Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unexpected spectacles

Just as no two sunrises are ever alike, I never know what to expect any given morning on the Wounded Wetlands adjacent to our south Florida home--

The full Moon setting on February 3, 2017:

Full Worm Moon setting 20170313

The Pine Bank, before Hurricane Irma, which struck  on September 10, 2017

Pine Bank at sunrise 20170208

Pine Bank at sunrise 20170313

After Hurricane Irma, on November 8, 2017, the Pine Bank has a lower profile, as many of the tall Australian Pines have been blown down:

Pine Bank at sunrise 20171108

On November 5, 2017, in the pre-dawn I thought this heron had captured a large snake, but it was an amphiuma. I watched as it dispatched it and then swallowed it whole.  

Two-toed amphiumas (Amphiuma means) can grow to lengths of 3 feet or more—one of the largest salamander species in the world. Two-toed amphiumas have tiny, nearly useless front and hind legs with two toes on each leg. Reference:  Giant Salamanders of Florida

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 01-20171105

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 03-20171105

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 04-20171105

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 07-20171105

One never knows when there may be an opportunity to learn something new. I noticed that Palm Warblers were catching insects attracted to the sparse blossoms which towered above a patch of Alligator Flag. 

This plant will flourish only when there is a constant supply of water. If its roots dry out for too long they will perish. In the Everglades, they signal the location of the water holes which are kept open through the dry season by alligators which created and maintained them over the years:

Alligator Flag in bloom HDR 20151120

Alligator Flag flowers HDR 20160916

Their tiny but attractive flowers resemble those of the Bird of Paradise, a related plant (along with other members of the arrowroot family, which includes bananas and cannas).

Alligator Flag flowers invite bees and other pollinators to trigger an explosive "rat-trap" pollination mechanism which momentarily snaps down on the insect. In a split second the flower collects pollen brought in and deposits new pollen to be distributed. Having completed its task, the flower releases the visitor and prevents entry to new insects. For a more complete and scientific description, visit this link: The Alligator Flag is a Snappy Wildflower.  

Although I am primarily looking for birds, I like to be surprised when mammals show up. I was trying to get a photo of a warbler when this Raccoon suddenly walked out on the path in front of me. I stood very still as he tried to get a better look at me. He walked almost up to my feet before I shood him: 

Raccoon 20120419

Raccoon 3-20120419

Three young White-tailed deer, one a single-pronged spike-buck, stared at me from the end of the road:

White-tailed Deer 01-20170127

Over the fence she goes!

White-tailed doe jumping 04-20150123

On November 10 I found a Grasshopper Sparrow, only my third sighting here over the 10 years I have walked in this patch. This is not a rare species, but it is very small and secretive. It favors short grass such as we have along the gravel road. It persisted for three days in a spot on the right side just ahead:

Storm Clouds 20171110

Grasshopper Sparrow:


Grasshopper Sparrow 01-20171109

Grasshopper Sparrow 04-20171109

I was busy taking a photo of the Grasshopper Sparrow and ignored the cries of two egrets just to my left. When I looked up, this big healthy-looking male Bobcat was sitting there staring at me, about 20 paces away. The noisy egrets circled and flew low over the cat.

He stood up as I took this photo, then walked calmly away. I wondered whether he had tried to catch one of the egrets along the lake shore and they distracted him so much that he failed to notice me. Click on photo for larger view and more images:

Bobcat 01-20171110

He licked his chops, perhaps thinking about how tasty that pesky egret might have been:

Bobcat 08-20171110

He paid me little heed, making me feel like an invisible spectator to one of nature's wonders!

Bobcat 06-20171110

Bobcat 07-20171110

Bobcat 09-20171110



= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

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


________________________________________________

26 comments:

  1. GREAT shots of that coon.

    Twilight is wonderful, twice a day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How amazing to be able to swallow whole another creature that's half the height of oneself!
    And how amazing to have a raccoon come so close and to pose so characterfully for its picture to be taken.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That top most image is just grand!! Here you can violate the rule of thumb of not having the horizon in the middle ... it's a beautiful multi-layered shot..kudos..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great wildlife photos! The standing raccoon is excellent and reflections are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another excellent series of photos, each better than the last!! The bobcat shots are super. They are so rare and elusive in my area, and great to see a closeup like this with all the detail.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful series - so nice to see the diversity of wildlife and the interesting information. I admit, the heron made me gag. Haha! But the bobcat and raccoon made up for it :) Great photos of the bocat! Such a beautiful creature!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stunning photographs, and the ones of the heron are fantastic. They are a bird I struggle to photograph when in Portugal as they are very shy there.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, so many awesome photos and critters. The sky captures and reflections are beautiful. That is a neat sighting of the heron with it's meal. The Bobcat is one of my favorites, great series of photos. Thank you so much for linking up and for your nice comment and visit. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ken, I am stopping back to say thank you for linking up your post. I enjoyed all the photos, the sky shots are beautiful. Great birds and critters. Have a happy weekend. I appreciate your visit and comment too.

      Delete
  9. The raccoon pics are awesome. Nice posing by the deer. Each shot is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I always enjoy your posts and adventures in birding and other critters. Beautiful shots of the water and trees and less trees. Interesting shots of the heron and the two-toed. It made me a little squeamish since I am not fond of snakes. Nice shots of the deer and bobcat too. Thanks for sharing your excellent pics.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wounds to be sad about, but stunning photos of that area, none-the-less! Wow about the heron eating the salamander...great capture! Loved the other wildlife. The raccoon and bobcat are really wonderful! Great photos of it all...what a gorgeous post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How amazing to see that Bobcat. We see 'cat' tracks when we hike but we've never spotted one. And I can't imagine a salamander that big! Enjoy your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow! Interesting post and fantastic shots!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow - amazing and beautiful shots! Imagine a bob cat getting that close.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Incredible photography - from the swallowing to the raccoon to the bobcat. I used to live in Broward but I was still working and missed all your great discoveries

    ReplyDelete
  16. Incredible shots! And all those amazing animals. I really want to see them this close..it must be an amazing adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such amazing shots! I enjoyed the photos of the heron having his meal but the bob cat shot where he's facing the camera took my breath away.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am finding I have no ambition today & I should be out birding. Instead I tought I'd go out in search of those fine feathered beauties with YOU! Thanks for letting me and all at I'd Rather B Birdin' tag along. Altho tbe sight of a bobcat I'd still be running.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The landscapes are so dreamy -love 'em1 Never "met" a bobcat - how big are they? Have been told that deer (we have a deer trail going through our property) can jump up to 6 feet, so that's why we are stalled with starting a veggie garden, because the squirrels here are quite aggressive, so a fence is not enough! A great moment you captured there for All Seasons with the jumping deer!
    Am so glad you will see some family on thanksgiving, and eat good food:):) You and Mary Lou have a happy Thanksgiving too!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are wonderful images you have posted this week. I can't imagine a heron eating something that big. Must just swallow it. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fascinating!
    Thanks for this post, and for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/11/moonlight-and-sunrise.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am a newcomer to your blog - came over from SkyWatch - and I am so glad I did. Terrific variety of wildlife and descriptions - I especially like the heron eating the salamander, the bobcat and the sparrow. I didn't realize bobcats lived that far south!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Incredible photos and an incredible experience. The bobcat might have really thrown me- are they not dangerous? Never heard of amphimus so thanks for the info.. Love the photo of the racoon looking right at you..

    ReplyDelete
  24. All incredible photos! Thank you so much for sharing your talent for capturng nature at its best.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great captures! Especially the bobcat...in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Rosyfinch Ramblings! I will enjoy a visit to your page just as soon as possible.