Thursday, June 18, 2020

Crops & Clips: Birding Doldrums

On rainy days our back yard lake has attracted a few birds which brighten my COVID-induced social seclusion. Shooting through the window produces poor photos, but the behavior of some of our visitors can be interesting.

A Great Egret suddenly appeared, dashing from left to right along the lake margin as if late for dinner:

Great Egret running 01-20200606

Great Egret running 02-20200606

Great Egret running 04-20200606

At the same time, my peripheral vision caught motion to my right. A Tricolored Heron was likewise speeding into an imminent head-on collision with the egret:

Tricolored Heron 01-20200606

Tricolored Heron 02-20200606

Tricolored Heron 03-20200606

Neither changed course and it was only a near-miss. The Tricolored Heron just kept running along until out of sight to my left. The egret simply flew off to the right. What compelled them to move so purposefully in opposite directions? Beats me!

Now that spring migration is over and our local birds are quietly tending to nests and youngsters, the number and variety of birds is way down. I am a big believer in Bird Chaser's Recommended Daily Allowance of Birds (RDA-B).

The day just doesn't start off right unless I see at least my RDA of 20 species on a morning walk. Sometimes I get stuck at 19 and decide to hang around a little longer "just in case" one more shows up. During migration I sometimes hit the target before half way through my route, making me feel so "well nourished" that I do not even think about numbers.

Wintering Gray Catbirds were so numerous that they became a distraction. Then they suddenly disappeared:

Gray Catbird 20200322

Least Terns appeared just as the catbirds were departing:

Least Tern 02-20200423

In any season I can predict with certainty that I will see 10 species without even trying. The species mix will vary by season. Now that summer is arriving, the list will usually include a cardinal, mockingbird, two or three woodpecker species, blackbirds, grackles and an assortment of crows, ibises, herons and egrets. 

Some of the usually common birds may decide not to show up. I have had heron-free mornings and the reliable flickers or shrikes may suddenly become scarce. Three species of doves are locally common, but sometimes I may hear or see only one. 

Or, the normally predictable afternoon rainstorm may pop up early and cut my walk short, leaving me nutritionally deficient (and a bit frightened): 

Storms moving in 02-20200523

One morning I obtained a nice "two-fer," bagging a Red-shouldered Hawk and a V-shaped flock of ibises in one peaceful setting:

Hawk and ibises 20200522

A closer look at the hawk:

Red-shouldered Hawk 03-20200522

Common Nighthawks are laying their eggs on the bare gravel along the trail. The female often flies out and rests in front of me to attract me away from her nest.

Female Common Nighthawk:

Common Nighthawk female 20190815

For comparison, the male has larger white patches on his throat, wings and tail:

Common Nighthawk 01-20200527

The male nighthawk swoops low over my head, pulling up sharply to create a startling "boom:"

Common Nighthawk 01-20200520 

Killdeer are also patrolling their nesting territories:

Killdeer 02-20200529

A Green Heron passes overhead...

Green Heron 20200530

...along with Glossy Ibises...

Glossy Ibises 01-20200531

...and a White Ibis:

White and Glossy Ibises 2-20200529

Heavy rains have caused the lake to extend into the lakeside marsh...

Flooded Lakeside marsh 20200531

...and spill over into the wet prairie. Seeking dry footing, the deer are moving in from the Everglades preserve. I encountered a White-tailed buck with a pregnant doe and her yearling fawn. They stopped and stared at me...

White-tail buck doe yearling 01-20200529 
...before wading through a deeper slough:

White-tail buck doe  03-20200529

The buck lagged behind them:

White-tail buck 06-20200529

Once on dry land, the buck looked back at me:

White-tail buck 092-20200529

They grazed along the dry path:

White-tail buck doe yearling 09-20200529

The doe had long eyelashes:

White-tail buck doe porrtrait 093-20200529

Before sunrise, a line of thunderstorms over the ocean created a regular series of parallel shadows which coursed overhead and appeared to converge on the western horizon, creating a mirrored "second sunrise:" 

Antisolar rays opposite sunrise 3-20200602

Gulf Fritillary:

Gulf Fritillary 20200605

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


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



  1. Beautiful images. I love spring.

  2. If you got all those photos from home during quarantine, I need to move next to you!

  3. Wow, you amaze me, finding twenty species as a goal on a walk. Kudos to you.
    I love your sky shots as well, and the deer photos are superb.
    The perfect Skywatch post!!

