Beyond the Backyard

An Unexpected Encounter

Posted on

Last Saturday I was photographing at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive when I had an interesting and unexpected encounter. I noticed a pair of Blue-winged Teal and thought how pretty they looked in the bright morning light. I knelt down, hand-holding the Beast, and followed them as they swam across the water. The male is especially pretty, so I was happy when he swam off on his own…

Blue-winged Teal Male

Then suddenly, he perked up and swam straight at me.

Teal with an Attitude!

Next thing I know, he had swum up to the female and climbed on her back. It didn’t look comfortable as he reached down and bit her neck with his beak.

Blue-winged Teal Courtship

“But it’s only January!!” I thought as the birds ensured the continuation of their species. It only lasted a couple of seconds, but the poor female was trapped under the water with the male biting at her the whole time.

Then as quickly as it started, the male swam off, and that was that!

I guess springtime is just around the corner! :)

Beyond the Backyard

Another Beautiful Sunset over Lake Apopka

Posted on

Last Friday I checked the Sunset Forecast website and saw red for the first time in months. Red, you see, is a prediction of a spectacular sunset. So I grabbed the camera and fought through traffic to get to my favorite sunset spot…yep, you guessed it, the Magnolia Park boat ramp!

Sunset over Lake Apopka
Sunset over Lake Apopka

The sky looked as if the clouds had been painted on. The strokes were broad and uneven. As the sun slipped below the horizon, the clouds lit up like they were on fire. I watched and marveled (and slapped at a few mosquitoes!)

It’s amazing to see the progression of color in the minutes just after sunset. I stitched together my favorite shots into a video to show the progression…

I think we were the last sunset-watchers to leave that evening. As we walked to the car, I turned around and said, “wait, just one more!” (Rich has heard that one before!) It’s not always possible to get this shot without a bunch of people in it…

Sunset Silhouette
Sunset Silhouette

A beautiful end to the day! :)