These beautiful tulips were photographed on spring day at the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. Named after the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, hundreds of tulips can be found in bloom during the spring. The garden sits at the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park at the base of the Dutch Windmill, built in 1903. The windmill once operated to pump groundwater throughout the park for irrigation now serves as a focal point of the tulip garden. The Dutch Bulb Grower’s Association donates hundreds of tulip bulbs each year in honor of Queen Wilhelmina.
Easily recognizable as they run out with each retreating wave to feed, Sanderlings often are seen in large groups and are the most common shorebird in Florida. Sanderlings are usually seen in their gray winter plumage from August through April as shown in this photo taken on an October day at Sand Key Park in Clearwater, FL. The most wide-spread wintering shore bird in the world, Sanderlings breed in the summer months in the Arctic tundra. It is not uncommon for non-breeding birds to stay in their warmer winter locales in the summer months.
About 35 miles southwest of Rochester, NY you’ll find Letchworth State Park. Billed as the “Grand Canyon of the East” the Genesee River travels through the gorge over three large waterfalls offering spectacular views. The rock walls are as high as 550 feet in some areas with a width of only 400 feet near the middle falls, thus earning the name the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The park is named after William Pryor Letchworth who gave a 1000 acre estate to the state of New York in 1906 that now comprises the heart of the park .The park now covers over 14,000 acres offering views like this on the 66 miles of hiking trails.
Zebras are synonymous with Africa. This is a Grévy’s Zebra, the largest of the three species of zebra, and is found wild in Kenya and Ethiopia. As compared to other types of zebras, the Grévy’s Zebra is taller, has longer ears and has narrower stripes. This species was named after the French president Jules Grévy, who was given one of the zebras as a gift in the 1880′s. While I wish this photo had been taken on an exotic safari, it was in fact taken in Tampa, FL. On this afternoon, I was able to catch this zebra having a little fun trying to scratch an itch.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Manhattan is Rockefeller Center. At its center is the GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, easily one of the most famous and easily recognizable office buildings in the country. Opened in 1933, the 70-floor, 872-foot sky scraper is home to the ”Top of the Rock” Observation Deck that allows a unique 360 degree panoramic view of the city. One of the largest and most well known tenants of “30 Rock” is NBC which houses their main headquarters, many of thier New York studios and the live operations for NBC News and MSNBC there.
Nothing says ‘tropical’ quite like a coconut palm tree. Intolerant of cold weather, coconut palms thrive in sandy soil and have a high tolerance for the salt water and sea spray they are normally near. They love abundant direct sunlight, regular rainfall and finally, humidity. With such specific growing conditions, it’s no wonder coconut palms are only found the in the tropics. Coconut palms are found in south Florida along the coast, and throughout the Keys. This palm was photographed in the Florida Keys in Marathon.
At approximately four feet tall, the Great Blue Heron is the largest North American Heron with a wing span of up to six feet. One of the most common herons, the Great Blue Heron is often seen in shallow water stalking fish. They are found near fresh or salt water, with fish serving as their main diet, but will also eat small frogs, reptiles and insects. Great Blue Herons are monogamous opting to nest in trees near the water in colonies of up to 100 birds. This Heron was photographed at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL, from a bridge over the McKay Creek.
This photo was taken near the Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, California along the Pacific Coast Highway. The rich colors of the succulent ice plants complimented the rocky shore and seemed deserving of their own photo. This sea of flowers reached from the PCH almost to the Pacific Ocean itself. Ice plants are commonly found along the California Coast growing easily on the sandy and rocky shores. Though the plants are found throughout the state, they are not native to the area. Ice plants were first introduced in the 1600′s after stowing away on an African ship, and were planted in the early 1900′s to help with soil erosion near railroad tracks.
While this photo may not suggest it, Greenhouse Frogs are in fact tiny. This one is only about the size of a quarter and had taken a dip in the pool before posing for this photo. Greenhouse frogs are one of the most common frogs in Florida and live anywhere that is warm and humid, as the name ‘greenhouse’ suggests. Fully grown they are about an inch long and are easily recognized by their chirpy song-like calls. This particular frog and it’s family lives under a plant on my patio and sing most humid nights, or when the plants are freshly watered.
The Outer Banks are a 200-mile long string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Between the Outer Banks and the North Carolina mainland is Roanoke Island, home to a small fishing village called Wanchese. Home to a thriving commercial seafood industry, Wanchese also boasts several custom boat builders that build and repair large sport fishing boats and trawlers. A walk through the marina reveals beautiful sport fishing boats ready for an afternoon charter off shore for some of the best fishing in the world.
A common bird in Florida, the Brown Pelican can be seen just about anywhere along the coast. Known for awkwardly diving into the ocean headfirst for fish, the Brown Pelican is the only of it’s kind to do so. One of seven species of pelicans in the world, the brown pelican is also unique because it is only found on ocean shorelines and not on inland lakes. They nest in trees in large colonies and do not breed until age three when they receive their breeding plumage as seen in this photo. Brown Pelicans are often found on posts around marinas like these two, photographed along the jetty under the bridge on the Dunedin Causeway in Dunedin, FL.
Located in New York City, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. Across from Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick’s Gothic-style sits in stark contrast to the towering modern skyscrapers that surround it. The cornerstone for the cathedral was laid in 1858, but construction was stopped during the years of the Civil War. After construction resumed in 1865, the cathedral was completed in 1879. Officially opened on May 25, 1879, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest Gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States and was named as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Thanks to the sea breezes from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that converge over the Florida peninsula and usually push westerly, storms pop up most afternoons along the west coast. On this day in early July, my family had been enjoying an afternoon with friends anchored just offshore at Three Rooker Bar at Anclote Key Preserve just west of Tarpon Springs, FL. Around 3:00 pm, the sky started to cloud up and typical rainy season storms started to approach the Gulf from the east. Since the line was too long to outrun, we ‘battened down the hatches’ and prepared for the impending rain. The storm only lasted about twenty minutes and was by no means violent, but the cloudy skies beforehand made for some amazing photos.