Thursday, December 6, 2018

Crops & Clips: Flashback to December, 2015

We will celebrate December by looking three years back, through the 713 photos I processed in December, 2015. I hope to find images which depict favorite memes: critters of all kinds, especially birds, fences, beautiful skies and reflections, and scenes which speak for themselves.

My favorite photo effect of the month was the sinuous neck of a Tricolored Heron in our back yard:

Tricolored Heron HDR 20151205

Mary Lou and I led the monthly wetlands walk along the boardwalk on the grounds of the Regional Library in neighboring Pembroke Pines:

SW Regional Library boardwalk to south HDR  20151212

We started out the month following up on the report of an unusual species at Markham Park about 10 miles north of our south Florida home. It was a Western Spindalis, a tanager native to the Caribbean islands. We failed to find it on our first visit, but I got a "lifer" Spot-breasted Oriole. Four of them put on a good show:

Spot-breasted Oriole 05-20151202

Spot-breasted Oriole 04-20151202

A Wood Stork flew over the park:

Wood Stork 03-20151202

We returned to Markham Park on December 10 and were rewarded with great views of the Western Spindalis:

Western Spindalis 02-20151210

Western Spindalis 05-20151210

Few American Kestrels breed in far south Florida, so it was good to see these small falcons arrive for the winter:

American Kestrel male 3-20151220

Another visiting raptor was the Northern Harrier. This is a "Gray Ghost" male:

Northern Harrier male 2-20151209

A Turkey Vulture looked down at us from the broken top of a dead palm:

Turkey Vulture 2-20151217

It was difficult to ignore a Northern Cardinal as it posed so nicely in good light:

Northern Cardinal 2-20151209

A male Pileated Woodpecker suddenly swooped down past me:

Pileated Woodpecker on Melaleuca snag 2-20151207

Pileated Woodpecker in flight 20151207

An Ovenbird peered out from the branches which formed a natural "vignette:"

Ovenbird natural vignette 20151225

The local Bald Eagles were preparing for a family. This is the male, "Pride:"

Bald Eagle Pride DPP 01-20151212

The female, "Jewel" sat deeply for a few days, rearranged the nest a bit, and laid her first egg before Christmas:

Bald Eagle female 1048 AM 20151214

Turning to other critters, a Green Metallic Bee hovered long enough for me to obtain a clear image:

Green Metallic Bee hovering 20151229

A Dorantes Longtail visited a blooming Bidens alba. The seeds of this common "weed" are troublesome Shepherd's Nettles, but it provides more nectar than any other native plant. Only the cultivated citrus trees are more productive:

Dorantes Longtail 20151224

A Soldier butterfly also favored the Bidens:

Soldier below 2-20151220

A Garden Spider tended her web:

Garden Spider 2-20151218

A Marsh Rabbit chewed on the grass:


Marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) 20151212

The Christmas Moon set on the morning of December 26, with the Pine Bank reflecting on the still water:

 Christmas Moon setting HDR 20151226

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

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

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

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

December at Chapel Trail Nature Preserve

Looking forward to the upcoming South Florida Audubon wetlands walk at Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in Pembroke Pines, on December 1. Here are selections from my photo archives for this location in the corresponding month in past years.  

View to the west in December 2015 looks pretty much as it does today:

Chapel Trail to west 20141215

View to the south from the entrance dock in 2012 reveals more open water than at present:

Chapel Trail Nature Preserve 3-20121207

Wood Storks are tactile feeders which benefit when their prey is concentrated in shallow water. Although they were common in December, 2014 when this photo was taken, high water levels at Chapel Trail during the next couple of years caused most of them to forage elsewhere.

Wood Stork 3-20141208

Great Egret and Wood Stork are seen hunting together in 2017. They both may benefit from this association. As a sight feeder, the egret may help the stork find concentrations of fish and other aquatic organisms. The stork stirs the water with its pink feet to scare them into its open jaws, at the same time exposing the fleeing prey to be captured by the watchful egret.

Egret and Stork commensal 02-20171221

Gray-headed Swamphen in December 2014. This introduced exotic species favors the flooded spike-rush prairies along the boardwalk:

Purple Swamphen 2-20141202

Killdeer often forage in the manicured grassy areas around the entrance to the preserve:

Killdeer 20131214

We saw the American Bittern this year on our November walk. This photo is from December, 2012:

American Bittern  Botaurus_lentiginosus in flight 20121218

Look for the bittern as it hides motionless in the reeds and sedges:

American Bittern Botaurus_lentiginosus 2-20121218

Cooper's Hawk flying over in 2012:

Cooper's Hawk 3-20121211

American Robins may be numerous in some winters, while we were lucky to find just one in December, 2012:

American Robin 20121207

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a common and very active tiny bird of the treetops (2012):

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 20121203

The Little Blue Heron is a common sight unless there is high water (2011):

Little Blue Heron 2-20111230

The Prairie Warbler (2011) may be seen all winter, but in spring most move out to the mangroves along the coast to breed:

Prairie Warbler male 2-20111213

Northern Mockingbirds are numerous. These two are engaged in a territorial dispute (2010):

Mockingbird standoff 20101230

Red-shouldered Hawks nest in the preserve and are seen here all year (2010):

Red-shouldered Hawk 20101228

The Merlin, a visitor from the far north, is reliably present most winters but this falcon seems to prefer wooded areas. One posed nicely on the fence next to the parking lot in December, 2008:

Merlin  20081211

Look for Pine Warblers in the native pines in the drier areas along the boardwalk (2016):

Pine Warbler 5-20161203

The handsome Tricolored Heron is one of the most common herons at Chapel Trail (2017):

Tricolored Heron 02-20171226

Flocks of White Ibis will forage in shallow water and on the landscaped grounds (2012):

White Ibis 20121207

A very unusual sighting was this flock of Mute Swans which flew over in December, 2015:

Mute Swans 2-20151227

Mute Swan 20151227

A Loggerhead Shrike eating a caterpillar (2015):

Loggerhead Shrike eating caterpillar 20151221

In 2011 we photographed a Sandhill Crane in the parking lot:

Sandhill Crane preening 20111213

This rather tame crane remained through 2012, but disappeared mysteriously in 2013:

Sandhill Crane 20101212

Chapel Trail Nature Preserve is not just about the birds. Check the flowering shrubs to see butterflies such as this Julia longwing male...

Julia longwing male 20141202

...Zebra heliconian...

Zebra heliconian 20180602

...and White Peacock:

White Peacock 20161219

Marsh Rabbit, 2011:

Marsh Rabbit 20111121

A Swamp Lily in December, 2010:

Swamp Lily 20101230

A close look at a "Crab Spider," or Spiny Orb Weaver in 2011:

Spiny Orb Weaver 20111213



= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

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

________________________________________________