of the flock. They were pretty far away, so it's not the best shot, but I thought it was nice to get one of them with wings outstretched like this. Now if I could just get a similar picture where he's close enough to fill the frame...

A Better Bird

A year ago, I showed you a picture of one of these tiny yellow birds, but I didn't know what it was called. Thanks to a commenter, I can tell you it's a, oh, wait, he didn't identify this one, he identified one that I referenced in that old post. So I still don't know what this is. Anyhow, there were a bunch of these in the rushes at the Celery Fields today, so I was able to get a decent shot when one decided to hold still for a few seconds in some decent light. He only stayed put for about 5 seconds, but I was able to get a decent shot to share with you. Hopefully someone will leave a comment and tell us who this little guy is.

On The Wing

Here's a slightly better photo of some glossy ibis in the air than the one I showed you a couple of weeks ago. Granted, it's fewer birds, but it's in focus, and that's important. I think I need to practice my manual focus, but that comes right after I practice my manual exposure and my tracking ability. There's a lot required to take a picture, trust me. I shot this foursome out at the Celery Fields, some reclaimed farm land here in Sarasota that's renowned locally as a great bird habitat. I didn't think it was all that impressive compared to some of the places I've seen, but I guess because it's here in town, it's got a certain charm. More to come, if I don't get all lazy on you.