Thursday, April 19, 2018

Crops & Clips: Displaying Night-Heron

Fog lingers on the lake just after sunrise: 

Fog on lake after sunrise 04-20180409

A Great Egret forages at the water's edge:

Great Egret 01-20180326

Recent rains have re-charged the lakeside marshes. A Tricolored Heron casts a nice reflection in the still water:

Tricolored Heron 01-20180326

At lakeside, a Great Blue Heron preens:

Great Blue Heron 02-20180326

Great Blue Heron 01-20180326

The rookery in our local Wounded Wetlands has hosted up to eight pairs of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and three Green Heron couples. Last summer, Hurricane Irma toppled most of the nest trees into the canal. I believe that this is why I found only one pair of Yellow-crowned Herons nesting, although two pairs of Green Herons have been reliably present:

Green Heron 05-20180330

This Green Heron started fluffing its feathers just as I took the photo. I liked the blur created by the action:

Green Heron ruffling feathers 02-20180330

I saw one Green Heron gathering sticks for a nest, but so far have not located it:

Green Heron gathering sticks 05-20180314

Last week I captured a nice sequence of photos as a male Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in full breeding plumage displayed towards a rival male:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 01-20180410

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 02-20180410

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 03-20180410

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 04-20180410

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 05-20180410

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Display1 06-20180410


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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, April 12, 2018

The Gray Ghost: Northern Harrier

Sunlight touches the fog rising over the Wet Prairie:

Sunlight touches fog 01-20180317

I grew up calling it a Marsh Hawk, and the same species is known as Hen Harrier in Europe and Asia. This slender large diurnal raptor has long, narrow wings, a long tail, and a conspicuous white rump patch. It has an owl-like facial disc, and  is commonly seen flying low over open land. 

Like a Turkey Vulture, it glides with wings tilted upward in a dihedral, an adaptation for slow and low flight. For both species, this configuration allows the wings to stall alternatively as they lose lift, causing the bird to wobble or "teeter" rather than suddenly plunge down to the ground. 

Adult female:

Northern Harrier 2-20111127

A harrier photobombed my session with a Bobcat family:

Harrier over bobcats 20111103

Another appeared unexpectedly at the edge of an Illiniois cornfield, as I watched a Coyote walk away:

Coyote and male harrier 20130225

Coyote and female harrier 2-20130225

Note the yellow eyes and bulging crop of this adult female:

Northern Harrier 20110220

Northern Harrier close 20110220

Few of my photos are in good focus, as the bird's movements are difficult to track and predict:

Northern Harrier 20111204

Northern Harrier 02-20111204

Northern Harrier 09-20111204

In my collection of Northern Harrier images, nearly all are of the larger brown females or, more commonly, immature birds with cinnamon-colored underparts. The younger birds have dark eyes, while those of adults become bright yellow. This immature has spotted (or heard) prey in the high grass:

Northern Harrier 5-20131210

Northern Harrier 2-20131210

Northern Harrier 4-20131210

I got a poor image of this female Northern Harrier, through our daughter's kitchen window in Illinois. Her cinnamon undersides, which may be an artifact due to the warm morning  light, suggest she is immature but her eyes are quite bright yellow as in an adult:

Northern Harrier 4-20130114

Northern Harrier 20130114

She flew up to display her distinctive white rump:

Northern Harrier 3-20130114

This is a young Male Northern Harrier. It looks quite brown:

Northern Harrier Male 20090328

As they age, males mature into a  beautiful plumage of white, gray and black. I had only very poor and distant photos of male harriers until, in January 2018, this one flew overhead in the local wetlands and afforded me one shot as it sped away:

Northern Harrier male 01-20180123

I was thrilled as this adult male, perhaps the same one, approached my position in the Wet Prairie on March 23, 2018. It veered erratically and I thought the "Gray Ghost" would turn away:

Northern Harrier male 009-20180323

Northern Harrier male 011-20180323

Northern Harrier male 007-20180323

Northern Harrier male original 001-20180323

Males are a bit less common than females, but seem greatly outnumbered during the winter because of the similarity between adult females and the abundant immature birds of both sexes. Far north, on their breeding gounds, the males may collect a "harem" of several females.

