Thursday, January 11, 2018

Egret in morning light and a Bobcat

Mary Lou and I like to get out about a half hour before sunrise. It is usually cool and the winds are calm. On January 8 the morning weather report caused us some concern, but the radar looked clear and we set out with an eye on the sky. The third-quarter Super-moon was almost directly overhead.

SuperMoon third quarter 20180108

About ten minutes before sunrise we reached the lake. The sky had lightened up a bit but the opposite shore was still quite dark:

 Before Sunrise 07-20180108

The diffuse light reflected on the still water as a Great Egret explored along the shore:

Great Egret 01-20180108

Great Egret 03-20180108

The sun reflected on a backdrop of high clouds to the west:

Before Sunrise 04-20180108

A large alligator moved lazily along, barely creating a wake:

Big alligator 20180108

Preoccupied with the alligator, I must have missed seeing a Bobcat as it crossed the road about 100 yards to the north. I snapped a few shots before it disappeared in the brush to the left:

Bobcat 04-20180108

Bobcat 06-20180108

I started to move quietly along in hopes of seeing the cat as it proceeded towards the lake, but it surprised me by suddenly running back across the road at a full gallop. In the space of only two seconds I shot a volley of 6 photos. All were poorly focused, so to make up for the lack of clarity I stitched them together to impart a sense of motion (click on image to enlarge):

Bobcat running HDR 20181208

I proceeded to the heron rookery, which is about another half mile beyond the lake. Hurricane Irma had pushed down nearly all the larger trees along the canal. Many were still alive and leafed out, their crowns protruding into the canal. 


 Hurricane damage to rookery 20180110

This seemed to be favorable for the herons, as the count has climbed from one to a dozen in the past few weeks. This morning I counted 7 adult and 2 immature Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. Some were already developing breeding plumage-- the top of their heads had lost the streaks and were turning to gold, their black legs showed brighter yellow color, and their nuptial plumes had emerged:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 04-20180108

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 02-20180108

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 01-20180108

Immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron immature 06-20180108

At least two Black-crowned Night-Herons have also been present, though they are more secretive and I did not find them this morning. This is the adult:

Black-crowned Night-Heron 01-20171219

At least one immature Black-crowned Night-Heron often roosted with the adult. Note that its bill is partly yellow and it lacks the fine spotting of the immature Yellow-crowned species:

Black-crowned Night-Heron 20171228

The sky to the north indicated that the predicted storm front was approaching, but it seemed to be moving slowly, so I started back at a leisurely pace. Mary Lou was already home.


 Rain threatens 20180108

I stopped to photograph another Great Egret as it foraged in a lakeside marsh along with a pair of Mottled Ducks. Fish are trapped in the marsh as it dries up, and it becomes a rich food source. The female Mottled Duck subsists largely on fish and crustaceans during breeding season, so it must benefit from its association with the egret:

Great Egret with Mottled Duck 01-20180107

Great Egret with Mottled Ducks 02-20180107

Other subjects along the way home were a Red-bellied Woodpecker...

Red-bellied Woodpecker 01-20180108

Red-bellied Woodpecker 02-20180108

...a European Starling...

European Starling 01-20180107

...and an American Kestrel:

American Kestrel 04-20180108

Light rain started falling and I had to cover my camera and hurry back to the house!


= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi 

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

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

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31 comments:

  1. Excellent captures! Especially the "cat"...

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  2. That was one productive walk (for great shots)

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  3. Beautiful photography. I love the way you stitched together the bobcat shots, and what a treat to see him!!

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  4. Wonderful nature shots, thanks for sharing :)

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  5. So many beautiful shots - the pink sky is my fav

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  6. More fabulous bird photography! And I'd love to see a Bobcat!

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  7. Florida birds are quite lovely at this time of year. I live in NJ, I see from your sidebar you grew up here. I live in southern NJ, and enjoy watching the backyard birds. Yesterday I saw a lovely hawk and managed to capture a few photographs of it before it had enough of me and flew away. Not sure of the type, but it was very large.

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  8. So many beautiful birds and phantastic reflections! Have a nice weekend!

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  9. Hi Kenneth.... come see my neighbourhood bobcats on my blog .... some babies right up close and personal from back in the fall....

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  10. Hello, I love your moon and sky shots. Just beautiful. The Egret is lovely and the Night Herons are cool birds. Great sightings and photos. Thank you so much for linking up your post. I appreciate your visit and comment too. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

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  11. We had a bit of a mist when we hiked this week and I thought I was going to need the plastic bag I had brought. I would be excited to see the bobcat...but scared too. We've seen evidence on our hikes but haven't spotted one yet. Enjoy your weekend. It turned quite chilly here today!

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  12. All your photos are so beautiful! The one the approaching storm is just stunning. You saw such an amazing variety of animals and birds.

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  13. Wonderful images! How exciting to photograph a bobcat!

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  14. I love how you melded the bobcat photos! What a thrill sighting such a beauty! As for your bird photos - continued super pics, never disappointed when I visit!

    I want to thank you for showing us at I'd Rather B Birdin' your weekend photos!! Your paticipation is always greatly appreciated.

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  15. Hello, Lovely varied images, and some great sightings. Love the clever way you stitched together those Bobcat images, and the two shots you were able to get.

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  16. As usual, your photos are outstanding. I enjoyed today's walk and all the photos. My favs are the magnificent sky shot and too many birds shots to list. Happy Sunday to you!

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  17. Such wonderful photos and beautiful blue skies!

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  18. Beautiful shots! Loved the herons! And loved the bobcat especially that spliced together running shot! So awesome!

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  19. As usual, a wonderful series of shots. My favorites are the early morning pictures, with the Egret reflected in the water, and then the clouds. Enjoyed your creative use of the'out of focus' pictures of the bobcat - I can 'see' him galloping across the road, thanks to you!

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  20. How wonderful to have such fabulous creatures around to photograph! The bobcat is just beautiful but I can't pick a favorite :)

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  21. Would never make it as a birder, because I'm a night owl:) Love to look at your heron captures. the long legged birds are all so elegant:) About your comment on All Seasons, your climbing experience is impressive. Coming from a flat country like the Netherlands, I never thought we would climb that much, and now I live in the mountains I don't know if I could get used to "flat" again! This was a lovely post, Ken! Have a beautiful week:)

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  22. The Bobcat is great - I'd love to see one. Never seen any wild cats at all as far as I remember. Also, really like the Moon.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  23. Superb photos! I love the reflections and how you captured the alligator.

    Your comment made me curious so I enlarged the photo to discover what was under my camera. It's a reflection of the window and the kettle (from the inside) reflected back onto the kettle. :-)

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  24. Your moon photo is incredible ! Have a lovely week!

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  25. You had a wonderful morning. All the loving creatures came out for a pose for you. :-)

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  26. Herons and Egrets are my favorite birds - you got great photos!
    And the Red-bellied Woodpecker photos are super nice!
    Have a wonderful week!

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  27. Beautiful images! I love what you did with the bobcat shots.

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  28. I don't believe I've ever been that close to a bobcat - not knowingly, at any rate. The photo of his rushing hell-bent across the road is especially impressive.
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/01/a-few-feathery-visitors.html

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