Thursday, December 26, 2019

Birding before Christmas

The week before Christmas has kept us busy with choir practices and performances. Birding does not interfere with this schedule as we usually walk out into the Wounded Wetlands well before sunrise and are free for the rest of the day... except that record rainfall has intervened. 

We totally missed getting out on December 18, 19 and 21. On December 20 we drove over to nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in mid-morning, between showers. Convenient parking and and shelters along the boardwalk are attractive features on rainy days. 

It turned out to be  a great day to be there, as a lingering migratory Magnolia Warbler was present...

Magnolia Warbler COREL 01-20191220

Magnolia Warbler COREL 03-20191220 were other warblers, a female Northern Parula...

Northern Parula COREL 01-20191220

...a Black-and-White Warbler...

Black-and-White Warbler COREL 20191220

...and a female Downy  Woodpecker who was so close that she did not fit into my viewfinder:

Downy Woodpecker female portrait COREL 20191220 

The chatter of hundreds of Tree Swallows brightened the somber sky:

Tree Swallows 02-20191220

In the adjacent pasture, a Cattle Egret accompanied our favorite Longhorn cow:

Cattle Egret with Longhorn Cow COREL 02-20191220

On the next day we had record-breaking rainfall which caused local flooding along the Atlantic Coast. On December 22, a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited our back yard feeder. She seemed to have displaced the male which arrived a week or two earlier. These photos were taken through a rain-streaked window:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female 02-20191222  

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female 01-20191222

The Bald Eagles are now sitting on one or more eggs which we believe should hatch around January 4th. During a break in the showers I visited the nest, but the incubating adult was so deep down that I never saw more than the top of a white head. Despite the soggy turf in front of the nest, I got down low to obtain a decent side view of a tiny (about 2 cm) Dainty Sulphur:

Dainty Sulphur COREL 20191222 

Getting up was more difficult than laying down! I knelt for  this shot of a chummy pair of slightly larger (2.5 cm) Barred Yellows on a Largeflower Mexican Clover blossom:

Barred Yellows on Largeflower Mexican Clover 20191222

On December 23, the day started clear and I reached the rookery at sunrise:

Rookery at Sunrise 20191222

I found three adults and one immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Adult:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 20191222

Immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron immature in the dark 20191222

Clouds suddenly gathered, and not wanting to chance being caught in a rain storm a mile and a half into the wetlands, we cut the walk short. The shower was brief, so we visited Chapel Trail for a second time. We were rewarded with more warblers...

...another Northern Parula, this time a male in a Red Maple which retained some of its leaves...

Northern Parula 02-20191223 

Northern Parula 03-20191223

...a Palm Warbler in a Bald Cypress, which also waits until spring to shed its needles:

Palm Warbler 01-20191223

...and a Yellow-rumped Warbler:

Yellow-rumped Warbler 01-20191223

Another Yellow-rump (aka Butter-Butt) on the boardwalk displayed its namesake backside:

Yellow-rumped Warbler in flight 20191223

There were Blue-gray Gnatchatchers...

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 01-20191223

...and I captured a rare image of a Gray-headed Swamphen in flight:

Gray-headed Swamphen2  COREL 20191223

A cool front passed through and the sky was clear before sunrise on Christmas Eve. In a dark and starry sky, the Cold Moon had waned to a crescent:

Old Cold Moon crescent 20191224

A Great Egret flew up to catch the morning rays before they reached the ground:

Great Egret before sunrise 01-20191224

A male American Kestrel looked down from his perch high atop a Royal Palm spire:

American Kestrel 02-20191224

At 8:00 AM, an hour after sunrise, I saw an unfamiliar form in the shadows along the gravel path. It was a Bobcat, likely one of the resident females. Bright sun fell on the foliage behind her, causing my subject to be underexposed. If I had taken time to increase exposure compensation, my photos might have shown the cat's green eyes:

Bobcat 01-20191224

She stopped to look at me before creeping off:

Bobcat 04-20191224

Bobcat 05-20191224

Bobcat 06-20191224

Christmas morning was overcast and cool. Highlights, among others, were--

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker:

Red-bellied Woodpecker 01-20191225

Female Common Yellowthroat:

Common Yellowthroat female 02-20191225

A year-old Bald Eagle, probably one raised in the local nest, had returned from its wanderings to the north:

Bald Eagle late juvenile 02-20191225

Four Blue-headed Vireos gathered in a Bishopwood Tree (Bischofia javanica), which was laden with fruit. I think the vireos were more interested in eating insects which were attracted to the fruiting tree:

Blue-headed Vireo 001-20191225

Blue-headed Vireo 006-20191225

Blue-headed Vireo 009-20191225

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. Oh my, whutta cow. Never seen one like that, not even on telly.
    I like your sunrise, very nice!

  2. Fabulous photos, I love especially the longhorn cow and the bobcat. I have never seen a bobcat in the wild.

  3. Wow ~ Kenneth ~ you take absolutely fantastic wildlife photos ~ the bobcat is a amazing and the macro shots of the birds motivate me to look into 'birding.' ~ Hope you had a good Christmas ~

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  4. a visit with you is always a pleasure and today is not exception. Each photo was a small present and made me smile. Loved the sunrise, the Great Egret, the bobcat, and so many other lovelies. Happy Friday!

  5. these are wonderful photos from your animal world. I'm excited!!!
    Greetings Elke

  6. Wow, I just love the Bobcat photos. Beautiful warblers. The Longhorn with the Egret is a neat shot. Wonderful photos and post. Thanks so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  7. An amazing set of photos, I do love the Bobcat. I know exactly what you mean, so much easier to get down than it is to get up. My mother always said the golden years are somewhat tarnished, I am beginning to understand her now! All the best for 2020. Diane

  8. All of the small birds are so beautiful! You really do capture the colors! And the Bobcat...oh how I would love to see one again! It was the highlight of my year to see one last Dec. Love your photos! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Fantastic shots, as usual. The bobcat is amazing. I have seen them but never gotten more than a single distant photo.

  10. What a terrific adventure for birding even with the threat of rain. All photos are great, but I do have a favorite...the distant parula in the branches.

    With your lovely post viewed, I want to thank you for linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin and wish you a most prosperous new year!

  11. Wow. Just wow.
    It's so nice to see greens, which reminds me that soon it'll be spring here!

  12. Great series of images. That's a nice selection of warblers to still have there in late December. The best find of all for me would have been the Bobcat. In all my years of immersion in nature, I have yet to find a Bobcat or a Lynx. The closest I have ever come were Lynx tracks in the snow in northern Ontario. All the best for 2020. I hope it is a great year for you.

  13. So nice to see so many different types of beautiful birds. The cow looks so interesting. Wishing you and love ones Happy New Year.

  14. I saw several white egrets on our RV adventure. There were several on a reservoir in Northern California. The other one was in the wetlands of Seal Beach in the south. - Margy

  15. Incredible Photos As Always - Really Enjoyed Your 2019 Postings - All The Best In 2020


  16. Stunning photos! Love them all especially the longhorn cow.

    Happy 2020!

  17. My, these lovely creatures are so great to see. I love the colors that catch your eye.

    Join me at My Corner of the World


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