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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Crops & Clips: Eagles. butterflies and unsettled skies

My weekly potpourri gathered from the archives features the themes of critters, fences, skies and reflections. 


Our local Bald Eagle male (Pride) lost his mate (Joy) in late October. He set out to find a new one, and may have settled on this four year old sweetheart. She retains some of the dark streaks on her bill, head and tail characteristic of early fifth year (fully adult) plumage. They appear to still be in the process of establishing a pair bond and it may be too late in the season for them to start a family. Here in south Florida, most Bald Eagles lay their eggs by early December. Pride spends much time in the nest, hoping she will join him, which she did, if only briefly.

Bald Eagles Pride and Female 20150111

Birding has been a bit slow, so my attention turns to subjects which are more easily seen and photographed, such as this Monarch on Ixora blossoms...

Monarch butterfly on Ixora 20150106

...a male Julia heliconian...

Julia heliconian male 2-20150105

... a Gulf Fritillary...

Gulf Fritillary 20141228

...a Zebra heliconian...

Zebra Heliconian 20141216

...a male Queen (not a contradiction in terms)...

Queen butterfly 2-20141124

...and a White Peacock:

White Peacock 20141227

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,



This Great Blue Heron posed at the lake shore in front of our neighbor's fence. By edict of the homeowners association, all the fences must look the same as this. I must stray far from home to find any variety.

Great Blue Heron 2-20150111

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 



An unsettled sky at sunrise over our local wetlands:

Sunrise Clouds HDR COREL 20150111

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy



Looking to the north at dawn we see the approaching storm clouds: 

Harbour Lakes to North HDR COREL 20150111



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


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Storks and herons cooperating

The radar looked clear and there was no rain in the forecast, but there were quite a few clouds as we set out on the local wetlands about 10 minutes before sunrise this morning. The sun was just coming up when we reached the lake. 

Harbour Lake W HDR COREL 20141229

A Great Blue Heron is barely visible in the above landscape, and my photo suffers from the poor light:

Great Blue Heron 20141229

The sky took on a threatening appearance and light rain began falling before I could get back to the house:

Harbour Lake S HDR COREL 20141229

The rain stopped just as I exited the road from the wetlands and entered the gate to our subdivision, so I checked out the lake from a small park located a few doors from our home. 

Two Wood Storks were following a Tricolored Heron along the opposite shore: 

Tricolored Heron and Wood Storks 20141229

Tricolored Heron and Wood Stork 4-20141229

The heron seemed to be spotting places where fish were disturbing the water, and it would wait for the storks to catch up. Perhaps both are benefiting by this association. The heron is finding prey and the storks are stirring the water to disperse them into its open jaws. The stork also shades the water with one wing, probably encouraging small fish to seek safety in the shadow:

Tricolored Heron and Wood Stork 3-20141229

Tricolored Heron and Wood Stork 20141229

A Great Egret was wading along my side of the lake, to the east. The sun was behind it, causing its image to be in deep shadow, like a silouhette. Back-lighting sometimes enhaces the profile of white birds, but the photos must be carefully brightened.

Great Egret 20141229

A third stork came into view from the right (east) end of the lake and caught up with the other two. Then it flew over close to me where the egret was fishing:

Wood Stork in flight 2-20141229

Wood Stork in flight 3-20141229

The stork and egret stayed close together and I saw the stork catch one fairly large fish. 

Wood Stork and Great Egret 20141229

Wood Stork and Great Egret 3-20141229

Wood Stork and Great Egret 2-20141229

One of the other storks then flew in, and the egret immediately flew away.  (If video does not load in the space below, CLICK THIS LINK

As I resumed my walk home the skies were clearing over our back yard lake: Monaco Cove HDR COREL 20141229 A "painterly" view of our back yard: Monaco Cove CROP3 HDR COREL 20141229