Thursday, January 3, 2019

Crops & Clips: Flashback to January, 2016

Once again, I am looking through the retrospectoscope and refreshing my memories of walks in the Wounded Woodlands three years ago. We will review photos which depict favorite memes: birds, butterflies and critters of all kinds, fences, skies and reflections, as well as scenes which speak for themselves. It was an eventful month, as I processed 975 photos. There was also concern about the welfare of our local Bald Eagles.

We celebrated the return of one of my favorite winter resident birds, the American Kestrel. Most years we have hosted three of these small falcons which defended separate foraging territories in our local patch:

American Kestrel perched on a top shoot of a Royal Palm:

American Kestrel 20160109

On January 3rd there was heavy overcast and a brisk cool (68 F, 20 C) wind from the north. It started to look like rain, so at around 7:15 AM I turned around to go home, when I saw a Bobcat at the side of the gravel road. It was about 80-100 yards away and conditions were so dark that my photos were very poor. It ran away just as I began to walk a bit closer:

Bobcat COREL 20160103

As a sort of excuse for such a crummy photo I reproduced it as an aged Daguerrotype:

Bobcat1 Daguerrotype 20160103

We had several very foggy mornings. While they may interfere with wildlife-watching, they can present some nice photo opportunities. The rising sun pierced through the lakeside gloom on January 9...

Sunrise HDR 20160109

...and then the fog lifted up off the Pine Bank:

Fog lifting over pine bank HDR 20160109

The Brown Thrasher tends to be reclusive, so it is a treat to have one come out and pose in the open:

Brown Thrasher 20160107

In a neighbor's back yard, a Great Blue Heron had captured a creature which initially looked like a snake:

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 03-20160108

Closer inspection of the photo revealed it to be an Amphiuma, a legless salamander:

Great Blue Heron with Amphiuma 04-20160108

White-eyed Vireos had already resumed singing in the dead of winter, after taking a break in late fall (January 21):

White-eyed Vireo 3-20160121

As if not to be outdone by the vireo, a female Northern Flicker flashed her gilded tail feathers to a prospective suitor in what appears to be an amorous display, on January 25:

Northern Flickers male and female display 20160125

Palm Warblers were abundant all winter on residential lawns. Some locals call them "Florida sparrows:"

Palm Warbler HDR 20160125

A Great Egret and White Ibis foraged along the shore of the lake:

Great Egret and White Ibis 20160126

A female Painted Bunting blended into background foliage:

 Painted Bunting 20160126

The male Painted Bunting was more visible in this poor photo:

Painted Bunting male 2-20160130


There was cause for great anxiety about the local Bald Eagles. You may recall that the female of the pair (Joy) disappeared in October, 2014, just before the prior nesting season. The male (Pride) chose a new mate but they got together too late in the season and no brood was produced.


The new female  (Jewel) laid her first egg around December 13, 2015. It was expected to hatch on or about January 17, 2016, but early on that very morning we had severe thunderstorms which produced high winds and even tornadoes not far from the nest. The weather disturbance was widespread and destroyed several Bald Eagle nests around the state of Florida.

Later that day we discovered that a large branch had fallen directly on the nest. We could see the female eagle. She appeared to be incubating on the nest, almost hidden by the fallen branch:

Bald Eagle female after storm 20160117

On January 19, I photographed the male (Pride) feeding at least one hidden eaglet:

 Bald Eagle male feeding nestling 20160119

Although some observers thought that one or more nestling was being fed as late as January 24, no eaglets were ever seen and we presume any survivor of the storm was lost. Yet the pair continued to visit the nest and made some repairs on January 23:

Bald Eagle at nest 04-20160123

For the next several days the nest was not continuously attended, but the pair renewed courtship and copulated on January 26:

BaldEagle Pride flies to Jewel 2-20160129

BaldEagle Pride mounts Jewel 2-20160129 


Jewel laid a second clutch of eggs around February 10 and hatched out two  eaglets on March 16th. One eaglet survived and  fledged successfully in June. The pair roosted together on January 29 (note the size difference-- the female is on the right):

Bald Eagles Powershot SX700 HS 30x plus 1.3 digital 20160129




Butterflies and blossoms were less abundant during January, but the Lantana bloomed in mid-month...


Lantana flowers 20160113


...as did a flush of Bidens alba, another favorite source of nectar and pollen, here hosting a White Peacock:


White Peacock fresh 20160109



The month provided me with a record number of beautiful sunrise photo opportunities. This is the view on January 28, looking to the west just as the rising sun touched the Pine Bank across the lake. The clouds appeared to form a crown over the treetops:
 

Cloud crown 980x400 20160126


Reflections on the flooded prairie on the last day of the month:

Reflections in flooded prairie HDR 20160131

In an attempt to improve on nature, I rendered this photo of a January 17 back yard sunrise as an old canvas painting:

Sunrise HDR OLD CANVAS 20160117

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia

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

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21 comments:

  1. The reflections are stunning

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  2. Your collection contains so many gorgeous shots - birds, bobcat, and glorious skies

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  3. A impressive and beautiful post !
    So great pictures

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  4. A nice array of lovely and wonderful shots, sir.

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  5. lovely selection of photos and very interesting to read about the bald eagles attempts to raise their young

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  6. cool...we have lots of northern flickers but I have never seen that tail display!

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  7. What an amazing array! All of them... The heron is stunning! What a capture. But the kestrel is so hard to catch!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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  8. You have some amazing photos to share! I have a post up with a bobcat I saw a couple of weeks ago. He was only about 25 ft away from me....and gave me quite a scare! But of course now I keep going back in hopes of seeing him again! Enjoy your weekend!

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  9. Loved reading the saga of the eagles! Even tho the times were rough on them, they prevailed!! Great photos (the 1st sunrise is spectacular).

    We, at I'd Rather B Birdin, enjoyed your post this week...thanks for linking in.

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  10. Lovely photos! I really like the bobcat!

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  11. Wow! A wonderful variety of shots! Love the flickers and the heron with the salamander!

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  12. What a great set of photos, I just love the kestral but the further down the post I went I loved more and more of the shots. How lucky to catch the Heron with the legless salamander, and who the Eagles! All the best for 2019. Cheers Diane

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  13. You take the most amazing photos of moments that many of us may not ever see in person. Thank you.

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  14. Great shots - I have never seen a big cat of any sort in the wild - I really want to!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  15. This is a fabulous variety of beauties! I'm a bit partial to egrets but all the photos of the critters are wonderful to see.

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  16. Really great selection of photos.

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  17. So many wonderful pics. I enjoyed seeing the heron with the salamander. Nice catch. The Kestrel is a beauty! I got my first picture of an eagle yesterday. It isn't a great shot. He was quite a distance from the road. Still it made my day!

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  18. The painted male bunting must be a star in the world of birds - so colorful! That large branch fallen on the eagle's nest made me wonder about the saying "as free as a bird!" It looks like there is also some sacrifice to their freedom! As always a terrific post, Ken!
    About your response to the all Seasons post, you mentioned you"served" - do you mean as an MD or in the Armed Forces? We lived in TX for about 1 1/2 years, but just out of Holland and not yet for the desert.

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  19. Hello, wonderful look back at your walk and photos. The birds are awesome. I have never seen a legless salamander. Cool photos. So sorry I am late commenting. I am just back from my trip away and catching up. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day and week ahead. I also appreciate your visit and comment.

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