Thursday, June 11, 2020

Crops & Clips: A macro-micro morning

Many of my sightings on early morning walks have been of far-off subjects. My photos reflect the effects of distance and poor lighting, as well as the fact that furry and feathered creatures are not accustomed to the human presence out in the wetland preserve. Yet, I was able to capture some nice closeups of butterflies and dragonflies.

Morning rain showers and thunderstorms have reduced our already limited time outdoors due to our need to avoid the stress of daytime heat along with pandemic-induced isolation. Plans and family hotel reservations for our flight back to Illinois for our granddaughter Carina's Quinceañera celebration (and a small family reunion for our 60th Wedding Anniversary which happens to be today, June 11) had to be postponed until mid-July, then moved again into September. Even that date is surrounded by uncertainty. Needless to say, Carina is not happy about Corona!

Before sunrise, a  Spotted Sandpiper startled me by flying up from the shore and landing on a faraway rock formation:

Spotted Sandpiper 20200422

A male Belted Kingfisher would just not let me get any nearer:

Belted Kingfisher male 20200422

Another lakeside loafer was a Green Heron, but it would have nothing to do with me and flew off in the distance:

Green Heron 20200422

Bright sun and shadows took away much of what was left of this Little Blue Heron on a big blue sky:

Little Blue Heron 20200422

The previous morning, the male Bald Eagle from the nearby nest set off to go fishing at sunup. He flew right over my head from behind and it took me too long to get him into good focus:

Bald Eagle male 02-20200421

A Northern Cardinal sang from a distant perch:

Northern Cardinal 02-20200421

Can you even see the Great Crested Flycatcher?

Great Crested Flycatcher 01-20200421

I chased him down...

Great Crested Flycatcher 02-20200421

...and nailed him... but he looks so sullen:

Great Crested Flycatcher 04-20200421

A big male Bobcat decided to cross the road long after I had passed  by. He obviously spotted me and watched...

Bobcat 02-20200414 he walked away, a mere  speck on my lens:

Bobcat 03-20200414

One last look:

Bobcat 04-20200414

Back in April I was not even searching for it, but a male Black-throated Blue Warbler was so busy fluffing and preening that he seemed not to see me. With the subject deep in a thicket, my auto-focus was confused by the intervening branches:

Black-throated Blue Warbler 01-20200421

To cut my losses, I settled for a simple portrait and left  the rest of the pixels on the cutting room floor:

Black-throated Blue Warbler portrait  02-20200421

I squeaked with my lips to make this Eastern Screech-Owl poke his head out of its woodpecker-hole bedroom. It was quite far away and the Sun was just rising:

Eastern Screech-Owl 01-20200421

Shooting through our back yard window, I saw that this Tricolored Heron's feet were about to disappear as it descended to the lake shore... Time for one last whole-body shot... 

Tricolored Heron running  09-20200419

...and back to portrait mode before it dropped out of sight. Its bright blue bill indicates it is in breeding condition:

Tricolored Heron portrait  092-20200419

Two Mottled Ducks left a long wake while they crossed the canal as the morning fog dissipated. The Wounded Wetlands are on the right, and the look-alike fences of my neighbors are lined up along the opposite bank:

Two Mottled Ducks on the canal 20200416

Some bugs were nice to me, such as these dragonflies. 

A Needham's Skimmer shows amber in its wings:

Needham's Skimmer - Libellula needhami 20200422

The Blue Dasher is small and inconspicuous...

Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis 20200422

...while the Halloween Pennant displays its orange and brown wing markings, earning its name by perching like a flag on a tall stem:

Halloween Pennant- Celithemis eponina 01-20200422

Halloween Pennant - Celithemis eponina 20200424

I cannot pass up a photo session with a White Peacock. It is probably newly emerged, as its wings will quickly be damaged in the competition for mates:

White Peacock 01-20200422

Snow on a summer-like day in south Florida?

