Thursday, December 14, 2017

Crops & Clips: Early birds

We usually get out  on the Wounded Wetlands early, about a half hour before sunrise. The walk to the lake over the gravel road takes about 15 minutes for Mary Lou, while I lag behind.  It is too dark for photography, so I bird by ear. On December 3 the full SuperMoon was descending as we started.

The evening before, our granddaughter in Illinois texted me a photo she had just taken with her mother's phone, showing the SuperMoon rising over the schoolyard:

Supermoon by granddaughter Illinois 20171201

I had forgotten about this unusually large Moon, and ran outside to see it ascending over our back yard:

Super Moon 20171201

The next morning the sky was crystal clear and I wanted to catch a photo as it set behind the lake in the wetlands, but it already looked much too low, ready to disappear into the trees:

Super Moon setting 03-20171203

There seemed to be insufficient time for me to get up to the lake before the moon set, so I tried to shoot between the trees for a clear image. It looked truly huge:

Super Moon 01-20171203

Suddenly Mary Lou phoned me from far ahead, "Where are you? The moon is ready to disappear into the lake!" I then hurried along and arrived just in time to obtain one photo before the moon sunk below the horizon:

SuperMoon setting 3-20171203

As poor as this shot is, it does convey an idea of the Moon's super size. The next morning we got out extra early in hopes of making up for my faux pas, thinking the Moon would set a few minutes later. I should have checked the Moon-set Calendar. Whereas it had set at 6:36 AM on December 3, the next morning it set into a cloudy blue sky almost an hour later, at 7:43 AM. Well, I learned a lesson in astronomy!

Here are the results of my quest for the "perfect" Moon-set, taken at 6:52 AM, just after sunrise:

SuperMoon over Pine Bank 20171204

The sun warmed my back as I stood there on the peninsula and watched the Moon disappear into the blue sky and cloud layers, at 7:29 AM:

SuperMoon setting 02-20171204

While I was waiting a Great Egret circled, croaking loudly, seeming to resent my spending so much time in its usual foraging space:

Great Egret 06-20171204

Great Egret 05-20171204

A Little Blue Heron reflected on my presence:

Little Blue Heron 01-20171204

At the rookery, there were no herons in sight, but a female Anhinga was sleeping soundly only about ten feet from the near side of the canal:

Anhinga female sleeping 20171201

As I walked by I shuffled my feet to rouse it before I got any nearer, but it did not awake until I made a soft "shish" sound. It was too big to fit into my camera's viewfinder until it contorted into more compact pose, back-lit by the morning sun:

Anhinga female 02-20171201

On the way back home, a White-eyed Vireo seemed to be chiding me:

White-eyed Vireo 02-20171204

White-eyed Vireo 06-20171204

A Loggerhead Shrike suddenly flew down from a roadside tree and plucked an elongated creature from the ground almost at my feet. I'm not sure whether it was a large insect or a small reptile:

Loggerhead Shrike 20171204

Back at the house, a pair of Egyptian Geese swam past a neighbor's fence:

Egyprian Geese 20171201

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,


Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


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



  1. NICE! Love the moon on your photos but that cute bird "white-eyed Vireo" ... ah so cute is it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Stunning photos of the moon and how beautiful is that backlit pose of the stretching Anhinga!

  3. Beautiful moon shots, especially the one you captured right on the horizon under the power lines. It really does look HUGE!

  4. I forgot about the supermoon until it was too late. You managed to get some good shots of it.

  5. Hello, gorgeous sky and moon captures. The Flight shots are beautiful too, love the egret and heron. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. I appreciate your visit and comment. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  6. Love the moon. Nice selection of birds today. Love seeing the Anhinga. Happy Saturday!

  7. Gorgeous moon and critter shots!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  8. I love the photos of the moon and sky! Today we stood on our driveway (we are in Ocala) and watched hundreds of Sandhill Cranes fly over, all headed South....flock after flock! So be on the look out and let me know if you see them! Enjoy your weekend!

  9. We had ONE Egyptian Goose at a neighborhood pond for some time, but I haven't seen it for a few weeks now. Oh my gosh ... do I ever love that moon setting. So wonderful Ken!!!!!

    And of course your birds...always exceptional photography! Oh, and thanks so much for helping me with IDing hawks [the "V" on their backs will definitely be helpful in the future]

    As always, thanks for sharing your post with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  10. Your moon in capture 5 and 7 are truly amazing! The transparent one is just gorgeous! So, not only are you a bird watcher, but your landscape images are beautiful! and you have your camera with you at the right time! We watched the super moon for 1 1/2 hours on our way home (but no camera!).
    Thank you for looking at the (artnotes2016 (dot( com flowers. If you keep scrolling down you see what other posts you can watch, because flowers are not my specialty (haha, now one of my friends would say, "now you are REALLY bragging!")
    Wishing you and Mary Lou a very merry Christmas, and see you back at New Years eve!

  11. Love birds and great photography!

  12. Very nice set of pictures.

    I hope todo some Moon and star photography in the holidays - when I can get away from the light pollution!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  13. Gorgeous photos of the birds - your photography always delights.
    Thanks for sharing at

    Merry Christmas!

  14. I love your moon shots. I never remember to look until it's too late :( The birds are gorgeous, too!

  15. The Anhinga is winner today.
    Merry Christmas from Finland!

  16. The second picture of the egret is to die for - the shape of the wing - the shimmering feathers - just delightful. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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