Thursday, November 12, 2020

A stormy week and a dash of color

This week, within a twenty-four hour period, Tropical Storm Eta dumped over 17 in / 43.2 cm of rain on our city, the worst rain event in 25 years and the highest total among all south Florida cities. Its slow progression kept us inside for several mornings. 

Before the rains came I visited nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, where I was treated to the sight of two male Painted Buntings. They were elusive and despite their brilliant colors, often blended in with the foliage as they foraged in low shrubs. One took a perch in plain view, which allowed me to catch him in a variety of interesting poses (sorry for the overdose, but I could not help myself):

I obtained only one clear shot of the other male bunting:

A male Prairie Warbler flew down and inspected me quizzically:

A Black-and-White Warbler appeared briefly:

A mother Raccoon with her nearly full-grown kit occupied a tree next to the boardwalk:

The canoe dock at Chapel Trail Nature Preserve:

Pink sunrise over the wetlands:

Tropical Storm Eta radar on my iPhone on the evening of November 8, moving north after crossing over Cuba. A band  of strong winds and drenching rain was just passing over our home (the blue dot). Our streets flooded, with surface water lapping at our garage entrance. The lake level rose about 3 feet, but spared our home, which is about 8 feet above sea level:

The storm then moved out to the south and struck the western part of Cuba for the second time, then reversed course. It  has strengthened to hurricane force and now is headed for the west coast of Florida. Again, three days later, on November 11, we  experienced bands of rain and wind, but no serious flooding.

The scene from our back yard before sunrise, in between the rain bands. The lake level has receded-- the coconuts on the lawn mark the flood water level, which did not reach our house.

Trema trees, which produce berries all winter and are an important source of food for wildlife, are particularly vulnerable to high winds. They have shallow roots which do not anchor them very well, especially when the ground is saturated with water. 

Three years ago, nearly all the mature Tremas in our local wetlands were felled by Hurricane Irma. Saplings do not set fruit for a few years and I was so pleased to see many in the woods surrounding the local Bald Eagle nest. 

Here is a female Prairie Warbler amid the Trema berries in late August:

Even though Eta was only a tropical storm, it brought wind gusts of 60 mph / 96 kph which were strong enough to knock down many of the larger Tremas:

For several years I have been conducting "First Saturday Wetland Walks" during the cooler months at Chapel Trail preserve, sponsored by the south Florida Audubon Society. This year I decided not to lead them because of my increased susceptibility to infections due to the immunosuppressant effects of Prednisone which is greatly helping my PMR condition. It would be difficult to maintain social distance on the narrow boardwalk. I hoped that someone might offer to lead them but they have been canceled indefinitely. 

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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

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. Glad Eta didn't affect you too badly. Get carried away all you want with your photos of birds. They are all so lovely. I like viewing all your visitors that I never see here. The Prairie Warbler photos were my favorite in that the bird was so interested in you and it shows in the photos. It's a bummer when you have to make concessions due to medication, but you still are so very active. Your life is good. Take care and have a good weekend.

  2. Amazing photos.
    The screen captures of the radar helped me understand Eta. Crazy times, 2020.

  3. It's hard not to overdose when they sit there posing..a familiar experience..Love the raccoon. Wow..that's a lot of rain..I remember years ago having that much rain when wetlands were our backyard..I watched water sneak up to the house...Fortunately we were on the high side..Wonderful pictures as always..Stay safe..

  4. The photos of the Painted Buntings are gorgeous! Bummer to hear about the "First Saturday" walks, but it sounds like you made the right decision. Take care of yourself!

  5. Thank god I pulled my 70-300 lately which was stagnant for long time. Believe me, the nature with birds is splendid. Such a colourful symphony I am able to enjoy throughout the day in native village. You are great inspiration sir

  6. Kenneth That Painted Bunting is the most colourful beautiful bird and I love the way the bird in the 10th shot of looking directly into your camera. The sunrise and reflections is stunning. I am sure you are very glad the storm and rain has passed you now and you can get out and about again. Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend

  7. no need to apologize for the number of photos of the colorful little bunting - I love him!

