Thursday, July 22, 2021

Saharan dust

South Florida has settled into a rather boring but typical wet season pattern following the spate of tropical storms which culminated in Elsa. We are also in the middle of the Saharan dust season. Dry air masses laden with dust have been coursing over from the African continent. This has the welcome effect of reducing the intensity of the tropical storms which spawn cyclones in the eastern Atlantic ocean.

Visits to nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve were not very productive. The high water levels dilute out aquatic prey and wading birds are free to forage over a much greater expanse. 

Often I can find a dozen or more Gray-headed Swamphens, but this morning there was only one:

A pair of Northern Cardinals foraged on the boardwalk for the fallen fruit of an overhanging tree:

The male cardinal perched on the boardwalk railing near an interpretive sign:

A male Anhinga, partially hidden in the spike-rush, dried his wings:

A juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker searched for food on the trunk of a small tree:


White-winged Doves nest along the boardwalk:


Swamp Lily:

Brown Basilisk:

The Sarahan dust is said to stabilize the weather, which has been rather monotonous, with warm days and nights along with intermittent "pop-up" showers. This past week's forecast was remarkable (32.2 to 25.5 Celsius):

The dust can produce very colorful sunrises and sunsets. Fifteen minutes before sunrise this past Saturday morning, the unseen sun was reflecting off a pink mass in the upper atmosphere:

Within minutes, sunlight had illuminated the expanse of the dust cloud:

While the sky directly overhead was otherwise clear, storm clouds were lined up along the Atlantic coast to the east. The shadows of the tops of the clouds broke the rays of the rising sun. The rays reflected off the dust layer and converged over the Everglades on the opposite (western) horizon. The anti-solar rays were creating a "false sunrise," so I hurried to the lake to catch the reflections on the still water:




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Linking to:


Fences Around the World

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday

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Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dodging raindrops

The rainy season has arrived and often encourages us to enjoy the wildlife in our own back yard.

This female Anhinga was resting at the edge of the lake:

She took flight soon after I pointed my  camera her way:

The rain was good for our lawn, and White Ibises foraged in the overgrown grass:

A dark juvenile White Ibis joined them:


Little Blue Herons exhibit quite the opposite sequence of colors. The plumage of this piebald immature heron is molting from white to dark blue:

It also did not tolerate my presence and flew off to the opposite shore:

A Great Egret preened lakeside:


A male Muscovy Drake showed off his "hairdo:"

After we returned to our home in south Florida from our brief stay in Tennessee, our eyes were on a succession of tropical disturbances, one of which strengthened into a hurricane and struck the western coast of the Florida peninsula.

An afternoon shower produced a nice rainbow:

Stormy sunrise on July 7th:


Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened to a hurricane and coursed just off the Gulf coast, making landfall to our north on July 8th. It was the earliest 5th named tropical cyclone on record. The blue spot marks our position:


Out in the local Wounded Wetlands, water levels were high and the deer moved in to higher ground. A nice White-tailed buck photobombed my image of an egret on the wet prairie:

Three other bucks emerged on the scene (iPhone photo):

A fifth and larger buck suddenly appeared at the flooded edge of the prairie, and waded across towards the others:

His left antler was malformed, having two main trunks:


The smallest of the original four hid away and two immediately challenged each other. They jousted briefly as if anticipating a threat from the newcomer:

The "winner" (to the right above) was then challenged by the interloper with the deformed antlers (on right below)  and submitted readily. The third buck seemed to realize it was safer to remain an onlooker:

I assumed that the object of their attention was probably this doe which I found nearby, partially hidden: 

However she suddenly directed her attention to a sixth buck which strolled towards her from quite the opposite direction:


Rain threatened, so I retreated and never did see the conclusion of the deer drama.

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Linking to:


Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters

BirdD'Pot

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
________________________________________________