Monday, October 29, 2012

Smoky Mountains National Park

Last week I camped at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  I was joined by Steve Hinch and his new bride Edyta.  It was a perfect week with early morning temps about 40 and warming up to 70.  There was hardly a single cloud in the sky all week.  A big thank you to Edyta for serving up SMORES each night around the camp fire.  

Cades Cove has been preserved by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to look much the way it looked in the 1800's.  Once home to a small mountain community, whose settlers came from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, Cades Cove is today the largest open air museum in the entire Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Cades Cove is home to several pioneer homesteads, barns, pasture and farmland - a fitting tribute to the hearty people who lived here in the days of yesteryear.

The draw in late October is the fall foliage.  There is an eleven mile loop road through the Cove valley and during the fall season it can take two to three hours to travel the loop.  I've included a few pictures here from the trip.  To see more, please visit my web site at  

Cades Cove Fall Color

Carter Shields Cabin, Cades Cove

Little River, Tremont

Mountain Spring

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to share.


All images appearing on this site are the property of the photographer and are protected by US and international copyright laws.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Circle B Bar Reserve - Lakeland, FL

It has been a while since my last post after our trip to Yellowstone and Glacier.  I spent the time recovering from surgery and am feeling great and ready resume all my fun activities of photography, swimming and cycling.

This past week I visited Circle B for the first time since last spring.  There is not much happening yet but with the cooler temperatures and migrations starting up we should begin to see more activity soon.  With the nice rainfall in September there is plenty of water in the marshes.  Shortly after arriving I saw this Belted Kingfisher perched over the marsh.  I watched as he would dart off over the water and quickly dive for small fish, then return to his perch.  This shot was taken with Canon 7D, Canon 500mm + 1.4 extender at f/5.6 at 1/500 sec.

Belted Kingfisher

In the same area I spotted the following bird perched just taking in the new morning sun.  I wasn't sure what it was until I asked a friend to help with identification.  It is a female Red Winged Black Bird, as in most birds, so different from the male.

Red Winged Black Bird, female

I selected my last picture as my photo of the week.  We found this majestic Blue Heron along Alligator Alley.  The dense spanish moss made the perfect backdrop for him.

Blue Heron

It was great to be out with the camera again.  I will be headed to Smokey Mountain Nat'l Park next week in search of cool temperatures and fall colors.  As always thanks for visiting my blog.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier Nat'l Parks

We just returned from a month touring the national parks of Wyoming and Montana.  My last post was from my first week spent in the Tetons searching for moose.  My luck with moose continued to be good with several more sightings in the Tetons and also several in Yellowstone.  After a week,  Karen and friends, Ron & Iris Smith, arrived and we moved to Yellowstone for the next two weeks. This was the Smith's first trip out west so our goal was to see and experience as much as we could in two weeks and we certainly did.  We hiked nearly every day with several hikes that were new to me.  I believe we all agreed the three favorite hikes were Phelps Lake in the Tetons, Mount Washburn and Delacy Creek to Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone.  After two weeks the Smith's returned to Florida and we headed to Glacier Nat'l Park.  The first day was spent driving the Road to the Sun and showing Karen the park.  The next day we joined a ranger lead hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake.  The ranger talked all about the eatable and medicinal plants of the region.  As luck would have it, Huckleberries were ripe and ready for picking so we snacked on Huckleberries all during the hike.  After being gone for almost a month we decided it was time to return to Florida so cut our Glacier time short a few days and headed home.

Even with all the hiking I did find time for photography so would like to share a few of my favorite memories with you.

The first photo is from Schwabachers Landing along the Snake River.  The short drive down a rough dirt road is worth the trip for a wonderful view of the Tetons and their reflection in the still waters of the landing.

Schwabacher Landing, Teton Nat'l Park

I saw this bull moose several times along the Gros Ventre River.  There was also a cow with two calves which I imagine were his offspring.

Bull Moose

In Yellowstone's Hayden Valley things were getting excited with the bull Bison in"rut". During this time the males aggressively court the females and are focused on either intimidating other males or finding love with the bison ladies.  One of their strategies for impressing the females is to wallow in dusty areas know as a bison wallow.  The bull below maybe spent too much time in the wallow. You'll notice he has his selected lady close by.

