Thursday, August 27, 2020

COVID-induced visions

Here we are, concluding 6 months of voluntary and involuntary seclusion. Recent events have strengthened my need to seek the protection of home and masks. First, this weekend I hope to walk into the last half of my ninth decade. Also, starting in early July, an acute flareup of an old problem nearly incapacitated me. Thanks to Prednisone, I can once again tie my shoes and comb my hair. 

"Old folks" learn to live with the joint and back aches of degenerative arthritis, but I was not prepared for an attack of PMR, a condition which was not even "discovered" until after I left Family Practice in 1966 for a career in uniform with the US Public Health Service. After that, my clinical duties were mostly with young active duty military and dependents, so I was not very involved in chronic issues of the elderly. 

My own "discovery" occurred after I Googled "shoulder pain and generalized muscle pain and stiffness," and there is was: Polymyalgia Rheumatica. I tried home remedies such as ice packs and doses of NSAIDs and Tumeric.  

It's an old adage, as Sir William Osler said, "A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient." Early morning walks found me lagging behind my child bride and turning around halfway as MaryLou whizzed by on her way back home. Anyway, I deferred to my Internist and her referral to a fine Rheumatologist whose tests indicated inflammation and confirmed what Google had already told me. 

The morning after my first dose of Prednisone allowed me to turn over in bed and even tie my boots and raise my camera to my face. Since then, except for weather and intervening appointments I have not missed a predawn wetlands walk. My energy has returned, but age plus immunosuppressant drugs are combined risk factors during the pandemic.

There were hints that land bird migration was picking up. The first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers had arrived from their breeding areas not far to the north:

 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 01-20200811

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 02-20200811

Acrobatic Black-and White Warblers also need not wander too far south of their nests (note the spirals of sapsucker wells):

 Black-and-White Warbler 03-20200811 

Black-and-White Warbler 05-20200811

Black-and-White Warbler 02-20200811

It is a joy to walk out on this peninsula in the dark, watch for meteors and listen to the sounds of nature awakening. High water has cut the peninsula into a muddy archipelago. The outermost island is inaccessible without Wellies:

Calmover Everglades before sunrise 20200810 

Great Egret before sunrise:

Great Egret before sunrise 220200810

Great Egret before sunrise 02-220200810

Our back yard lake has actually been more productive of wading birds than the wetland lakes and flooded prairies. A Great Egret and a Tricolored Heron seemed unusually chummy:

Great Egret-  Tricolored Heron 20200813

Great Egret-  Tricolored Heron 2-20200813

They were joined by a photobombing immature White Ibis:

Ibis Egret Heron 01-20200813

A pair of Egyptian Geese lounged lakeside:

Egyptian Geese 03-20200812

A Tricolored Heron put on quite a show one morning.  "I see the fish, I seize the fish, I squeeze the fish, I eat the fish."

"I see the fish and stalk it furtively...

Tricolored Heron 3-20200813

"I seize the fish and quickly carry it to high ground in case I drop it... 

Tricolored Heron catches fish 01-20200813.

"I squeeze the fish and carefully work it up to my mouth...

Tricolored Heron with fish 02-20200813

"I eat the fish after flipping it up in the air and into my gullet in a move too fast for the camera:"

Tricolored Heron with fish 04-20200813

Tricolored Heron 03-20200811

Pop-up storms are a feature of the summer season in south Florida. One morning the sky seemed placid except for a storm cloud on the southern horizon, building fast and moving my way :

Storm approaching 02-20200812

Storm approaching 05-20200812

Conflicting winds stirred the wispy clouds into random hash marks as I neared the exit gate and heard thunder:

Storm approaching 09-20200812

A reassuring hand (or was it an eagle's wing?) extended out and seemed to say "Everything will be OK:"

Clouds - a reassuring hand 20200812
Topping off the week was this uplifting photo of our grandson's wife volunteering for veterinary school:

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Linking to:

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday


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



  1. Good morning Kenneth: The issues associated with advancing age can be daunting. I am seventy-seven years old and so far have maintained excellent health. My hearing is not as good as it once was - and it was never the most acute - and I was scheduled for cataract removal before COVID-19 caused the cancellation of elective surgery. I get a twinge here and there from time to time but mostly I am problem-free! Many of my friends, however, are starting to have medical issues that seriously restrict their activities. I still walk 8 - 10 kilometres a day most days, and I have little doubt that contributes to maintaining good mobility and overall good health. We pay close attention to diet too. But enough about me!! Great series of pictures. I had not realized that Egyptian Geese had colonized Florida - or are these birds escapes from a wildfowl collection? They are ubiquitous in Europe and have been so for at least thirty years.

