Thursday, April 16, 2020

Early morning sightings

Sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic interrupts the familiar routines which formerly made each day of the week special. Now the days flow, one into another. There are no "weekends," no choir practices or church gatherings, all the parks are closed. Grocery orders and even routine doctors' appointments are handled on computers and iPads. The highlight of most mornings is our walk into and around our local wetlands preserve. Here is a random sample of our encounters...

Blue-headed Vireo:

Blue-headed Vireo 02-20200323

Male Common Yellowthroat:

Common Yellowthroat 20200322

Gray Catbird:

Gray Catbird 20200322

Red-bellied Woodpecker:

Red-bellied Woodpecker male portrait 03-20200321

Prairie Warbler:

Prairie  Warbler 20200323

An energetic Northern Parula warbler:

Nnorthern Parula 01-20200331

Nnorthern Parula 04-20200331

Iridescent neck feathers are highlights on this Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove 20200404

A Red-winged Blackbird sings next to a cattail patch:

Red-winged Blackbird 20200402

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird is about to fly north:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 01-20200402

A White-tailed Doe graces the morning scene:

White-tailed doe 20200327

Fog lifts along the shore of the placid lake:

Sunrise minus ten minutes 20200327

Very early one morning we were surprised when two Eastern Screech-Owls began calling along the path. One perched on a signpost for flash photos (I darkened its pupils in these two photos):

Eastern Screech-Owl 01-20200405

Eastern Screech-Owl 02-20200405

The second owl landed on the ground and my flashlight produced a "red eye" in this poor photo.  As with all owls, their pupils react independently of each other.  

Eastern Screech-Owl 04-20200405

Owls have the uncanny ability to rotate their heads 360 degrees in an instant. The slow exposure created this funny "bottle owl:"

Eastern Screech-Owl 03-20200405

Florida normally has a dry season which lasts from late October into early May. This winter we experienced near-drought conditions. Water levels in our local wetlands had been unusually high almost all year around for the prior three years. High water dilutes aquatic prey and wading birds must range far and wide to find food. Trails which we have explored in the past had been flooded and inaccessible.   

Low water now allows me to walk some of the trails created by ATV riders out in the local Wounded Wetlands. I call this one the North Lakeshore Trail. It provides a unique view of a sunrise which softens the ugly scars left by the off-road vehicles  :

Sunrise wide 20200331

A few minutes later, the sun climbs into the open sky:

Sun rays 02-20200331

The low water reveals a labyrinth of ATV tracks through the woodlands, previously out of sight:

Off-road vehicle tracks 2-20200331

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday

Wild Bird Wednesday

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


  1. Gorgeous sky images I like the view of the lake too. The Owls are so cute, great sightings and bird photos. Take care, enjoy your day! Wishing you a happy weekend ahead.

  2. That blackbird singing makes me hum to the Beatles and that Deer photo is pure magic! I can feel the moment on that shot you did Kenneth! Happy Skywatch!

  3. It's kind of like groundhog day, one day pretty much like the rest. So far it works because I have a lot of different interests.
    I love all your bird photos.

  4. Wow! Fantastic glimpses. Love your enthusiasm

  5. Fantastic sky pictures and a great selection of adorable birds!
    I was happy to be here.
    Warm greetings from Germany
    My Sky ...

  6. Great work and fantastic skies.

  7. Nice shots! That owl is pretty cute.
    I didn't have the patience to wait around but I did come back later. Thankfully I had an umbrella.

  8. Wonderful photos. I really like the woodpecker capture!

  9. It's so hard for me to keep an accurate sense of time. Things that happened only a few days ago seem like forever in the past. - Margy

  10. Hello, your deer photo looks like it could be a painting, so pretty. Love the owl and all the birds. The Northern Parula should be showing up here, they nest in the forest near me. Wonderful post and photos. Take care, stay safe! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thanks for the comment on my blog.

  11. I know you are glad to be able to get out for your walks. We aren't going as much but we went yesterday! Love seeing your owls and the bottle owl photo is funny! My post today is the owl we saw. They sure are hard to spot! Take care and stay safe!

  12. How cool to come across the owls! Such beautiful trails and birds in your photos. I'm trying to keep a routine for the week and then, let the weekends simply be. However, it's still a struggle sometimes to know the day of the week.

  13. Superb series of photographs, Ken!
    You're quite fortunate to have a spot to wander around a bit close to home. And how thoughtful of such a diversity of birds to line your path!

    Stay well and hopefully we'll all be back out wandering around soon.

  14. Hello. Wonderful photos. Gray catbird and Red-bellied woodpecker looks so beautiful. Take care!

  15. Hello Ken
    crazy time but also in the nearby area you can see and photograph amazing, the sunset is so beautiful and the great bird pictures ... so it is still fun, yes and the ATV traces ... they are not only with you, here in Germany is just as bad
    great post
    stay healthy
    Regards Frank

  16. I'm thinking I'll never want to go to a Drs. appointment again with all the sick people. lol

    Your morning walks are always a treat. Always!

    Thanks for adding this post link today. Great addition to I'd Rather B Birdin this week!

  17. Great set of photos. It is strange this lock-down trying to remember which day of the week it is! Take care ans stay safe. Diane

  18. Oh my, what wonderful many and so beautiful, I'm speechless! Thank you and have a wonderful week!!

  19. Love the "bottle owl"!
    Thank you for joining us this week at

  20. 'A strange Demon Owl' to quote my daughter. Yes, all days are just 'today' - and we get though.

    I dont have as much greenery near me as you - but I still go for a walk. Very nice set of pictures.

    Hope you are well - Stewart M - Melbourne

  21. Have a similar experience that days and weeks start looking like each other. In these days it is good for our mental health to have a specific activity that keeps up intact, if you know what I'm saying. Didn't know that FL is going through a near drought, but it is nice to have now even more trails to walk on. The owl captures are pretty special, and the upcoming son is gorgeous! Not to mention all the colorful and cute birds in your post you are sharing with All Seasons - and very much appreciated! Wishing you a great bird week, Jesh

  22. Wow! I didn't know that owls' eyes acted independently of each other and they can swivel their heads completely around. Owls are definitely healthy, wealthy, and wise. Take care, Kenneth. :-)

    1. Hi, Su-sieee!-- I should have been clearer about this. The eyes of owls are fixed in the socket so they do act together to provide excellent stereoscopic vision. A unique feature is that their eyes react independently to light. In humans, both eyes will react if only one eye is stimulated with light-- the irises constrict or expand in synchrony. In owls, if light is shined into one eye, the other eye does not react. They may normally have different sized pupils, which could be a sign of brain damage if this happened in a human. Thanks!

  23. What a wonderful variety of nature! The birds are lovely visitors and the sunset is exquisite!

    It's delightful to see you over at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  24. Beautiful photos. The last with owl was so cool:)


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