Spring 2018

It is Spring again! I was born in and lived in the Northern states for most of my life. I always heard how people ‘loved the change of seasons.’ I do not think I ever loved the frozen unpredictable winters in the North. Nevertheless, I have experienced the strange, but true, fact that there is no real difference in the seasons in Florida. It is perpetually summer. A little cooler and less humid at times, however, mostly shorts, tanks, and flip flop weather. The flowers do not die. I never saw this as a problem since I like summer, but we can never tell what season it is. Only the shortening of the days gives a hint of Winter. Nature knows the seasons though.

One time, several Springs ago, my mother and I were walking a path in a nearby refuge. All of the sudden, we came upon the most beautiful site I have ever seen! A couple of Sand Hill Cranes were strolling along the path with a little yellow baby walking between them. As we passed, we did our ‘baby’ talk to everyone as the birds let us continue on. I regret I did not have a camera with me. There have been so many times I have been without a camera. Manatees came along in rivers I was walking by or kayaking on, an eagle landed on Daytona Beach while I was within camera distance, otters played in a little river, armadillos rooted in leaves along a path at Blue Springs State Park, a Wood Crane, gopher turtles trucking down the road, and many other sites I only have the incredible memories locked into my brain to cherish, but, sad to report, no pictures on my Nikon camera.

One of the signs that it is Spring again is the presence of the babies. This Spring, I set out with a mission to locate and take pictures of a family of Sand Hill Cranes. I hoped to have the same good fortune to see a family walking along the path again, so, outfitted with walking shoes and my camera, my good friend and I went to see if we would spot a photogenic family. No luck. Discouraged, I concluded that I only saw beautiful sites if I did not have my camera.

Then, a day later, while driving on a busy two lane to my brother’s home, WHAT DO MY WONDERING EYES BEHOLD? Eight tiny legs- 4 tinier than their parents- were a mom and dad Sand Hill Crane with – not one- but two – babies!!!! Yes, I slammed on the breaks, pulled over, tried to back up- didn’t go well- got out of my truck with little regard for the potential danger from oncoming vehicles, and shuffled my way to the family- WITH my Nikon camera in hand. They saw me and walked the other direction. I could not believe it! I called them to tell them the picture would be better if they walked my way. They disregarded my pleas. Without shame, I continued to try to get them to pose. Then, a couple very nice ladies saw me and the birds. They wanted a coveted photo, so they pulled over, interfering with traffic behind them- but who cares when the perfect photo is at stake-and they were able to get a photo of the family coming their way. This family was not having any of it though. Didn’t they know how lovely they are and how precious a photo would be? They began to turn and come my way!! Excited, I began to focus my camera, but they didn’t want to be by me either, so they ducked into the woods that bordered the road. Being the photographer I am, I began to follow them to try to get a photo. Then, the dad positioned himself between me and the rest of the family. He gave a warning coo- sounds like a wood pecker pecking wood. I assured him I was a friend and just wanted a picture. He assured me he would be forced into action if I did not retreat.

I didn’t get my prized photo yet like the one in this blog, but it’s still Spring! and my hopes are still high that I can snap the best pictures of these lovely creatures. Wish me luck! Remember to always take your camera.

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