This was the view from our back patio:
A crescent Moon hung very low in the sky, just rising above the cloud bank ahead of the sun. It was very "old," not to be seen again until three days later. After creating a partial eclipse the next day, it would reappear as the Snow Moon, to once more begin its flight away from the sun, and sink into the opposite horizon.
To my surprise, a sharply-demarcated heavy bank of fog hung over the path ahead. I entered the cloud and was enveloped, almost as if passing through an invisible door. Now it was not only darker but everything more than 20-30 yards away was suddenly invisible, and I felt so alone. For a moment my brain stem transported me back to childhood and I had a wave of the "goblin under the bed" syndrome.
That strange feeling led me to think of how spooky it would be if an owl suddenly started hooting, so I broke out my iPhone bird sound application and began playing the call of an Eastern Screech-Owl. The call kept repeating as I walked along, and the fog began to lift.
About half way into the wetlands I turned off my iPhone and put it back in my pocket.
Moments later, I thought my owl call started playing on its own, but then realized that a real owl was calling back. It was the monotone trill of the Screech-Owl, and it was emanating from a small tree right along the path.
The owl was well-hidden amid the pine needles and I tried to find a good angle for a photo without disturbing the bird. Although this species is not uncommon in established neighborhoods with mature trees, it was the first one (the 166th species) I have encountered in our local birding patch. Its outlines were barely visible in the predawn light:
This was about the best I could do:
Later, the empty perch:
Fast forward two weeks, and the full Snow Moon which lit up the night now sets into the lake just after sunrise:
By day, the sun shone on some brightly colored little birds. These are Northern Parula warblers. One surprised me by posing at eye level for the better part of 2 seconds as I feverishly clicked the shutter:
Now that the wetlands are beginning to dry up we are seeing fewer deer. They do not enjoy having continuously wet feet and surely welcome the seclusion of hammocks in the Everglades. This White-tail watched me intently before scampering back over the fence:
For Valentine's Day I presented Mary Lou with this photo of Lantana flowers wrapped in spider webs, which I posted to her on Facebook, saying, "The spiders worked all night to wrap your bouquet of Lantana blossoms in silk, and placed it right where I could find it this morning. For my lifetime best friend and lover MaryLou, with all my love!" One commentator said: "Men of science are so romantic. I would much rather have something like that than one of those corny, mushy cards they sell."
It's hard to believe that our first date was over 63 years ago, on December 27, 1953. (That one didn't work out, but we did eventually get together and were engaged in 1957!)
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Today's Flowers Friday by Denise
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display