On September 3, 2011, this pair of Sandhill Cranes with two colts roamed freely in our dooryard grassland.
A year ago, the remnant prairie that occupied three sides of our condo had been entirely replaced by new townhomes in various stages of construction. The only land not excavated was mostly filled and graded. On April 21, 2013 the foundation of the unit across from us had just been poured. Note the mound of dirt at the far left end of this view, with the red-roofed house behind it.
Two months later, a pair of Sandhill Cranes were protesting from the big pile of topsoil, the only place left with any cover, as bulldozers ate away at the last of their territory. The dirt pile partially obscures the red-roofed house (July 1, 2013):
Back in Florida, we endured a month during which it rained every day.The heat, humidity and mosquitoes restricted our time outdoors. A few times we braved the conditions and ventured into our local woodlands before sunrise. No dawn chorus greeted us, as the land birds had finished breeding and were conserving energy as they molted.
A Great Egret flew over our lake at sunrise.
At neighboring Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, an Anhinga posed on a post.
When birding is slow, it is easier to turn to other subjects, such as this exotic Common Basilisk, also known as the "Jesus Christ Lizard" because it can run across the surface of the water.
The bird-watching was actually better from inside our home, as was watching the storm clouds gather at sunrise. High in the atmosphere, the African dust added a touch of gold to the palette.
Our pineapples had waited for us. Though small, they were very sweet.
An adult Wood Stork showed up across the lake on July 13 and flew directly to the edge of our back lawn. It was only present for one day.
A Muscovy Duck drake gave us a sinister stare.
A Snowy Egret's "golden slippers" reflected in the still water.
A Green Heron tolerated my close approach as it waited patiently for a fish.
Several Tricolored Herons foraged along the lake margin.
Little Blue Herons are more skittish. They usually fly as soon as I start to open the sliding glass door, but I did catch this one across the lake.
This Little Blue Heron later did stay in place for a single shot. I was so close that I could not fit the entire bird in the frame.
I liked how the morning light played on the plumage of this Snowy Egret.
The Annones (also called Anón, Sweetsop, Custard- or Sugar-apple; Haitians call it Cachiman cannelle) were ripening. Unbelievably sweet, they taste like a cross between a banana and something else. Some say a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya and peach. I'll say it just tastes like an Anonne. Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to man."
The Mangos ripened while we were in Alaska and Illinois, but our neighbor (whom we allowed to harvest them) gave us a couple of dozen from her own trees. Our Avocados all ripened at once, so we had to give away half of them. No activity and plenty of tropical fruit-- no wonder I gained 10 pounds!