This continues my monthly exercise of looking back three years, remembering events and inspiring me to appreciate and enjoy the subtle changing of the seasons in south Florida. My photo archives include 625 images processed that month. As usual I will try to find examples of favorite memes: Birds and critters, sky views and reflections, fences and other interesting scenes which speak for themselves. We spent much of our time monitoring the fragile relationship between our local male Bald Eagle and his new young partner.
The first day of February dawned warm and bright over the local wetlands:
That same day a male Painted Bunting appeared unexpectedly as I was scanning the lake for waterfowl. Although I see a good number of the green females and immature birds, the males seem more reclusive and certainly are much less numerous. It is not a very sharp photo, but luckily my auto-focus ignored the intervening branches:
The next day, I was able to focus on a Great Egret as it flew by:
After it landed, the egret cast a nice reflection:
Later that morning a Wood Stork was feeding in our back yard lake:
On February 4 there was an interesting formation of altocumulus clouds, portending a change in the weather:
A pair of Mottled Ducks (female has orange-ish yellow bill vs greenish yellow of male) flew over the lake:
On February 28, we visited Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA-5) in Hendry County, where a large flock of Roseate Spoonbills gathered...
...and a group of Black-necked Stilts also visited the pond...
...as a Snail Kite hovered overhead:
Much of our attention was focused on the local pair of Bald Eagles. During the first half of the month the male (Pride) was seen in the company of his new "bride" (Jewel) away from the nest. Jewel seemed not to have any inclination to stay on the nest. On February 11, Pride visited the nest alone and dropped some prey, perhaps in an attempt to attract Jewel to join him:
The nest was observed for over an hour, but Jewel never appeared and Pride finally flew off:
During the next week Pride was barely visible, sitting very deep in the nest, possibly incubating one or more eggs, but Jewel never was reported to be present. On February 19 we were watching the nest, thinking it to be empty, when suddenly Jewel flew in. Only after reviewing this photo did I realize that Pride was already in the nest, as the very top of his head can be seen just above the sticks, far to the left (ignore the white object near his bill, as it is a reflection from the nest structure):
A moment later, Pride was standing there (on the left) next to Jewel! At the time, we did not know where he came from, thinking he must have flown in from behind unnoticed:
Pride then flew off, raising hope that this was an exchange of incubation duties. A single eagle, especially if it is a male, rarely if ever succeeds in hatching out an eaglet:
However, Jewel never settled down and also departed, continuing her habit of roosting away from the nest:
Although she retained some dark feathers in her tail, her head was almost completely white. Perhaps she was simply too young and inexperienced to start breeding.
SPOILER ALERT: The pair did not breed successfully during the 2014-15 season, though they continued to keep company into the next breeding season. Visit the Bald Eagle FORUM to see current and archived reports on the status of this nest, including many photos.
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy
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