Having abandoned our summer home in NE Illinois, we are now experiencing the typical south Florida subtropical "rainy season" weather pattern: clear, hot and humid mornings and stormy afternoons.
Before sunrise, anticrepuscular rays appear to converge on the horizon opposite the sun, creating a "mirrored sunrise" to the west:
Two hours later, I walk home towards a thunderstorm building over the ocean to the east. Do you see a pointy-nosed man sleeping (snoring?) on a cloud pillow?
For the past couple of weeks the dawn chorus has been muted. During much of the year we become accustomed to the songs of mockingbirds and cardinals which pierce the dark as we walk out a half hour before sunrise.
Courting, defending territories and raising a brood are followed by the mid-summer post-breeding molt. Now energy must be conserved as new feathers are grown, nourished and groomed. Even these persistent songsters fall silent.
This young male Boat-tailed Grackle is a sight for sore eyes...
...but he can look forward to looking like this:
The flight feathers of this Red-winged Blackbird are worn and tattered...
...but in a few weeks he will be singing again:
A bedraggled Northern Mockingbird waits for feathers to be replaced...
...so he can show off his new coat:
A "Young and Crestless" male Northern Cardinal transitions into adult plumage...
...and an adult cardinal's black skin is exposed until new feathers grow back...
...and soon they will:
Back in Illinois, a male Bobolink is changing into a soft brown winter coat which resembles that of his mate...
...until next spring...
...when he will draw admiring looks from this female Bobolink:
White-eyed Vireos have just about finished molting ...
...and in a few weeks will be in fine feather:
As is the case with many waterbirds, this male Anhinga temporarily loses all its flight feathers at once, as new feathers emerge, encased in steel-blue sheaths:
Soon he will look even better than he did when I photographed him only two weeks previously:
Anhingas add a few nice touches during breeding season-- head plumes and green "goggles:"
Most birds molt their flight feathers symmetrically, so that flight performance is not impaired. This is a juvenile Bald Eagle, about 6 months old. Its wing feathers are nicely lined up. They are actually about 1 1/2 inches longer than those of the adult and there is a noticeable bulge in the secondary remiges (flight feathers) nearest its body:
This immature Bald Eagle, just entering its second year, is symmetrically replacing its long juvenile remiges and tail feathers (retrices) with the shorter adult feathers:
Note the more narrow wings of an adult, with a nice even trailing edge:
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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