Bald Eagle Nest

Painful Memories

Our Shuttle Landing Facility side trip brought us twice by one of the five Bald Eagle nests around Kennedy Space Center. The entire Center land is part of the National Wildlife Refuge of Merrit Island. Rockets and wildlife coexist very well, in fact the Shuttle Landing Facility is also known as the Gator Tanning Facility. The reptiles crawl up from the canals surrounding the landing strip on all four sides to bask on the smooth concrete.

First Turn

The nest tree is on the median of a divided highwayt. Driving into the Landing Facility the nest tree was to the east, brightly lit by the morning sun.

Click Any Image for a larger viewe

Second Turn

On the return trip the nest was backlit. Look closely: the head of an eaglet (?) is just visible above the nest rim.

The parent eagle is silhouetted in the tree branches.

Sources of information for this post: I used information from the Wikipedia site for the key words “STS-107.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.

Birds Around the Weigela

an exceptional bloom for our backyard wonder

Sad to say, today, Sunday June 12th, the flowering bush is spent, the blooms withered and falling. Pam took time to document some visitors while the Weigela was in its glory. This is a sample of the species we enjoy while washing the dishes.

These photographs were taken by Pam through our windows with her Iphone 8 plus.

Here is a series of informative signs from Cass Park, just down the hill on the Cayuga Lake Inlet. Pictured are resident birds, most of them visited our backyard feeder.

Click me to find background information on our Weigela bush.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Iridescent Plumage

shiver me timbers

The third of my postings about the peafowl of Cape Canaveral…..we had our most intimate interactions on a Oak Lane, a small unpaved road off a Circle K (roadside convenience store). At one point a peacock approached Pam on the open windowed passenger side and almost pecked her.

The iridescent coloration is an illusion created by the structure of fine feather elements, called barbules. The impression on peahens varies with viewing angle, between 90 (head on) and 45 degrees to either side. The peacock will shiver his train when faced with a favored peahen. 

Click me for the first post of this series, “Male and Female Peafowl.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Train of the Male Peafowl

And some history about the “Peacock Neighborhood” of Cape Canaveral

February is Peafowl mating season and for Cape Canaveral the displays were especially fine. These were captured on a photography expedition via automobile, being especially fortunate in observing peacocks (male peafowl) on high perches oriented perfectly to display the magnificent train (trail).

Here is some information on Reddit from “Mr_mayhem77 “According to locals, the Eberwein family lived between Port Canaveral and what is now the Villages of Seaport. In fact a street is actually named after them (Eberwein Drive) at the northern edge of Cape Canaveral. They had the peafowl among many farm animals. The family moved in 1986 and abandoned the peafowls. Over the years the peafowl have slowly populated our community with the greatest concentration being north of Central Ave.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Male and Female Peafowl

Peacock Neighborhood, Cape Canaveral I

On a day February 2022 Pam and I decided to walk the beach starting from Cheri Down Park, Ridgewood Avenue, Cape Canaveral headed north toward Jetty Park hoping to catch a postponed rocket launch rescheduled for that afternoon. We were encouraged to find video news crew positioned near the park entrance as these professionals were in the know for the best spots to watch the spectacle.

We walked a mile or so, more than halfway to Jetty Park, when the word circulated the rocket launch was cancelled. Rather than turn around, we decided to explore the walkway that opens on “Peacock Beach” as Google Map listed a public parking space there, quite a bit closer to Jetty Park. This park charges a hefty entrance fee to non-residents, so we were parking at Cheri Down, we saved $10 for each mile walked.

Having leisure, we decided to walk back to Cheri Down the long way. In what turned out to be a 1.7 mile stroll we encountered these residents for which the beach is named. Then and there Pam and I decided to return for a dedicated photography expedition, the results of which I will share over several posts.

Click Me for the next post of this series, “Train of the Male Peafowl”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Day in a Life

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau

Images saved from this winter day of beachcombing and exploring around Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, Florida

Sunrise

The Day Taking Shape

Beach Wandering

Kite Boarding

Beauty in Motion I

Beauty in Motion 2

Beauty in Motion 3

Manatee Park Wildlife

Biplane

I saved this to share with the grandchildren

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve

first look

On September 14, 2013, the Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve was dedicated protecting 48 acrea of open meadow, transitional meadow, mixed hardwood forest, a special environmental protection zone and the Finger Lakes Trail.  Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve, and all land as far as the eye can see from there, was part of the Military Tract of Central New York, 28 townships given classical Greek and Roman names, each township 100 lots of 600 acres each, approved by the U.S. Congress 1799.  Here, the township was Ulysses, encompassing the southern end of Cayuga Lake and surrounding lands.  Thus, the city of Ithaca and Hector Street winding up from the valley passing below our home.

This land and several other military tracts were purchased by Samuel Harvey.  He then gave he lands to his sons including this farm to Silas Harvey, the great-great-great-great grandfather of Megan Barber who led the dedication ceremony of the forest preserve.  Megan’s great-grandmother Martha Harvey married Fred Bock and lived on this land used for dairy farming for over 150 years. 

The preserve exceeded my expectations for great upland views.

View from Shelter across the valley of Enfield Creek, the same that flows over Lucifer Falls of Treman State Park

Brock-Click me for another Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve post, “Burgeoning Forest.”

References

The background on the land was taken from a posting on the preserve and from Wikipedia, “Military Tract of Central New York.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Willets Feeding As Group

Ocean Bounty Brings Solitary Birds Together

Walking mornings along the beach I encounter, one after the other, solitary sandpipers, called Willets. Before encountering this group, I noticed massed Black Skimmers feeding in the surf and, on the beach, a single, tiny (1/8th of an inch) fish that I scooped up and returned to the surf. My surmise is these several days around the full moon, fish were being birthed and swarming to provide a bounty that brough these solitary Willets together.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary

Brevard County Park on Merrit Island

Ulumay is the name of the Native American settlement of the Ais people decimated by disease after the arrival of Europeans. The park is a natural lagoon and bird rookery linked with canals created for mosquito control and surrounded by a manmade dike. A trail on the dike provides access to the waterways for the fisherman, birdwatchers, and paddlers.

This informative placard, placed at the entrance. Note the 600 park acres is surrounded by residential properties.

I left Pam at the entrance, seen below at the words “Ulumay Wildlife”; she had a reasonable concern about alligators. It is quite possible to find a large specimen blocking the one and only trail. “What? Me Worry?” When pursued by an alligator, remember to zig-zag.

“Flora and Fauna”

Waterways, sightings

Second Stand

Third Stand

No sightings of alligators or manatees.

Summer Walk

Experience a hike around Taughannock Gorge on a summer morning with thunderstorms threatening

Constant winds from thunderstorm updrafts, I brought along an umbrella just in case.

Click photograph for slide show. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click the “Watch on YouTube” for a larger format view and more information about each video.

Taughannock Falls Gorge on a humid summer morning
Hemlock Forest on South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls Gorge from South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls from South Rim trail
View of Taughannock Falls Gorge from the North Rim trail on a humid summer (July) morning. Turkey Vultures circle overhead…they are there most summer days.
View of the first waterfall of Taughannock Gorge from the railroad bridge linking the North and South Rim trails on a humid summer (July) morning. This large waterfall empties to the gorge above the 210+ foot Taughannock Falls.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills