Thursday, August 6, 2020

Crops & Clips: Flashback to August, 2017

I had only 419 images in my archives for the month of August, 2017. Yet, in retrospect, it was a very active month for us, including  5 flights and lots of family, fun, and  photos. As usual, I peered through the retrospectoscope and searched for images which depicted favorite memes-- Critters (especially birds), skyscapes, reflections, fences, flowers and scenes which speak for themselves.

We started out the month at our second home in Northeast Illinois, where a falcon and doves symbolized peace.

An American Kestrel...

.American Kestrel 02-20170802 

... was joined by two Mourning Doves:

American Kestrel with Mourning Doves 05-20170802

Local butterflies included a Painted Lady:

Painted Lady butterfly 03-20170801

We then flew back to Florida on August 5, visiting the local rookery, where the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons had finished breeding. Their legs had turned dark and their crowns have lost their golden hue:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 01  E-M10 20170808

I could not resist capturing a closeup crop of this one's face after it had splashed after a fish :

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 02  CROP E-M10 20170808

An immature Great Blue Heron occupied a high perch:

Great Blue Heron immature 01 E-M10MkII 20170809

A wild Pink Phlox brightened up the barren gravel path:

Wild Pink Phlox E-M10MkII 20170809

I was experimenting with my new Olympus E-M10 Mark II, a mirrorless four-thirds camera with a 75 to 300 mm zoom lens, which I planned to take on our upcoming trips. It is much more compact than my full size Canon 80D with its massive 420 mm prime lens system. I was pleased with its low-light performance, 15 minutes before sunrise on August 9:

Sunrise minus 15 minutes E-M10MkII 20170809

The Olympus produced this nice detail of Melaleuca trees next to a flooded ditch:

Melaleuca Swamp  Bright E-M10 20170808

A hand-held shot of the full Moon was remarkably sharp:

Moon eclipse minus 12 days E-M10MkII 20170809

Sunrise on August 9:

North Shore sunrise plus 5 minuutes E-M10MkII 20170809

We were off to the Texas Panhandle on August 11 to celebrate the wedding of our grandson at the chapel on the grounds of WTAMU (West Texas A&M University) in Canyon, where he was a pre-med student:

WTAMU Chapel 03-20170811

Our son and newly enlarged family:

Schneider family 20170812

The happy couple, after the ceremony:  

Rachel Glen 20170812 

We visited nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park: 

Palo Duro Canyon 06-20170814

Barn Swallows nested on the porch of the Park headquarters:

Barn Swallow at nest 03-20170814

Rock formations at Palo Duro Canyon resemble imposing architectural structures:

Palo Duro Canyon 05-20170814

American Bison near Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

Bison 01-20170814

On August 16, Corpus Christi, Texas was our next destination, where we stayed at a condominium on the Padre Island beach.

Golden Padre Island sunrise (August 17):

Padre Island Sunrise 05-20170817

Padre Island Sunrise 097-20170817


Willet 03-20170818

Piping Plover:

Piping Plover 04-20170817

Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling:

Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling 02-20170818

Night fishing with our daughter's family off the pier at Aransas Pass:

Fishing Pier 05-20170817

Port Aransas harbor:

Port Aransas 02-20170818

The Lighthouse at Port Aransas, Texas on August 18, 2017. Little did we know that, one week later, Hurricane Harvey would make a direct hit and devastate this harbor:

 Lighthouse 01-20170818

From Texas, we flew back to Illinois on Aug 20.

This Great Egret roosting near the Fox River made me feel as if already back in Florida:

Great Egret 01-20170823

Hoping for one last sighting of the Lark Sparrows in a field near our condo, we only saw a nice male Dickcissel:

Dickcissel male 04-20170825

We arrived back at our permanent Florida home on  August 25. In our back yard, a Tricolored Heron hunted and a fish disturbed the mirror surface of  the lake:

Tricolored Heron 01-20170823

In the local wetlands, a White-tailed Deer buck was in breeding condition:

White-tail Buck 06-20170826

On my birthday, fall land-bird migration had already begun, as evidenced by the arrival of this Northern Waterthrush...

