Thursday, October 15, 2015

Back in Florida for fall migration

We have returned to Florida from our second home in Illinois. After tending to the multitude of chores, appointments and unexpected plumbing and air conditioning problems (not to mention deferred medical visits) Mary Lou and I have been getting out on the local wetlands almost every morning before sunrise. Walking in, it is too dark for photos so I "bird by ear" until the sky lights up.

One morning we were greeted by a Great Blue Heron who fished along our lake in the predawn darkness:

Great Blue Heron in pre-dawn darkness 20150929

The view from our patio the next morning:

Patio view pre-dawn HDR 20150930

The first bird we always hear as we leave the house is the Northern Mockingbird:

Northern Mockingbird 20150928

Hordes of Gray Catbirds, cousins of the mockingbirds, have migrated in from the north. Their mewing calls pierce the darkness:

Gray Catbird 20150930

Resident Northern Cardinals have finished molting and are back in splendorous garb:

Northern Cardinal in Australian Pine 20151004

The lake in the wetlands as it appeared just before sunrise:

View to NW before sunrise HDR 20151004

A little after sunrise a few days later, a view of the same northeast corner of the lake:

NE corner Harbour Lakes Mitigation wetlands HDR 20151007_20151007_LIGHT 20151007_Localtone

Common Yellowthroats, little pot-bellied warblers, forage in the trail-side shrubs. This one has picked up a spider egg case:

Common Yellowthroat 03-201008

It tasted good, I am sure, but it left the bird's bill a sticky mess: 

Common Yellowthroat 04-201008

This first-year male yellowthroat is just developing a black mask...

Common Yellowthroat sub-adult male 4-20151007

...while this adult sports the real thing:

Common Yelowthroat male 20151011

Some Prairie Warblers breed here, but their numbers are bolstered by new arrivals:

Prairie Warbler 2-20151008

Prairie Warbler 20151011

Palm Warblers are so common here during the winter that some locals call them "Florida Sparrows." Their long legs are an adaptation for feeding on the ground, and they love to explore residential lawns:

Palm Warbler 2-20151009

Some Palm Warbler specimens are more boldly marked, but nearly all that winter in south Florida belong to the drab western sub-species that breeds in West-Central Canada. The more colorful eastern "Yellow Palm" breeds in eastern Canada and winters to the west in Texas and along the northern and western Gulf of Mexico. Interestingly, the migratory paths of these two populations cross.

Palm Warbler 20151009

Numbers of White-eyed Vireos have increased:

White-eyed Vireo 2-20151011

Northern Waterthrushes have arrived,...

Northern Waterthrush 20151011 have acrobatic Black-and-White Warblers:

Black-and-White Warbler 12-20151006

Black-and-White Warbler 07-20151006

I cannot get enough photos of one of my favorite visiting warblers, the Ovenbird. Pardon me for the overdose, but this one was so photogenic:

Ovenbird 3-20151007

Ovenbird 2-20151007

Ovenbird 20151007

I cannot forget the butterflies, such as this male Julia heliconian, from the top...

Julia heliconian 20151012

  ...and the side view, now looking more like a dried leaf:

Julia butterfly male lateral vview  20151011

A Halloween Pennant is bathed in morning light:

Halloween Pennant in morning light 20151007

Some mornings we are treated to a mirrored or "false" sunrise in the west. About 15 minutes before sunrise, the view to the west over the Everglades shows the shadow cast by the earth's opposite horizon has not yet reached ground level. The sunburst caused by cloud tops in a line of thunderstorms offshore is reflected down to the line between sunlight and darkness.

False sunrise over Everglades HDR 20151009

On a fair afternoon a brewing thunderstorm cloud is reflected on our backyard lake:

Monaco Cove Lake HDR 20151010

After a brief downpour, a full rainbow appears to the east:

Rainbow HDR 20151007

An immature Little Blue Heron flies over the reflection of a fence on the canal:

Little Blue Heron 2-20151006


  1. Hello ken, gorgeous birds! Your bird images are always a treat. And I love the gorgeous sky and rainbow shots. Lovely captures. Have a happy day and weekend ahead!

  2. I especially love the landscape pictures! Gr. John

  3. so beautiful! lovely shots throughout!

  4. Hello Ken, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  5. Welcome home, Ken! I see you had a great welcoming committee! There is no such thing as an overdose of images of an Ovenbird. Nice catch on the full (and double) rainbow!
    I love those "false" sunrises!

    Simply superb images!

  6. Wonderful pictures, wonderful sky, rainbow, beautiful reflections!

  7. Nice work Ken. The only thing missing in your article was a picture of you birding.
    Here one that I took today! It was nice to talk to you!

  8. super photos...I agree that the ovenbird is very photogenic...but my favorite is the black and white warbler!

  9. A first to see the Ovenbird. Great shots!

  10. Wonderful photos! I enjoyed seeing all the different birds and the views of the lake are amazing! - Karen

  11. Excellent photos of all the birds. I love the rainbow.

  12. Hello Ken!:) Absolutely breathtaking images,.. the ovenbird is so pretty.

  13. Great set of pictures - there is an outside chance I will be in Florida next March, so I may be asking for a few tips!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. A truly gorgeous and captivating series, Ken! I also love the green background on your blog as well as your lovely header. :)

  15. Oh, my, I am behind on your blog...I love that Ovenbird...actually love them all. Not familiar with a lot of them. Love the sky shots, too. The rainbow is awesome.

  16. So so so much beauty to see on your blog. I am your new follower :)

  17. What a fantastic collection of bird and sky images...forcing me to admit to a smidge of jealousy :-)

  18. Wow!!! Your lake shots, sunrises, rainbow, etc are exquisite! And I love your birds and amazing! Really impressive photos!

  19. What a stunning set of pictures. Great landscapes and some amazing birds.


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