  8. My dear brother Kenneth! I hope you are well despite the cyclone that passed near you. We had our power cut just in time after I published my Timeless Thursdays. We has very wild winds and rains but we are luckily spared, other provinces are flooded even above to their second floors! Thank you so much for sharing a dash of colors from these beautiful birds. When we see colorful birds like that when I was younger, I always call them parrots even if they are not (are they not? I am not sure now haha) And those racoons, I always thought that racoons are super cute but I also see on American TV that they can be a bother when they reach your homes haha

    Sending hugs for the weekend brother Kenneth! and Stay safe and take care!

    PS, I am so amazed by the comment you left about the New Mexican tradition of Las Posadas! That is so beautiful and seems like a fusion of our own Misa de Gallo (9 3am masses from December 16th to the 24th) and the panunuluyan (a program/drama about the nativity story). And you shared how it was winter when you all did it, that surely is a Timeless memory that even I as a reader felt so happy reading about it :)

  9. It seems that many countries and regions have experienced major wind rains. A week ago also happened in my city where many roofs of houses were damaged. Hopefully it won't happen again.

    Thank you for the beautiful photos of birds and raccoons ... what a great consolation to me.

  10. Hello kenneth
    The news of the storm was also in the news here in Germany, you never know what to expect, plus the heavy rain, it's a crazy world, here the drinking water supplies in the dams are only half secured and you have it so much rain ...
    Stay healthy
    Greetings Frank

  11. Glad that you survived the storm without too much damage. You do have some pretty birds over there and of course your great photos gives us a chance to enjoy them as well. Have a good week and stay safe, Diane

  12. Hello Ken,

    Your Painted Bunting is beautiful, I enjoyed the photos. The Warblers are cute captures. Lovely views of the water and sky! I am glad you did not have serious damage from the Storm Eta. Sorry you can not attend the wetland walks, it is best to be safe. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your new week!PS, thank you for the comment too.

  13. You must take care of your health, number one! And I'm sure those who are interest will find someone to take your place. Beauty through your lens. Each and ALL. Thanks for stopping by & adding your shared link at IRBB.

  14. What a difference! This storm didn't bring us what they predicted so we were glad. You sure got a lot though! Love that Painted Bunting and the cute raccoons. I hope you are able to walk on your favorite trails now!

  15. PS I didn't realize you had PMR. My husband has this too. He woke up one morning 2 years ago with sore joints and in a matter of a few days, he couldn't move. We were glad he got a diagnosis right away. And that there are drugs that can help.

  16. Such fabulous photos! The Painted Bunting is a truly gorgeous bird.

  17. Glad the storm didn’t leave your home with any damage but that was a lot of rain. No worries about the Painted Bunting overload and glad you were able to capture them. The sky colors are as gorgeous as ever and perhaps more so after the storms passed. Too bad no one stepped up to lead the walks, but your decision to step down because of your own susceptibility was a wise one.

  18. Wow, hope you are well and the stormy weather goes by.

    The Birds around are amazing.

    Stay healthy and well.

  19. The painted bunting is absolutely gorgeous. Vaguely reminds me of an eastern bluebird but WOW the colors are intense!
    Thanks for sharing at

  20. I friend of mine send my kids a book of American birds with the Painted Bunting in it - and we all thought it was made up! I was shocked to find out it was real. What a bird.

    Hope all is well - Stewart M - Melbourne

  21. The painted bunting would be a thrill for me to see so thank you for sharing the photos. Pleased your home was not flooded.

  22. Great shots and those birds must have visited a paint factory. I love it.

  23. I have never seen a painted bunting before. Now I know to be on the lookout for them when I visit my sister in Florida in the winter. The birds I get excited about seeing when I visit, are "golf course birds" - so common down there! I hope I can visit this year.

  24. If I would see a painted bunting, I would overdoese too, haha. Don't worry about it. Jikes, am happy that hurricane only brought rain! As always excellent images, Ken! Love the skies too, next to the birds...your diverse posts for All Seasons are always appreciated!
    Hope you won't have a hurricane with the holidays! Jesh

  25. Great shots! The critters are staring at you! Stay safe!

  26. You always have such incredible birds for us each week! The raccoons are cute and the sunrise is amazing :)

    I'm so happy to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  27. I hope all is good and safe.

    The painted buntings are a beauty! I did not on mind the overdose at all :)

    I am so used to clicking birds from my balcony in a flight mode that I do find it a tad bit difficult to capture one among foliage. More so if they are not in a clear view.

    I love to go through the bird photos you post Kenneth.

    Your backyard is a place to be .... what spectacular vistas!!


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