My first bird of the year was heard in the dark but not seen, about 40 minutes before sunrise. It was an Eastern Whip-poor-will which had been present for several days and called briefly next to the trail. The first bird we actually saw was a Red-shouldered Hawk,15 minutes before sunrise. It was initially silhouetted against the brightening eastern sky, but then turned sharply and passed by to the west, exhibiting its namesake "shoulders::
Highlights among the morning's sightings were Yellow-rumped Warblers...
...and acrobatic Yellow-throated Warblers:
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited the waning blossoms on the Firebush (Hamelia patens) hedge...
...while the berries attracted warblers and this sun-dappled Blue-headed Vireo:
Only three days earlier, the pair of Egyptian Geese which nested in a dense Cocoplum thicket next to our lake visited with their seven newly hatched goslings:
To our surprise, they showed up on our yard again on New Years Day, but this time trailed by an eighth tiny newly-hatched gosling. It could not keep up with its siblings, but the parents waited patiently as it stumbled along behind them. It still had its "egg tooth," indicating it was very young indeed. Had the parents deserted the nest before the last egg was hatched, or was this egg deposited after the birds started incubating the other eggs?
The seven older goslings crowded together, while the lone eighth baby rested outside the group, then tried to join its parents and siblings:
On January 2, the local male (Pride) of the pair of Bald Eagles took a break from incubating and was rearranging sticks on their nest. We expected their first egg to hatch on or about January 4:
The female (Jewel) arrived to exchange incubation duties and Pride flew off:
On January 3, the large male Bobcat stared at me from the edge of the gravel road. Then, rather nonchalantly, he strolled across the track. Note that I forgot to turn off the flash and his eyes reflect my error:
On January 3, a Gray Squirrel munched on Brazilian Pepper berries...
...a Purple Gallinule demonstrated the important construction technique of triangulation (as used in building the Eiffel Tower) by grasping three flimsy stalks of Alligator Flag which supported its weight as it climbed to reach the fruit on top of the stems:
...and a White-tailed Deer doe appeared unexpectedly as I was photographing an egret:
Also on January 3, a male American Kestrel posed nicely on a sign post:
On January 5, the same kestrel exhibited unusual behavior by foraging for insects on the ground:
On January 10, the full Wolf Moon was setting as we walked into the wetlands. This DSLR image of the Wolf Moon against the dark sky was taken at 6:32 AM. I was tracking a satellite which almost crossed the face of the Moon-- it missed by about 2 diameters:
These photos were taken with my new iPhone 11 Pro Max. I was amazed at its excellent low-light performance. The first cuts through the pre-twilight moon-lit darkness at 6:28 AM, 42 minutes before sunrise. MaryLou is ahead of me with her flashlight:
The iPhone captured this moonbeam-burst 35 minutes before sunrise:
Fifteen minutes before sunrise, the Moon had nearly set into the horizon:
Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display