Unsettled sky and a colorful sunrise over our local wetlands on January 11:
You may recall that during the previous month a new young female Bald Eagle appeared with the local male (Pride) who had lost his mate (Joy) back in October, 2014. We watched the nest carefully for signs that she might start breeding. As I noted last month, Jewel seemed to lack an instinct to sit on the nest, while Pride often occupied it and continued to add sticks.
On January 1, 2015 the nest was in excellent shape due to Pride's efforts, but it remained empty most of the time during the next few weeks.
Facebook eagle lovers named the new female "Jewel." She often flew off alone and we worried whether the pair would ever develop a strong bond. I encountered Jewel in the wetlands southeast of the nest. The dark streaks on her head and dark tail feather tips are signs that she has not yet reached full adult plumage:
This is a composite image as Jewel landed on a small tree and then flew off:
The Bald Eagles in south Florida usually lay their eggs in December and by late January are already tending to their nestlings. As the month progressed this pair spent more time together, and on January 28, just after I arrived at the nest site, we saw Jewel fly in from the west to the nest area. She was carrying a good sized fish that looked like a shad. She circled with it and ended up roosting on top of a Melaleuca snag to the west of the nest. She proceeded to eat the fish.
About 10 minutes later, Pride flew in from the SW carrying a small fish. He roosted on an adjacent snag slightly above the female. Both kept eating until the female finished. Then the male flew down and they copulated for about 1 minute 10 seconds.
It appeared to be a successful mating, unlike some the brief attempts that had previously occurred. Pride then roosted briefly before flying off. Jewel remained on the roost
He soon returned carrying a small stick, and Jewel promptly joined him in flight. Both circled over the nest area and then disappeared high and to the south. To be continued next month...
Every morning before sunrise we try to escape to the relative solitude of our Wounded Wetlands. Here is Mary Lou walking out before sunrise under the Wolf Moon on January 5. (This year, 2018, we can look forward to two SuperMoons in January-- the second will be a "Blue Moon.")
On a calm morning, a Little Blue Heron lifts off:
A brace of Mottled Ducks flies over the lake. The male has a bright yellow bill while that of the female is mottled orange:
In the rookery, I find only one Yellow-crowned Night-Heron:
Back home, in late afternoon, the view from our patio exhibits all the "me too" fences required by our homeowners' association:
A Great Blue Heron poses next to a neighbor's fence:
A Double-crested Cormorant dries its wings as it stands on the duck decoy which floats our irrigation water intake:
A Wood Stork forages at the water's edge along our lawn:
In our back yard, a Red-bellied Woodpecker climbs our Mahogany tree:
In front of our house, a Northern Mockingbird rests on Saint Francis' head:
On January 30, our Avocado tree is beginning to blossom:
A Monarch butterfly and a Honeybee partake of nectar from our Ixora blooms:
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi
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