Bull Bison with his lady close by

We found this juvenile moose just outside the east entrance of the park as we returned from a trip out to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum.

Juvenile Moose

We spotted this coyote several times in the Canyon area.


The rut season for elk was still a few weeks away.  This healthy bull elk was in the burn area of the Arnica Fire of 2009 near West Thumb.  His antlers were still in velvet but that will soon change.

Bull Elk

It was a great trip and I'm already thinking of returning to Yellowstone in 2013.  You will find more pictures at my website.  The opening slide show on the homepage is all from this trip.

Thanks for following my blog and feel free to pass it along to friends.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Moose in Grand Teton National Park

I arrived in Teton National Park last Wednesday and set up camp at Gros Ventre Campground along the Gros Ventre river.  I quickly heard about a large bull moose frequenting the river nearby.  That night he didn't show until 8:00 pm, much to dark for pictures but I decided to return each evening until I was able to photograph him.  He was a no show the next three evenings but was able to get pictures of several cows, one with two young calves.  Last night I arrived at 5:00 and there he was just across the river.

Bull Moose

The North American moose is the largest species in the deer family.  The moose is a herbivore and the average adult will consume 9770 calories to maintain their weight.  A large adult bull will stand 6.9 ft at the shoulder and weigh 1500 lbs.

Moose Cow

Moose Calf

Moose will mate beginning in September.  The gestation period is eight months and will normally have one calf but this calf has a twin. The young calf will stay with mom until near time for the next delivery.  The average lifespan is 15 to 25 years.

This was the only picture I could get where the twins were together.

Remember to click on the image to enlarge.  It is hard to find internet access here but will try to post again in about a week.

Thanks for visiting my blog, David

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ospreys at Circle B Bar Reserve

We visited Circle B this weekend and found one of our usual trails closed due to alligator nesting activity.  So we decided on the trail down to Lake Hancock where we took refuge on a pier to escape the mosquitos.  The pier is covered to provide shade from the sun and there was a nice breeze blowing off the lake.  At any time you could count at least 20 Osprey in the air over the lake searching for fish.  The Osprey is also known as the Fish Hawk, a very appropriate name.

Photos are best viewed from the blog site and can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Looking for lunch

The Catch!

Now to find a perch for lunch

That was good....

This will be the last post from Circle B for some time.  I leave this week to spend August in Yellowstone, Teton and Glacier National Parks.  I hope to post a weekly update while traveling.

Thanks for visiting, and feel free to share with friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reflections from Circle B Bar Reserve

I visited Circle B at sunrise Tuesday morning.  There wasn't much going on and most of the pelicans, spoonbills and storks were on the wrong side of the trail for the morning sunlight.  With little wind I did find several nice reflection shots to share with you.  Remember to "click" any picture to enlarge.

There are still some Black-bellied Whistling Ducks around the marsh.  This pair never moved while I was there.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

I've seen more Stilts this year than in years past.  I still have not been able to get one in flight but will keep trying.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-crowned Night-heron

This Great Blue Heron stood motionless for a long time.  This picture will be my Picture of the Week

Great Blue Heron

As always thanks for following my little blog and stop by my  website sometime.

Please visit my friend Steve Hinch's recent blog posting for some wonderful pictures of springtime babies in Yellowstone.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, FL

We visited Circle B at sunrise this morning to try to avoid the heat (94 here today).  We found a number of spoonbills still in the area but only a few remaining white pelicans.  Wood storks were everywhere but I've given up on trying to make one of them look attractive in a picture.  We did have a nice fly-by from one of the adult eagles and managed to capture several photos of him.  So here are some of todays best.

Roseate Spoonbill

Bald Eagle

Sand Hill Cranes

Please also visit my website.  These pictures can best be viewed from the actual blog site.  From there "click" on an image to enlarge.

If anyone would like to visit Circle B with us just contact me at    
Thanks for visiting.

All images appearing on this site are the property of the photographer and are protected by US and International copyright laws.