    1. @David Gascoigne-- Good question, as it prompted me to look at our Broward County records in eBird. The exotic Egyptian Geese are presently established and breeding over most of Florida's Atlantic coastal areas into the central peninsula and sporadically along the Gulf coast. While they are native to sub-Saharan Aftrica they were popular as ornamental species in private collections and zoos. Looking at their expansion, the first more recent record for our state was in May, 1999 at Merritt Island NWR on Cape Canaveral They were subsequently reported in our county, a pair in January, 2000.. Thereafter, sightings in south Florida were up to 4 in neighboring Miami-Dade County in 2004. I first saw this species locally, a pair in February, 2011. During the ensuing years I recorded 2 to 5, presumaby pairs with young which nested locally. Regionally, they quickly became widespread, usually reported as pairs and up to 4 or 5 at numerous locations. There was an anomalous report by an "Anonymous Birder" of 25 in 2008. Our local birds most likely represent an expansion of the population of descendants of a few introduced individuals, possibly escapees from aviculturalists.

  2. Prednisone is indeed a miracle drug..Every time I get my "shot" for my iliotibial band syndrome, I feel great..My body works like it should..I also have advanced spinal stenosis and wonder if I will be walking my dog this time next year..Anyhow, I sympathize..Getting older is not for the faint at heart..
    Great series of pictures..I truly enjoy your photography..Your sky shots are fantastic..Stay safe

  3. Love that Black and White Warbler what a pretty bird.
    I am the same age as David and apart from my back I feel pretty fit and healthy. Three years ago they told me if I did not have a back op I would be in a wheel chair very soon - No op and I am still on two feet and taking great care of the oddly shaped back, too many falls during my horse riding years!! My mother always said the golden years are very tarnished. Keep well and stay safe, Diane

  4. Great that you found a solution to a nasty problem. So on this post you have many excellent photos you took by being able to ramble around.

  5. I am glad to hear that you are continuing your walks with your camera.
    Your bird photos are amazing, so much activity. The stormy clouds are such a contrast to the calming dawn photo. Love the gentleness in the photo of your grandson's wife. I enjoyed my first visit very much and I look forward to coming back.


  6. Aging is definitely no fun! I'm glad you were able to get treatment that worked for you. Happy early birthday to you!! Your photography is absolutely amazing. Stay safe and have a fantastic weekend :)

  7. Your photography is outstanding and I enjoyed every photo! We too live in South Florida (Sunny Isles) during the winter and just across the bridge from New Jersey in the summer. I am sure you are much happier now that you are getting some relief and have more mobility. Stay safe and have a good week.

  8. Sorry I'm late visiting. My internet has been down all afternoon and early evening. You have some absolutely incredible photos of those birds. I'm amazed, because they can be so quick. You have great command of your camera. Your sky shots are beautiful, too.

  9. Hi Kenneth, yes getting old is not for sissies. Glad you are working it out. I love the photos. Just magnificent. I was a Vet Tech so the photo of your grandson's wife is very nice indeed.

  10. Those cute warblers look so amazing my friend Kenneth! I love the soft light that envelopes them on your shots! the egrets look so sharp and strong and those sky photos, stunning! It's like a magical world. Happy to see you still doing shots in times like these, please be extra careful and stay away from crowds :) Thank you so much for always being part of Timeless Thursdays Kenneth!

  11. I'm glad you have found the right Prednisone drug for your health recovery. And I'm glad you found beautiful animal photo objects.

    Always stay healthy, friend.

  12. This post provided me with not only great photos of the warblers egrets, herons and those outstanding and remarkable cloud formations, Kenneth, but also information on your medical issues. I have been having on and off shoulder pain in my right arm for the past few weeks and the chiropractor and massage therapist and even a nurse practitioner have not given me a diagnosis, but suggested it could be tendonitis. After reading about your issues, I plan to follow up with the NP and see if its possible that it could be related top Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Thanks so much for the information.

  13. Forgot to add, Kenneth, that I hope you not only walk into the last half of your ninth decade, but many more years. Happy (early) 🎂 wishes🎈

  14. Oh my, I thought I was old, but you have surpassed me by many years ... God Bless! Your bird pictures and words of wisdom are exquisite and your family (child bride and granddaughter in law)is wonderful and lucky to have you. It has been a pleasure meeting you ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

  15. Beautiful photos, Kenneth. I'm glad that you found some relief for your health issues. I love your series of photos of the Tricolored Heron getting his meal, they are incredible shots. Your sky photos are stunning. Thanks for sharing, take care, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend.

