michael-massa-micon
michael-massa-micon
Mike's Pictures and Thoughts
My wife Kathy and I are retired and full-time RVing throughout the United States. I have been an amateur photographer for many years, primarily taking pictures as I hike through parks and wilderness areas. This blog is some of my favorite pictures - and my thoughts - as we travel. Some of the pictures are new, some are old, but unless I specifically say otherwise, they re all mine and are copyright by me. Permission is granted for the use of any of these pictures for non-commercial purposes providing that I, and my copyright, am acknowledged and that I am notified. Permission of any persons in the images is your responsibility Click here ARCHIVE to go to an archive page which displays the primary image of all posts on this blog.
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michael-massa-micon · 8 hours ago
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Biloxi Beach - May 2021 The beach at Biloxi, Mississippi, is man made. The original beach had eroded away and a retainer wall for the highway was in danger of collapse. The solution was to use dredges to pump millions of tons of mud out of the shallow Mississippi Bay to protect the wall from the sea. The response from the community was overwhelmingly negative. The mud was slimy and ugly and if you walked on it you sank at least up to your knees. And above all, it stunk to high heaven. Then the mud began to dry out and the rains and wave action cleaned out the organic matter leaving the 27 miles of beautiful beaches that you can see today. I took quite a few images of the beaches at Biloxi, but this one stands out. It almost looks like a painting someone would do for a postcard. The composition is excellent and I can almost see “Welcome to Biloxi, Mississippi” in bright white letters on the right side of the image. In fact, I can see that because I copied the image and put in the lettering myself (image two). MWM
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michael-massa-micon · a day ago
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Green Heron - April 2021 This Green Heron came down to the pond at the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary while we were at the viewing platform. I have never figured out why they are called Green Herons since they are basically dark brown and rusty red. Maybe the person who first discovered them was named Green. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 2 days ago
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Green Anole - April 2021 This Green Anole was sitting on the supports for a small bridge at the entrance to the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary. There was another Anole nearby and this one was displaying his bright colored dewlap. But the other one ran away and this one stopped displaying. Then he ran away also. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 3 days ago
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Turtles - April 2021 The Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary has a large pond in the middle of it that is accessible via a boardwalk from the parking lot. The water is almost black from the pine tannin which makes for interesting images of the many turtles which inhabit the pond. The first image of a turtle in the midst of the reflection of a pine tree was taken by my wife, Kathy. I took images two and three as the turtles swam around the platform we were standing on. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 4 days ago
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Practice Air-Sea Rescue - April 2021 There is a small Coast Guard Base on Dauphin Island and a larger one closer to Mobile. Kathy and I went down to the beach one day and while we were there the Coast Guard began what looked like an emergency air-sea rescue. Since the boat was only a very short distance off shore, it soon became apparent that it was a practice rescue. That didn’t make it any less impressive. The first image is when they first dropped a line to the boat. In the second image they are lowering something down. The next three images are just good shots of the helicopter, and the final image is the boat between practices. They kept repeating their rescue procedure as they moved farther and farther off shore with the wind and the tides. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 5 days ago
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Brown Thrasher - April 2021 The Brown Thrasher is the size of a finch and flits around like one. They blend in very well and are gone before you can get a good focus. My wife, Kathy, told me that an interesting brown bird was outside her window. I grabbed my Nikon P900 and tried to zoom in on it, but it kept flitting away. I walked outside and tried to carefully approach, but it wouldn’t stay in the same place long enough for me to get a good image. Luckily, Kathy, had captured an image. She took three images in quick succession. The first is this image; the next is a brown blur; and in the third the thrasher is gone. I posted only the first image. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 6 days ago
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Dauphin Island Street Sweeper - April 2021 Dauphin Island, Alabama, is a small, thin barrier island located at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Every time a hurricane or other severe storm comes through, the island gets slightly reconfigured. Sometimes sections of the island disappear. Sometimes beaches and coves fill in with new sand. But always– even when the storms are gone– the sand is shifting and moving. That means that the sand has to be continually swept off the roads. For Dauphin Island, a street sweeper isn’t something that picks up leaves and debris. It is something that sweeps the sand back onto the dunes or wherever so the roads remain clear. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 7 days ago
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Fox Squirrel on Bird Feeder - April 2021 I was riding my bike on the main bike path on Dauphin Island, Alabama, when I spied a couple of bluebirds at a feeder. I stopped very carefully and got set to get a good image when suddenly they scattered and something big and brown was at the feeder. A Fox Squirrel had leapt from the ground to the feeder and was hanging on. My first thought was “How can he do that?” but then I noticed the ears and the “hands” and recognized that it was a Fox Squirrel. Fox Squirrels are somewhat unique in that their ears are peaked like a fox’s and their paws have very long prehensile fingers. A regular squirrel would be able to make the leap, but couldn’t stick the landing and would fall off the feeder. The Fox Squirrel just held on with his “hands” and pulled seeds out of the ports with his mouth. I tried to move a little closer for a better shot, but he saw me, jumped to the ground, and bounded up a nearby tree. When he got to a safe place on the tree, he turned to check me out... giving me another great image that really shows how long his fingers are. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 8 days ago
