We started the month of February back home in Florida, having returned from Illinois late on January 24th in order to host Mary Lou's brother and his daughter and her husband whom we had invited to stay with us before we had to run off in early January to care for our daughter's family when she broke her leg.
We took our guests to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park, where this American Alligator was basking. I did not dare get close enough for a Macro:
Although common throughout much of North America, American Robins visit the Florida peninsula only in winter. We see them infrequently, so they are a treat when they do appear. This one is feasting on exotic Brazilian Pepper:
You may recall that on December 22, 2012, two captive-reared Whooping Crane colts overflew their migration route and appeared in our local wetlands. During our absence, the female ("Tussock" #12-13) injured her foot, became emaciated and had to be captured and transported to Wild Kingdom in Orlando for treatment and rehabilitation. The male (Cypress #12-15) was still here, flying about...
...and casting a fine reflection:
Here is a brief slide show and video clip that tells more about the Whooping Cranes:
(if video does not appear in the space below, click on THIS LINK)
Although he had been captive-reared in Wisconsin where great pains had been taken to shield him from human contact, Cypress looked right at home in a small park just across the street from our neighbor Scott's house:
Indeed, pedestrians and auto traffic seemed not to bother him a bit:
This was cause for great concern as, after being left on his own, he seemed oblivious to the dangers of an urban environment. On February 10, two representatives of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) were dispatched to capture Cypress. They located him with telemetry and did a very professional job of safely retrieving the crane. He was malnourished, but soon recovered and was relocated to a ranch in the Lake Okeechobee area with others of his species.
Shrouded in a white sheet and tempting him with grapes, Jeannette led the crane into an open area where a snare had been placed:
The ruse worked, and the crane was trapped by the leg:
Ricardo rushed to immobilize the great bird:
He quickly placed a sock over the crane's head, which immediately quieted him (Photo property of Scott McPherran, used with permission):
Within minutes, safely cradled in Jeannette's arms, Cypress was on his way to Orlando. I wish the story had a happy ending, but both cranes subsequently perished out in the wild during the harsh winter (Photo property of Scott McPherran, used with permission):
The very next day we flew back to Illinois to permit our son-in-law's parents to return home after taking their turn at caring for the household. It was snowy and cold, and the two Tibetan Mastiffs just loved it:
Another canid, this a Coyote, stopped to watch us as we looked for winter sparrows in a cornfield:
Under gray skies, a bank of trees acted as a windbreak for the cropland:
Among the cornstalk stubs we found American Tree Sparrows...
...and Horned Larks:
In our daughter's back yard, we saw another robin, this time fluffed up against the cold and falling snow...
...and a hardy "Snowbird," a Dark-eyed Junco:
I had to really search for a shot that could legitimately qualify as a MACRO.
This is the only part of a Tricolored Heron that I could fit into the viewfinder as it roosted on the railing of the boardwalk at Everglades national Park:
I got even closer to this Gray Squirrel as it refused to climb any higher in the tree in our front yard until it finished eating the acorn:
In Illinois later in the month the snow had cleared. This is a better photo of the fence in our daughter's back yard. Behind it is a managed tall grass prairie which is very attractive to wildlife:
Two Black-capped Chickadees race each other to the feeders:
This old barn is one of my favored subjects:
Just in: Federal authorities to end use of ultralights for whooping crane project
Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
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
Hello, great series of images. I love the Whooping Crane. I love the birds and the dogs. The view of the cornstalks and trees is awesome. Great post. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!ReplyDelete
Wow, what a smorgasbord of interesting photos! The crane story fascinated me. I'm glad they were able to successfully relocate it. I'm happy to see my robins enjoying their winter vacation. We have coyotes here too. They make a lot of squealing racket as they follow the creek bottom, but I've never been able to photograph one. That's beautiful, as are those dogs!ReplyDelete
lovely birds. i liked the chickadee flutter from the fence. sorry about the crane colts. those sweet huge pups...ReplyDelete
Absolutely amazing photos. You know your stuff. The one of the squirrel with the acorn or nut could be a prize winner. Enjoyed this post immensely. Over from Good Fences.ReplyDelete
great shots, love the dogs and coyote and i also love how the gator is smiling for you!ReplyDelete
Very very very beautiful images, love them all.ReplyDelete
All of these are just splendid!ReplyDelete
It's always a pleasure to stop in on your blog. So many great photos. Plus I get to learn new stuff. Can't say I blame you for not getting a closer macro of the "gator"...those were some big teeth! Enjoyed seeing the cranes but it was sad that they both perished. Also enjoyed your fence shots.ReplyDelete
I love your old barn...and have enjoyed all your photos.ReplyDelete
We have had a pair of whooping cranes come to the strip pits here close to us at least 3 winters...I saw them two of the years and then was talking to another lady and she had seen them that year, but I had missed them.
