Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be a Hero...

  Baldrick’s Foundation

On May 8th, I am having my head shaved to raise funds for children's cancer research. My day job is in the field of biomedical research -- much of it pediatric cancer research. I work with, and spend time with these kids every week... Help them out... be a hero... donate what you can. I'll get credit for your donation at this link: CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

You will have my eternal gratitude -- and the knowledge that you have helped these incredible kids and their families through the gift of hope... Thanks! I promise to post pictures after the event...   Paul

Baldrick’s Foundation

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Finest Season

I have always found Spring to be the finest of all the seasons. Not that each does not have its own special charm and beauty, not to mention necessity. But Spring -- whether in the southern New York of my childhood, the northern Ohio of my early adult years, or the northeast Florida of my last 25 trips around the sun -- has forever been by favorite...

Green Eyes

Here in northeast Florida, where we are not in the middle of the tourist vision of Queen Palm trees, mouse ears, south beach glamour, and year-round 70 degree temperatures, Spring is the wildflower season. To many these are weeds to be kept from copy-cat mid-western style lawns of manufactured Flora-tam grass. To me they are amazements... signals and signs that nature will triumph every time, despite our best efforts to subdue her.

Lyre-Leaved Sage

This has been a particularly abundant year for Spring native wildflowers here in metro-Jacksonville. You have no doubt read about our pollen storm following an unusually cold winter of extended freezes here in the extra-tropical north of the Sunshine State. That's Nature's way of self-preservation... while the non-local immigrant-planted warmth-loving invasive flora were frost-burnt to the bone beyond the point of no return, the natives turned on their reproductive afterburners to assure their future survival in this world of climate changed seasonal weather patterns.


So last weekend we hiked the trail down at the Julington-Durbin Preserve, a thin stretch of protection on property that used to be part of a cypress swamp, logged out long ago, to photograph the spring crop of tiny, flowering native wonder. I used my 150mm macro lens in order to get up close and personal with the blossoms, some of which were no more and an eighth inch in diameter.

Southern Fleabane

What a fantastic time to on the hoof in the recovering, ever more rare, natural sand hills and wetlands of north Florida...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Link to more Rookery Photos...

I have posted 23 of my favorites from Friday's outing to the native bird rookery at the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm (note to the uninitiated... these are not captive birds, they arrive at this natural rookery every spring. The alligator population keeps the birds natural predators away).

The photos are on my website here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

St. Augustine Native Bird Rookery -- 2010 Visit 1

Took a friend from Ormond Beach, Florida on his first visit to the native bird rookery at the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm this morning. Dan is a major bird guy and budding photographer. I love the jaw-drop reaction of folks who have never walked into this amazing slice of nature before... already there are hundreds of birds pairing off and building nests... the great American Egret above, and the wood stork below... though so far there is only one hatchling (that I could find) -- a tiny egret.

The photographers were nearly a numerous as the roseate spoonbills (below), that I have never seen in such numbers in one place. I take this as a good sign for the north Florida ecology. Tourists were easily identifiable today by comments like: "I didn't know flamingos could fly..." when they saw the beautiful pink spoonies for the first time...

These are three quickly processed shots of more than 400 shot today. More to come plus a link to my website where the "good" ones will be posted... stand by.............