The Oddest Little Baby Birds I’ve Ever Seen

March 23, 2014 at 11:17 am (Bird photography, Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Wildlife) (, , )

Common Gallinule newborn chick, Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach, Fl

Common Gallinule newborn chick, Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach, Fl

First off, I was fussed at by a snobby birder in the Everglades a few years ago when I called this bird a Common Gallinule, since by then the American Ornithological Union had changed the name to Common Moorhen.  See, I learned my birds 50 years ago, and I still have a Peterson’s Guide with  the original names.  However, in 2011 the AOU changed the name back, to distinguish it from its European relative.  So there, Miss Snobby Bird Lady.

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Wearin’ o’ the Green

March 17, 2014 at 5:51 am (fine art photography, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography) (, , )

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Green is the color of the day (sure and begorrah!) and here are some views of the new greenery coming up at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.  Featured:  Virginia chain fern and white water lily pad.  I think there was a leprechaun in the pitcher plants, too.

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Santa Claus, Georgia

March 16, 2014 at 6:00 am (Uncategorized)

Me in Santa Claus, Georgia

Me in Santa Claus, Georgia

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, Georgia.  (How many articles about this teensy weensy town start like that?)

While on my way to visit a friend in Swainsboro, GA with another friend (all of us worked at Okefenokee NWR) I simply HAD to see if the little town of Santa Claus shown on Google Maps was really there, or if somebody at Google was playing a joke.  Well, it was there alright.  But if we had blinked, well, you know…

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Only 165 residents were recorded in the 2010 census.  This hamlet was carved out of 60 acres of Calvin Greene’s pecan farm in the 1930s.  He thought it was a sure-fire way to lure people to his farm on U.S. Route 1 near Vidalia – a major thoroughfare before the interstate system was put in.

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City Hall at … wait for it… 25 December Drive.

The town was incorporated in 1941 – on the eve of U.S. involvement in World War II – and farmer Greene served as the town’s first mayor.

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The town has no post office, but letters put into this mailbox will receive a non-official Christmas-themed postmark before being forwarded to the Lyons post office for proper cancellation.  I swear if I had known about this I would have dropped all my Christmas cards into this mailbox this past year.  How cool is that?

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The streets have Christmas-y names, but despite the jolly idea, the town has a sordid blemish on its history.  In 1997, three weeks before Christmas, four members of a family were murdered in their beds by a disturbed young man they had befriended.

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I’m not sure where I’ll be living this December, but you can bet I’ll see if there’s some little Christmas-named town where I can mail my holiday cards.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Cool Camellias

March 15, 2014 at 7:57 am (Uncategorized)

Camellia in the rain

Camellia in the rain

Although camellias came from Asia, they are a staple of the South in this country.  They are among the earliest blooming shrubs in late winter, but I have rarely seen any as perfect as those in my friend’s yard in Swainsboro, Georgia this week.

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Usually camellia flowers I’ve seen are in various stages of decay.  These trees flaunted the most perfect flowers.

Well-pruned camellia bush

Well-pruned camellia bush

The morning’s drizzle and soft light showed off this well-pruned bush to advantage, with its skirt of fallen petals neatly arrayed underneath.

Fallen petals

Fallen petals

A mosaic of petals. I am now a fan of camellias.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Okefenokee Tapestry

March 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm (fine art photography, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography) (, )

Sunset at the first shelter

Sunset at the first shelter

Even though I don’t work there anymore, I am able to stay after hours at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge because of my friend Marilyn who volunteers there.  She loves recording nature’s beauty with a camera, too, and even if we don’t plan a trip on the boardwalk together at sunset, we sometimes encounter each other there.  Here she is with a Houston friend who went paddling with her this week.

Water reflections

Water reflections

Photography helps us focus attention on things often overlooked.  I, for one, dilly-dally, looking high and low for some interesting treasure.  Abstractions and semi-abstractions often catch my attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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Not-so-Mellow Yellow

March 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildflowers) (, , , )

Yellow Butterwort

Yellow Butterwort

There are several yellow-flowered plants in and around the Okefenokee swamp that don’t quite act like you’d expect a plant to act.  The yellow butterwort, like its relatives the dwarf and purple butterwort, eats BUGS!

Yellow butterwort leaves

Yellow butterwort leaves

The flower itself is not the carnivorous part.  Instead it is the whorl of leaves at the base, often covered in dead pine needles or other vegetation.  If you look very closely, you will see little beads of sticky sap that both entice and snare ants and other small denizens of the ground.  The leaf’s enzymes will digest these little mites to extract minerals that are absent from the boggy soil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Funny Duck with the Blue Bill

March 8, 2014 at 11:53 am (Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Wildlife, Zoos) (, , )

Male Ruddy Duck

Male Ruddy Duck

The ruddy duck is a somewhat comical-looking bird, albeit a very handsome one.  The big blue bill of the male in breeding finery doesn’t match the ruddy body feathers.  Even the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website calls breeding males “cartoonishly bold.”

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This photograph doesn’t show the long stiff tail held at a 45 degree angle which helps identify this bird from a distance. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feather Abstract

March 6, 2014 at 6:13 am (Birds- Florida, Great Florida Birding Trail, Nature, Photography) (, )

Blue-winged teal feathers

Blue-winged teal feathers

Sometimes just a part of a bird deserves special emphasis.  This closeup of the wing of a preening blue-winged teal is a gorgeous array of color and texture.

Male blue-winged teal

Male blue-winged teal

Of course, the bird itself is a work of wonder.  From Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, Florida.

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Me and the Manatees

March 5, 2014 at 8:16 am (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Wildlife) (, )

Here’s one last video of my swim with the manatees.  This one is an edited version that was done by Bird’s Underwater Dive Shop in Crystal River, Florida.  I am the one with the red Nikon CoolPix, which made the previous two videos and photographs underwater.  It’s nice to be IN the picture for a change!

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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February’s End in the Okefenokee Swamp

March 1, 2014 at 9:08 am (Georgia, Great Florida Birding Trail, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography)

Red swamp maple Swamp Island Drive

Red swamp maple Swamp Island Drive

A gorgeous way to end the month of February in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.   The red maple’s winged seeds in spring are just as pretty as their leaves are in fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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