Thursday, March 17, 2016

Getting out early

As much as I enjoy a leisurely mug of coffee while I catch up on the morning news and correspondence, I also like to photograph birds in soft early light. The switch to Daylight Savings Time has made it easier for us to get out at dawn. 

As the first day of spring approached, sunrise happened earlier and earlier, from 7:30 AM back in October to as early as 6:33 AM on March 12, the day before Daylight Savings Time "delayed" the Sun's arrival until 7:32 AM. Relentlessly, the sunrise will continue to creep up earlier until the first week of June, when it will occur at 6:29 AM despite the time change.   

Earlier in March, we encountered fog as we walked along the gravel road into the wetlands. The sun was trying to break through:

Fog Lifting HDR 20160304 

On the wetlands, the posture and habits of this Little Blue Heron made it identifiable from a distance as it fished on the opposite shore: 

South shore in fog HDR 20160304

I processed the above photo as an antique oil painting because I liked the way the fog gave depth to the colors and tones:

South shore in fog PAINTING 20160304

The day after the time change and before sunrise, a Great Egret posed nicely against the same background-- a bit nearer, but under similar atmospheric conditions:

Great Egret in morning mist HDR 20160314 

Later that morning, in subdued light, a Great Egret flew in to roost on a Pond Cypress:

Great Egret in-flight HDR 01-20160313

Great Egret HDR 01-20160313

A second egret wanted to share the roost...

Great Egret duo HDR 03-20160313

...but the occupant did not seem pleased:

Great Egret duo HDR 02-20160313

The intruder moved on...

Great Egret duo HDR 04-20160313

...and took a place next to an American Kestrel (Disclaimer-- I did not see the kestrel when I took this photo!):

Egret and kestrel HDR 01-20160313

The kestrel, probably the same one, did pose nearby in full view:

American Kestrel HDR 3-20160312

Now back-lighted in full sunlight, a Great Egret protested the presence of another white wader...

Great Egret 20160309 immature Little Blue Heron:

Little Blue Heron 2-20160309

The two took their disagreement to another spot on the lake. The smaller heron twice "buzzed" the agitator:

Little Blue Heron attacks Great Egret 20160308

Little Blue Heron attacks Great Egret 2-20160308

The sun touched the wet prairie:

Sun touches wet prairie HDR 20160309

Under fair skies, butterflies and bees went about their chores, sipping nectar...

Zebra heliconian on Lantana HDR 20160309

...and harvesting pollen:

Honeybee gathering pollen 20160311

Star Rush popped up in wet places:

Star Rush 20160313

Two Turkey Vultures watched me from the guard rail...

Turkey Vultures 20160311

...dwarfing an Eastern Phoebe, a little bird on a big fence!:

Eastern Phoebe on guard rail 20160307

A closer look at the little guy:

Eastern Phoebe on guard rail 20160308

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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


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



  1. beautiful 'painting' effect! loved all the egret action. and sweet fence sitters - even the vultures. :)

  2. Hello, awesome captures of the egrets. The sky shots are lovely. Beautiful post and photos. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  3. Oncce again a wonderful post as you brought us from dawn to the brighter light of the morning. I love the antique edit on that shot and the photgraphs of the Herons are superb.

  4. Breathtaking images Kenneth, the early morning mist is magical and your photos of these wonderful flyers are stunning. The Star Rush is a new wildflower to me. Thank you for introducing it. So pretty!

  5. An awesome array of photos, KCS. The Great Egret before dawn in particular.

  6. These are truly exquisite photos.

  7. It's so much fun to come by here as you have the most amazing photos. The Egret shots were beautiful. The Sky shots are so pretty, I loved the misty fog shots and your painterly effect was wonderful. The Kestrel was neat to see as well. The buzzards and that little bird on the fencing were delightful.
    Just a lot of great stuff here.

  8. Absolutely gorgeous series, Kenneth!

  9. All very divinely edited photography of nature's gems ~ Kestrel is precious, and the action shots of the herons are excellent ~ Favorite is the little bird on the fence ~

    Happy Weekend coming to you ~ ^_^

  10. Always such a pleasrue to see what you them all.

  11. Yours photos are really great and brilliant! Thank you!

  12. Wonderful photos, certainly worthwhile getting up early for, you can always catch that coffee and paper later

  13. Your Skywatch Friday images look like paintings. Very impressive bird shots.
    JM, IL

  14. What a gorgeous set of photos! I like playing with filters on my photos too.

  15. Great photos! But I love the first picture!

  16. Beautiful photos. The fog adds an ethereal feel to them.

  17. What a fabulous collection of photos.

  18. Awesome photos.
    ~Have a nice weekend~

  19. Some great photos here! I really like that first shot. The fog gives it an otherworldly feel!

  20. Hello Ken, I just wanted to stop back and say thank you for linking up and sharing this post. The birds are all beautiful. Have a happy weekend!

  21. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday!So many beautiful views here. My favorites are the first landscape, the kestrel and the herons flapping their wings - stunning!
    Forgot whether I had introduced my new meme - this week in the post "SEASONS- Spring has Sprung" to you? thumbnail link is open Mon - Wed till 7pm, Pacific time Hope to see you there!

  22. Beautiful shots! I especially like the birds in flight.

  23. Those phoebes seem to occupy the posts around here too.
    Love, love, LOVE the egrets with wings wide open. Such a stately bird.

    Thanks for posting your link at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week.

  24. Absolutely stunning photographs!
    I so loved the Great Egret studies, simply wonderful.
    Happy week ahead :)

  25. Dawn and dusk are always the best times to be out and about - but one is easier than the other! Nice pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  26. Your early morning shots are always "to die for!" And I love all the great photos of the egrets, the kestrel, and the closeups of the flowers and bee. Wow! Your posts are always works of art!

  27. Absolutely stunning photography, birds and scenes~

  28. They are absolutely stunning pictures, I made the rest of my family come over and look at them.

  29. What gorgeous landscape shots!!! I love photos with the birds as part of the entire scene. It really give us a nice overview of their habitat.

  30. Oh goodness, such lovely photos. Thank you for sharing them!

  31. Hello Ken1:) Wow! Your shots of the Egrets are stunning. They are so beautiful, "dancing in the air."Love all your photos, and as usual it is a wonderful post, with so much to see and enjoy.

  32. Awesome captures of birds and beautiful landscape shots

  33. Love the egret action shots! Rare to see in my experience. All wonderful pictures!

  34. Great series beautiful photos.

  35. all gorgeous shots...but I'm drawn to the first one. I am a sucker for sky shots :)

  36. Wonderful photos! The fog is beautiful and I love all the birds.


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