Northern Waterthrush 03-20170829

...and a Blue-gray Gnacatcher:

Blue--gray Gnatcatcher 001 HD-20170828

A large feral hog boar, which usually fled any time we approached, caused concern when he ran across in front of MaryLou, who froze in her tracks. They can be very dangerous, so I started carrying a defensive weapon:

Close Encounter of Porcine Kind 20170829

My photo does not do justice to the metallic silver spots on the undersides of the wings of this Gulf Fritillary:

Gulf Fritillary 2-20170826 

A colorful sunrise from our back patio:

Sunrise from patio 02-20170827

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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Bald Eagle nesting season recap

The Pembroke Pines Bald Eagles lost their first brood when windstorms disrupted their nest in early January, 2020. Pride and Jewel began the breeding season by restoring their usual nest together, starting the last week of September, 2019. Jewel is to the right in these photos:

Bald Eagle Pride and Jewel 4-20190929

Bald Eagle Pride and Jewel 91-20190929

The nest on November 2:

Bald Eagle nest 20191102

Both members of the pair spent much time on the nest. (November 24). Jewel is on the left:

Bald Eagle female Jewel and male Pride 090054AM  20191124

They copulated, this time on November 26:

Bald Eagle copulating 05-20191126

Their first clutch was laid in late November and was expected to hatch in early January, 2020. 

The pair exchanged incubation duties. Here, the male is waiting to replace Jewel who is about to fly off (December 7):

Bald Eagles exchanging incubation duties 01-20191207

Jewel departs and turns over incubation duties:

Bald Eagles exchanging incubation duties 03-20191207

There was visual and photographic evidence of at least one eaglet being fed in the nest just before a storm on January 4. The storm was fierce and caused wind damage and at least one tornado. The next day some observers believed that the adult was feeding one or more eaglets, but there were no confirmed sightings. Another bad storm occurred on January 10. 

In between the storms the adults were busy repairing the nest, which lost a considerable amount of its bulk, especially on the right (west) side. We presumed that the eaglet(s) and any unhatched eggs were lost between January 4th & 10th. Pride & Jewel repairing nest (January 11, 2020):

Bald Eagles 04 Both adults moving sticks 20200111

They repaired the nest and were seen copulating in late January. A second clutch of eggs was deposited in mid-February, and there was evidence that the first egg had hatched on or about March 14. Two eaglets hatched, the 24th and 25th eaglets known to have been produced in this nest since South Florida Audubon began monitoring the nest in 2007. The same male (Pride) has been present since then, and Joy was his first mate. She disappeared in October, 2014 and soon was replaced by Jewel, a young (4 year old) female.  

Here are both eaglets on April 8, 2020, when they were about 3 1/2 weeks old. The younger male, standing high on  the right, still has a tuft of natal down on his head:

Bald Eagle eaglets 04-20200408

This is the first-hatched eaglet (P Piney 24), presumably a female, on April 11. Bald Eagle eggs are deposited every 2-3 days and hatch asynchronously. Two out of every three first-hatched are females:

Bald Eagle eaglet 03-20200411t

Female eaglets grow rapidly and are very competitive with nest-mates. If the second-hatched is also female, they will fight for dominance and often the younger bird either starves or may be killed by her sibling. A younger male will usually not challenge an older female, so this is the best combination for survival of both if food is abundant.  

Both eaglets were loafing out on the branches on June 26, when they were about 15 weeks (105 days) old. The male, in the foreground has darker feathers than the female:

Bald Eaglets female joins male  06-20200626

The darker plumage of the male is an individual variation, not linked to its gender, so far as I can determine: 

Bald Eaglet P Piney 25 male portrait 05-20200621

Note the more massive head of the female. The large bill, more prominent "brow." and the greater extension of the gape (corner of beak) below her eye is characteristic of female Bald Eagles: 

Bald Eaglet P Piney 24  female portrait 09-20200621

As is usually the case, the female was first to fledge, taking her first flight on May 21 at the age of 68 days. She disappeared until May 30. The male fledged on June 3 and returned to the nest the next day. They will come to the nest to be fed by the parents. The adults deposit prey into the nest to attract the eaglets, a practice which most efficiently allows them to feed and protect them in one location. For several weeks  they will accompany the adults on foraging trips as they gain hunting skills. 

Here is a Link to spreadsheet which tracks events at the nest over the past 11 breeding seasons:

Meanwhile, out on the local wetlands, a male Bobcat walked along the edge of the gravel path. He was quite distant and I got poor photos, so I stitched them together into a composite image which shows him progressing along. He looked back at me and then continued on his way:.

Bobcat Composite 02-20200720

Bobcat 06-20200720

Great Egret at the shore of our lake:

Great Egret 03-20200618

Storm trying to beat us to our home:

Clouds after sunrise 02-20200720

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


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