Thursday, May 28, 2020

Raptor Rapture: Eagles and eaglets

There has been lots of excitement at the Bald Eagle nest in Pembroke Pines near our south Florida home. We have been following this nest since it was "discovered" in 2008. Over that time, the male "Pride," his first mate "Joy" and present mate "Jewel" have produced 25 known eaglets over all the seasons except in 2014-2015. That was when Jewel replaced Joy, who mysteriously disappeared in October, 2014. 

This was Joy in January, 2014, then tending to her final brood:

Bald Eagle adult on nest 3-20140105

Bald Eagle 0909-1 adult2 flies to west 20140111

P Piney 13 and 12, Joy's last brood, January, 2014:

Bald Eagle chicks P Piney 13 and 12  interact 2-20140131

Jewel was young, probably early in her fifth year and still exhibited some immature plumage. She seemed to lack the maternal instinct when they mated in early January 2015, probably too late in the season. She may have laid some eggs which Pride appeared to incubate for a time, but they did not breed successfully. 

The next season (2015-16) got off to a good start, with evidence that their first egg was laid on December 13, about average for this nest. However, a severe wind storm in late January damaged the nest and killed their 4-day old eaglet as well as any unhatched eggs which may have been present. The pair proved they were resourceful and bred a second time, producing two eaglets which hatched out around March 16, 2016. One of their two nestlings appeared to have either been out-competed or killed by its sibling. The surviving eaglet fledged successfully on June 16, 2016.

Jewel in December, 2016: 

Bald Eagle female Jewel 20161228

Jewel in flight, March 2017:

Bald Eagle female in flight 03-20170319

The pair successfully raised two offspring in the 2016-2017 season. The next season (2017-2018), one of their two nestlings also disappeared when about 2 weeks old. The surviving eaglet took her first flight in early April, 2018. Last season (2018-2019), two eaglets were successfully raised during the 2018-2019 season. They fledged in early April, 2019. 

Jewel soaring with Tree Swallows, December 2018: 

Bald Eagle female Jewel in flight101-20181227

Pride and Jewel (noticeably larger, to the right) on the nest while they were renovating it in late September, 2019

Bald Eagle Pride and Jewel 4-20190929

The present season (2019-2020) was a repeat of the tragedy of 2016. After we saw evidence that at least one eaglet was present in the nest on January 2, 2020, two severe thunderstorms on January 4 and 10th damaged the nest and presumably mortally injured or killed the offspring. After that, the pair worked to restore the nest and they copulated on January 25. 

There was good evidence that the pair was exchanging incubation duties over a second clutch of eggs by mid-February and that at least one of two surviving eaglets was present on March 14, 2020. Two eaglets are now about 10 1/2 weeks (~75 days) old. The first-hatched, which we believed to be the a female ("P Piney 24," the 24th known progeny), fledged successfully  a week ago, on May 21. 

Although she has been heard calling near the nest, she had not been seen at the nest for the past seven days. It is not unusual for newly-fledged eaglets to go missing for a few days until hunger drives them back to the nest to be fed. Most birds tend not to return to their nest after their first flight. Bald Eagles, particularly when there is more than one eaglet, are enticed to continue occupying the nest while they gain hunting skills and learn to become independent. This is habit keeps the family unit together and is a more efficient way of feeding and protecting them. 

Jewel with female eaglet (P Piney 24) on April 1, 2020:

Bald Eagle female 736-20200401

Male eaglet (P Piney 25) alone on nest, May 22, 2020:

Bald Eaglet male P Piney 25 02-20200522

For latest reports on this nest, visit: CURRENT 2019-2020 Observations of Pembroke Pines Bald Eagle Nest

Pride in flight, May 22, 2020:

Bald Eagle male Pride in flight 03 -20200522

I saw this Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly while watching the nest on May 22:

 Ruddy Daggerwing 01-20200522

Storms threatened nearly every morning as we moved into the wet season. Here, the sun struggled to escape the cloud cover:

Sunburst over Monaco Cove 20200520

Before sunrise on May 23, the sky to the northwest was alive with color:

Pine Bank before sunrise 2-20200523

Storms appeared to be moving in...

Storms moving in 02-20200523

...but this one passed by and produced a rainbow which reflected nicely:

Rainbow over 196th Ave Canal 20200522

The entrance to our subdivision glows under the rising sun:

Monaco Cove entry 20200522

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


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

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Crops & Clips: Latest clicks

The rainy season is settling in. Several weeks before the "official" Atlantic hurricane season we were visited by a weather disturbance which developed near The Bahamas and threatened to develop into a tropical storm. This curtailed our morning walks for a few days. Just before the skies turned cloudy and the winds and rain started, I looked up over the wetlands to see...

...White Ibises in flight...

White Ibises 01-20200506

White Ibis 02-20200506

...a Bald Eagle, which appears to be "Pride," the male member of the pair which nests about 1 1/2 miles from our home...

Bald Eagle male Pride 01-20200428

...Mottled Ducks...

Mottled Ducks 01-20200513

...Wood Storks...

Wood Storks 1-20200511

...Green Heron...

Green Heron 01a-20200509

...Common Nighthawk...

Common Nighthawk 01-20200504

...and Monk Parakeet.

Monk Parakeet  06-20200504

Before sunrise, a poor image of a female Anhinga...:

Anhinga before sunrise 20200503

...which rested on a rock in the lake:

Anhinga 03- 20200511

Earlier, the Flower Moon had waned to gibbous...

Moon waning gibbous 20200512

...and Eastern Screech-Owls were active along the trail (notice that this one has caught a lizard):

Eastern Screech-Owl 01-20200511

Eastern Screech-Owl 05-20200511

Out in the dimly-lit wet prairie, I startled a White-tailed buck and doe:

White-tail buck 02-20200511

White-tail doe 04-20200511

Spending most of the day at home, confined to COVID-19 lockdown, I took advantage of the spare time to create a couple of composite photos--

A flock of ibises traversing the full Flower Moon before sunrise:

Moon Ibis Composite 20200507

Moon Ibises composite 2-20200508

A Tricolored Heron partially eclipsing the Moon:

Moon Tricolored Composite CROP 20200507

Back to reality, the back yard  birds provided a diversion. A Tricolored Heron caught sight of me and flew across the lake:

Tricolored Heron 03-20200506

Tricolored Heron 04-20200506

Through the back window, I watched a hungry European Starling youngster beg for grubs from Mom. I am glad that we do not use insecticides on our lawn: 

European Starlings 01-20200508

European Starlings 02-20200508

The day-old Full Flower Moon setting on May 7, before sunrise...

Full Flower Moon 05-20200507

...and after sunrise:

Full Flower Moon 06-20200507

Neighborhood kids enjoying a bit of freedom under watchful eyes of their Labradoodle:

Gone fishin'01- 20200515

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


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