Thursday, November 26, 2015

Out before the birds on the local wetlands

Mary Lou and I try to get out each morning about three-quarters to a half hour before sunrise, when the skies are clear and the air is often cool and still.

With the approach of winter, the period of twilight lengthens as the southward path of the rising sun rolls along just beneath the eastern horizon. On the first day of summer the Sun rises more directly and the sky takes less time to lighten up. This phenomenon is much more apparent nearer the Equator, where the "Dawn comes up like thunder," quickly turning from dark to light.

On November 6 our walk was cut short by the threat of rain. Just before sunrise, the eastern horizon appeard to be on fire ("Red in the morning, sailors take warning"):

Sunrise HDR 20151106

On the way in it is usually too dark for photography, but on another morning I tried anyway as a Tricolored Heron flew past before sunrise...

Tricolored Heron 20151109 did an Osprey:

Osprey 20151109

Later in the day, a Loggerhead Shrike stood guard atop a Pond Cypress...

Loggerhead Shrike on cypress 20151109

...and an American Kestrel perched on a leaf shoot from a Royal Palm :

American Kestrel on Royal Palm shoot 2-20151109

At what remained of the once-thriving heron rookery, the only occupants were a female Yellow-crowned Night-Heron...

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron dirty crown 3-20151108

...and a Black-crowned Night-Heron:

Black-crowned Night-Heron 20151108

Visitors from the north, two Eastern Phoebes shared the top of another cypress:

Eastern Phoebes 20151108

A Gulf Fritillary extracted nectar from a Lantana flower:

Gulf Fritillary 20151104

The fruits of Lantana attract buntings. A male and female Painted Bunting suddenly flew to a nearby perch:

Painted Bunting pair 1-20151102

I love to observe and photograph this species away from artificial feeders. The males are usually shy and retiring, so this was a lucky series of shots:

Painted Bunting pair 2-20151102

Painted Bunting 2-20151102

A female Painted Bunting perched on a tall grass stem:

Painted Bunting 3-201051105

An Ovenbird flew in but did not provide me with a clear view:

Ovenbird 3-20151103

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird foraged in a Ligustrum bush. I could not see it in the viewfinder but clicked the shutter blindly several times. It happened to appear in one photo:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 20151105

Black-throated Green Warblers foraged in the Live Oaks:

Black-throated Green Warbler 20151103

Black-throated Green Warbler 5-20151103

They are very active, flitting among the branches in search of caterpillars:

Black-throated Green Warbler in flight 20151103

These flowers were tiny, less than 1/2 inch wide. I got this shot with my Canon PowerShot SX700 HS in macro mode, hand held. Image stabilization is amazing. It is just a "weed" (Largeflower Mexican Clover -- Richardia grandiflora), but close up it looks like a magnificent bouquet.

Tiny pink flowers 20151109

On November 9 the clouds moved in a bit later in the morning:

Cumulus cloud HDR 20151109

We kept a wary eye on the storm as we walked back towards home:

Clouds to east HDR 20151109

At the gate, the Ixora blossoms attracted butterflies:

Monaco Cove entry HDR 20151106

Among them, a tiny Tropical Checkered-skipper with a wingspan of less than an inch:

Tropical Checkered-Skipper 20151006

Fog lifting on opposite shore:

Fog lifting over opposite shore HDR 20151113

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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


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



  1. lovely gate, lovely sky! all beautiful birds, but i was so impressed by your painted bunting pair!!

  2. So much natural beauty here, starting with that amazing sunrise... and that sweet little bunting.

  3. Kenneth, your photos are gorgeous! I love your photography and the painted bunting pair are radiant! Thank you so much for sharing, your posts bring me much joy! :)

  4. Wow - stunning shots.

  5. Gorgeous birds and sky shots, Ken! The Painted Bunting is one of my favorite birds. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  6. Wow - what a fabulous post! I always enjoy seeing your wide variety of birds: Excellent photography!!

  7. Lovely sky shots and my favourite birds today were the Painted Buntings. Onceagain a fabulous post

  8. All amazing pics.....I love the painted buntings but wow...those two sky shots at the end are stunningly beautiful!

  9. Wonderful photos, each and every one. Your photos show the great and fascinating variety of creatures from the bird kingdom. Love these!
    Please feel free to come link up your shots at

  10. What a great colorful post. I love the sunrise of your first photo and your incredible shots of the heron and osprey in flight.

  11. A fabulous selection of bird shots.

  12. Beautiful shots! I especially like the ones with the sun rays coming through the clouds and the kestrel perched on the palm.

    Thanks for the comment Kenneth, however the golden building is the reflection. It's reflecting on the dark building. :-)

  13. I certainly enjoyed this post. Your sunrise is sensational, but your have included some really rare bird photos. The Painted Bunting has been on my "wish list" for years, but so far I'm never seen one. Congratulations.

  14. The birds in flight are terrific. And those buntings, so splendid.

    But the best for me is the Tropical Checkered-skipper. I know well how hard it is to get a great shot of a tiny butterfly.

  15. Each shot is as beautiful as the last.

  16. Lovely bird shots but it's your sky shots that had me going wow! Love the last one especially.

  17. Everything....abso-bloody gorgeous!!!

    Love the Painted Buntings and the sun's rays.

  18. Hi Ken, beautiful birds and great photos. The Painted Buntings are always a favorite of mine. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  19. A stunning area and impressive birds, like the night herons.

  20. Marvelous series. Wonderful images of the Painted Buntings. I love herons and loved seeing the ones you saw. Happy Critter Day!

  21. The Painted Bunting is a beautiful bird. Where we are in British Columbia twilight is over in a flash with the sun way south these days. - Margy

  22. Sorry to be late commenting. We had company over the holiday and then I got sick so I'm just now getting around to commenting on GF - Oh wow those shots of the sky were just stunning. - So many amazing birds and pretty butterflies. I wish we had Painted Buntings around here. Lovely gate and flower shot too.

  23. wow- what fabulous shots you got!!!!! The clouds and sky!! And of course all the beautiful birds...

  24. Beautiful sky shots to go along with your lovely birds and butterflies. I was blessed to host a Painted Bunting male last winter, and a female the year before. I hope they find their way back again, we're a bit north of their range.

  25. Amazing pics!Nothing as beautiful as a bird in flight. Also, the butterflies - what lens do you use? Ours certainly can't show off a butterfly like this.

  26. Great photos! A lot to see for the ones who get up early :)

  27. gorgeous wings. i love the butterflies best. those clouds shots are must amazing!! thanks for stopping by my blog. have a nice day. ( :

  28. Every shot simply gorgeous and breathtaking. You do an excellent job when it comes to photo captures. So glad you stopped by my little small part of blog land.

  29. Oh, these are wonderful...and I have not even clicked to expand the view yet. Always enjoy your photography.

  30. These are just stunning. I feel quite privileged to be able to accompany you on these walks. I don't have great eyesight so I would not be able to spot any but the largest of these birds if I was walking there myself. What a wonderful panorama of nature.

  31. Lovely shots! I guess it pays to get up early.

  32. Beautiful images! Love the sun behind the cloud.

  33. How beautiful these photos are! So many different varieties of birds, flowers and even a butterfly! And the sky shots are just stunning! - Karen

  34. Lovely shots here. Best of all are the birds! So glad the cooler temps are back for some decent birding again. Love your Painted Bunting shots and I agree with bird photos are the ones away from the feeders and even better....near or on flowers! Have a great weekend!

  35. Wow Ken, what an amazingly beautiful series! Thanks as always for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro. I do hope you well send me a "patch" for this year's Gratitude Quilt. Instructions are at the top of my blog :-)


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