Thursday, August 23, 2018

Crops & Clips -- Dog Days of Summer

When the birding action slows down during these Dog Days of summer, there is no lack of interesting things to see, hear and photograph in our local south Florida Wounded Wetlands. The oppressive heat limits our time out in the open, but we minimize the inconvenience by getting out early every morning unless there is a threat of rain.

The low light presents photographic challenges. I set my camera for flight shots in the hope that an overhead bird may catch some of the morning light. Just as the sun was rising, I underexposed this low-flying Green Heron which stood out against a dark background:

Green Heron 20180812

While Mary Lou likes to walk the 3 mile round trip at a brisk pace, I plod along, stop, look and listen. Usually I meet her as she is heading home while I am only about halfway into the wetland preserve.

Here she is, a blue dot heading home a little after sunrise on a clear and calm morning:

MaryLou in blue walking home 20180811

We continued to experience the effects of Saharan dust. Mornings were sometimes rather murky but before sunrise the dust particles turned the light of the rising sun to pink and projected sunbeams all the way across the sky to the opposite horizon:

Pink sky before sunrise 3-20180819

Anticrepuscular rays over wet prairie 20180812

Some mornings the only bird we heard singing was a Carolina Wren. Usually they hide down in the understory and are hard to find, but once a pair sang a duet out in the open. The male warbled sweetly and the female finished each phrase with a trill. The male looked disheveled as if wet or starting to molt, but his spirits were not dampened:

Carolina Wren 03-20180812

The female waited for her mate to finish...

Carolina Wren 01-20180812

...and energetically added her coda:

Carolina Wren female singing duet 05-20180812

The first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers appeared on August 12. Although their breeding range extends down into south Florida we do not see many of them from spring into late summer. They do become abundant during the winter. These may be early migrants from further north:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 03-20180812

One flew in so close that its tail did not fit in the frame:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 01-20180812

As if to accommodate my long lens, it flipped its tail out of view:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 02-20180812

There was a sudden emergence of White Peacock butterflies. They quickly damage their wings, fighting and chasing after mates, so it was nice seeing some perfect specimens:

White Peacock 20180730

White Peacock small 20180808

Standing in one spot, I photographed three butterfly species within one minute-- a Tropical Checkered-Skipper...

Tropical Checkered-Skipper male 20180808

...a Phaon Crescent...

Phaon Crescent 20180808

...and a tiny Three-spotted Skipper:

Skipper - Three Spotted possible 20180808

A bee-like Hoverfly species did not escape notice:

Bee-like Hoverfly 20180809

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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 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



  1. Wow - fabulous shots, especially that first one!

  2. Beautiful shots! The green heron in flight is amazing!

  3. I love the different array of wildlife that you captured in your photos...especially the butterflies. Thanks for the share, hope you have a fantastic weekend. Keep up the posts.

    World of Animals

  4. I always enjoy your beautiful photos. LOL about ML walking briskly while you do a lot of stopping and looking along the way. You and I would be compatible hiking partners!

  5. A gorgeous collection of images. Especially love the pink sky and the crepuscular rays. I shared a "rays" post this time too.

  6. Hello, Ken!

    Awesome shots of my favorite Green Heron. Cute captures of the Singing Wren and Gnatcatcher. The butterfly images are all beautiful. Thanks so much for linking up your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  7. Felicia, I love those crepuscular rays in your blog! Even though I have a great view of the eastern horizon from my back patio, I am usually out walking and have to settle for second best, the much softer anticrepuscular (or antisolar) rays to the west over the lake in the Wounded Wetlands. I usually arrive there just before sunrise, and see them only if atmospheric conditions are favorable.

  8. Oh the blue-grey gnat-catcher is a beauty! Loved the Carolina wren also, and the beautiful butterfly shots. Wonderful landscape shots as well, as always. Nice post!

  9. This reminds me of my stung by a day stood in a fire ant colony. All for the love of birding.

    That very first photo of the green heron is simply dazzling!! As are all your photos Ken. We all send our thanks for joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend!

  10. What incredible photos! The White Peacock butterfly is especially wonderful!

  11. Instead of dust we are suffering with smoke from the many forest fires in British Columbia and Washington. People have to check in when they cross the border, but no smoke. - Margy

  12. Ken, your first short is a dream! Never have seen sunbeams so clearly - amazing! The blue gray Gnatcather is a beautiful bird. Love the tropical checker Skipper - almost looks like a mosaic to me. Thanks you for all these beautiful details of your walk and sharing them with All Seasons! Have a great week. Hope for you both it's going to cool down soon!

  13. For one, I am pleased that you 'plod' about the wetlands - we are all the beneficiaries! Love the series of shots with the wrens singing to each other ...

  14. I've got to start getting up earlier in the morning! Such beautifiul shots of birds and butterflies. I didn't know about the Saharan Dust... have just been reading so much about the red tide and hoping that is getting better.


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