Did Someone Say #TBT?

Last year I wrote a post, Is That A Bird On Your Head?, about the heyday of the feather trade.


Ah, those feathers. Women feel so beautiful under wafts of dazzling plumage.

Personally, I think feathers look better on birds than haute couture. So did Frank Chapman who became the savior of pelicans.


Awkward and gangly on land, pelicans soar with unmatched grace.

The charm of every waterway is increased by the quiet dignity of their presence.

Chapman was joined by Paul Kroegel who served as a warden of Pelican Island, an unobtrusive little patch of earth huddled under mangroves and shrubby trees.


About The Refuge with Credit Indian River By AirThe island is a natural wonder, a rookery just north of me where pelicans return year after year.

Gallery Landscape Teddys

Both men lobbied lawmakers to stop the plume hunters.  Eventually, Teddy Roosevelt ~ loose cannon, Rough Rider, bird lover ~ signed an executive order declaring Pelican Island a federal bird reservation.

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Pelican Island and its surrounding 5400 acres of protected waters and lands are known as the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

History Page Kroegel

Paul Kroegel is a hero of the wild. The National Wildlife Refuge was born on this tiny island of the Treasure Coast.  It may be just a scrap of mangrove and guano-covered sand, but it’s a wonderment.

Gallery Landscape Rainbow

What’s found at the end of this rainbow is worth more than any pot of gold.

Toni 1/28/16

Hey, why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last, well, forever.

It’s all about the photos. That’s why I love my iPhone.



Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

— Susan Sontag


It’s a meditative thing, taking photos. It keeps me present.




The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

— Andy Warhol




My iPhone camera is a storyteller with a unique eye, always there to document the ordinary and the extraordinary in a single frame.

The joy of the harvest. The blessing of 45 years married. The fifty-carat faces of family and friends. An espresso.  A good book.  Summer’s exuberance, winter’s hush.



What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.

— Karl Lagerfeld

Like this set of images from Christmas past.


I’m fresh off a wildlife photography workshop with Florida master naturalist John Nelson.

03-3He’s the voice of “The Audubon Moment” on NPR. Each episode provides listeners with tips on how to identify a specific bird that is found in Florida.

Nelson is also the Martin County Audubon president and travels the world shooting Oscar-worthy videography for National Geographic. One of his tips? Always go for a glint in the eye.

Backyard Baby, 2013 ©tgiarnese



Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

— Imogen Cunningham

Toni 1/18/16


Floridian trio ~ Mama Anhinga and her tots


Veteran boaters call the Anhinga “snakebird” because it swims submerged with only its neck and head undulating above the waterline like a serpent. The lack of waterproof plumage enables it to travel effortlessly underwater in search of fish, but for every advantage there is also a hitch. When soaked to the skin, the Anhinga looses body heat and must find a nearby perch to warm itself after feeding. With spread wings and fan-shaped tail feathers drying in the sun, the Anhinga earns its other nickname, “water turkey.”

I’ve got a lot to learn about these birds, but I do know this. Anhinga Motherhood isn’t for sissies.

Toni 11/21/15