Thursday, March 26, 2015

Birding on a murky morning

We awoke to dense fog yesterday morning. I wasn't sure whether I even wanted to walk in the wetlands. My camera and  binoculars had spent the night in air-conditioned comfort, so I knew I would face foggy lenses and fuzzy photos. 

The visibility was so poor up ahead towards the Everglades that I figured there would be nothing to see on the wetlands lake:

Miramar Parkway in fog 20150325

Two days earlier I obtained this photo as the fog lifted over the lake:

Fog looking west sepia 20150323

For a change, I walked south on the SW 196th Avenue levee that runs all the way to the Miami-Dade County line. I proceeded about a mile with the expectation that the 1/4 mile visibility would improve after sunrise, at 7:20 AM. Instead the fog clung to the waters of the canal. 

Levee trail southbound fog 20150325

With the camera covered against the light mist that started falling as the upper level fog began to condense, I birded by ear. 

Spider webs were laden with dew. Using my little pocket camera (Canon SX 700 HS) I captured some of the still life. This is the view looking back to the north from the levee trail:

Orb and fog HDR 20150325

Dew dropped from the twigs:

Dewdrops 20150325

An orb festooned with dewdrops reflected a rainbow:

Rainbow Orb 20150325

Ahead, I approached the inlet between the canal and the "big lake" in our development:

Orb and fog HDR 2-20150325

Trying to see through the fog, I hoped to find an eagle that sometimes roosts on Lighthouse Island:

Lighthouse Island 20150325

Back at the computer I gave a "painterly" treatment to a portion of the photo:

Lighthouse Island Painting detail COREL

Over the course of almost two hours I recorded 23 bird species, almost all heard only, and photographed a single bird, this female Boat-tail Grackle, as she hunted for dragonflies at the water's edge:

Boat-tailed Grackle hunting dragonflies 20150325

Boat-tailed Grackle 20150325

Halloween Pennants were numerous:

Halloween Pennant 20150325

As I walked along the trail one flew towards me and appeared to hover right in front of my eyes. It had been trapped by a single thread of spider silk. Within 4 minutes it was wrapped and carried off by the spider:

Halloween Pennant hanging by a thread 20150325

The spider arrives 20150325

The wrapping proceeds 2-20150325

Bringing home the trophy 20150325

Since I have so little to show in the way of photos, here are a few from the past week. March 20 was also foggy, but I got this nice shot of the north shore of the wetlands lake just as the fog was dispersing:

North shore fog HDR 20150320

As expected on the Vernal Equinox, the sun rose directly over the back gate of the Harbour Lakes subdivision. 

Equinox dawn HDR 20150320

That day I fortunately got a second look at the two Black-necked Stilts that had visited a few days earlier. They did not wait for me, so this was a lucky shot between the blades of high grass in front of me. Happily, the blades did not cover the birds and they even added a bit of out-of-focus relief as the stilts coursed over a patch of rocks and lily pads in the lake:

Black-necked Stilts HDR 20150320

A Muscovy Duck, an established feral species, flew overhead. They usually fly low, so this was a treat:

Muscovy Duck flyover 20150318

On March 17 I found only one pair of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in the rookery. I fear it has been damaged so badly that they will not nest here this year, if ever again:

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons 20150317

The male made a half-hearted display towards the female:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron display 20150317

On the afternoon of March 16, a quick visit to the local Bald Eagle nest was very rewarding. I found the male on the nest, and he was soon joined by the larger new female, to the left in this photo:

Bald Eagle female joins male on nest 20150316

The female flew up to roost just to the left of the nest. Note that her tail feathers still have dark tips. She just turned four years old and is entering the full fifth year adult plumage stage:

Bald Eagle female returns to roost above nest 20150316

To balance the picture, the male flew up to the right...

Bald Eagle male lands on right branch 20150316

... and the two rested for a while:

Bald Eagle male roosts on right branch 20150316

Then, both returned to the nest and rearranged a few sticks:

Bald Eagle pair on nest 20150316

Unfortunately, a dump truck made a panic stop when the light turned red. Its jake brakes roared and the driver leaned on his air horn. This startled both eagles, and the male flew our to the left and the female exited to the rear of the nest:

Bald eagle male flies from nest 20150316

On my next visit to the nest I saw no eagles, but a Carolina Wren scolded me:

Carolina Wren 2-20150322

He posed on a fence (just to please Tex):

Carolina Wren on fence 20150322

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart


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



  1. HI Kenneth Actually I am glad there was fog/mist as some, well most of those photographs are ver atmospheric and beautiful. the Spider webs are magical. I love the Wren at the end adn you got good shots of the Eagles on their nest. boy I would love to see that Yellow -crowned night Heron myself in blreeding plumage. Another great post withlots of variety. I loved it. Have a great week.

  2. Hello again. SO glad I found your blog. Your photography is stellar: What a line-up of excellent photos you shared; and I also read "how you became a birder". I find your blog to be very enjoyable, and thank you for stopping by my blogging and your kind comment.

  3. loved the eagles. well, loved the fog and droplet shots and the spider webs and the birds and... :) thanks, ken!

  4. So many great shots here! I really like your spiderweb photos.

  5. Agreed. Your photography is stellar.
    JM, IL

  6. Wonderful selection of photos. The spiderweb shots are amazing. Love, Love, Love your Eagle shots and that gorgeous sunset shot with the fence/gate. So pretty.

  7. Wet and dreary...but oh, you got some amazing photos!

  8. Wow! You've got some really great shots here. I especially like the spider webs and water droplet shots on your misty/overcast day. Very nice even if you didn't get the birds you wanted to see.

  9. Wow! Magnificent and magical! I love that rainbow web.

  10. Great post and wonderful photos.. The web is cool and I love the pretty sunrise.. Awesome bird captures.. Happy weekend!

  11. What incredible photos and that reflection shot is amazing.

  12. alot of great photos in this wonderful series.

  13. The light and colours in some of those scenery shots is beautiful


  14. Wonderful collection of photos... really spectacular.. the spider webs are amazing too...

  15. I think I would have been very happy just with the spider and dragonfly shots!

    I remember my first encounter with air-conned gear and humidity! What an epic.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  16. Love the spider web shot and amazing variety of birds

  17. Hi Ken, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post.. Have a great day!

  18. The weather hasn't been cooperative here much either...but today it's sunny. We went birding, and got 'et up' with all the hungry mosquitoes!! I'd much prefer walking in the fog!!!

    You have some glorious images. Love the night heron's displaying.

    Thanks Ken, for sharing the link at I'd Rather B Birdin'. And yes....we have MORE red-shafted here than the yellow.

  19. Wonderful post and fantastic photography, I really enjoyed the spider webs with dew on them and of course the birds.

  20. Wonderful photos! The ones of the spider and the dragonfly are just awesome. The wet spiderwebs are gorgeous.

  21. Lovely foggy/misty images with dewy spiderwebs. The spider and dragonfly sequence is amazing.
    Great shots of the Eagle pair.


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