Thursday, December 20, 2018

Crops & Clips: Snowy Christmas in Florida

Oh Deer, Christmas is here:

Deer Christmas Card

Deep snow on Miami Mountain in the middle of May, 2010? I looked up and, for a moment, thought I was in Oregon or Washington State!

Snow on Miami Mountain? 20100524

No, the image has not been photo-shopped. This mountain of coral rock was mined from the bottom of a deep flooded quarry about 1 1/2 miles to the south of our home in Miramar, Florida. I'd never before or since seen the stone piled this high. Demand must have been down and they were stockpiling it.

The rocks are rich in phosphate which formed millions of years ago on the floor of the ocean from the shells and skeletons of sea creatures.

Over 15 square miles of wetlands in nearby NW Miami-Dade County have been permitted for rock mining. In addition to the threat to the Everglades ecosystem, groundwater pollution of several nearby water wells is a concern of conservationists. 

The phosphate comes from sediment that was deposited in layers on the sea floor. The phosphate rich sediments are believed to have formed from precipitation of phosphate from seawater along with the skeletons and waste products of creatures living in the seas.

Phosphate rock and its by-product of phosphoric acid are valuable in fertilizer and industrial applications. It is also a source of gypsum for building materials (drywall), but the phosphogypsum produced in Florida is contaminated with radioactive uranium and thorium (and other isotopes including radium) and its use is prohibited domestically. It is thus stacked up indefinitely in dozens of locations. See: The Clock is Ticking on Florida's Mountains of Hazardous Phosphate Waste

We lack snowy mountaintops, but we have dancing Snowy Egrets:

Snowy Egret dance 02-20150817

Snowy Egret dance 07-20150817

Snowy Egret dance 10-20150817

Living decorations for our greenery--

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on Brazilian Pepper:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 20100108

Christmas Palm:

Christmas Palm 20181129

We lack spruce or fir trees, but what can be prettier than Egrets decorating a Cypress tree which conveniently turns red in December before shedding its needles?...

Egrets On Cypress 20100118

...or a Northern Cardinal... 

Northern Cardinal in Pond Cypress 5-20170401

...or Red-winged Blackbird on Cypress:

Red-winged Blackbird on cypress 20160722

Instead of glass and plastic ornaments and silk flowers we have mangoes from our back yard...

Maxing out on Mangos 20110605

...Wild Balsalm Pear...

Wild Balsam Apple Momordica balsamina  2008_05_26

...fleshy flowers of the Pond Apple...

Pond Apple Flower 2008_05_26

...and Wild Poinsettia:

Wild Poinsettia 01-20171216

Carolina Wren with wild Poinsettia:

Carolina Wren 02-20171203

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Seven ducks a-flying...

 Ducks Flock 04-20151113

...Six storks a-nesting.. 

Wood Stork FOUR nestlings 02-20180411

...Five goldenrods...

 Goldenrod 20090923

...Four ducklings waiting...

Muscovy and ducklings HDR 20160222

...Three Swamphens...

Gray headed - Purple Swamphens 20170316

...Two Ground-Doves...

Common Ground-Doves 3-20170314

...And a Mockingbird in a berry tree:

 Northern Mockingbird on Brazilian Pepper 20181211

Christmas full Moon rising over our back yard, December 25, 2015...

Christmas Moon over lake HDR 20151225

...and, early the next morning, setting as  we walk into our local wetlands:

Cold Moon setting Miramar Pkwy HDR 20151226

Snow Moon is sinking...

Snow Moon setting at sunrise 20170211

...Bright lights are blinking, ...

Monaco Cove Christmas lights 20181211

...bringing us good cheer,
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I feel compelled to add a postscript to show feathered "ornaments" from our previous homes, including Cedar Waxwing on Cypress (Illinois)...

Cedar Waxwing 06-20170521

...and a Mountain Chickadee (New Mexico):

IMG_2628  Mt. Chickadee  Sandia Crest, Albuq. NM  2-12-10

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. Many nice shots, sir. No smiley face for the phosphate mountain :(

  2. Have a joyful Christmas time you too with your dearest ones! P.S.: I am quite sure the final lines of this sweet song are not really like that...;)

  3. Ha ha, what a wonderful Christmas countdown! I also was amazed by the coral mountain. I figured that was Photoshop for sure at first glance. Happy holidays!!

  4. Wow - your photos are all amazing. LOVE the storks nesting, sunset, and so many others. Wishing you a fantastic Christmas!

  5. Interesting info about the moutain and I love your bird photos one and all. Happy Christmas Diane

  6. great series...and I especially love the storks! What kind of duck is that with the cute ducklings??

  7. @Marsha-- They are Muscovy Ducks, an introduced species which has adapted to life in the wild. Many are semi-domesticated and live in neighborhood lakes and back yards in south Florida. Lacking body fat, they cannot thrive in very cold climates.

  8. Hello, it is strange to see a mountain near Miami. I just love the Snowy egrets and egret tree. Lovely variety of birds and pretty flowers. Your sky captures are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend. I want to thank you for all the visits and comments on my blog this past year. I am looking forward to visiting your blog in 2019. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

  9. Splendid Post! We have just had a post-christmas BBQ with red wine and cold beer! Same world, different climate!

    Hope you have a great Christmas - Stewart M - Melbourne

  10. love your photos and the cardinal is christmasy!!Great take on the 12 days of Christmas.

  11. We missed you linking in this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin! Though maybe you were on a trip. Love your twelve days of Christmas rendition...that is genius!!! And the 'mountain' in Florida ... then the egrets in the cypress tree are my favorites! I'm here from our World Tuesday...sending you happy wishes for the holidays!

  12. A beautiful Christmas post. Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

  13. I love your post and the pictures are amazing. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


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