Thursday, April 16, 2015

Birding in dawn's early light

Although the song reminds us that "April showers bring May flowers, " we have enjoyed clear skies most of past month. I got up early to watch the partial eclipse of the Moon on the morning of April 4. If video does not display, try this link.

Eclipsed moon setting over our local wetlands on the morning of April 4:

Lunar Eclipse setting HDR 20150404

Many mornings the sun rose into a cloudless sky, and the "dawn came up like thunder," with skies already bright and blue a half hour before official sunrise. However, on April 13 the combination of a line of thunderstorms far off in the Atlantic Ocean and a layer of high clouds produced a particularly vivid panorama from our back patio:

Sunrise HDR 20150413

The warm morning light softened many  of my photos of common critters, such as this Prairie Warbler...

Prairie Warbler 2-20150402

...a singing Red-winged Blackbird...

Red-winged Blackbird 20150401

...a White-winged Dove roosting in a Castor Oil bean (Ricin) tree...

White-winged Dove on Castor Oil bean tree 2-20150402

...a Brown Thrasher on the path ahead...

Brown Thrasher 2-20150404

...a nearsighted Opossum ambling towards me...

Opossum 20150404

...a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron alone in the remains of the herbicide-ravaged rookery...

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 20150410

...a Common Grackle whose iridescent coat is enhanced by the morning light...

Common Grackle in ligustrum 20150413

...and a female Northern Cardinal, ready to flee upon my arrival.

Northern Cardinal female 2-20150413

As I approached the lake, a Common Yellowthroat was perched near the shore:

Common Yellowthroat 5-20150413

A Double-crested Cormorant dried its wings:

Double-crested Cormorant 20150413

Remarkably, I almost missed seeing this Green Heron before it moved to the top of a small Red Maple:

Green Heron 3-20150413

Alarmed at my presence, the heron moved to another tree, raised its crown and tried to get a better look at me...

Green Heron 2-20150413

...allowing one of my favorite compositions...

Green Heron 20150413

...before flying off:

Green Heron in flight 20150413

Green Heron in flight 2-20150413

Just after sunrise on April 14 an immature Great Blue Heron permitted me to approach rather closely:

Great Blue Heron at dawn 5-20150414

Great Blue Heron at dawn 6-20150414

Great Blue Heron at dawn 2-20150414

On my way back home I encountered another Opossum at the entrance gate:

Opossum 20150326

It's only an invasive exotic  weed alongside the wet prairie, but sepals of the flower of this Peruvian Water Primrose form a perfect Easter cross:

Peruvian water primrose - Ludwigia peruviana 20150413

Sepals form cross in Ludwigia

I could not pass up another macro shot, this time of a little (2.4 cm) Monk Skipper on an Ixora blossom:

Monk Skipper probable 20150414

As I arrived home, a young squirrel watched me from the trunk of a palm tree in our front yard:

Gray Squirrel 2-20150326

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. gorgeous bird shots! great time lapse of the eclipse! love the reflections and critters, too. thanks for the fence link-up, too!

  2. Hi Ken, awesome series.. I love all the birds, especially the Green heron shots.. The opossum and fence shot is cool. Great post, enjoy your day!

  3. Oh, I do love the early morning light in these shots! And what a wonderful series of animal photos too.

  4. Your photos always bring me a sense of awe. They are stunningly beautiful. Each and every one of them. Well done!

  5. So many wonderful many to go into detail about which and why I like them. I will just say I enjoyed all of them.

  6. So many awesome photos here today. It's always neat to see the birds but today I was excited about the Possum shots and that amazing sun rise shot.

  7. Wow...what gorgeous photos!

  8. Awesome bird shots! Love that shot of the squirrel and seeing a reflection in his or her eye.

  9. Hi Kenneth Loved the little video Really all the bird shots are.stunning but the Herons, and reflections stuck out for me. Have a great weekend.

  10. You captured some wonderful feathered friends and more! I love the birds but, I can't pick a favorite! We have many gorgeous blossoms that are technically weeds because they are so invasive, but they still make great photos!

  11. I loved seeing the timelapse of the blood moon! Your wonderful dawn photos and moon shots, and the beautiful bird, flower and critter photos were all a huge joy to see. Really great post. You always have the most wonderful photography.

  12. excellent series of images. love the morning light on your bird images.

  13. What a beautiful post... great photography! I really like the heron photos.

  14. What great pictures and reflections.

  15. Good Morning, Ken! just stopping back to say thank you so much for linking up, have a happy weekend!

  16. Wonderful photos. Especially liked the Opossums.

  17. Wow, what a great bunch of photographs. Your sky photos are spectacular and great job on the bird shots. You froze many of them in mid-air.

  18. I don't even know where to begin - A simple thank you for the gorgeous eye candy will do!! :)

  19. What an amazing collection of birds.

  20. Fantastic shots, Kenneth. Love the nearsighted possum shot.

  21. Wonderful variety of 'critters' and beautiful photography!

    Happy Weekend,
    artmusedog and carol

  22. There is definitely a treasure trove of goodies this weekend Ken!! Wow. Enjoyed them all...but the one photo of the green heron just taking off in flight is phenomenal!!

    I appreciate you sharing the link to this post for I'd Rather B Birdin'. Have a super week ahead!!

  23. Great shots - I love to see most of these, but even as a birder, I'd like to see the opossum!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  24. A wonderful collection of photos! I love the opossums and the squirrel.

  25. WOW!!! You got some stunning shots!!!

  26. I was here over the weekend, but with your link at WBW, I stopped by again. If you find time, stop by and see what I rec'd in my email that I shared today.

  27. A great little video. We couldn't see the eclipse here. Your bird shots are fantastic. The blue heron is marvellous. Gotta love that little possum!

  28. EXCELLENT, these are all just wonderful captures!!!

  29. This is such a marvelous collection! The Prairie Warbler and Common Yellowthroat stole my heart, though. Great shots!

  30. What a wonderful adventure, Kenneth! Fabulous shots! Enjoyed visiting here today!

  31. I don't think there's any way tin the world that a morning could be more perfect than that!

  32. That's a LOT of pictures! Love the egret.


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