Thursday, September 20, 2018

Crops & Clips: Birds preening

Too often I have discarded bird photos because the subject suddenly turned away, closed its eyes, or started picking at its plumage. Yet, some of my more interesting images have been those of birds preening and ruffling their feathers. 

Of course this is a vitally important behavior, as it cleans and restores integrity to feathers which have been soiled or disrupted. 

Individual feather barbs which arise from the feather shaft are attached to one another by tiny barbules and hooks (nature's "Velcro"). These become separated and must be carefully straightened, realigned and joined together to permit flight and protection from temperature extremes, wind and precipitation.

Herons take on such interesting shapes. The absence of hands makes them contort their necks into some unusual postures.

Great Blue Heron:

Great Blue Heron before sunrise 04-20171215

Great Blue Heron 03-20170207

Great Blue Heron backyard 06-20161210

Tricolored Heron:

Tricolored Heron 03-20160519

Tricolored Heron preening HDR2  20150722

Immature Little Blue Heron:

Little Blue Heron immature 20141118

Little Blue Heron immature neck 20141118

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron preening 20150311

Great Egret:

Great Egret preening 20131210

Great Egret preening 2-20150105

Great Egret preening 03-20180717

Wood Stork:

Wood Stork FOUR nestlings 02-20180411

Anhinga preening:

Anhinga preening 20150212

Anhinga 2-20131210

Sandhill Crane:

Sandhill Crane preening 06-20161027

Turkey Vulture with two heads (actually a companion is looking over its shoulder as it preens):

Two-headed Turkey Vulture 20140302

American Kestrel

American Kestrel preening 20151207

American Kestrel preening 4-20151207

Kestrel stretching 20101210

Bald Eagle stretching and preening:

Bald Eagle female stretching 20170106

Bald Eagle female preening 20151025

Bald Eagle male preening 20141229

Adult Preening 20090320

Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove preening 20111105

Savannah Sparrow:

Savannah Sparrow preening HDR 20160629

Painted Bunting:

Painted Bunting preening 2-20170211

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Crops & Clips: Parting Potpourri

Since I will be traveling this week, I quickly compiled some recent images from our daily early morning walks.  

The first Solitary Sandpiper of the fall migration season appeared at the lake shore on August 28:

Solitary Sandpiper R 05-20180828

Frequent rains have raised the water level in the lake, discouraging the waders which prefer to explore the now-inundated mud flats along the shore. It has flooded into the wet prairie...

High water 03-20180904

...and turned the "peninsula" into an "archipelago:"

High water 01-20180904

Among the other fall arrivals was this female Prairie Warbler:

Prairie Warbler female 01-20180828 

Another warbler, a less colorful Louisiana Waterthrush, was present for over a month:

Louisiana Waterthrush 01-20180825

We canceled our walk one morning becaues of this view from our back patio. Storms were approaching from the east a half hour before sunrise:

Storm moving in at sunrise 20180830

Part of a flock of six Egyptian Geese flying over the Wounded Wetlands:

Egyptian Geese 02-20180823

Egyptian Goose 04-20180823

Calm winds and still waters provided nice reflections of this Great Egret:

Great Egret 02-20180904

Although not an unusual sighting along the coast, these two Gray Kingbirds were the first I have ever seen in our local patch. They were engaged in a game of "king of the palm spire," competing for the highest roost along the path:

Gray Kingbird 04-20180823

The kingbird ignores a Northern Mockingbird which also covets the perch:

Northern Mockingbird vs Gray Kingbird 01-20180823

Another challenger arrives, a second Gray Kingbird:

Gray Kingbirds 01-20180823

The confrontation (note the red crest of the attacker, usually hidden):

Gray Kingbirds 02-20180823

The king of the spire retreats, and a new victor occupies it:

Gray Kingbirds 03-20180823

While I was photographing the waterthrush around sunrise, a White-tailed buck wandered in, unaware of my presence:

White-tailed Deer buck 02-20180904

When I raised my camera, he bolted off:

White-tailed Deer buck 01-20180904

One day as I was walking back home, a female Bobcat strolled across the gravel road, saw me...

