Thursday, February 22, 2018

Another Bobcat encounter

Our south Florida winter has been much more like summer these past few weeks. We walk out in the cool before sunrise but the temperature quickly rises as the sun climbs.

There is sometimes a touch of fog on the lake which quickly burns off:

Fog before sunrise 01-20180215

On February 14 the clouds kept the heat away for a while:

PINE BANK 20180214

In the rookery, the Green Herons are developing longer plumes and their legs are turning red, a sign that they will soon be breeding. The rookery is quite dark and deeply shaded, so my photos are soft:

Green Heron 01-20180215

Green Heron 02-20180215

During the past two weeks there had been as many as 8 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in the rookery, but now, inexplicably I find only one:


 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3-20150321

The Blue Jays are active and loud:

Blue Jay 2-20180215

Three male American Kestrels defend separate winter hunting territories along my route:

American Kestrel 20180215

On February 19 I was photographing this lakeside Tricolored Heron...

Tricolored Heron 01-20180219

Tricolored Heron 04-20180219

... when a young lady rode up on her bike with a cute and friendly brown dog running alongside. We visited for a moment as I was photographing the heron. Then she biked away.

I continued down the path for a few minutes, when a Bobcat emerged from the high grass on the right side of the gravel road. I took this photo thinking the girl had already moved out of sight down the road:

Bobcat 001-20180219

At first the cat was intent on watching the girl and her dog. I cautiously moved nearer. The girl seemed to have dismounted in order to text or talk on the phone and was oblivious to the presence of the Bobcat, which then saw me:

Bobcat 002 CROP-20180219

The cat walked out into the middle of the road and appeared to be catching the scent of the dog:

Bobcat 003-20180219

Bobcat 004-20180219

The cat watched as the girl got back on her bike and headed away:


Bobcat 008-20180219

Bobcat 007 CROP-20180219

After the biker moved out of sight the cat turned her attention back on me. I think it is a female rather than the bulky male which I photographed earlier this winter:

Bobcat 006 CROP-20180219

Bobcat 009-20180219

Suddenly, she ran back into the high grass:


Bobcat 010-20180219

Although the Bobcat was nearly as large as the dog, it posed no threat to it or to humans. An alley cat or toy dog could be another matter. It probably emerged because it detected the unusual intrusion. Was it just curiosity? Might she have cubs? Several times I have had Bobcats peer out at me from behind as I walked down a trail. 

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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

________________________________________________

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

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mid-month potpourri

Reflected reeds framed a Common Gallinule:

Common Gallinule 20180206

The sun seemed to be rising from behind a cloud castle:

Sunrise 20180211

The Lantanas were blooming again and attracting butterflies, a Monarch...

Monarch butterfly on Lantana 01-20180210
 

...and a Zebra heliconian:

Zebra heliconian on Lantana 03-20180210

When is a goose not a goose? When it is an Egyptian Goose. These introduced invaders are classified in a sort of no-man's land between the ducks and geese.

A squad of three flew over my head in the Wounded Wetlands. Their calls are ear-splitting:

Egyptian Geese 05-20180212

Egyptian Geese 04-20180212

I couldn't fit them all in the view-finder:

Egyptian Geese 03-20180212

A distant Red-shouldered Hawk was tearing at prey as it roosted on a dead tree:

Red-shouldered Hawk 03-20180212

Red-shouldered Hawk 04-20180212

An American Kestrel stared down at me from high atop a  pole:

American Kestrel 01-20180212

A second kestrel flew up into a fruiting Royal Palm:

American Kestrel male on Royal Palm 03-20180205

American Kestrel male on Royal Palm 01-20180205

I almost missed seeing a Sharp-shinned Hawk hidden deep in the tree branches:

 Sharp-shinned Hawk 04-20180211

Sharp-shinned Hawk portrait 05-20180211

In the rookery a Green Heron shifted its shape:

