Thursday, July 16, 2020

Corvid and Comet on COVID mornings

While sheltering in place, the sameness of the days bears some similarity to our early morning forays into the neighborhood wetland preserve. We are entering the post-breeding season, sandwiched between spring and fall migrations. Of course we see many familiar faces out there, more than when sequestered at home, but it is often difficult to find enough different species to satisfy my Birders' Minimum Daily Requirement of twenty. Similarly, our backyard birds are lacking in diversity. In fact, I tend to pass up chances for photos of the most common species.

Most of my latest photo opportunities have been in our back yard, shooting through window glass. Opening the sliding glass door to our patio is usually enough to scare away any potential subject. The lawn slopes down along the shore of the lake, obscuring the lower parts of any creature viewed from inside the house. This young Anhinga was a case in point:

Anhinga female 01-20200712

Anhinga female 02-20200712

A Tricolored Heron posed briefly before descending to the lake's edge:

Tricolored Heron thru window 02-20200711

A Green Heron stretched his neck:

Green Heron backyard thru glass 01-20200705

Green Heron backyard thru glass 02-20200705

This Green Iguana let me sneak up close:

Green Iguana 03-20200612

Green Iguana 02-20200612

A Muscovy Duck hatched out 15 ducklings under the Cocoplum hedge in our back yard. She ushered them to their first swim in the lake:

Muscovy ducklings 05-20200712

Muscovy hen with 15 ducklings 01-20200712

Muscovy hen with 15 ducklings 03-20200712

Out in the wild-lands, the hatching of the Killdeers' four eggs on July 8 led me to expect that there were little ones out there begging to star in baby photos. So far, I have only seen the adults, this one on July 12:

Killdeer 02-20200712

I perused the archives to find my last photo of a Killdeer chick out in the open (April 16, 2009):

Killdeer Chick Backlit 20090416

This got me thinking about how I have ignored some of the most common birds. Our only local Corvid species are Blue Jays and Fish Crows. They are present every morning and often overlooked. The black feathers of crows absorb most of the light and photos of their plumage usually lack contrasting highlights. 

Action compensated for the lack of feather detail when a Northern Mockingbird pursued a Fish Crow:

Fish Crow and Northern Mockingbird 03-20190506

I had to search for the last time one of my shots showed plumage detail, as in these Fish Crows (January, 2020 and March, 2019):

Fish Crow 02-20200113
Fish Crow 20190314

Blue Jays are very active, but rarely pose out in the open. This was an exception (October, 2019):

Blue Jay 01-20191017

I liked the composition of this image of a Blue Jay in our back yard Mango tree (June, 2019):

Blue Jay in our mango tree 20190623

As if to break the monotony of summer bird sightings, on July 14 this Marsh Rabbit was unusually tolerant of my presence. I am a bit concerned, as this territory is occupied by a Barn Owl, Bobcats and Coyotes. Away from its preferred aquatic habitat, it was munching on forbs along the path.

Marsh Rabbit 02-20200714

Marsh Rabbit 03-20200714

Although closely related to the Eastern Cottontail, the Marsh Rabbit lacks the white on its tiny tail and has a darker coat. Its broader feet are an adaptation for swimming. Shorter ears and smaller hind legs are evident in this view. It usually runs rather than hops as does the Cottontail:

Marsh Rabbit 05-20200714

On July 12, the Comet Neowise was visible about an hour before sunrise. The comet quickly dimmed as the sun rose and light clouds covered it. In the eastern sky it is to the left of Planet Venus, which incidentally has the bright star Aldebaran next to it on the right. 
Comet Neowise Venus Aldebaran 02-20200712

On July 7, the waning Buck Moon was setting into the Everglades behind the lake, opposite the rising sun. Anti-solar rays converged on the horizon.

