Once again, I am looking through the retrospectoscope and refreshing my memories of walks in the Wounded Woodlands three years ago. We will review photos which depict favorite memes: birds, butterflies and critters of all kinds, fences, skies and reflections, as well as scenes which speak for themselves. It was an eventful month, as I processed 975 photos. There was also concern about the welfare of our local Bald Eagles.
We celebrated the return of one of my favorite winter resident birds, the American Kestrel. Most years we have hosted three of these small falcons which defended separate foraging territories in our local patch:
American Kestrel perched on a top shoot of a Royal Palm:
On January 3rd there was heavy overcast and a brisk cool (68 F, 20 C) wind from the north. It started to look like rain, so at around 7:15 AM I turned around to go home, when I saw a Bobcat at the side of the gravel road. It was about 80-100 yards away and conditions were so dark that my photos were very poor. It ran away just as I began to walk a bit closer:
As a sort of excuse for such a crummy photo I reproduced it as an aged Daguerrotype:
We had several very foggy mornings. While they may interfere with wildlife-watching, they can present some nice photo opportunities. The rising sun pierced through the lakeside gloom on January 9...
...and then the fog lifted up off the Pine Bank:
The Brown Thrasher tends to be reclusive, so it is a treat to have one come out and pose in the open:
In a neighbor's back yard, a Great Blue Heron had captured a creature which initially looked like a snake:
Closer inspection of the photo revealed it to be an Amphiuma, a legless salamander:
White-eyed Vireos had already resumed singing in the dead of winter, after taking a break in late fall (January 21):
As if not to be outdone by the vireo, a female Northern Flicker flashed her gilded tail feathers to a prospective suitor in what appears to be an amorous display, on January 25:
Palm Warblers were abundant all winter on residential lawns. Some locals call them "Florida sparrows:"
A Great Egret and White Ibis foraged along the shore of the lake:
A female Painted Bunting blended into background foliage:
The male Painted Bunting was more visible in this poor photo:
There was cause for great anxiety about the local Bald Eagles. You may recall that the female of the pair (Joy) disappeared in October, 2014, just before the prior nesting season. The male (Pride) chose a new mate but they got together too late in the season and no brood was produced.
The new female (Jewel) laid her first egg around December 13, 2015. It was expected to hatch on or about January 17, 2016, but early on that very morning we had severe thunderstorms which produced high winds and even tornadoes not far from the nest. The weather disturbance was widespread and destroyed several Bald Eagle nests around the state of Florida.
Later that day we discovered that a large branch had fallen directly on the nest. We could see the female eagle. She appeared to be incubating on the nest, almost hidden by the fallen branch:
On January 19, I photographed the male (Pride) feeding at least one hidden eaglet:
Although some observers thought that one or more nestling was being fed as late as January 24, no eaglets were ever seen and we presume any survivor of the storm was lost. Yet the pair continued to visit the nest and made some repairs on January 23:
For the next several days the nest was not continuously attended, but the pair renewed courtship and copulated on January 26:
Jewel laid a second clutch of eggs around February 10 and hatched out two eaglets on March 16th. One eaglet survived and fledged successfully in June. The pair roosted together on January 29 (note the size difference-- the female is on the right):
Butterflies and blossoms were less abundant during January, but the Lantana bloomed in mid-month...
...as did a flush of Bidens alba, another favorite source of nectar and pollen, here hosting a White Peacock:
The month provided me with a record number of beautiful sunrise photo opportunities. This is the view on January 28, looking to the west just as the rising sun touched the Pine Bank across the lake. The clouds appeared to form a crown over the treetops:
Reflections on the flooded prairie on the last day of the month:
In an attempt to improve on nature, I rendered this photo of a January 17 back yard sunrise as an old canvas painting:
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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
Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display