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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crops & Clips: Anhinga

My weekly potpourri gathered from the archives ties together several memes and features the Anhinga, also called Water Turkey and Snake-bird.

Green Cay wetlands, West Palm Beach County, Florida, February 20, 2011

Anhinga with trophy 20110220

Our back yard lake, Miramar, Florida, May 24, 2009

Anhinga 20090524

Anhinga drying its wings on decoy that keeps our lawn irrigation intake off the bottom of our lake, Miramar, Florida, August 22, 2014.

Anhinga on Decoy 3-20140822

My Mother told me to "never eat anything bigger than my head." (If video fails to appear in the space below, CLICK HERE )

This Anhinga brings home a trophy, but not without incident. (If video fails to appear in the space below, CLICK HERE)

My favorite Anhinga-watching places--

Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, Pembroke Pines, Florida, May 28, 2014...

Chapel Trail boardwalk 2-20140528

...and Green Cay wetlands in West Palm Beach County, March 18, 2012

Green Cay boardwalk HDR 91-20120318




GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 



Saturday, October 25, 2014

A colorful birding "shoulder season"

Our stay in northeastern Illinois began near the end of warbler migration, so we were mostly in the "shoulder season" of birding, a more quiet time before the northern bird species start to arrive. The pair of Bald Eagles that nested last year near our Illinois home will not lay their eggs until early spring, but they were roosting in their nest tree:
Bald Eagles at Mooseheart nest 2-20140930

Bald Eagle 20141017
By the time we were ready to return home to Florida at the end of October, the winter sparrows began showing up in fresh plumage.

White-throated Sparrows sported their golden lores;
White-throated Sparrow 2-20141009

White-throated Sparrow 3-20141009
White-crowned Sparrows are notably larger than their white-throated relatives and breed on the Canadian tundra. This one suddenly appeared on the deck of our daughter's home and posed very cooperatively:
White-crowned Sparrow 02-20141010
The immature White-crowned Sparrow has a buffy crown but this does not detract from its beauty:
White-crowned Sparrow 07-20141010
Song Sparrows are seen all year, but the local breeders fly south in the winter and are replaced by migrants from the north:
Song Sparrow 04-20141008
Larger and more richly colored Fox Sparrows followed:
Fox Sparrow 2-20141021
Ruby-crowned Kinglets move through after most of the warblers have departed, and will linger until cold weather sets in: 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2-20141009
Kinglets are active feeders, "hover-gleaning" for insects in the tips of branches:
Ruby-crowned Kinglet hover-gleaning 20141009
Hardy (Slate-colored) Dark-eyed Juncos, commonly called "Snow Birds," will remain all winter:
Dark-eyed Junco 20141009

Dark-eyed Junco 20141023
Canada Geese arrived by the thousands in V-formation flocks, joining the permanent resident population. This video captures the sense of being immersed in the wild echoing calls of flocks of geese as they fly overhead. Many settled into the small pond in Jones Meadow Park, very close to our condo. Try to ignore the passing airliner! (If video does not display in the space below, please visit this link.)

Canada Geese 20141017 Canada Geese landing 20141007 Canada Goose in flight 20141007 These migrating geese come in two distinctly recognizable sizes. The smaller ones actually represent a separate species, the Cackling Goose, which breeds high in the arctic tundra and spends winter more to the south. The four in the foreground exhibit not only smaller size, but short necks, rounder heads and stubbier bills: Cackling Geese 20141022 Three Canada Geese are joined by a Pied-billed Grebe: Canada Geese and Pied-billed Grebe 20141007The number and variety of birds was down, but in contrast to their muted plumage, the fall colors were superb. This is something that we really miss in Florida, where the Wet Season simply transitions into the Dry Season without fanfare around the middle of October. At Hawk's Bluff Park near our daughter's home in Batavia, Illinois this magnificent Oak provided copper highlights: Hawks Bluff Park 3-20141016 The Cottonwoods along Mill Creek added gold to the palette: Mill Creek 20141016 Hawks Bluff Park 20141016 In early October we had already experienced a few snow flurries, so we were a bit apprehensive about our daughter's invitation to join her family for a long mid-October weekend over 200 miles to the north in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The city straddles the namesake inlet and bay that connects Lake Michigan with Green Bay. We were pleasantly surprised to find cloudless skies and fair temperatures. From the lawn of our condo on the bay, sunset was serene and colorful despite the clear sky: Sturgeon Bay sunset 4-20141011 At a local farm, Sugar Maples were in fine color: Autumn color at The Farm in Sturgeon Bay WI 20141012 Large flocks of migrating ducks followed Sturgeon Bay southward. This flock consisted of over 20 Redheads with a Red-breasted Merganser taking up the lead position.Ducks in flight2 20141012 Ducks in flight Merganser 20141012 Hundreds of Horned Grebes foraged just offshore. This was the first time I ever was able to photograph this species, though the images suffered because the sun was behind the birds: Horned Grebe 20141012 These two Mallard drakes, though seen at a distance, were in better light: Mallard drakes in flight 2-20141012