Thursday, November 26, 2020

Crops & Clips: Early morning scattershots

Most winters we have three American Kestrels, all males, each occupying and defending three adjacent territories along our route in the Wounded Wetlands. One year there were none and last year only one remained all winter. For the past couple of weeks one has persisted in the "Royal Palm" territory nearest the entrance, which I designate number one of the three. 

The smallest of our falcons, he chased away a Merlin and fended off pesky mockingbirds and Blue Jays. He is almost always roosting prominently on the central spires of the Royal Palms which define the area that he defends.

American Kestrels are handsome birds:

Notable warblers migrating through---

Black-throated Green Warbler:

Yellow-throated Warbler:

Black-throated Blue Warbler:

Northern Parula female...

...and male:

Common Yellowthroat male:

Prairie Warbler:

Yellow-rumped Warblers signaled the end of warbler migration...

...leaving no doubt about how they got their names:

Vireos included the Red-eyed...




...and the uncommon Bell's Vireo:

The tropical storm systems created very high water in the lakes, unfavorable for wading birds. The lakeside marsh is flooded and my favorite "peninsula" is under water. Here, before sunrise, anticrepuscular rays converge over the marsh opposite the sun:

A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird partakes of the nectar we provide on our back patio (photo taken through the double pane windows on our sliding glass door):

His throat patch (gorget) is actually black, and the ruby-red color is seen in direct sunlight, due solely to reflection and refraction from feather structures:

About thirty minutes before sunrise, a contrail deposited by an airliner is now bathed in sunlight. If you look closely you can see the Planet Venus in the sky to the right (enlarge and squint):

A little later, it looks as if a missile has made a direct hit-- the end of civilization?:

Oh, do I see a monster cloud looming over the disaster site?

My week has been punctuated by a relapse in my PMR condition. I had been tapering down my Prednisone dose but now must raise it back up to 10 milligrams and then reduce it by 1 milligram every three weeks. Feeling better now. Doing the math-- assuming all goes well I could be down to zero in...  only 30 weeks!???? June, 2021???? Our Illinois granddaughter's QuinceaƱera (fifteenth birthday celebration), now delayed by one year, is scheduled for April, 2021. We have not seen family in more than a year. She sent us a video she created to cheer us up. It worked!

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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

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Finding furry and feathered fauna

Although we get out early in the local wetlands, we generally shelter in place at home for the greater part of the day. 

Our back yard lake attracts waders such as this Great Blue Heron:

Green Herons are very skittish, so I was lucky to have this one stick in a spot visible from our patio:

This Great Egret paid me no attention as it spied and then caught a small fish:

The fish wiggled violently and scattered water droplets, to no avail:

The first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season, an immature bird which lacked the red on its head, started drilling sap wells on our Mahogany tree:

At the local Bald Eagle nest, the male "Pride" roosted nearby:

Out in the wetlands, a trio of white herons flew in together and walked in line, as if to show off their distinguishing characteristics:

A Snowy Egret led the parade, followed by an immature Little Blue Heron, the taller of the two, which has a black-tipped gray bill and shows a bit of blue on its head. The snowy Egret has a narrow black bill:

An adult Little Blue Heron was also present:

Along the levee trail, as I was peering into the dense  foliage of the fruiting ficus sp tree which I call the "warbler tree," a Merlin made frequent passes which kept the small birds in hiding. The falcon perched at the top of the tallest pine and had a commanding view of the surroundings:

I tried very hard to get photos of the Merlin in flight as it flew by rapidly and unpredictably, once right over my head:

It was  easier to capture it as it stalled before alighting on its roost:

A courageous Blue Jay harassed the Merlin, which has been known to capture even larger birds:

As I emerged from the high grass along the trail to an open area, I cautiously checked for mammals, usually an Opossum, Marsh Rabbit, Raccoon or even a Bobcat. This time I was rewarded by a Coyote with a reddish coat:

A Gulf Fritillary sipping nectar:

A Hunters Moon, also a Blue Moon as it was the second full Moon in October, was ready to disappear over the egret on the lake just before sunrise:

Slightly to the right, in the northwest sky, a streaming cloud caught the rays of the sun before they reached ground level:

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Linking to:


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