Thursday, March 4, 2021

Crops & Clips: Flashback three years to March, 2018

Going through the archived photos from past years excites fond memories and often gives me an idea of what may again be out there in the wild this year. March is a month of transition, as winter residents depart and spring migrants start arriving. During February my daily bird sightings can become a bit monotonous as the same twenty or so species seem tp show up every morning. However, by late March there is greater diversity. I look for favorite themes and memes in the monthly collection-- critters of all kinds (especially birds), skies and reflections, flowers and fences. 

We spent the entire month at home in south Florida. Our morning walk on March 1st yielded nice photos of a Green Heron in subdued morning light:


Red-wing Blackbirds males had returned earlier to set up territories and now were rounding up harems: 

Females were present in greater numbers:

A male Boat-tailed Grackle seemed to be checking his reflection:

Overhead on the first day of March were Bald Eagles, one carrying a small fish...


...and a Wood Stork:

A male Bobcat crossed in front of us on March 2. Males occupy a very large territory (in roadless wilderness habitat, up to 30 square miles vs about 6 square miles for females) and visit several females during the breeding season, which peaks in February and March:

This Tricolored Heron's bill was turning blue, an indication that it is approaching breeding condition:

Although streaky and dull for most of the year, the head of this male Yellow-crowned Night-Heron turns clear with a yellow wash and its legs turn from gray to red as spring approaches:

Later in the month, a male extended his scapular plumes in a courtship display.

Pileated Woodpeckers had become more vocal and conspicuous. This is a female. The male has a red "mustache:":

A Northern Harrier male "Gray Ghost" searched for prey over the wetlands:



Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers would soon be migrating back to their northern breeding range:

Northern Cardinals were in full breeding plumage:


Great Crested Flycatchers would soon be breeding:

At the local nest, the adult Bald Eagle (Pride) was tending to the one surviving eaglet

Still present on March 17th, the Yellow-rumped Warblers will have migrated far to the north before the month's end:


American Kestrels would also soon abandon their winter range:

Killdeer were courting:

Prairie Warblers were with us most of the year but would soon undertake a "lateral" migration to nest in the coastal mangroves:

The prior year, for the first time ever, Wood Storks were recorded breeding on an island in a city park to our north. They had returned. On March 27 I counted over 100 adults:



Great Blue Heron on March 28:

A pregnant White-tailed doe was a sure sign of spring:

Sunlight breaking through the fog on March 17:

Up North, the ground was beginning to thaw, hence the Farmer's Almanac name for March's full Moon-- the Worm Moon.

Full Worm Moon on March 3:


Waning crescent on March 13:


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Linking to:

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday

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Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Purple feathers and green goggles

At nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in Pembroke Pines, two purple relatives exist side by side. One is a newcomer, appearing first in the wild after escaping from a local private bird collection in 1996. The Gray-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio Poliocephalus) is related to the gallinules, coots and rails (Rallidae family). Native to the Middle East through India and southern Asia into northern Thailand, the species has adapted to Florida's wetland habitats and has spread widely in the State. 

At first considered to be a threat to native birds, in 2006 it was subjected to an eradication campaign in which over 3,000 were gunned down by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This futile attempt to exterminate the species did not stop their expanding population.

The colorful Swamphen uses its prehensile toes to dig up the roots and emerging shoots of water plants such as this Spike-rush:



Gray-headed Swamphen in flight:

Gray-headed Swamphens were first considered to be a subspecies of the Purple Swamphen before being reclassified as a separate species. Large and muscular, they are often said to look like a "Purple Gallinule on steroids." . 

A Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) was foraging for one of its favorite foods, the buds and seeds of Spatterdock (AKA Cow Lily or Yellow Pond Lily). Its long toes allow it to "walk on water" over the bed of lily pads:





Also at Chapel Trail, another Rallidae family member, American Coot...

...and Common Gallinule:


A male Anhinga was roosting on an island out in the wet praitie:

During breeding season the bare skin around the eyes of the male turns bright green. Lady Anhingas must find this irresistible:

On the adjacent pasture, a Cattle Egret is chummy with a Longhorn calf:

The boardwalk at Chapel Trail preserve:

Sunrise at our corner on February 23:


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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday

________________________________________________

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
________________________________________________