Bobcat female 02-20180828

...and calmly retreated into the brush:

Bobcat female 03-20180828

The path to the back gate of an adjacent subdivision is oriented exactly east-west. It serves as a convenient "sundial." The sun rises directly over the middle spire of the fence on the mornings of the equinoxes. It is gradually moving down from the left (north) to signal the beginning of autumn:

Sundial Alley 20180904

One evening the rays of the setting sun reflected on the clouds over our lake, seeming to turn the water blood red:

Red clouds to east at sunset 01-20180823

A view of three cruise ships docked at Port Everglades as we departed:

Port Everglades SEP 8 2018

Downtown Fort Lauderdale:

Fort Lauderdale downtown SEP 8 2018

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


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

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia


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


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Crops & Clips: Flashback to September 2015

Three years ago we started out the month of September at our (then) second home in NE Illinois. My archives include 450 photos processed that month. As usual, I will look for images which depict favorite memes-- critters (especially birds), skies, reflections, fences and scenes which  speak for themselves.  

Yellow was the predominant color in the prairies, as goldenrod and sunflowers bloomed. Male American Goldfinches had not yet begun to change into their drab olive winter plumage:

American Goldfinch 20150902

American Goldfinch 20150910

The Mallards had molted into unisex "eclipse" plumage and were temporarily flightless, but the male could be identified by his bright yellow bill:

Mallard male and female 20150913

The Compass Plant looks a bit like a sunflower, whose blooms rotate to face the sun. However, this plant got its name because its flowers were believed to point to the north and south. which is not always the case. It is a plant of the tall grass prairie, and its tap root reaches deep into the soil, allowing it to survive fire and drought:

Compass Plant 20150901

Early in the month, we accompanied our daughter and her family on a short vacation trip to Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Resort in NE Wisconsin, nearly 300 miles north of the Chicago area. Located in Door County, on the Upper Peninsula east of Green Bay, its namesake harbor opens into huge Lake Michigan. We occupied a waterfront condo, an easy walk from the shoreline.

Lake Michigan 20150906

Monarch butterflies abounded. This one was fighting the wind as it held fast to the flowers:

Monarch battling high winds 20150906

A curious Red Squirrel looked on as we walked the rustic pathways:

Red Squirrel 4-20150906

Red-breasted Nuthaches were common:

Red-breasted Nuthatch 3-20150905

Red-breasted Nuthatch 2-20150905 - Copy

A Pileated Woodpecker, identified as a male by his red "mustache," foraged in the trees and on the ground, where I caught him in 'mid-hop:"

Pileated Woodpecker 06-20150905

Pileated Woodpecker 08-20150905

Black-capped Chickadees flocked to the feeders:

Black-capped Chickadees 20150906

The shoreline on a foggy morning:

Baileys Harbor shoreline 2-20150905

The Marina:

Baileys Harbor Marina 2-20150906

Back in Illinois, a young ("colt") Sandhill Crane followed its parents across a neighbor's lawn:

Sandhill Crane family 2-20150913

The windy weather made it difficult to find reflections, but this Great Egret saw itself on the surface of the Fox River at Lippold Park, near our home:

Great Egret 20150913

Wind-swept "horsetails" stirred in the clouds above Nelson Lake preserve...

Nelson Lake east enrty HDR 20150924

...where our Granddaughter Graci accompanied us on our final hike for the year. She wanted me to try to photograph all her sightings, which I did, and will not bore you here except for:

Graci at Nelson Lake 20150926

We saw a White-breasted Nuthatch...

White-breasted Nuthatch 2-20150926

...and a line of ants carrying a dead moth:

Watching ants carry moth 20150926

By the time we departed for Florida, the leaves were turning to autumn colors, almost hiding this diminutive Ruby-crowned Kinglet:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 20150924

We will miss the colors which accompany the change in season...

...New England Asters, so common on the fall prairie:

New England Aster 20150926

Nashville Warbler in a daisy patch:

Nashville Warbler in daisies 3-20150921

A Common Buckeye on daisies:

Common Buckeye butterfly 20150926

Back in Florida, there is something magic about the morning light, which envelops an Ovenbird:

Ovenbird 14-20150928

On September 29, sky and clouds reflect on lily pads, the "Reflection of the Month:"

Reflection 20150929

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


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

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia


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