Florida Vacation

A couple weeks ago I was in Florida for family vacation. We had some days with good weather:

Some bad weather:

And a great sunrise (the one morning I actually got up early enough to see it):

Overall it was a great week, even if the water was too calm for boogie boarding most of the week but too murky for snorkeling (presumably due to the dredging they were doing for beach replenishment).

It turns out the birds were the most interesting part of the week (at least when I had my camera out), especially the heron that would perch on the boardwalk of our house or one nearby to preen itself after the rain. Before I get to that, here’s the one good picture I got of a Black Skimmer:

And here are the best of the pictures I took of the neighborhood Great Blue Heron:

Weekend Adventures

We hiked up Mt Herman this Saturday (the back side, less strenuous than the route I’ve taken the last couple of times). I got a few decent pictures of the flowers in the field by the parking lot at the base:
Flower 1

Flower 2

We hung out (literally, I brought a hammock) near the top to eat lunch. This ground squirrel was really interested in what we had to eat but wasn’t willing to come anywhere near us and vanished any time we moved:
Ground Squirrel

Obligatory picture of Pike’s Peak:
Pike's Peak

Second hike of the weekend was up Seven Bridges in North Cheyenne Canyon. The trail follows a stream up the valley, so there were a number of water falls. I don’t know how much farther the trail goes, but we turned back at the seventh bridge.

Found this one in my yard. Hummingbirds like red flowers, right? It took a week for the level to go down noticeably, but now my hummingbird feeder is empty. I’m wondering if there were strong winds Saturday that dumped it out.
Yard Flowers

I don’t know why, but when I was taking a picture of her Talore looked straight at me and meowed. Picture came out perfect:
Complaining Talore

Early Summer Hikes

My dad was in town for the last couple weekends and the weather was mostly good, so I’ve done a good bit of hiking lately. Here are the best of my recent pictures. Mostly wildlife pictures because those are harder to come by (I’ve never had a mountain fail to sit still for a picture).

It took a surprisingly long time to catch a moth on the ground long enough to actually get a decent picture. This one’s not ideal but it worked far better than the others.

Slightly out of focus, does that mean the camouflage works against my phone?

We got to the top of Blodgett Peak as dark clouds were rolling over. It started raining as we left the peak, but at the same time the clouds also opened enough for a perfectly framed picture of Pike’s Peak in the distance.
Pike's Peak

On the way down from Blodgett this hummingbird flew across the trail and perched on a bush a safe distance away to preen. Thankfully my camera has a good zoom.
Hummingbird 1
Hummingbird 2

From Crystal Trail (above Green Mountain Falls) just after it crests the ridge. The Pike’s Peak toll road and Crystal Creek Reservoir are just up the trail from here.
Pike's Peak

As we got back to the lake in Green Mountain Falls this flock of geese (and geese-in-training) was eating the grass on the side of the road. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to pack my camera so I was unable to zoom to cut out the gas line (because I certainly wasn’t getting closer).

This bee was paying so much attention to the flowers I was able to hold my phone surprisingly close to get a picture. Taken in downtown Manitou Springs.