Blown in from Africa, Saharan dust provided unusual pink sunrises...
...which reflected on the wings of a Great Egret...
...as well as upon a rare species which visited our back yard lake on August 11 and lingered for over a week:
It is a "Great White Heron," actually the white color morph (or subspecies) of the Great Blue Heron:
The breeding range of Great White Herons is concentrated far south of our home, in the coastal mangroves of the Florida Keys. They average larger in size than the south Florida population of Great Blue Herons.
Under a blue sky in late afternoon, the Great White Heron shows its true colors. Note that its legs are light in color, unlike the black legs of a Great Egret:
Although the Great Egret (which averages 39 inches/99 cm tall and weighs 2.2 lb/1 kg) is the largest of our local resident egrets, it is dwarfed by the Great White Heron, which is 54 inches/137 cm tall and can weigh up to 7.3 lbs/ 3.3 kg.
This was my best attempt to fit both species in a single frame:
These two photos show each of the white herons walking next to a tree which is 140 feet/43 meters across the lake from our yard. First, the Great White Heron...
...and now the Great Egret:
An extreme contrast in size is shown in this photo of the Great White Heron and a Green Heron only 18 inches/46 cm tall, next to a neighbor's fence:
Another unusual event was my discovery, on August 17, of the nest of a Common Ground-Dove, the first ever officially documented in our County. This species actually is a fairly common breeding bird, but its nest is particularly hard to find.
Indeed, this one was very well hidden but only a few steps away from the gravel road in the local wetlands. The parent gave away its location by suddenly flushing as I passed by:
The anxious female parent watched me from a perch nearby:
Not wishing to disturb the nest or provide a predator with a scent trail to the nest, I photographed it from the path, about 10 feet away. This was the only camera angle which provided a partial view of the nest:
Unfortunately, on August 26, a landscaping crew came through and mowed all the grass along the shoulder of the road and destroyed the nest and its contents:
Not wanting to end on a sad note, here are a few clips of other critters seen during the month, starting with a White Peacock butterfly:
Halloween Pennant dragonfly rests on a grass stem:
Perky Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher stands still for an instant:
Backyard Anhinga dries its wings on our duck decoy:
Golden sunrise on August 31, a fitting finale for an eventful month:
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
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