Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Close To You (Part III of our Florida Trip, apr. 5, 2009)

Why do cranes suddenly appear..
Just like me, they long to be close to you..

Wherever we are we always make it a point to attend church services on Sundays. Normally we go to Calvary Chapel, our home church, and there is usually one in almost every major city in the United States. This time however, we will be going to World Outreach Center in Orlando because our host, Joel Magpantay, is the Pastor of the Children’s Ministry there.

The World Outreach Center has a predominantly African-American congregation and it was a welcome change for us to be a part of such a dynamic and lively Palm Sunday service. We were blessed and felt close to the Lord.

The Magpantays would be busy the whole day involving church activities so Cynthia and I enjoyed a quiet lunch at a nearby Vietnamese Restaurant Pho 88.

Earlier, Joel recommended that we visit Moss Park, which was not far from their house. Sandhill Cranes are quite tame there he assured us. At first I took that statement with a certain amount of skepticism. After all we had to travel close to 200 miles from Pasadena to Salton Sea to look for these tall birds. And even then they were always too far and skittish for us to have a good look at, much more photograph them. But then I reasoned out, Joel is a Pastor so why would he even try to embellish something just for our benefit.

Of course he was telling the truth! We found that out almost as soon as we parked the car at Moss Park. Although the place was filled with picnickers and beachcombers, Sandhill Cranes were walking amongst the throng of people, completely unperturbed by the noise and human activities! They would wander so close that we could almost touch them.
Moss Park abuts Lake Mary Jane. About a third of a mile offshore is a tiny island inhabited by a myriad of birds. Occasionally these birds would fly over the park and it was here that we got some relatively good shots of the Wood Stork and the Anhinga.

We then ventured a bit inland where tall trees abound. Here we witnessed a Downy Woodpecker battle a bigger Red-bellied Woodpecker for prime nesting territory.

A Great-crested Flycatcher even showed up, as we were about to leave.
We retired early to rest our weary bodies from the long drive from Jacksonville and from the excitement of experiencing our close encounters of the bird kind.


Tabib said...

Beautiful series!.
I like the woodpecker colour and great captured of in flight.

Mel said...

What a great trip you two had!
I haven't seen a woodpecker yet, I hope I can soon!