Thursday, December 5, 2019

Crops & Clips: Flashback to December, 2016

Time to look back three years and remember how it was back then and imagine how it might be this December. I will try to find photos which reflect favorite memes: critters of all kinds (especially birds), skyscapes, reflections, fences, flowers and scenes which speak for themselves. 

We spent the entire month at our Florida home, preferring this rather than braving the cold at our condo in NE Illinois. Fair weather let us get out into our local wetlands nearly every morning.

Palm Warblers were our daily avian companions. They are usually so abundant in residential neighborhoods that some people call them "Florida Sparrows." Their long legs are an adaptation for foraging on the ground and they constantly wag their tails up and down:

Palm Warbler 20161202

A Palm Warbler explores the crisscross bark on the trunk of a native Cabbage Palmetto (aka Sabal Palm), so named because its terminal bud may be removed, cooked and eaten as "heart of palm." This also kills the tree: 

Palm Warbler on Cabbage Palm trunk 2-20161202

A visit to nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve yielded views of Wood Storks, a species which was formerly a common back yard visitor but whose numbers were sharply declining in south Florida. A tactile feeder, the Wood Stork stirs the shallow water with its bubble-gum pink feet to frighten prey into its open jaws: 

Wood Stork 20161202 

Commonly, sight-feeding herons join storks and both may mutually benefit from the association. Great Egret with Wood Stork:

Stork and Egret 20161202

Tricolored Heron on the boardwalk railing:

Tricolored Heron 20161202

Pine Warblers are fairly common at Chapel Trail in December. This was no exception:

Pine Warbler 5-20161203

Out on the local wetlands, just before sunrise as temperatures dropped, fog developed over the water. The sun is just touching the Pine Bank behind the Wet Prairie: 

Sun reaching Pine Bank 20161213

On another still morning, smoke from trash burning on a nearby farm created a fine layer just above  the head of this Great Egret:

Great Egret under smoke layer at dawn 20161227

White-eyed Vireo:

White-eyed Vireo 01-20161226

Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker in flight:

Northern Flicker 01-20161222

Only a few times have I found a Short-tailed Hawk roosting close by. This is the light morph:

Short-tailed Hawk 07-20161220

A few days later, a dark morph Short-tailed Hawk flew overhead:

Short-tailed Hawk 03-20161231

Here is the first and only Ruby-crowned Kinglet I have ever seen in the local patch (December 28, 2016):

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 04-20161228

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 03-20161228

That same day a male Painted Bunting appeared:

Painted Bunting male 01-20161228

It was surprisingly inconspicuous amid the red and green of the Brazilian Pepper bush:

Painted Bunting 05-20161228

A few species remind me of how the subsequent two Decembers then changed for the worse. Hurricane Irma was to strike in October, 2017 and it had a very adverse effect upon the butterflies, so abundant in 2016. Probably  the hardest hit was the Julia longwing. They are still quite scarce now in 2019. 

This is a male Julia:

Julia male 20161229

The female Julia is paler and has different wing markings:

Julia longwing female 5-20161231

The undersides of both male and female Julia are similar. This is a female:

Julia longwing female 2-20161231

Gulf Fritillary butterflies were also markedly reduced and their numbers remain depressed:

Gulf Fritillary on Bidens alba 20161217

White Peacocks seemed more resilient. After almost disappearing in 2018, their population has bounced back:

White Peacock 20161217

Zebra heliconians have also recovered and are again quite common:

Zebra Heliconian 03-20161225

A trio of rather similar species--  a Soldier:

Soldier 20161225


Queen butterfly 20161204


Monarch butterfly 20161231

Orb Weaver. Note that the two thick main support strands are reinforced with zigzagging strands of heavy silk. (It has been said that its pattern sometimes resembles a printed message, but I cannot read this one):

Spider in orb 20161229

Besides birds, butterflies, blooms and berries, I did see a few mammals. Among them, a curious Gray Squirrel in the front yard,,,

Gray Squirrel 04-20161224 

...a White-tailed Doe...

White-tailed Deer doe 04-20161219

...and a Feral Cat, which still wanders in the patch::

Feral cat 20161230

Among the more than 800 photos I processed, I found only one image of a fence. Reflections of a Great Egret and a neighbor's fence:

Great Egret at fence 20161226
= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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


  1. I used to wonder where I'd like to go when I was in America. The first thought - Alaska, but the second idea is Florida. I'd like to photograph birds there someday!

  2. Beautiful photography. I think of all these shots, I like the White-eyed Vireo capture the best. Gorgeous shot!

  3. Hello, As always your photos are gorgeous! I love all the birds, especially the Painted Bunting. Your butterfly images are beautiful. The feral cats are problem around here too. Great post. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

  4. That very first image today is breathtaking...nearly a painted portrait. Truly a work of art Kenneth. Of course, ALL your images are stellar. Always.

    I'm happy you decided to stop by I'd Rather B Birdin today and take time to share your link! Thanks.

  5. I love that Ruby crowned Kinglet! And we have flocks of little Warblers and love them so much. I have my BIG sighting on my blog right now. I finally saw a Barred Owl in the wild. It was exciting! Enjoy your Sunday!

  6. Looks like the cat has his eyes on the egret. :-)

  7. A great collection of pictures - we are off in search of squirrels this Christmas! Tales (and tails!) to follow soon I hope!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. Marvelous images, each and every one!
    Thanks for sharing at

  9. beautiful animal photos, what a variety of the years!!!!

  10. The colors of That pepper bush are so bright! Heard about heart of palm, but never eaten it. interesting reflection of the fence and hero.The colorful hawk also attracted my attention, and so did your perfect captures of the butterflies! Many thanks for sharing all this beauty with All Seasons!
    In your comment you are so right, a tree that size can do much damage to people or property. Somehow(because I pray for safety) that never enters my mind. have a beautiful week!

  11. Great photos! The flicker in flight is awesome.


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