Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rain, rain go away!

Summer-like conditions prevailed through the month of December-- heat, humidity and frequent rain. A Bell's Vireo persisted in our local wetlands, the only one of this species seen in our County so far this fall into winter. 

Bell's Vireo breeds in the Central and Southwest states and migrates south along the border of Mexico from Texas to California. Some fall migrants wander irregularly as far east as Florida.

Although I have seen it here twice previously, in Octobers of 2009 and 2012, this time it first appeared on October 15 and stayed here at least until January 9th, 2016. It is a small and rather inconspicuous bird. Other birders came to see it, but only a few succeeded.

Bell's vireo, October 15, 2015:

Bell's Vireo SOOC crop 02-20151015

Here it is on October 31. Note its bright blue legs:

Bell's Vireo 2-20151031

On December 22 I obtained a fairly close view:

Bell's Vireo 2-20151222

I saw the Bell's Vireo again on December 26, 2015. It had moved to a location about 100 yards away from the other sightings:

Bell's Vireo 2-20151226

My most recent sighting, again at the new location, was on January 9, 2016:

Bell's Vireo 3-20160109

On Christmas morning, an Eastern Phoebe watched for flying insects from a perch on a support for the guard rail (a really big fence for Tex's meme):

Eastern Phoebe on guard rail 20151225

On December 29 we had a huge emergence of Julia Heliconian butterflies. Singly or in groups of up to 5 or 6, they were literally dripping from the branches of the shrubs.

"Butterflies and Blue Skies:"

Butterflies and Blue Skies HDR  20151229

Male Julia:

Julia heliconian male 20151229

That same day I got a close shot of a Metallic Green Bee, hovering:

Green Hoverfly hovering 20151229

A Loggerhead Shrike called from an emerging Royal Palm leaf spike:

Loggerhead Shrike 20151226

Water levels remained high, not good for wading birds such as herons, egrete, storks and sandpipers. Normally, this area of the eastern shore of the lake would have contained extensive mud flats by mid-October:

East shore at dawn HDR 20151229

In early January we continued to have almost daily rainfall. This curtailed our outdoor activities. We ventured out on New Year's Day. The smell of spent gunpowder was in the air. Smog, a combination of fog and the smoke left over from the fireworks, somewhat limited our view. That little blue dot is Mary Lou, well ahead of me as usual, just beneath the layer of smog (click on photo for larger view).    

Miramar Parkwy smog HDR 20160101

I reached the lake just as the sun was rising. A Great Egret was ready to fly off:

Great Egret 20160101

The sunlight had not yet touched the ground or low clouds.

View to west through smog HDR 20160101

In the sad remains of the destroyed rookery, a single Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was present. I am quite sure it is "Dirty-crown," a female which has nested at this particular spot for at least three seasons. Actually, last season she and a mate worked on a nest but soon abandoned it. She is in full adult plumage but has a number of dark streaks on the top of her head, as may also be seen in immature birds:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Dirty Crown 20160101

A Black Racer coiled up in the branches of a small Pond Cypress along the road was an interesting find. This constrictor is usually very timid, so I was surprised that it let me approach so closely. Perhaps it had a prey item in its coils and was unwilling to depart without it:

Black Racer in Pond Cypress 2-20160101

The beauty of a female Julia heliconian cut through the gloomy morning:

Julia female 201601010

A reclusive Swamp Sparrow peered out of the underbrush:

Swamp Sparrow 2-20160101

On January 3 we got out into the wetlands about 30 minutes before sunrise, thinking there was a break in the rain showers. Mary Lou walked the entire mile in and was on her way out as I had only gotten about half way along the gravel road. The sky was dark and overcast. A few minutes later, concerned that a downpour was imminent, I turned around and immediately saw a Bobcat at the side of the road watching me. This has happened before. They seem to wait for people to pass by before coming out to watch their movements:

Bobcat1 Portrait COREL 20160103

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura


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



  1. Hello, pretty birds and sky images. The Bobcat is cool. My favorite is the Vireo. Great post, enjoy your day!

  2. sweet birds! the phoebe makes a perfect percher. :)

  3. Beautiful series of photos, gorgeous area to bird! Kind of wish I was seeing that instead of all our snow.

  4. Gorgeous nature photography ~ love the last photo!

    Wishing you a joyful weekend ~ ^_^

  5. Oh, wonderful captures! Love the blue legs on the vireo! And wow, a bobcat sighting!

  6. Gorgeous captures, Kenneth! The beauty of rain is that the birds don't mind it at all, and we cannot have a rainbow without the rain. :)

  7. Nice shot of the bird on the guard rail. - I enjoy all your birds. The Egret was lovely and oh my you got to see a Bobcat, how cool!

  8. Very serene and beautiful photos! Love all the birds and the reflections in the water

  9. I would love to see a bobcat! We saw a mountain lion in Washington State once (similar to the Florida Panther); that was rather scary, but a wonderful memory. That vireo is gorgeous -- I didn't know about the blue legs. I hope your wish for the rain to go away comes true and extends over here to Fort Myers!

  10. Gorgeous photography! I like how you captured the bee mid-flight, and the snake in the tree is amazing!

  11. amazing finds that you photographed so beautifully!

  12. As usual your wildlife shots are amazing, but my favourite today is that stunning shot of the lake and wetlands. Beautiful.

  13. Fantastic pictures!Happy weekend!

  14. Magnifique endroit et animaux,merci du partage ;o)

  15. beautiful photos. The vireo is so sweet. And your reflection with the orange clouds is fabulous!

  16. Wonderful photos...I would not have noticed the blue legs of the bird had you not pointed them out. But for me, the star of the show is the bobcat! How wonderful to get a pic of it.

  17. Fabulous post and shots Kenneth.I loved the look on the Bobcat. Have a lovely weekend.

  18. The vireo with the blue legs is so pretty! And love both of your pics with the reflections - beautiful color combination!

  19. Stunning photos! I love the shot of the bobcat!

  20. Beautiful photos!

  21. Hello Ken!:) Very enjoyable visit with all your first rate nature shots to see. Beautiful images!:)

  22. Hello Ken, I hope the rain has stopped. I am just dropping by again to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  23. Wow Ken what an exquisite series!! Thanks so much for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro :)

  24. In Tucson, I actually had a bobcat walk on my side for quite some time while out for my morning walk once....neat but ever so scary. Of course there was a bit of distance between us by several yards, but still!!
    Great photo of the cat. And the bee hovering is outstanding.

    Naturally your bird photos are superior.

  25. Love the reflection of the clouds in the water


  26. Great photos and a wonderful area.

  27. Stunning shots! Loved the vireos blue legs! The other birds and butterflies...lovely! And those sky and water shots are so gorgeous! You always get such great photos! Is that a little bobcat?

  28. Fabulous captures, Kenneth! Love how you captured the vireo's blue legs! and that shot of the Egret is amazing! Nicely done!

  29. wonderful photos. thanks for sharing.

  30. Boa tarde, maravilhosa selecção de fotos que resultaram de belos momentos fotográficos.

  31. A fabulous series of photos. The one of the metallic green bee caught my attention as I have never seen one before. Every photo is a pleasure to look at. Thanks for sharing them.


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