Monday, February 29, 2016

Nature Photos - Wabasso Causeway

Since drawing has been more of a job than a hobby for me lately, I thought I'd get back into photography and make it my stress-free creative outlet.  I've had this huge list of parks and reserves around Sebastian/Vero that I want to visit saved in my phone for years, and I've decided to finally tackle it with a photography project!

This is my list of nature spots to hit (if you guys know any other places not on this list, let me know!):

  • Causeways (any)
  • Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area
  • Captain Forester's Hammock Preserve
  • Lagoon Greenway
  • St. Sebastian Preserve State Park
  • Indian River Aquatic Reserve
  • Leroy Wright Recreation Area
  • Ft. Drum Marsh Conservation Area
  • Savana's Preserve State Park

Last weekend I went to the Wabasso Causeway with my fam to catch the sunset, and it was a pretty gorgeous evening.  We saw dolphins, a great blue heron, and a northern gannet!  It was sick ufortunately (which is common to see during this time when birds are migrating south), but it was still awesome to see this beautiful bird that can dive up to 60mph from 140ft in the air (crazy!!) this close up.


I took a bunch of pictures with my Sony NEX-3 and my new iPhone 6 (finally upgraded after five years with my 4S).  And after stating that I own these two things, I feel like a pampered princess for saying this, but I would really like to upgrade to a DSLR in the future... I hate myself.

Anyways, here are the pics I took on my Sony!

And here are the pics from my iPhone!  The colors and quality aren't as realistic as my camera, but since I don't have a giant lens, my phone is way better at catching shots of animals and things from far away.  Especially that northern gannet!

And of course, I needed to take pics of my PUPS:

Next installment of "Nature Photos": Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Right Whale in My Backyard

In keeping up with my resolution to slow down and focus on one thing at a time this year (hasn't worked out too well yet), I wanted to write a post about the encounter my small town had with a couple of endangered North Atlantic right whales!  

The North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is one of the most endangered species of large whales in the world.  Weighing up to 70 tons and growing to 50ft long, it's estimated that there are only 450 individuals in this giant beauty's western population, and their eastern population may have already reached extinction.  This plummet in population size occurred during the early-mid 1900's due to extreme harvesting by whalers off the coast of Ireland, the British Isles, and northwestern Africa.  Since the 1970's, serious actions have been made by governments and conservationists to protect them from extinction, but there is still a lot of work to be done to increase their numbers.

While they are most commonly associated with northern waters (I thought so at least), Florida happens to play a big role in their migration!  During the fall/winter, right whales migrate down to the coasts of Georgia and Florida to feed and give birth, which is also known as "calving season".  (Some happy news, FWC has already seen 13 pairs of mothers and calves off the coast of Florida this calving season! <3)

With such low numbers, this whale has rarely been seen in the wild by humans.  But on Monday, February 9, my small hometown got a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this elusive giant when a mother (named Clipper) and her calf wondered into the Sebastian Inlet!  They remained in the inlet for a day and a half until they finally fought off the currents Tuesday afternoon, but during their time here they generated quite a crowd.  I had the amazing fortune to catch the tail-end of their visit to our inlet and saw them bobbing their heads in-sync with each other for a few glorious minutes, but others got a much grander view when they were swimming under the cross-over.

In this post, I wanted to collect some of my favorite photos taken of these two whales from intimate views that are seldom seen by the public.  It's hard to forget these amazing creatures when you see them in person, and I hope this accidental detour they made through our waters will leave an impression on Floridians that causes more motivation to protect them.  From the huge amount of awestruck people I saw gathered at the inlet just to catch a glimpse of these whales, I have high hopes!

Good luck in the big blue sea Clipper and Sebastian (they better have named that baby Sebastian) and thank you for making one of my dreams come true!!
photo by FWC
photo by FWC
photo by Edward Perry IV
photo by Adeljean Ho
photo by Adeljean Ho
photo by Instagram candyheilman
photo by Instagram candyheilman
photo by Instagram capt_stephen_ferrell
photo by Instagram christilinatru
photo by Hannah Schwab from TCPalm
crappy photo by me!

And here's a lil' video that will get your tear ducts flowin':

A right whale mother and her calf at the Sebastian Inlet - 2.9.16 from Chrissy Trujillo on Vimeo.