  4. Oh those marsh shots and storm cloud captures are fantastic Ken.

  5. Ahhh, summer birding in Florida! I empathize, Ken!

    Beautiful skies along your southeast coast. Those nighthawks are fascinating to observe. How neat you have them nesting nearby.

    Even though we miss the migrants, there are still a lot of birds to chase, if we can stand the heat and humidity!

  6. You sure have a lot of wildlife around you.
    I like the clouds and the beautiful reflection. After living in Bucks County PA. for a few years it's strange not seeing deer anymore.

  7. The pink in the water is beautiful but the rays in that last sunset shot are magnicient! #WeekendReflection

  8. Beautiful photos- the sunrise shots look particularly exquisite. Greetings from Sri Lanka!

  9. Hello Ken, Your photos looks great taken through the window. Most of my backyard bird photos are taken from my windows. I have to see if I can find 20 species in a day's walk. Maybe! Your herons, egrets and terns are great sightings. I would love to see the Nighthawk! Your deer images are just beautiful. Love the sunrise and water views. Great post! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend! PS, thanks for the comment and visit.

  10. That's the wonderful thing about living in Florida...there's always so much to see when you get out! Would love to see some of the birds on the nest. Enjoy your weekend!

  11. What amazing skies you get there! Love the shot of the red shoulder hawk with the ibises. Looks like a postcard. Hope you have a great weekend.

  12. All your photos, so incredibly stunning. Enjoyed your narration too. I think my favorite today is your "two-fer".

    I want to send along my thanks for your participation this week at IRBB.

  13. Wonderful pictures! We have a lake view but I don't see as many species as you do.

  14. You have some incredibly beautiful photos!!! The sunrise is amazing as is the cloud formation!! Just leaves one speechless!! Thank you!

  15. Loved your photos. You are lucky to be able to see so much variety so close to home. Your sky shots are great as well.

  16. Such beautiful photos! I loved all the dramatic sky photos. Egret and herons always amaze me

  17. "Two or three woodpecker species" - do you know how much that hurts down in woodpecker-free Australia!! Great set of pictures! I was going looking for owls today, but we have been advised to avoid the suburb where the owls are because of C19!!

    Oh well!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  18. They're gorgeous photos, each and every one!
    As to woodpeckers, we've seen downy, hairy, red-breasted, and pileated at our home here in the Piedmont area of NC.
    Thanks for linking up at

  19. My friend Kenneth! Your photographs just never ever fail to impress and make me happy looking at them! I always look at them more than 5 seconds each because I am so amazed by all these species (all of these, plus most from your blog are never found on our islands) so I'm really awed! the first two sets between the heron and the egret tells a story! If can imagine the photos lined up horizontally and would look like they are taking charge to each other. The nighthawk may seem a smaller bird but they sure look tough! And those deer, oh those deer Kenneth! The deer are my second favorite animal (next to the mighty elephant). Thanks for these, sending you hugs my friend!

    Thank you so much for you kind comment on my blog for Timeless Thursdays Kenneth. It makes me happy that you are tuned in to my humble meme. For your convinience, the linky is open every week in Eastern (US) Time from Wednesday, 12 noon until Sunday, 12 noon :)

    (Please forgive my misleading instructions Kenneth on my previous posts, I think I do have posts that say its until Tuesdays)

  20. As usual Kenneth outstanding photography. You are very fortunate to have a Nighthawk nesting nearby. I am always amazed at your beautiful skies adn those Deer are gorgeous especially the one looking back at you. Stay safe and have a good week.

  21. How wonderful to have these fabulous creatures so close to your home! Loving the doe close-up and the crepuscular light.

    I'm glad you are a part of 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for linking up.

  22. The postures of the egret and the heron could inspire a new script.

    The other day I saw a lamb chasing a lapwing. The lapwing was determined not to fly but was just running ahead of the lamb in bursts along the field.

  23. Wow! I wouldn’t mind quarantining with so much wild life. just beautiful.


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