Thursday, January 16, 2020

First birds of the decade

Now I can proudly say that I have walked in each of 10 decades! Maybe this has something to do with why I forgot to process my photos taken on January 1, 2020. There were quite a few from our early morning walk. 

My first bird of the year was heard in the dark but not seen, about 40 minutes before sunrise. It was an Eastern Whip-poor-will which had been present for several days and called briefly next to the trail. The first bird we actually saw was a Red-shouldered Hawk,15 minutes before sunrise. It was initially silhouetted against the brightening eastern sky, but then turned sharply and passed by to the west, exhibiting its namesake "shoulders::
Red-shouldered Hawk 15 min before sunrise 02-20200101

Red-shouldered Hawk 15 min before sunrise 03-20200101

Highlights among the morning's sightings were Yellow-rumped Warblers...

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2-20200101

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-20200101

...and acrobatic Yellow-throated Warblers:

Yellow-throated Warbler 01-20200101

Yellow-throated Warbler 02-20200101

Yellow-throated Warbler 03-20200101

Yellow-throated Warbler 05-20200101

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited the waning blossoms on the Firebush (Hamelia patens) hedge...

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 20200101

...while the berries attracted warblers and this sun-dappled Blue-headed Vireo:

Blue-headed Vireo in Hamelia patens 02-20200101

Blue-headed Vireo in Hamelia patens 01-20200101

Only three days earlier, the pair of Egyptian Geese which nested in a dense Cocoplum thicket next to our lake visited with their seven newly hatched goslings:

Egyptian Goose pair with goslings 04-20191229

Egyptian Goose female with goslings 02-20191229

To our surprise, they showed up on our yard again on New Years Day, but this time trailed by an eighth tiny newly-hatched gosling. It could not keep up with its siblings, but the parents waited patiently as it stumbled along behind them. It still had its "egg tooth," indicating it was very young indeed. Had the parents deserted the nest before the last egg was hatched, or was this egg deposited after the birds started incubating the other eggs?

The seven older goslings crowded together, while the lone eighth baby rested outside the group, then tried to join its parents and siblings:

Egyptian Gees seven goslings 03-20200101

Egyptian Gees gosling number 8 02-20200101

Egyptian Gees gosling number 8 01-20200101

On January 2, the local male (Pride) of the pair of Bald Eagles took a break from incubating and was rearranging sticks on their nest. We expected their first egg to hatch on or about January 4:

Bald Eagle male 04-20200102

Bald Eagle male 05-20200102

The female (Jewel) arrived to exchange incubation duties and Pride flew off:

 Bald Eagle male in flight 02-20200102

On January 3, the large male Bobcat stared at me from the edge of the gravel road. Then, rather nonchalantly, he strolled across the track. Note that I forgot to turn off the flash and his eyes reflect my error:

Bobcat large male 05-20200103

Bobcat large male 01-20200103

Bobcat large male 04-20200103

On January 3, a Gray Squirrel munched on Brazilian Pepper berries...

Gray Squirrel eating Brazilian Pepper 20200103

...a Purple Gallinule demonstrated the important construction technique of triangulation (as used in building the Eiffel Tower) by grasping three flimsy stalks of Alligator Flag which supported its weight as it climbed to reach the fruit on top of the stems:

Purple Gallunule 04-20200103

...and a White-tailed Deer doe appeared unexpectedly as I was photographing an egret:

White-taild Doe left blaze on snout 20200103

Also on January 3, a male American Kestrel posed nicely on a sign post:

American Kestrel 04-20200103

On January 5, the same kestrel exhibited unusual behavior by foraging for insects on the ground:

American Kestrel 07-20200105

American Kestrel 05-20200105

On January 10, the full Wolf Moon was setting as we walked into the wetlands. This DSLR image of the Wolf Moon against the dark sky was taken at 6:32 AM. I was tracking a satellite which almost crossed the face of the Moon-- it missed by about 2 diameters:

Full Wolf Moon 01-20200110

These photos were taken with my new iPhone 11 Pro Max. I was amazed at its excellent low-light performance. The first cuts through the pre-twilight moon-lit darkness at 6:28 AM, 42 minutes before sunrise. MaryLou is ahead of me with her flashlight:

Full Wolf Moon iPhone 03-20100110

The iPhone captured this moonbeam-burst 35 minutes before sunrise: 

Full Wolf Moon iPhone 01-20100110

Fifteen minutes before sunrise, the Moon had nearly set into the horizon:

Full Wolf Moon iPhone 04-20100110

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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 posts to see some excellent photos on display

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Crops & Clips: Flashback to January, 2017

I enjoy browsing through my photo archives from three years ago, to remember how it was and anticipate how it may be this January. As usual, we are looking for favorite subjects: critters (especially birds and butterflies), flowers, skies, reflections, fences... and scenes which need no captions and speak for themselves. 

We spent the entire month in South Florida, getting out into the local Wounded Wetlands early on the first day  of January. Winter sparrows were late arrivals, missing 2016 altogether, but a Savannah Sparrow was there to welcome in the new year:

 Savannah Sparrow 02-20170101 

Savannah Sparrow 03-20170101

Egyptian Geese first appeared in 2011, but their numbers quickly increased. A pair flew overhead, the female trumpeted loudly and the male uttered a coarse hissing sound:

Egyptian Geese 01-20170101

On January 1 we saw the first Loggerhead Shrike of the year, and other early sightings included...

Loggerhead Shrike 01-20170101

...a Long-tailed Skipper on Lantana blossoms,

Long-tailed Skipper 02-20170101

...a female Soldier butterfly on Bidens alba (Florida's most productive native source of nectar),

Soldier female 20170101

,,,a White Peacock butterfly,

White Peacock 20170102

...a perky Gray Squirrel,

Gray Squirrel 20170101

...a Sharp-shinned Hawk,

Sharp-shinned Hawk 03-20170101

...and a sedate Great Blue Heron in early light:

Great Blue Heron before sunrise 20170103

Ligustrum blossoms attracted a Zebra heliconian:

Zebra heliconian on Ligustrum 20170103

Forgive me for emphasizing the butterflies, but I was to find few to none during the following January, thanks to Hurricane Irma which struck in October, 2017 and decimated their adults, eggs and caterpillars. The heavy use of insecticides to curb the Zika outbreak which followed Irma certainly contributed to their plight. This is a female Julia longwing, a species which was probably Irma's worst casualty:

Julia longwing male 20170102

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a welcome winter visitor. This is a female:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 01-20170109

A Great Egret comes in for a landing:

Great Egret 03-20170123

White-tailed Deer at the far end of the road:

White-tailed Deer 01-20170127

Glossy and White Ibises:

Glossy and White Ibises 20170127

Backyard Tricolored Heron:

Tricolored Heron 03-20170105

On January 15, rain threatens...

South shore 20170115

...but not a drop falls. Walking home, sunbeams bathe the entrance to the wetlands:

Sunbeam at entrance gate 20170115

A few doors from our home, the entrance gate, from inside the preserve:

Entrance gate2 20170121

The next morning, the end of a rainbow seems to be only steps away:

Rainbow over lake 20170116

Parallel high clouds appear to converge to the north:

Parallel high clouds 20170128

A motorized parachute frightens the wildlife, but I could not miss the photo opportunity as I anticipated a near collision--"Fly me to the Moon:"

Fly me to the Moon 20170121

On a sad note, our next door neighbor, a young energetic and athletic man with a fine wife and two great sons, developed pancreatic cancer and passed away within a few months of the diagnosis. His younger son paddles in our lake with his sweet Labradoodle:

Doggy Paddle 20170106

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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