One Last Morning At Alligator Farm

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day!

Today is our last day in St. Augustine before we head up the road to the TRVN (Tiffin RV Network) rally at Coastal RV Resort in Brunswick, GA tomorrow morning.  We’ve enjoyed our stay in St Augustine and Stagecoach RV Resort is definitely a place we will be using again.  The town certainly seems quieter today now that the long weekend is over.  Nowhere near as much traffic downtown today which is a good thing! Our residential refrigerator is full following Chris’s trip to Publix.  We also popped over to the Outlet Mall for a few items before pulling out tomorrow.

Wood Stork in FlightWood Stork in Flight

I headed off to the Alligator Farm for 8:00 am this morning.  Even the number of photographers seeking early admittance was less than the other two mornings I drove down.  The rookery was busy again this morning.  Still no tricolored heron or roseate spoonbill babies but everyone else seems to be rearing chicks.  I went in to the rookery today with the aim of getting more flight shots and perhaps a few closeup static head shots as well if the opportunity arose.  I stuck with my 300mm lens all morning and alternated back and forth between manual settings and AV mode.  I think all in all I preferred manual mode in the end.  As long as light conditions remained constant, there was no need to change any settings at all once I had them dialed in properly and a half dozen test shots sorted that out fairly quickly.

Roseate Spoonbill in flightRoseate Spoonbill

The wood stork shot was pretty easy to get once I figured out the flight path this particular stork was taking to and from the nest.  He was pretty busy scavenging for nest building material.  In this shot he is carrying a small twig but in other shots I took today, he’s carrying a branch as long as he is.  I suppose with a seven feet wing span a wood stork should be able to fly with almost anything in it’s beak.  The spoonbill took a little work on my part.  A pair of them were building a nest that was well hidden behind a bunch of tree branches making it impossible to get a clear shot.  I watched them for about 30 minutes as both took turns leaving the nest and flying off, away from any possible camera position I could get in the rookery.  I was beginning to think I’d never get a clear flight shot of a spoonbill and moved on to other birds.  For some reason the spoonbills changed their flight path about ten minutes later making the above shot possible.  From the angle of the neck, it makes one wonder how the spoonbill can even fly.

Cattle Egret ProfileCattle Egret Profile

For today’s last shot, I spotted this cattle egret on it’s nest and well hidden by some dense branches.  I waited for a few minutes watching the egret move around among the branches and was rewarded with this great profile as he stuck his head into some sunshine and with no branches in the way too!  I think this profile is my favorite shot of the day.

So time to pack up a bit so we can hit the road around 10 am.  Yeah, I know….10:00 am!  We only have a two hour drive to Brunswick, GA tomorrow so no need to hit the road too early.

7 Comments

  1. Jeannie April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Hope this doesn’t show up twice! Have a GREAT time at the rally. We want to attend a Tiffin rally but have hesitated as they are more expensive. But everybody says they are WELL worth it! Thanks for the info on a great park in GA. Always great to get first hand info. Duly noted in my camper notebook for a future visit!

    • Mark April 13, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      The Tiffin Allegro Club rallies are more money but they throw in meals and pretty good entertainment too along with campgrounds fees so all in all, there is some real value for money. They also have Tiffin techs on hand for minor repairs at no cost. Our first allegro club rally was the annual Sarasota Buddy rally in early March and it was around $250.

      TRVN rallies are not supported by Tiffin. We’ve been to one in Quartzsite and this one in Brunswick, GA. QZ was free and Brunswick cost us $40 plus campground fees. Understandably for that low price, there is no entertainment provided but we get to discuss coach issues and modifications with other owners in person. Brannon from Custom RV in Red Bay is here doing a bunch of mods for people. Everything from satellite dish installations to SeeLevel tank gauges. Portable weigh scales here too to weigh each axle on your coach.

      We’ll be going to next year’s rally in Sarasota again and also this TRVN spring rally depending on where it is and if it fits into our north, south, north trip.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Jeannie April 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Have a GREAT time at the rally. We need to get to a Tiffin rally, but usually hesitate because of the cost. Thanks for sharing the info about a great park in GA. Duly noted!

  3. Erin April 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Spectacular shots — but no surprise there.

    • Mark April 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks for looking, Erin. The Alligator Farm is a great spot to visit.

  4. Mark April 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Thanks for looking. We’ve been to a TRVN rally in Quartzsite, AZ before and had a blast. I expect this one will be a lot of fun too.

  5. Marsha April 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Just amazing beautiful photos! Hope you have a great time at the Tiffin Rally. Will be interested to read how the rally is. Hope you have a great week. ~wheresweaver