A Tricolored Heron accomplished a feat which reminded me of the Grimms' Fairy Tale about the little tailor (das Schneiderlein). You may remember that he found a swarm of flies on his jam sandwich and killed seven in one swat with a feather duster. He proudly advertised his feat by embroidering in golden letters on his wide belt: "Seven at One Blow." Perhaps the heron will not gain as much courage, fame and fortune as was rewarded to das Schneiderlein, but what I saw was not a fairy tale.
The Tricolored Heron hunted in the lake at the edge of our back yard,...
...stalking a fish...
,,,and striking. Look closely and you may see that it caught two small fish in a single thrust:
Somehow, the heron managed to maneuver the two little wiggling creatures up the length of its bill and finally swallow them. Of course, the Atlantic Puffin does even better than this. It has backward-pointing spines on its upper palate to hold dozens of little fish which are pushed up by its specialized bristly tongue and stored there while it catches even more. (Ref: LINK). I wonder if the heron used its tongue to help in the process:
During the last part of July, the pre-dawn sky was dark except for the red planet Mars, as the Moon had been setting during the night, before we ventured out. The July full Moon is traditionally known as the "Buck Moon," because this is the time of year when the antlers of deer are undergoing rapid growth.
On July 27, the Earth passed directly between the Sun and the Moon, creating a total lunar eclipse which lasted nearly four hours. It was the longest of the 21st century. Unfortunately it was not visible here in south Florida. The eclipse did not commence until 3:30 PM our time, as it was rising the next morning over Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The Moon turns blood-red during an eclipse because the Earth's atmosphere scatters the light, just as it does at sunrise and sunset.
This was the nearly-full Buck Moon setting below the western horizon, about a half hour before sunrise, as we walked out into the Wounded Wetlands at 6:20 AM on July 27. Its red color is not related to the impending eclipse, but is enhanced by the dust which has blown across the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert:
We had hoped to see the Moon set over the lake the next morning, but there were storms which kept us home until July 29, when it still looked almost full against the dark sky:
The Moon rode high in the brightening sky and served as the backdrop for a Loggerhead Shrike perched atop a Red Maple:
The same shrike appears in this photo:
Rain again threatened, but the Buck Moon briefly peeked through the clouds over the lake before disappearing:
As if on cue to celebrate the Buck Moon, a yearling male White-tailed Deer pranced towards me in the low light. The wind was at his back, so the spike-buck did not catch my scent. At first he may have mistaken me for another deer and cautiously moved closer before he recognized me and bounded off:
Twice more this past week, I got much better views of the spike buck Again, he approached quite closely before fleeing, leading me to wonder whether he was being fed by someone in the adjoining residential area :
On the last day of July, a Louisiana Waterthrush arrived, the first sign that fall migration was now underway:
A Black-and-White Warbler was nearby, the first I had seen since last April:
The next day I saw two Prairie Warblers, first of the season at this location.
Prairie Warblers breed in southeasterm Florida but practically disappear from inland areas during May and June, as they nest mostly in mangroves along the Atlantic Coast at that time. They may also undergo their post-breeding molt, when many birds become reclusive. Feather replacement is very energy-intensive and they may migrate to favorable habitat where food is more abundant. Migrants from the north greatly increase their numbers during the winter season.
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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