We returned to Illinois in early February after only two weeks back in Florida. As I write we have experienced four days of flurries after being hit by a serious (by Florida standards) snowstorm. To fight cabin fever I have been reviewing a backlog of my most recent Florida photos, many of which remained in the camera until after our arrival in Illinois.
Our brief stay back home in South Florida was chock full of activity. Besides all the excitement surrounding the adventures of the wandering Whooping Cranes, we had house guests. My e-mails backed up, and there was little computer face time. Having unexpectedly spent most of the prior three months in Illinois, we welcomed the mild weather and got out as much as possible. What follows is an à la carte offering of images from our first two morning walks in the wetland birding patch adjacent to our home...
On January 28 Mary Lou and I are out before sunrise on our first morning back in Florida. High clouds and early light present photographic challenges and also produce some interesting image effects. A Little Blue Heron forages at the edge of the lake.
The heron takes off, displaying its many shades of blue and purple.
The morning air is still, allowing nice reflections that make up for the meager light.
A side-lit Northern Mockingbird stands out against a featureless sky.
Nearby, a green leaf and the rump of one of the omnipresent Palm Warblers lends a touch of color.
Light from behind etches the feathers of an Anhinga. The photo is poor, but I like the effect and am reluctant to discard it.
Only seconds later, a little tweaking of the camera's settings (and subsequent post-processing) bring out light and color.
A visit to last year's heron rookery at the far north end of our patch reveals the presence of four Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. They are hiding in the dark foliage, but I use fill flash to obtain this exposure. Hopefully, more will be returning to pair up and start new families in early March.
The sun is higher, and the sky turns blue as a Red-winged Blackbird sings "Conk-ra-lee!"
An American Kestrel checks us out anxiously before fleeing.
Later in the morning we stop to check on the welfare of the surviving Bald Eagle chick, now four weeks old. Its younger sibling has disappeared, but this one has grown tremendously in our absence. Ground observers have kept us well informed. (Click here for a link to posts and photos from other nest-watchers).
At sunrise two days later, the moon is bright against the clear sky.
A mockingbird stands out against the waning full moon, but my depth of field is too shallow to get both subjects into focus.
I capture a Eurasian Collared-Dove nearly overhead.
About a half hour after sunrise, one of our local Bald Eagles leaves the nest area to hunt in the lake in our subdivision. We have seen it many times at about the same hour, following the same trajectory. Their foraging territory extends at least three miles around the nest.
A lakeside Belted Kingfisher waits patiently for its next meal. The limited extent of rust color on the bird's breast suggests it may be a sub-adult female.
Double-crested Cormorants gather as the breeze picks up.