Royal Palm pollen on leaf sheath 20200416

No, these are the tiny spent petals of the male flowers of the Royal Palm. The green female flowers are clustered on either side of the fragrant male plumes, So many bees can be attracted that sometimes it sounds as if an electric motor is humming overhead: 

Royal Palm in bloom 01-20200416

The smooth green object on the ground is the capsular shaft, the petiole or "boot" which falls off each flower as it matures. The older lower leaves also are shed, leaving a ring of scars on the trunk of the ever-growing tree. Like the internal growth rings of woody trees, the spacing of the rings and the diameter of the trunk reflect the good and bad seasons:

Royal Palm in bloom 02-20200416

Our city has never had measurable snowfall, but here is an example of "Florida Snow" around the base of a Royal Palm:

Royal Palm pollen 20170121

On June 8th the planets Jupiter and Saturn lined up with the full Strawberry Moon. As my most distant subject of the month, this image was produced by my iPhone 11 Pro Max:

Saturn Jupiter and Moon CROP  0557AM  20200608

MaryLou had hand surgery yesterday, so she is celebrating our Anniversary with  a big bulky bandage on her right hand. As her "Right-hand Man" I cooked her favorite breakfast this morning but will not be able to focus her binoculars. Can't believe that June 11 1960 was so long ago!

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

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. Happy anniversary!
    I love them all, but that bobcat. Yikes!

  2. Happy Anniversary! 60 is an amazing number of years together - wishing you many more. Beautiful photos today as always.

  3. Happy anniversary!!!! Beautiful photos. I really like the shot of the owl sticking his head out of the hole.

  4. Wow 60 years! Happy Anniversary my dear friend Kenneth and to your lovely wife! I am so proud of all the years you are both together praying for more years of health and happiness to both of you :)

    Love all the shots you shared Kenneth! That kingfisher was my favorite because we do have kingfishers here but mostly they are blue and black combinations so this one that you shared is very interesting for me, my first time to see it with such black and gray and white feathers. That sky is amazing above the river!

    Oh and my blog is back up again Kenneth :)

    Please have a great weekend coming!

  5. Congratulations on the anniversary and the excellent photos.
    Good weekend.

  6. Fantastic photos! A bobcat- wow. Happy Anniversary to you and Mary Lou!

  7. Congratulations on 60 years, Ken!
    You have us beat by eight years. Here's to many more for us all!

    Macro, micro, distant. Your photographs are outstanding! We are so fortunate to live where we have such diversity in nature.

  8. Congratulations! June 11th is our Anniversary as well. 26 years. Hears to both of having many more. Nice catch on that bobcat.

  9. Congratulations on 60 years!!Fascinating photos and so much diversity in the animal world.
    Your report is always interesting to experience your world. I'm sorry about Corona you had to postpone the trip!
    Happy day, Elke

  10. Hello Ken, Happy 60th Anniversary to you and Mary Lou! Wonderful post and gorgeous photos. I loved seeing all the birds, butterfly, the Bobcat and the dragonflies. It is too hard to pick a favorite. The sky shots are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.

  11. You got some amazing Heron pictures Ken. :) Poor light is the bane of my life. Sometimes it's too bright, but most of the time it's just too dark.

  12. Lovely photos. I particularly like the belted kingfisher and tricolored heron.

  13. Congratulations to you and Mary Lou! Wonderful photos here, in a lovely and heartfelt blog. Greetings from Sri Lanka!

  14. Happy Anniversary!!! Well done! It looks like you had a wonderful ramble. I especially like the photos of the dragonflies! Have a wonderful week!

  15. Happy anniversary!
    What a milestone! 60 years! Wishing you many happy more.
    Thanks for linking up at

  16. 60th wedding anniversary! Well done to you two. And beauty of a shot of the blue bird (wren?)

  17. Great pictures! I have not even been alive 60 years! Congratulations!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  18. Great set of pictures. I have not even been alive 60 years! Congratulations!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  19. Congratulations, wow 60 years is very special.

    Love all your photos but I really like the owl peaking out to see what is going on :-) Keep well Diane

  20. I certainly understand your frustration with subjects too far away but you always seem to share some fantastic captures.
    Happy anniversary to you and Mary Lou!

    It's awesome to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for linking up.

  21. So many stunning shots, Ken! But for me the tricolored heron takes the crown, such unusual bright colors. Sorry Marry Lou had to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary with a bandaged hand. Many congrats in order here:):) That your life together may be even sweeter the next ten years! Wishing you a lovely month ahead (hope not too hot!) Jesh

  22. A real delight, as always, to visit your blog Ken - thank you for sharing your superb photography of wildlife and nature generally. Congrats to you and your wife - may her hand heal quickly and thoroughly.


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