One of my favorite winter birds here in south Florida is the Yellow-throated Warbler. Their breeding range has expanded from the southeastern US into the northeast and north central states. I have seen and photographed them in NE Illinois.
Although they nest down into central Florida, they are rarely seen south of Lake Okeechobee during spring and early summer. They winter in Florida, the Caribbean and along the Gulf of Mexico coast down into Central America
Their foraging habits make Yellow-throated Warblers difficult to observe and photograph, as they creep along the outer limbs in the treetops. On February 17 I followed two of these beautiful birds as they moved along three Live Oak trees. I took over a hundred photos, nearly all of which provided partial views, poorly exposed against the bright sky. In a stroke of good luck, one of them decided to forage for a few seconds in full sun on the near side of the third tree.
On the morning of February 17, an unusual cloud formation reflected on the still surface of the lake, providing a sort of shadow box picture frame for this view of the opposite shore:
Later that morning, as I was walking home, I saw the same effect over the canal which separates our subdivision from the wetlands preserve:
The full Snow Moon was setting as we entered the Wounded Wetlands, nearly an hour before sunrise on February 18:
Our local pair of Bald Eagles have two eaglets, now just over 5 weeks old. They provided me with my first photo of the entire family together on the nest. Mom and Dad (Pride and Jewel) and P Piney 21 and 22:
After their chicks hatch, the eagles often add to the soft lining of the nest. They bring in fresh grass and leaves. Some say this helps deter parasites. Indeed, they carried in some pods from the Flamboyant tree (AKA Royal Poinciana) which, like many other legumes (such as Lima Beans which are poisonous if not cooked) contain toxic substances and cyanide. I think they are also covering up some of the debris in the nest, "sweeping the dirt under the rug."
We observed a rather humorous interaction. Pride was rearranging some nest lining materials and the younger eaglet, perhaps thinking it was a tasty morsel, grasped a clump of sod from his beak.
Pride watched as the eaglet carried it away to the left side of the nest.
Pride tugged on the sod and retrieved it and finally replaced it on the floor of the nest.
He then turned towards the eaglet as if to admonish it:
Ever alert, Pride flew up above the nest to drive off an intruding eagle. We could hear it in the trees behind and to the right but never saw it. Perhaps it was one of their progeny from a previous season, or a wandering adult:
We are seeing dreadfully few Monarch butterflies this winter. Most of the south Florida population is non-migratory. This one is sipping nectar from Bidens Alba:
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