Thursday, June 18, 2015

Green Herons nesting

With so much to do before running off to Canada I have accumulated an unprocessed  backlog of Florida photos. As I write this, Summer Solstice is two weeks away, but south Florida has already settled into the rainy season pattern of sporadic showers and frequent afternoon rainstorms.

Cirrus clouds over the wetlands herald a change in the weather:

 West Miramar Water Conservation Area HDR 20150530

A morning walk is cut short by the appearance of looming cumulus clouds:

Miramar Parkway HDR 20150601

This is the view from our back patio on May 6. "Red in the morning, sailors take warning:"

Monaco Cove sunrise2 HDR 20150602
Although the variety of birds in late spring has decreased, there have been interesting developments in the devastated heron rookery. The Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, of which at least 8 pairs nested there last year, did not return. However, it was populated by at least three pairs of Green Herons, almost the same number as have bred there before. Somehow they accommodated to the dead and dying trees that border the herbicide-treated canal. Perhaps their smaller size and less inclination to build their nests directly over the water worked in their favor.

I found two of their nests, both out in the open and fully exposed to the elements and predators. As reported in my last post, I discovered the first on May 25. It was located very near or perhaps on the site occupied by a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (cataloged as herbicide treated location #6.1). It held single nestling, not old enough for its first flight:

Green Heron nestling 2-20150525

Two days later, that nestling is still present, and I find two older fledglings roosting on a tree limb. Their flight feathers are nearly fully developed but their caps are adorned with tufts of natal down:

Green Heron fledglings 20150529

This tree limb had broken off and fallen into the canal. It serves as a convenient fishing platform for the juvenile herons. One casts its reflection in the still water:

Green Heron juveniles interacting 5-20150601

Although I could not find the older nest, I was surprised when movement in the foliage directed my attention to another Green Heron nest (herbicide treated location 7.5) . This flimsy nest contains two very active youngsters, perhaps a few days older than the one in the first nest:

Green Heron nestlings nest 7.5 20150605

One of the nestlings is particularly adventuresome, walking about in the dead branches that surround the nest:

Green Heron nestlings nest 7.5 2-20150605

Green Heron nestling nest 7.5 20150605

It tests its wings vigorously, with feet clinging fast to a branch:

Green Heron nestling trying wings 7-20150605

Green Heron nestling trying wings 4-20150605

On the wetlands lake, one of the adults rests on a rock:

Green Heron 20150529

Some of the most common birds are uncommonly beautiful. I like to include them in their habitat instead of always trying for "field guide" photos. This Northern Cardinal really stands out when framed in greenery:

Northern Cardinal 20150605

A Blue Jay takes a typically high perch in a leafless tree along the path, its color complementing the somber sky:

Blue Jay 2-20150605
Nearby, two juvenile Loggerhead Shrikes wait to be fed...

 Loggerhead Shrike juveniles 20150601 one of the adults looks on:

Loggerhead Shrike adult 2-20150601

A Blue Jay harasses a Red-shouldered Hawk:

 Blue Jay attacks Red-shouldered Hawk 3-20150601

Blue Jay attacks Red-shouldered Hawk 4-20150601

At nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, another Loggerhead Shrike perches on a chain link fence...

 Loggerhead Shrike 20150602

...and an oversize Raccoon thinks it is hidden in the rushes:

Raccoon HDR 20150602

On the home front, a Muscovy Duck leads her 11 ducklings across our lake:

Muscovy Duck and Ducklings 20150415

A Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoys one of our last Mangoes of the season. Our two small trees borne over 100 pounds of fruit, most harvested by our neighbor (with our permission) while we were away in Illinois:

Red-bellied Woodpecker eating my mango 2-20150526

Mango 20150526 

A small butterfly attracts my attention. It is almost black below and has an interesting pattern of wing markings. It is a Horace's Duskywing:

 Horace's Duskywing - Erynnis horatius 4-20150605

This is a "robo post," but I will get back to you as soon as I get back to a desktop. Since I will be on the road, I may not be able to post my theme photos to these favorite memes, but please visit the links to see many beautiful images on display:

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

Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura


  1. Beautiful skies and I love the green heron images. Great post, enjoy your day!

  2. Birds and fences go together! Nice shot of your chain link fence for Good Fences.

  3. (your link worked great from canada!) :)

    beautiful skies and reflections! smiled all the way through the young green heron shots. just so goofy and adorable! thanks for the great shots all the way through!

  4. Beautiful skies and reflections!
    Lovely birds - I especially like the Herons

  5. Tell the mama to build a better nest next time! You're right: very active kids:)

  6. Don't know if my comment got through... tell the mama to build a better nest next time:)

  7. Lots to take in here. The baby herons were so cute. I loved that reflection shot. Also the shot of the adult out on the lake. - Nice shot of the shrike on the chain link fence. Cute raccoon.

  8. A great collection of photos. Florida sure has some pretty skies! I like the shots of the jay and the hawk.

  9. All of these are wonderful...I really enjoyed the Green Herons. too!

  10. Gorgeous scenery to begin this post. Love the wispy clouds in the first shot. It's really neat to see the heron nestlings. They're pretty cute. Looks like the Red-bellied Woodpecker likes mangoes! Mama Muscovy looks proud of her eleven babies, as well she should

  11. Stunning sky photos! And the little green herons just stole my heart! Beautiful little things, and the video was amazing! Love all your photos!

  12. Beautiful birds, but those sky shots took my breath away!

  13. Why are you leaving Paradise? These are beautiful pictures ... But have fun in Canada. It will be good to see your pics from there! I love the nestlings and the herons and reflections on the fallen log is a stunning picture.

  14. It is fascinating to see the baby herons. The adult heron is so beautiful, as are all of the birds in your post.

  15. Nice post - can't help but find those young herons rather comical. I'd love to see a racoon!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  16. WOW! Another excellent posst Kenneth. Love all the baby Herons, the 'idden' raccoon, the gorgeous Woodpecker having a feast and the Mama duck desparate to keep her 11 ducklings from being 'lunch' for someone else! Have a lovely weekend.

  17. Hello ken, I wanted to stop back and say thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  18. Wonderful images! The ducklings are so cute and I love the herons.

  19. The Green Herons are so cute in the nest, but my favourites are the Shrike shots.

  20. What fabulous pictures, especially of the two heron young. Just like teenagers, exploring the world out there.

  21. Lots of photos telling lots of stories. I like the raccoon!

  22. Lovely set of critters. I'm impressed by the Horace's Duskywing, you got that great shot while it was in flight!

  23. The heron photos are great and I love your raccoon! So many of the things we see here in our area but you have to be so patient to ever get a good photo. Yours are amazing! Happy weekend! Hugs, Diane

  24. Lots of lovelies of critters.

  25. I have never seen young herons. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. The cardinal is beautiful. It's my favorite bird! Great photos.

  27. Oh Kenneth what a beautiful array of photos… earth, sky, water, so many fascinating creatures, an excellent post!

  28. Thanks so much for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro ♥

  29. What a great variety of critters! Those baby herons are just too cute!

  30. The Green Heron fledglings are so cute, I'm glad life is finding a way to cope with adversity. The chick trying out its wings has such a crazy hairdo! Fun movie. I love cardinals too but never get to see one now. So funny, the woodpecker eating your mango. Pileated woodpeckers here eat my apples.

  31. Another wonderful set of photos!

  32. Oh my those green heron hatchlings are just priceless Ken!!!
    And your entire post...fantastic!!!

  33. What a wonderful series and the young Green Heron is so adorable~


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