Green Heron 03-20180210

Green Heron 06-20180210

Green Heron 08-20180210

As many as eight Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are not yet paired up, but they are growing plumes and their legs are gradually turning brighter in anticipation of breeding season:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 02-20180206


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 01-20180206

An immature Little Blue Heron pranced along the lakeside:

Little Blue Heron immature 03-20180202

A Brazilian Pepper bush was a pretty spot for a watchful Northern Mockingbird:

Northern Mockingbird 02-20180202

A tiny House Wren came out of hiding for a brief photo-op:

House Wren 04-20180204

House Wren 01-20180204




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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

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Super Blue Blood Moon eclipses the birds

To some, our early morning walks in the local "Wounded Wetlands" might seem to be a dreadful waste of time. We usually start out on the three mile route about a half hour before sunrise. Mary Lou and I walk together briskly the first half mile. It is too dark to see any birds, but I usually can identify a handful by their calls and songs-- mockingbirds, cardinals, catbirds, jays and doves.

The sky lightens up and I fall behind as Mary Lou continues her pace. I may hear the song of a Carolina Wren...

Carolina Wren 03-20170427

...or the calls of an Eastern Towhee:

Eastern Towhee 3-20171019

However, on the morning of January 31, I covered the first half mile in quite a hurry, not wanting to repeat my experience only 2 moons ago on December 3, when I tarried and nearly missed the setting of the SuperMoon.

The night before, from our back yard, I had watched it rise over the lake:

Super Blue Blood Moon rising 20180130

The sky was dark but crystal clear. It was a perfect morning to see the third consecutive Super Moon and the second to appear in January-- a Blue Super Moon! But there is more-- it will also be in partial eclipse and its penumbra will turn red as it approaches the horizon-- a Blood Moon.

At 6:38 AM the deepening penumbra mostly involves  the upper left edge of the full Moon, and exhibits no color:

Super Blue Blood Moon 0638 AM

The Moon was scheduled to set at 7:06 AM, only one minute after sunrise. Half way to the lake, the sky was already lightening and the rays of the Moon were taking on a yellowish hue. My pace quickened:

 Super Blue Blood Moon 03-20180131

The view from the lake shore:

Super Blue Blood Moon 01-20180131


By 6:59 AM the penumbra covered the Moon and the umbra had progressed to about 20%:

Super Blue Blood Moon 0659 AM

Bt 7:02 AM over a third of the Moon's surface was in darkness:

Super Blue Blood Moon crop 0702 AM

Within two minutes it sunk out of sight as the sun rose:

Super Blue Blood Moon crop 0703 AM

Super Blue Blood Moon crop 0704 AM

Later that morning I checked on the local Bald Eagle nest. Their first egg presumably hatched on January 11, based upon ground observations that it had been laid 35 days previously, on or about December 7.


The adults were seen feeding one or more eaglets over the next two weeks, but the rim of the nest is very high and one chick did not become visible until January 28. I watched the nest from about 9:00 AM until 9:45. When I arrived the female (Jewel) was sitting rather deep in the nest:

Bald Eagle female 01-20180131

She never looked down to tend or feed any offspring. so I thought they had just been fed and were probably sleeping. After about 20 minutes I walked back to the car and was ready to attend to other chores. No sooner had I closed the car door when the male (Pride) flew in, carrying a large white bird (an adult White Ibis).


I reached for the camera but was too late to get a photo before he landed on the nest. Pride is on the right:

Bald Eagle male on right brings prey 02-20180131

Jewel promptly flew up to roost just above the nest:

Bald Eagle female flies up 04-20180131

Pride got right to work, tearing at and "butchering" the prey. Very soon a curious little fuzzy "Bobble-head" appeared...

Bald Eagle chick watches 07-20180131

...and waited patiently to be fed something which does not appear to be a tasty morsel:

Bald Eagle feeding 091-20180131

To date, the suspected second eaglet has not been seen, and I saw no evidence that another was being fed.


 = = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________