And then south and a bit east of us is a place called Goose Pond and we have seen two or three there a couple different years. So amazing to see them.
So much to see here - love the whooping crane capture with its reflection! Also, my first name is exactly spelled the same way, and have have seen another Jeannette! (Does she have a blog?)ReplyDelete
Powerful series of photography ~ all glorious and I too wish there were a happier ending for the birds ~ReplyDelete
Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^
sad story about the cranes....ReplyDelete
Wonderful series of captures Kenneth - my favourite is the Chickadees and the way you've caught their open plumage.ReplyDelete
Wonderful roundup, KCS. How could you resist that alligator's smile?ReplyDelete
I read about the ultralights being discontinued. Always love your flashback sets. Beautiful pictures and something new for me to learn every time.ReplyDelete
Yesterday I saw two robins in the nature area next door -- the first ones I've ever seen in Florida.
Hello, Ken! Beautiful birds and images. Another great post! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!ReplyDelete
You have captured dome wonderful creatures here Rosy! I love the old barn too.ReplyDelete
I love these birds and barnReplyDelete
First of all, such a great crane capture! Glad it all worked out. Your photos are incredible...from the snows to the sunny climes, these are beautiful!ReplyDelete
sheer beauty allReplyDelete
Sad about the attempt to save, then perishing during the harsh winter with the Whooper.ReplyDelete
Love the snowy images of the birds [and the beautiful dogs!] But, today, for me, the chickadees in flight steal the show!!
Thanks for sharing this terrific post for the weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin'.
Fantastic photos Kenneth, so interesting. Saddened to learn about the poor cranes after all the care to try and save them. We get a lot of Robins around here and now I know where they all disappear to in the wintertime. Beautiful dogs and shot of the coyote also, and that brilliant photo of the alligator brought great memories of our trips to the Everglades. It's a phenomenal place for wildlife. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such kind comments on my latest journal post. Have a great week :)ReplyDelete
WOW what a marvelous selection of shares and the story of the Whooping Crane is so magical. I hated to learn that two were "accidentally" killed last month as well. Happy this one has a better ending. I enjoyed this visit very much~ReplyDelete
Absolutely lovely post. The photos are stunning and the variety of wildlife astounding. Too bad about the two birds that died but there was a valiant effort to save them.ReplyDelete
Beautiful shots! But so sad to hear that neither crane survived.ReplyDelete
All amazing and enjoyable images!ReplyDelete
Very nice the bank of trees under gray skies.
Hello Ken!:) Wow! Another superb post with so much to see and admire. I love the wildlife images in the snow, the gator and the squirrel shot, and learning about the Cranes,and was so sorry to learn about the loss of the wee ones, and the efforts to save them. The chickadee's in flight is a super image, and the lovely dogs.I enjoyed your 2013 flasbacks very much. Have a great day!:)ReplyDelete
These are fantastic photos! Too bad about the cranes though.ReplyDelete
A wonderful collection of photos! The portrait of the alligator is excellent.ReplyDelete