Saturday, March 2, 2013

Random images from a brief respite in Florida

We returned to Illinois in early February after only two weeks back in Florida. As I write we have experienced four days of flurries after being hit by a serious (by Florida standards) snowstorm. To fight cabin fever I have been reviewing a backlog of my most recent Florida photos, many of which remained in the camera until after our arrival in Illinois.

Our brief stay back home in South Florida was chock full of activity. Besides all the excitement surrounding the adventures of the wandering Whooping Cranes, we had house guests. My e-mails backed up, and there was little computer face time. Having unexpectedly spent most of the prior three months in Illinois, we welcomed the mild weather and got out as much as possible. What follows is an à la carte offering of images from our first two morning walks in the wetland birding patch adjacent to our home...

On January 28 Mary Lou and I are out before sunrise on our first morning back in Florida. High clouds and early light present photographic challenges and also produce some interesting image effects. A Little Blue Heron forages at the edge of the lake.

Little Blue Heron 2-20130128

The heron takes off, displaying its many shades of blue and purple.

Little Blue Heron COREL 20130128

The morning air is still, allowing nice reflections that make up for the meager light.

Little Blue Heron 4-20130128

A side-lit Northern Mockingbird stands out against a featureless sky.

Northern Mockingbird 20130128

Nearby, a green leaf and the rump of one of the omnipresent Palm Warblers lends a touch of color.

Palm Warbler 20130128

Light from behind etches the feathers of an Anhinga. The photo is poor, but I like the effect and am reluctant to discard it.

Anhinga 2-20130128

Only seconds later, a little tweaking of the camera's settings (and subsequent post-processing) bring out light and color.

Anhinga COREL 3-20130128

A visit to last year's heron rookery at the far north end of our patch reveals the presence of four Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. They are hiding in the dark foliage, but I use fill flash to obtain this exposure. Hopefully, more will be returning to pair up and start new families in early March.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 20130128

The sun is higher, and the sky turns blue as a Red-winged Blackbird sings "Conk-ra-lee!"

Red-winged Blackbird 20130128

An American Kestrel checks us out anxiously before fleeing.

American Kestrel COREL 2-20130128

Later in the morning we stop to check on the welfare of the surviving Bald Eagle chick, now four weeks old. Its younger sibling has disappeared, but this one has grown tremendously in our absence. Ground observers have kept us well informed. (Click here for a link to posts and photos from other nest-watchers).

Bald Eaglet 20130128

At sunrise two days later, the moon is bright against the clear sky.

Moon 20130130

A mockingbird stands out against the waning full moon, but my depth of field is too shallow to get both subjects into focus.

Mockingbird on the moon 20130130

I capture a Eurasian Collared-Dove nearly overhead.

Eurasian Collard-Dove 20130130

About a half hour after sunrise, one of our local Bald Eagles leaves the nest area to hunt in the lake in our subdivision. We have seen it many times at about the same hour, following the same trajectory. Their foraging territory extends at least three miles around the nest.

Bald Eagle 20130130

A lakeside Belted Kingfisher waits patiently for its next meal. The limited extent of rust color on the bird's breast suggests it may be a sub-adult female.

Belted Kingfisher 2-20130130

Double-crested Cormorants gather as the breeze picks up.

Double-crested Cormorants 20130130


  1. Great shots and lovely selection of bird. Sorry to hear only one Eagle chick has survived. The Night-heron is awesome- I've not seen one in person.
    Keep warm and keep-um coming Ken. Hope your family is mending and well.

  2. These are wonderful Ken. You were smart to use every minute of the FL visit to get OUT there and wait until later to download and blog them. Often, even though we're here all season, I wonder why I'm sitting here instead of going out to play.

    The little blue reflection photo is magic and then of course the flight shot! I love (and envy) all your photos...if I weren't already here, they'd make me want to come.

  3. your anhinga shots are beautiful! your night-heron portrait is spectacular! i so hope i can see a little blue some day!

  4. Great post, ken! I really love the Little Blues and the Night heron. But they are all great bird photos. Have a happy day and week ahead.

  5. Thank you for sharing your walk with us! Wonderful images of some of our favorite residents. Very nice results of using the less than ideal morning lighting!

  6. Oh wow..... these are Magnificent!

  7. Great series of photos but the ones of the Anhinga are really fantastic.

  8. Fantastic array of photos!

  9. Great set of shots - I do like the mocking bird and the Moon.

    I think cricket and baseball may be tow sports that are incomprehensible to people who did not grow up with them!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  10. Incredibly beautiful pictures showing some beautiful birds :) Hanne Bente

  11. So many great shots! Love the moon. Hope you are back in warm Florida soon. Although it's pretty cold here in Tampa right now.

  12. Fabulous shots! Oh my gosh...such great use of light. I LOVE that first picture, but then kept finding others I loved almost as much as I scrolled down! Nice!!!

  13. Fantastic shots of bird. I just love looking at them.


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