Top 12 of 2012

December 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Creature Feature | Leave a comment
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Here we are. It’s New Years Eve, 2012 is coming to an end in a short 8 hours. This has been quite a year for me personally, filled with a lot of highs, some horrible lows, but without doubt a ton of pictures! So to honor my year behind the camera and my first year blogging I would like to share with you my favorite pictures – my top 12 of 2012!

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12. Newly Hatched Duckling

This spring, a friend and I were heading out early to go canoeing. We stopped at a nearby Dunkin Donuts to grab some much needed coffee. On our way out to the car we were stopped dead in our tracks by the adorableness of this newly hatched Muscovy Duckling. While not attractive as adults, baby Muscovy’s are simple precious and “Awwwww” worthy.

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11. Feeding Anhinga

Just a few months ago, while walking at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, we came across an Anhinga who had popped its head out of the water. We had seen some splashing and ripples in the water and knew it had been hunting. When is emerged from the water, it had a small fish speared on its beak. We watched as the bird shook its head around trying to get the fish off, laughing about its situation. I was taking pictures of it, mockingly saying “It looks like you have a little food on your face there…” as it managed to flip the fish into the air and eat it. The photo above, total accident! I love it when that happens!

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10. Mother of the Year

Speaking of accidental photos, this is one that I didn’t know what I had until I or home and really took a look. Last January I was with my family at Green Cay, it was a chilly day (for us here in Florida anyway) and it wasn’t a surprise to see Alligators up on banks summing themselves. Once I got home and was able to get a real look at my pictures I noticed I had captured something special – a mother alligator with her young. Alligators, as creepy as some people (not myself, for the record) may find them, are excellent mothers and super protective of their babies. This big girl was no exception, keeping her little ones close as other animals passed by.

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9. Old Fashioned Hand Washer

This summer, at around 18 months of age, my son was exploring with foods. And by exploring, I mean squishing the heck out of everything in his dish to get a full range of the textures he was about to eat. One of his favorite things to do this with was (and sadly, sometimes still is) fruit. Lucky for my, my dog Lani is always willing to lend a helping paw with clean up, including removing every last piece from his hands. Now if I could just get her to do the laundry.

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8. Coming In For A Landing

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Green Cay is one of my favorite hot spots for wildlife. Part of the reason I love Green Cay is that recently the Spoonbills have been pretty reliable, and I love those pretty pink birds and their goofy spoon shaped beaks. Unfortunately, due to only boardwalk access, it’s not always easy to get near these shy pinkies. One day this fall, however, a small group of us had quite the treat when a small flock of Spoonbills decided to wade our way. They spotted a group of other birds in a feeding frenzy and decided to come in for a closer look. This one bird in particular must have been hungry, he flew right past the others and landed about 10 feet from us.

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7. Ocean of Wonder

One of my favorite beaches in the world is Blind Pass Beach on Sanibel Island. I hadn’t been in years, so my family and I decided to take a trip over to the area in late spring. We were taking my sons pictures and walking the beach, picking through the endless piles of shells and admiring the beauty of the ocean near sunset, when we spotted something spray in the not so far distance. Before we knew it, a small pod of dolphins, including the mother and baby above, were yards off the beach and playing in the water. Even the pelican watched in amazement as we did at these beautiful creatures.

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6. Manatee Ahoy!

Also on the West Coast of Florida, we stopped in Manatee Park in Fort Myers during our visit at Thanksgiving to see what we could see. It had been chilly so we pretty much expected to see a few manatees there keeping warm. A few was an understatement. There was easily around a hundred preset this morning. Down by where the warm water fed out from the FPL power plant was a small group of manatees goofing around, wrestling and playing with each other, even breaking the surface and coming out of the water. They’re one of my favorite animals in the world, it was delightful to see them having so much fun.

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5. Bird is the Word

At one of our local parks, Peacocks have made themselves at home amongst the other farm animals. Typically shy thanks to rowdy children chasing them around, we were lucky on this quiet day to have this particular peacock put on a show. He flared up his feathers, fanned his tail, and shouted to anyone who was listening.

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4. Let Freedom Ring

Back on the West Coast of Florida, it was Thanksgiving Day and I had spent a good portion of the day kicking myself for missing the opportunity to take a photograph of the several Bald Eagles I had seen flying about while out driving. On the way home at nearly sunset I spotted a pair perched on a dead tree by a Dollar Tree in Cape Coral. Right as we pulled up, one took off, and this was right before the second was off and flying.

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3. The Manatees World

This picture is one of my favorites for so many reasons. Taken just last week, the memory of this day is still fresh in my head. This was from a trip to swim with the Manatees in the Crystal River. I was on a trip with almost my entire family, 12 of us were on the boat this day. In all the hecticness of the vacation itself, this beautiful mammal peacefully wading in Three Sisters Springs was a perfect reminder to slow down and enjoy what’s around you. This picture will forever remind me of how much I love manatees and how much fun I had with my out of control family.

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2. Under The Sea

Over the summer, I went with a friend and her sister to see our resident Sea Turtles that inhabit our local reef at Deerfield Beach. The reef was a mess and under a lot of sand thanks to hurricanes passing by. It took a while, but we finally found a section of reef full of beautiful fish. As we were taking pictures of the fish I could feel something looking at me. Mind you, it was Shark Week and I had just been watching it before meeting my friends at the beach. Go ahead and imagine how creepy that felt. As I turned to my right, there sat this adorable little Sea Turtle staring at us, giving us that “whatcha doin?” look. We then realized we had somehow wound up in the middle of a swarm of jellyfish. After we noticed we weren’t being stung, we cheered on this little guy as he swam among us and chowed down on the jellyfish.

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1. Patience

This particular photo is one of so many pictures I have of my son and Hoku. As my regular readers know, or those of you who can see the “Farewell Hoku” tab at the top (go ahead and check, it’s there) I lost my dear Hoku this year at 11.5 years old. It was an earth shattering loss, and I sit here more than 7 months later still heart broken. (I’m not gonna lie, I cried today over her.) While her absence is mourned every day, I was truly blessed to have had her in my life, and feel even more so blessed to have had her be a part of my sons life. Everything he knows about being kind to animals – kissing them, hugging them, cuddling them, petting them nicely, he learned at Hoku’s teachings. And even though he would occasionally get adventurous and try to taste her ear, pull on her tail, or pick her nose, she took it all like a trooper and loved him for it. This picture was taken back in February, it was just another day in the life of Hoku, being crawled al over like a jungle gym by the baby. Many times he would run up to her and just lay on her, sometimes he would feel the need to crawl across her, and she always had the Patience of a Saint. This is how I will always remember her, as the kind, loving soul she was every single day of her life, as my sons guardian, and as my best friend.

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