Buck Moon and anti-solar rays 20200707

One of my favorite "sit spots" (if I had a lawn chair) is this sheltered view of the south wet prairie, between a Swamp (Bald) Cypress on the left and a fruit-laden Pondapple:

Cypress and Pondapple at wet prairie 20200712 

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday


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


  1. Terrific through the window shots. I take a lot of backyard photos that way. Love the GReen Heron.

  2. Gosh wish we had a lake near the garden. Great set of photos, well done. Keep well and safe, Diane

  3. Beautiful moon shot. Love the captures of the iguana. He looks so menacing!

  4. your photos do not seem lacking at all - I'm sorry you're missing your 20 or more different birds a day but I always enjoy every bird you share even if only a few kinds - your water views are always spectacular

  5. So beautiful, all of them! The mama duck taking those babies for a first swim is delightful.

  6. Great shots! Clever title too. The tricolored heron is stunning.

  7. wow great photos. Take care.

  8. Fabulous through the window shots kenneth. That duck has a big brood to look after. It will be interesting to see how many survive. Good fence shot and yes I also like how that image is composed with the tree and the Jay. Lovely reflection shot and well done photographing the comet. Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend and week ahead

  9. Wow, cool photo and sighting of the comet! I love the Tricolored and Green Herons! Neat capture of the Mockingbird chasing the Crow. The iguana is cool, I used to love seeing them in Florida. The Marsh Rabbit is cute! Awesome post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend. PS, thanks for the comment and visit.

  10. Missy wrote (July 16): I think it’s funny that you are worried about not having enough species..I have about 5 kinds of birds, squirrels, deer, bunnies a cat and a’s about it..Gets boring to me..I love your beautiful pictures and your birds are very different from mine…Enjoy your day..stay safe..

  11. I've never seen one of the Iguanas...seems pretty scary from here! LOVE the ducklings! There are SO many too. The Marsh Rabbit is neat too. I went out in the heat this morning but at least there was a little breeze. Happy weekend!

  12. You have an amazing abundance of wildlife near you! I enjoy your shots.

    I asked my mother if she sheltered in place and wore masks in 1957 and 1968 during the Asian flu pandemics. She said no but she barely remembers those pandemics. Different times.

  13. Hello my friend Kenneth, happy new Week! I am so thrilled to see these sets of photos! The herons look so grand and classy and that iguana is so scary! I'm quite brave when it comes to ghosts and stuff but bugs and reptiles, I am so scared of them especially when the go towards me HAHA But even if that one is scary, it looks so so beautiful! Those ducks look so cute and seems to have been arranged perfectly by the Mommy duck!

    Sending you hugs on these very hard times. It's been hard for me even if the things outside are starting to get normal. It's still so depressing to think about how times have changed and so unsecure. I know I shouldn't have such thoughts but what can I do, it's reality. But anyway I wish you the best Kenneth! Stay safe and healthy!

  14. Wow! 15 ducklings! I enjoyed your photos.

  15. All great shots as always, but gosh I love the cluster of ducklings - that's so sweet!
    Thanks for sharing at

  16. Hi - very nice post. I cant see the comet from this far south, which is a shame! I liked the comment about Daily Minimum birding! This week's WBW is a little like that as well!

    Stay safe - Stewart M - Melbourne

  17. great shots. I saw Muscovy Duck for the first time few weeks ago in a city park. never saw anything like that before. their babies don't look anything like the adult birds.

  18. Such a fabulous bunch of shots. The ducklings are adorable. And The Iguana is so very beautiful.

    I love that spot of yours and the sky shots are outstanding too. Such a visual treat always, visiting your blog, Ken. Thank you for linking up with us on #WordlessWednesday

    Be well, and keep spreading the cheer with your incredible blog.

  19. Such a fabulous bunch of shots. The ducklings are adorable. And The Iguana is so very beautiful.

    I love that spot of yours and the sky shots are outstanding too. Such a visual treat always, visiting your blog, Ken. Thank you for linking up with us on #WordlessWednesday

  20. Awesome sightings and photos Kenneth. The herons are just wow ...... while the cute Muscovy ducklings can melt anyone's heart.

    I love how you have captured the glistening feathers of the fish crow. The landscape views are picturesque, no wonder it is your favorite 'sit out' spot :)

    Beautiful post Kenneth!

  21. WOW with views like these of the birds and wildlife so nearby, being shut-in doesn't seem so terrible. We have a river view from our mill apt, but lately there has scarcely been any bird sightings, only once in a while some Herring Gulls and Canada Geese.


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