Bell's Vireo breeds in the Central and Southwest states and migrates south along the border of Mexico from Texas to California. Some fall migrants wander irregularly as far east as Florida.
Although I have seen it here twice previously, in Octobers of 2009 and 2012, this time it first appeared on October 15 and stayed here at least until January 9th, 2016. It is a small and rather inconspicuous bird. Other birders came to see it, but only a few succeeded.
Bell's vireo, October 15, 2015:
Here it is on October 31. Note its bright blue legs:
On December 22 I obtained a fairly close view:
I saw the Bell's Vireo again on December 26, 2015. It had moved to a location about 100 yards away from the other sightings:
My most recent sighting, again at the new location, was on January 9, 2016:
On Christmas morning, an Eastern Phoebe watched for flying insects from a perch on a support for the guard rail (a really big fence for Tex's meme):
On December 29 we had a huge emergence of Julia Heliconian butterflies. Singly or in groups of up to 5 or 6, they were literally dripping from the branches of the shrubs.
"Butterflies and Blue Skies:"
That same day I got a close shot of a Metallic Green Bee, hovering:
A Loggerhead Shrike called from an emerging Royal Palm leaf spike:
Water levels remained high, not good for wading birds such as herons, egrete, storks and sandpipers. Normally, this area of the eastern shore of the lake would have contained extensive mud flats by mid-October:
In early January we continued to have almost daily rainfall. This curtailed our outdoor activities. We ventured out on New Year's Day. The smell of spent gunpowder was in the air. Smog, a combination of fog and the smoke left over from the fireworks, somewhat limited our view. That little blue dot is Mary Lou, well ahead of me as usual, just beneath the layer of smog (click on photo for larger view).
I reached the lake just as the sun was rising. A Great Egret was ready to fly off:
The sunlight had not yet touched the ground or low clouds.
In the sad remains of the destroyed rookery, a single Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was present. I am quite sure it is "Dirty-crown," a female which has nested at this particular spot for at least three seasons. Actually, last season she and a mate worked on a nest but soon abandoned it. She is in full adult plumage but has a number of dark streaks on the top of her head, as may also be seen in immature birds:
A Black Racer coiled up in the branches of a small Pond Cypress along the road was an interesting find. This constrictor is usually very timid, so I was surprised that it let me approach so closely. Perhaps it had a prey item in its coils and was unwilling to depart without it:
The beauty of a female Julia heliconian cut through the gloomy morning:
A reclusive Swamp Sparrow peered out of the underbrush:
On January 3 we got out into the wetlands about 30 minutes before sunrise, thinking there was a break in the rain showers. Mary Lou walked the entire mile in and was on her way out as I had only gotten about half way along the gravel road. The sky was dark and overcast. A few minutes later, concerned that a downpour was imminent, I turned around and immediately saw a Bobcat at the side of the road watching me. This has happened before. They seem to wait for people to pass by before coming out to watch their movements:
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
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