Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rare Visitors to Ocala

Today as Bill and I were heading to Sam's, I saw what I thought was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher out of the corner of my eye. Bill, being the great sport he is, turned around so we could get a better look. Sure enough, there he was! After a short shopping trip, we headed home for my camera and back we went for pictures.

Oddly, my sister Beth reported seeing one earlier at her winter home on Kure Beach in NC. Check her blog - maybe it's the same lost bird!! (

Not a great shot - but shows markings in flight.

With the rare Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was this equally unusual Kingbird. It looks like a Western Kingbird to me - but there are a couple of others that it might be. I see them all the time in Colorado, so it didn't register at first when I saw it here in Florida.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Finally, a new blog entry!

This is my beautiful new daughter Megan and adorable new grandsons Andrew and Riley. My son did good...

...and he knows it.

The wedding was wonderful and it was obvious they thought through every detail.

The setting was awesome and...

...the guests were even better. My sister, Beth and I posed with 5 of our 6 children. This is the first time the cousins were together in many years.

Meanwhile, the week leading up to the nuptials was spent at the beach. This picture was taken on Thanksgiving. John and Megan were busy washing dishes while Orlando, Pamela & I admired Zachary's fancy head ware

We decided grandson Zachary was the baby whisperer.

At the rehearsal, the Ruiz family rested long enough for Bill to get this great picture of daughter Pamela, her husband Orlando and 3 of my grandsons - Sebastian, Leandro and Gabriel.

Daughter Laura and wife Cheryl preparing the turkey.

Another shot of the girls.

Meanwhile back in Ocala, our new lanai is finally completed.

We love it.

My sewing area is my favorite part.

It's great having everything in one area. Before I had my cutting table and design wall in the guest room,  my sewing machine in the master and my ironing board in the garage.

I have plenty of room to host card games and Mah Jongg. Bill has his grill under the birdcage - so no more bugs!

Speaking of bugs, I can't get over how BIG the spiders are down here!

With the new windows, I can take better pictures from inside.

I've been using my new area. This is "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

More Backyard Creatures

Bright and early this morning - just after sunrise - the two coyotes crossed over our backyard again.

I was so excited to see and photograph the coyotes that I almost missed what was right in front of me!

This beautiful Coopers Hawk was sitting on the bird feeders about 15 feet from where I was standing (inside our partially completed lanai).

A Coopers Hawk has a slightly larger head than a Sharp-shined Hawk. I'm pretty sure this is a Coopers but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Next week is the big push to finish our construction. The windows arrive on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

There is a lot happening in our backyard!

Early this morning I looked out the back window and saw two coyotes walking quite near the house. Naturally, I ran for my camera!

They did not seem one bit fazed by my presence and just slowly walked over to the woods and disappeared.

Both animals looked to be healthy with a full, glossy coat of fur.

One last look back at the maintenance crew that stopped to watch.

Our friendly Fox Squirrel has been by almost everyday.

He very carefully checks the yard before crossing to the feeders. Since the Bobcat has been around - we haven't seen a grey squirrel.

Today our contractor added the birdcage over our patio and outdoor kitchen.

The birdcage connects to the new Florida room. Next week, the windows and doors will be installed.

This is the One-block Wonder I just completed. I just love this technique!

This is the back of the quilt showing the original fabric.

Once the new room is complete, I hope to move my sewing so everything will be in one room - but I heard Bill and the builder talking about support beams to hang airplanes. We might have to talk...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Snipe Hunting at Paynes Prairie

Today was rainy and overcast but Bill decided we should go ahead with a scheduled trip to Paynes Prairie anyway. I wasn't so sure but, once again, Bill knows best. We arrived just as the rain stopped and the birds came out. It wasn't the best light for pictures, but that didn't stop me!

All of the usual herons, egrets and ibises were in attendance including this Little Blue Heron.

Several Pied-billed Grebe swam among the alligators.

No Prairie blog would be complete without some Coots!

Bill was the first to spot the Wilson's Snipe.

He didn't seem to mind that I took lots of pictures.

I love that little bit of orange on his tail!

Fabulous coloring!!

He really blends in with his surroundings - much like the bitterns that we occasionally see here.

Take a close look at this Blue Heron's profile. There is a Green Heron in the background.

He looks like he still has his breeding feathers.

I always love the Belted Kingfishers! This one was especially beautiful and one of the few birds where the female has more color than the male.

Another regular - a Snowy Egret and, yes, that is an alligator in the background. We saw hundreds of alligators and most were huge - over 12 feet. Where's Troy and Lizbeth?

We saw lots of sparrows flitting around in the bushes. They rarely stay still long enough for a decent picture, but this Savannah Sparrow was cooperative.

One of the resident hawks - I assume it's a Red-shouldered as they are the most common here in Florida.

Bill trekked ahead with the camera to try and get a shot of a huge frog several people told us about. No frog, but check out the head-dress on this kingfisher. This must be the male.

Bill specializes in headless armadillos. He tried to catch up with it, but the armadillo was too quick.

I spotted him on his way back.

This is a juvenile male Red-winged Blackbird.

And, of course, this is a male Cardinal. They were everywhere.

My new favorite bird - a gorgeous White-crowned Sparrow.

Why does this remind me of Christmas?

As we were leaving, these two Bald Eagles stood guard at the highway. Despite the lack of sun, we had a great time and will return again soon!