Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer Doldrums

With spring migration long over and the summer solstice approaching, I have found it a bit challenging to compile a list of twenty or more bird species sighted  or heard on each of our morning walks in the "Wounded Wetlands" of south Florida. Since we are about 18 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, we cannot expect to see the greater variety of species associated with tidal waters. 

As the duties of raising nestlings and feeding fledglings take priority, the morning chorus of bird song is diminished and birds are less evident. Long-legged waders are discouraged by unusually higher water levels which disperse their aquatic prey. 

Feathers are wearing down and soon will need to be replaced. By mid-summer many species will undergo a post-breeding molt, requiring them to expend much energy. Migration and reproduction are other energy-intensive phases in a bird's life cycle. In between, the birds rest and take advantage of abundant food supplies to fuel the next stage.

This shabby preening female Northern Cardinal seems to already be in need of fresh plumage, but the molt must be postponed until after she finishes rearing her brood:

Northern Cardinal female preening 20190612

Northern Cardinal female preening 2-20190612

Saharan dust is moving across south Florida, causing some haze but adding color to the sky before sunrise: 

Cloudy morning 02-JUN 15 2019_Localtone

Cloudy morning 01-JUN 15 2019_Localtone

On a clear morning, the the beams from the rising sun, enhanced by dust in the atmosphere, converge as anti-solar rays on the opposite horizon. They create a false or mirrored sunrise:

Mirrored Sunrise 02 JUN 15 2019

The colorful view from the levee shortly after sunrise:

View from levee to north JUN 12 2019

Setting out before sunrise on a typical late spring morning, here are some of the expected species--

Brown Thrasher:

Brown Thrasher 01-20190527

Brown Thrasher 02-20190527

Loggerhead Shrike:

Loggerhead Shrike 03-20190612

Loggerhead Shrike 01-20190518

Loggerhead Shrike 03-20190606

Northern Mockingbird:

Northern Mockingbird expelling pellet -1 20190203

This is a juvenile mockingbird, as evidenced by its spotted breast and yellow corners of its mouth (gape):

Northern Mockingbird juvenile 01-20190522

A shrike and a mockingbird compete for insects together in a patch of gravel:

Northern Mockingbird and Loggerhead Shrike 02-20190528

Northern Mockingbird and Loggerhead Shrike 01-20190528

A White Ibis probes the turf:

White Ibis 02-20190530

White Ibis 01-20190530

A Killdeer sits on her eggs:

Killdeer incubating before sunrise 20190616

A Bald Eagle passes overhead before sunrise:

Bald Eagle 02-20190611

Butterflies are disturbingly scarce. One morning I found a newly emerged White Peacock in excellent condition. They fight over territory and mates, quickly damaging their wings:

White Peacock-  Anartia jatrophae-  20190609

Julia heliconian butterflies were previously abundant, but almost disappeared after the autumn of 2017 when Hurricane Irma devastated the flowering and host plants and probably wiped out an entire generation of eggs and larvae. Now I often go several days without seeing any at all. This male gave me a nice photo opportunity as it sipped nectar from a Lantana flower:

Julia heliconian - Dryas iulia - male 01-20190603

Julia heliconian - Dryas iulia - male 03-20190603

Julia heliconian - Dryas iulia - male 02-20190603

We harvested well over 100 pounds of mangos and gave most of them away to neighbors and members of our choir. Those out of reach on the tree were left for the squirrels and birds. I scooped out the fruit and froze about 50 more of them and we still had these left over:

Leftover Mangos JUN 14 2019

On the morning of our 59th Wedding Anniversary, a white dove (feral Rock Pigeon), the first I have ever seen in the wetlands patch, posed for a moment as if to celebrate the occasion:

White Dove on our anniversary 20190611 

There is an upside to the rainy weather, as seen from our back patio on June 18:

Double Rainbow 01-20190618

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia

Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Lovely shots.

    I think my inside white doves are in a constant molt. They shed more than German Sheppards.

  2. I don't always comment, but thank you for all the breaths of fresh air you give when you share your nature photos!

  3. Beautiful birds and the pink skies are amazing!

  4. Awesome double rainbow! Your photos are always fantastic.

  5. Thos landscape shots are stunning Kenneth and of course it is wonderful all the birds and butterfly shots. Have a great week ahead

  6. Wonderful pastel reflections. Greatly enjoyed seeing your bird photos. Have a great weekend. The mangos would be a treat for me.

  7. Really beautiful skies and a wonderful double rainbow! Excellent captures of the Brown Thrasher. Enjoy your weekend!

  8. Hello, happy belated Anniversary. Gorgeous sky images. I love all the birds, the Brown Thrasher is a favorite. I think the Shrikes are cool birds. Sweet shot of the Killdeer. Beautiful butterflies. Great sightings and photos. Thank so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for the comment on my blog.

  9. The double rainbow is beautiful! We saw one this week here too. Those mangoes look good! And you always have so many wonderful bird photos to share. I like the dove that made an appearance on your anniversary. How special!

  10. As always, stunning pics of the birds, butterflies, skies and rainbows. Interesting pic of the rainbow with the reflection in the water. Some of our butterflies are looking a little rough too.

  11. Beautiful light and colors!

  12. That rainbow image is "one for the books!". Your birding excursions sound just like here. Including the Saharan sand blowing in. My favorite today is the shrike on the tree-top.
    Thanks so much, as always, for taking part in I'd Rather B Birdin

  13. That rainbow and reflection is just amazing. Love the bird shots and that White Peacock is quite stunning. We also seem to be low on butterflies in general though there are a few Meadow Browns around.
    Have a good week Diane

  14. What a great early summer post! You captured the sultry Florida atmosphere perfectly! When we lament the dearth of birds between migrations here in Florida, we take for granted our residents, which when we think about it, are actually quite numerous and diverse when compared with some areas.

    Beautiful scenic views!

    Congratulations on 58 years! Quite an accomplishment.

  15. Great series of shots! I'm always impressed with your photos.
    Thanks for linking up at

  16. Dear Ken - don't know it you forgot, or if you were still planning to link to All Seasons - 22 people did, so the linky and connection is working:) Hope to see you there still this week, since it's open till Friday noon:)

    Generous of you to share your mango harvest ...with the choir - are you in the choir? I did that for a number of years:) Didn't know that the near extinction of butterflies would be the after effect of a hurricane - a few months ago, a host of butterflies were flying away as we drove by (in the forest - of course, no camera with me! But I've never seen that many at one time)

  17. Congratulations on fifty-nine years of marriage - remarkable that it is to the same woman! And I must say that I wish I lived closer to mooch some mangoes - they are not cheap in the store here. And - to the whole purpose of your post - great series of bird images.

  18. It's pretty sad how things have changed and how few butterflies we see well as how many other notably bad things are happening with nature...


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