  16. Hello Ken, I am glad you have found a drug that is helping you. Anyone with pre-existing conditions do need to worry about Covid. I am glad you took precautions. Your sky images are just stunning. I love all the birds, the B&W Warbler is a favorite. I also love the herons and egrets. Every photos is just fantastic. Take care, stay well. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend! PS, thank so much for leaving me a comment.

  17. Hello. Wonderful photos.
    Take good care of yourself. Stay safe.

  18. I admire your strength in dealing with your illness and not going under, but bravely living with it as well as possible. Photography is fun for you and for me, the wonderful photos, I'm so excited about it and this island too. The cloudy sky is wonderful. Sweet your granddaughter with the fawn.
    I wish you all the best and that the treatment works so well and that you can continue to watch the birds.
    Have a good weekend and take care of the Corona, hugs Elke

  19. It's marvelous that you still enjoy a good life outdoors. I've become somewhat limited in going beyond my yard, and am not content with that. Anyway, you take such beautiful photos of birds. The storm clouds are mesmerizing!

  20. Beautiful post Kenneth and lovely prose. Those sky shots are amazing! PS you don't look your age! ;)

  21. So glad you are doing better, and beautiful photos. I have degenerative arthritis in my hips and lower back. I dislike living with the chronic pain, but I can still get around pretty well. I'm only in my late 60's so I worry my hiking days may be numbered. Enjoy life while you can, right?

  22. What lovely photos you have here! I've never seen Egyptian geese before. Al of your bird shots are beautiful. And I love the skies you've captured. Well done!

  23. Wow! Your shots are incredible, especially of the adorable birds in action and your reflection shots. You must have to wait a long time for the birds to appear.

  24. Wow. I never would have guessed your age ... and so glad that you have found a solution to the health issue. From a selfish point of view, it means we get to keep seeing your photographic talents. What to choose as a favorite? I love all the animals, for sure, but the sky pictures take the cake for me today! Joining you from Saturday's Critters.

    1. @Angie, I hope I did not mislead you when I described my age. When I turned 10 years old I was already midway through my second decade, so maybe I made it look as if I were 10 years older than the youngster I really am!

  25. that last photo melts my heart!! you shared some terrific waterfowl. And beautiful skies.
    thank you for sharing & linking in this weeK at IRBB.

    (ya, your age descrption IS misleading if I didn't know you better...take care & hope the meds & physician can help!. Your child bride will keep you young at heart!)

  26. Beautiful reflections and I love the ibis in flight.

  27. Stunning.
    Thank you so much for joining us at

  28. Hope you are feeling better Kenneth.

    Beautiful & perfectly timed photos as always :)

    I enjoyed the Tricolored Heron's lunchtime and the clouds were at their dramatic best.

  29. Hello Kenneth
    First of all, I wish you a good recovery and that you quickly find your way back to your old form, walks and exercise strengthen the immune system so that this can only help you, very beautiful pictures have turned out, the heron with the fish is top but the cloud formations are first class
    Greetings Frank

  30. I'm glad that the medication helped - but I feel your pain of having to isolate - we have no option at present, it's a legal requirement. Not too many parks etc near our house, so I'm suffering a bit of nature isolation syndrome! Lets hope the signs of spring - there is a Blackbird (a sort of introduced thrush) singing his heart out in the garden at present - bring better news!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Locked Down Melbourne

  31. There is something truly magical about those pre-waking early morning hours. The troubles of the world seem further away and the universe we inhabit closer.

  32. Hi Kenneth! And Happy Birthday! I'm sorry to hear of your health issues, but glad to read that a medication has helped greatly. My hubby and I have also been holed up, now by choice, for the past six months, and we intend to continue until we feel it's safe to resume a more normal life.
    I lived in the Ft Lauderdale area for 15 years before moving to Saudi Arabia - and your photos really remind me of the great beauty and nature that is FL. I've never seen clouds like the ones in this post! Wow! The scenery shot and of course the bird shots are all incredible.
    Wishing you happiness and good health from Saudi Arabia!

  33. Happy birthday, my bloggy friend! I'm so glad you can get around again by yourself. Sometimes, I am very grateful to get around on my own steam! Your birds area always gorgeous--love the one looking at the camera :) and the skies are just fascinating to see.

    I'm so excited to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!! Thanks for linking.

  34. My goodness, the skies and the social birds are incredible! I hope your health continues to improve. Can you get CBD products there? I find the cream is helpful for my sore feet.


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