Thursday, September 19, 2019

Countdown to the equinox (#877)

In our local south Florida birding patch, land-bird migration usually peaks in October. I have seen 22 warbler species here during fall migration, of which 11 species have persisted into the winter months. Among them were these early arrivals--

Black-and-White Warblers breed just to the north and are commonly present by August. They creep along the trunks and major branches, mouse-like. The fall male Black-and-White Warbler has a dark face patch:

Black-and-White Warbler male 01-20190817

In spring the male is more densely streaked and may have an entirely black chest (April 14, 2019):

Black-and-White Warbler 05-20180414

Females and first year males have pale faces:

Black-and-White Warbler 05-20190911

They are very acrobatic as they seek insect prey hidden in the bark:

Black-and-White Warbler female 01-20190810

Winter adult male (January 29, 2019): 

Black-and-White Warbler 008-20190129

The Northern Parula is another early-arriving warbler. The dense foliage sometimes makes them difficult to locate. I nearly discarded this photo because I assumed that the bird was hiding out of sight...

Northern Parula Original 01-20190909

...but look closely:

Northern Parula CROP 01-20190909

Northern Parula 02-20190909

This male Northern Parula just caught a spider:

Northern Parula 20190911

Prairie Warblers are most numerous, as they breed in Florida's coastal mangroves during May through early July and return to the interior for the rest of the year.

This male was very photogenic as it posed on a Pond Cypress in perfect early morning light:

Prairie Warbler male 03-20190910

Prairie Warbler male 02-20190910

Prairie Warbler male 05-20190910

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers often join the warblers. They also breed down into south Florida, although we do not see them here during mid-summer:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 02-20190909

Brown Thrashers nest locally and stay year round, but migrants from the north swell  their numbers in fall and winter:

Brown Thrasher 05-20190910

The Northern Cardinal is resident all  year round. No matter where they breed, they do not migrate and usually remain in close proximity to their nest. This male has not yet finished his post-breeding molt:

Northern Cardinal 04-20190912

In a grassy area along the path, a White-tailed Doe grazed as her yearling fawn eyed me suspiciously:

 White-tailed Doe and fawn 02-20190910

White-tailed Doe and fawn 07-20190910

A young spike buck walked out into the clearing, but moments later the trio bounded away:

White-tailed spike buck 09-20190910

Before sunrise on September 9, the dark shadow of a thunderhead out on the ocean interrupted the rays of the morning sun as they converged on the opposite (western) horizon:

Shadow of thunderhead before sunrise 01-20190909

Five minutes before sunrise, the clouds were partially  shaded by the horizon and glowed warmly:

 South shore at sunrise 20190909

South shore 5 min before sunrise 20190909

About 35 minutes before sunrise on September 15 the Harvest Moon shone brightly over the  lake:

 Harvest Moon 35 minutes before sunrise 20190915

20 minutes later, the clear sky had brightened up:

 Harvest Moon 15 minutes before sunrise 20190915

At sunrise on September 9, my shadow pointed towards the Everglades, beyond the lake. On the day of the equinox, like a sundial, it will have moved a bit more to the right and pinpoint 270 degrees, true west.

View to due west 20190909

At our location in south Florida, on September 23 the sun will rise at 90 degrees (due east) on the horizon and set directly opposite (270 degrees), but the length of day and night will not be equal until September 27. 

Factoid:  In Singapore, located almost directly on the equator, sunrise and sunset will likewise be at opposite points, but the lengths of day and night will never be equal, this year coming closest near our (Northern Hemisphere) winter solstice on December 25, when the day will still be 12 minutes and 16 seconds longer than night.) Read: Why are days always longer than nights at the Equator?   

This week I celebrated my 13th Blogaversary. Way before I started blogging (as the term became known), in the mid 1980s, I wrote columns on health care issues and uploaded  them via an acoustic modem to the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram web site, StarText. This pioneering “electronic newspaper” started in 1982 and was freely accessible on a computer. 

The Star-Telegram is the nation's oldest continuously operating online newspaper. StarText was an ASCII-based service which was eventually integrated into the paper's current website. 

I composed my columns on the world's first "laptop," a Tandy TRS-80 model 100 computer, upgraded to 24 KB RAM and which ran on 4 AA Batteries. In 1989 I spent $999.00 upgrading to a Tandy 1100FD laptop with an impressive 640 KB RAM and a 3.5 inch floppy drive. Adjusted for inflation, it cost $2500 in today's economy.  

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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


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



  1. Lovely photos...and descriptions

    Yer showing yer age, young man

  2. Ich staune ├╝ber die bezaubernde Vogelwelt und die phantastischen Aufnahmen des Sonnenuntergangs.

  3. Kenneth,

    Your photos are beautiful. I, especially enjoyed your Skywatch Friday shares. The colors streaked in the sky are gorgeous and make me think of a painting. I also loved your Harvest Moon pix and how the light glistens on the water - just beautiful, my friend. Have a fototastic weekend!

  4. The sunrise and moon photos are spectacular!

  5. I love your beautiful reflections and your bird close ups!

  6. The Northern Parula looks like a master of camouflage. Pretty shots of the Harvest Moon. Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Very interesting and informative post about the birds in South Florida. We live in South Florida on the beach from end of October through May. We see alot of cardinals, turkey buzzards, and black birds around Hallover Park.. I'll have to look more carefully. Thanks for a great post

  8. What beautiful creatures! Thanks for the information about them, too. Most of your birds are new to me, except maybe the names.

    My Corner of the World

  9. Kenneth, all your pictures are amazing...well done

  10. Hello, Happy blog anniversary! I love all the warblers! The male Northern Parula with spider is gorgeous. The Brown Thrasher is one of my favorites too. The sky and reflections are beautiful. Great shadow shot. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Beautiful post and photos. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day. Wishing you a great weekend! PS, thank for leaving a comment on my blog.

  11. What amazing shots! That Northern Parula! Wow does she camouflage well!

  12. As always, extraordinary images Ken. I also enjoy reading your descriptive posts.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin this's always appreciated.

  13. Golly, talking about being involved with the internet! I like it when people in their sixties and older still are involved in the world in some way. If you are alive, you may as well contribute, eh? Your landscapes always come out so dreamy and perfect! Do you use a certain editing program for it? The stripes of the black and white warblers are so pretty! Didn't know red cardinals are homebodies! Again, a marvelous post, Ken!
    About having less friends where you live now, have you thought on joining a photography club? Have an adventurous week!

    1. I shoot nearly all of my landscape and habitat photos with my trusty pocket camera,a Canon PowerShot SX700 HS with 30x Optical Zoom hand-held. This little beauty has excellent image stability and low-light performance. These I process in Corel PaintShop Pro. My DSLR shots are RAW and I use the "box" Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 for these (this program does not process JPG images). Oh yes, one of my friends keeps trying to persuade me to join up with a "local" camera club but it conflicts with choir practice and I would have to fight the traffic as it is not that close by. Our social "circle" hovers around our church and a few neighbors who speak English. Have very nice Cuban "relatives-in-law" mostly down in the Miami area and do get to see them on festive occasions, so we do not feel isolated and are able to help out friends when needed. Oh, to be sixty again (or 70 or even 80)!

  14. Great pictures. We were stood on the Tropic of Capricorn a few days ago - but we missed the equinox by a few days!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Darwin, NT, Australia

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  16. Lovely photos, as always on your site.
    Thanks for joining us this week at

  17. Really amazing photos!!The sunrise is just incredible!!! WOW!! Have a grand day!

  18. Such pretty birds! I have seen quite a few Cardinals growing their feathers back this year. Great photos!


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