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Laughing Gulls - April 2021 According to my Sibley Birds book Laughing Gulls take on “mating plumage” from March to September. I took this image in late April on Dauphin Island. We were driving out to the end of the island and passed a large puddle from recent heavy rains. A large flock of black-headed birds was splashing and squawking loudly. Since traffic was light, I stopped and took these images. The first image is probably a female as the head is more dark gray than black. The second image of the splashing gull with a black head is probably male. Image three shows a portion of the flock that had gathered for a communal bath. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 9 days ago
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Squirrel - April 2021 My wife sometimes refers to the many things which easily distract me as squirrels. But when I am riding my bike and a squirrel assumes a pose such as this, I have to stop and take the picture. In this case my Squirrel! was a real squirrel. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 10 days ago
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Small Turtle - April 2021 This small turtle was crossing the bicycle path on the main street on Dauphin Island, Alabama. I stopped my bike to get a good picture and also warned other cyclists that the turtle was there. I was afraid it was going to get smushed if it tried to cross the road, but the water-filled ditch alongside the road was evidently its final destination. You can almost feel a sense of determination as this turtle crosses a very busy bike path. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 11 days ago
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Osprey Eating a Fish - April 2021 This Osprey seemed unconcerned with the high winds and roiling surf. It probably made it easier for him to capture this fish he was devouring. The hook on the end of his beak– shaped for tearing apart prey– is clear in all three images. His strong talons, which are holding the fish solid against the sand, have no problem grabbing a fish out of the water. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 12 days ago
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High Winds at the Beach - April 2021 The red warning flags were out and the signs said, “Stay out of Gulf.” The first six images are waves at various points along the beachfront going out to Fort Pickens. The seventh image I took in case there had to be a rescue of a child put at risk by stupid parents. The rip tide warnings were just below the point where they would physically close the beaches and this one couple was letting their small boys play in the roiling surf. The wind doesn’t just create waves. The sand was blowing and there was a fine mixture of very fine sand and salt and mist in the air. Image eight shows the very low visibility on the beach and image nine shows sand being blown into the air. I had to carefully clean my lenses after I got back from taking these images. Luckily none of the fine sand found it way into the inner workings of my cameras. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 13 days ago
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Pair of Cardinals - April 2021 This pair of cardinals was on the bicycle path at Fort Pickens. I saw them far enough in advance to get off of my bicycle and capture a few images. The male quickly moved off into the brush, but the female (image two) stayed on the path eating seeds until I was much closer. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 14 days ago
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West Indian Lantana Plant - April 2021 At Fort Pickens Campground, there is a bicycle path that leads through the woods from the campground to the fort itself. I was headed back to the campground when I spotted this beautiful flower on a small bushy plant alongside the path (image two). It took me a while on the internet to find that it was a West Indian Lantana plant. They are not native to Florida but have been brought here for landscaping and gardening and have escaped to the wild. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 15 days ago
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Sandpipers on Pensacola Bay - April 2021 These sandpipers scurried past while I was waiting for the Blue Angel’s practice session to begin. I wasn’t even sure I had captured a good image because they were running so fast. My luck held and I got several good images of these little birds. I like the first image because it shows three of the half dozen or so sandpipers running at the edge of the water. The second image has only one sandpiper in it, but this bird is lined up exactly with a bulging footprint in the sand in front and a froth of foam behind in the water. The wave in the background and the seaweed and other debris in the foreground complete the composition of the image. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 16 days ago
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Blue Angels - April 2021 The weather was terrible the two weeks we stayed at Fort Pickens Campground on the barrier islands of Pensacola Bay. The first week we had 5" of rain in four days. The campground– and road leading into it– was flooded. The second week was dryer, but with record cold. A redeeming feature, however, was the fact that the Blue Angels, who are based in Pensacola, were practicing and Fort Pickens has front row seats for those practices. It was just a matter of going down to the fort, itself, and parking by the seawall. I took over 400 pictures during the hour the Angels were practicing. I selected about thirty for my favorites files and from those thirty selected these four to post. The first image is the classic shot of the four Blue Angels in tight formation. The second image is planes five and six who do other demonstrations of flying skill while the main foursome is regrouping. The third image is all six planes flying in close formation for a flyover. And the fourth image is one of the several blossoms where the tight formation suddenly splits open like a fireworks display. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 17 days ago
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Norway Rat - April 2021 I was riding my bike on one of the trails here at Fort Pickens when I passed by what looked like a huge brown mouse. It didn’t scurry off into the bushes, so I slowly stopped my bike and tried for a picture. Either it thought I couldn’t see it or maybe just thought I didn’t look like a hawk or an osprey, but it sat there while I took several images. It wasn’t until I tried to move just a little closer that it scampered off into the underbrush. A little digging online showed me that this was a Norway Rat. They prefer low areas and marshes but like most rats can live almost anywhere. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the same way about it if I found it in my home or camper, but it was almost cute... for a rat. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 18 days ago
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Great Blue in Camp - April 2021 It’s not everyday that a Great Blue Heron walks through camp picking food off the leaves of the bushes, but it was raining for four days and just finally cleared up. I don’t know if it was pulling berries or bugs from the bushes, but it was evidently hungry enough or they were tasty enough that it ignored the campers sitting nearby. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 19 days ago
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Beach at Dusk - April 2021 This is the image of the sun low in the sky that I intended to take when I came across the dolphin pod. MWM
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