Perched on road sign at Brigantine preserve in New Jersey:

Northern Harrier at Brig 20091208


= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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, April 5, 2018

Crops & Clips: Flashback to April, 2015 (#800)

I reviewed nearly 600 processed photos taken three years ago during April, 2015, a month which found us engaged in family fun and travel. 

Since Easter came early in the month as it does in the present year, our planned events will be a sort of replay of the same places and habitats as the land bird migration season gets underway and peaks. In fact, we plan to be on Sanibel Island after Easter when this blog posts.

In the archives I looked for favorite memes of sky and reflections, birds and other critters to reflect the season as well as scenes which speak for themselves. 

A Blogiversary! This marks my 800th Rosyfinch Ramblings blog post since it peeked out of its shell in September, 2006.

Photo of the month-- The lighthouse at night on Sanibel Point, Florida, April 7, 2015:

Lighthouse at night HDR 20150407

There was lots of activity during April. Our daughter's family came to visit us for the Easter holidays. We vacationed on Sanibel Island and finished the month at our second home in NE Illinois. On April 2, an Easter White-winged Dove posed in wonderful light (not to mention that this symbol of peace is perched on a Castor Oil Bean tree which is the source of Ricin, the deadly poison):

White-winged Dove on Castor Oil bean tree 3-20150402

Looking south at sunrise, also on April 2, over our local Wounded Wetlands:

Cloudless sunrise to south HDR 20150401

We experienced a lunar eclipse on April 4, the day before Easter Sunday. It had attained just about three quarters of umbra when the rising sun spoiled the show. 

Lunar Eclipse 0656 AM EDT -20150404

Lunar Eclipse 0659 AM EDT -20150404

Then we were off to Sanibel, where we occupied a nice large suite overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Our daughter, Son-in-Law and their two girls enjoy fishing, which is fine with us as it gives us time to go birding. We watched breathtaking  sunsets from the fishing pier:

Sanibel Fishing Pier HDR 20150407

Our granddaughters caught a few, and did better than their Dad, who spent a lot of time on Company business (I remember the feeling-- like a busy executive, a family doctor in private practice really had no "free" time):

Roly at the office 20150409

Nieta at Sanibel Fishing Pier 20150409

Nietas at Sanibel Fishing Pier 2-20150409

On the pier, the birds came to us, among them this Snowy Egret:

Snowy Egret 5-20150409

Brown Pelicans hoped to catch any throw-backs, although feeding them is prohibited:

Brown Pelican 20150409

Brown Pelican 2-20150409

An Osprey nest near the pier contained a hungry chick:

Osprey adult and chick 2-20150409

Pileated Woodpeckers were commonly present in the woodlands surrounding the lighthouse:

Pileated Woodpecker female 20150408

I could not ignore the beautiful Blanket Flowers along the way:

 Blanket flower 20150408

Sanibel Lighthouse2 HDR 20150407

At nearby Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve, Reddish Egrets foraged energetically:

Reddish Egret 05-20150407

Reddish Egret 01-20150407

A Northern Cardinal appeared on the boardwalk:

Northern Cardinal 20150407

We spent the last half of the month at our second home in Illinois. The first couple of days were so cold that we did not venture out. We visited a local park to see a Great Horned Owl with three owlets (two are visible):

Great Horned Owl 2 of 3 owlets 20150422

We don't get to see many American Robins in south Florida, so this was a treat:

American Robin 4-20150422

In the surrounding corn fields, a grand old barn which I hope is still standing...

Barn2 Albumen 20150421

...but another was torn down only a few months later:

Barn SEPIA 20150421

With half a month left, I can only highlight a few of the Illinois birds--

Virginia Rail:

Virginia Rail 3-20150424

Red-winged Blackbird:

Red-winged Blackbird male 2-20150424

White-breasted Nuthatch:

White-breasted Nuthatch 3-20150426

A pair of Bald Eagles at a nest near our condo:

Bald Eagles DETAIL 20150429

Overhead, a Red-tailed Hawk:

Red-tailed Hawk HDR 20150429

A male Bobolink in breeding finery:

Bobolink 4-20150409

Eastern Meadowlark on budding oak tree:

Eastern Meadowlark 5-20150409

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on its tiny nest:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at nest 2-20150407

Arriving Yellow Warblers:

Yellow Warbler in flight 20150414

Yellow Warbler singing 2-20150414

Yellow Warbler 2-20150414




= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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

________________________________________________