Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day Is For The Birds

After going to Sun-N-Fun Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I needed a break on Sunday. But instead of staying in all day, I went out to the Earth Day celebration at Oscar Scherer State Park down in Nokomis, Florida. It's a nice little park that runs alongside a brackish creek, and is always good for a few pictures. I stumbled across their Earth Day celebration last year, so I wanted to go again this year. I wasn't disappointed! Same as last year, they had a number of groups that brought out animals for show and tell, including these four birds. Above you have the most active of the critters, a red-tailed hawk named Elvis. I know I took plenty of pictures of him last year, and I took plenty more this year. He's mighty photogenic, don't you think?
Next up is a great horned owl. I don't know why this guy appeared so sleepy. Maybe he didn't want to be up and about during the middle of the day. He was also a repeat from last year.
New at the celebration this year was a group that had a mountain lion and this bald eagle. I couldn't get any pictures of the mountain lion, as he was napping the whole time, but I did get some great shots like this one of the bald eagle. You can't appreciate how big these birds are until you're standing five feet away, and you realize he could tear off pieces of your body if he wanted to. I believe this guy's name was Thunder.
Another rerun from last year is Aurora, an American Kestrel, one of my favorite members of the raptor family. I can't get decent pictures of these guys in the wild, so I have to depend on shows like this to see them up-close. They never brought him out into the sunlight, so I wasn't able to capture the delicate blue color of the feathers on his head. But you can at least get a good idea of his small stature compared to the glove on which he's perched.

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