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!

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. Magnificent photos.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Good weekend, with good photos.

  2. I'm enjoying your Rosyfinch Rambling Doctor. Just the right amount of information per subject.
    I'm lucky enough to have an American Kestrel in my neighborhood as well. He occasionally lands in one of the oaks close by giving great photo opportunities.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Gorgeous photos. One of my favs is the Red-eyed Vireo. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. The birds are all beautiful in their own way. Stunning photos of the sky. Wow! to the last 2 sky photos!

  5. What beautiful markings and colorings all these birds have! When the kestrel is in flight, its wings are spectacular looking. Those contrail shots are just stunning.

  6. Fabulous set of photos all round but the kestrel is my favourite. Bet you are looking forward to the 30 weeks that is quite a way off!!
    Have a good weekend, and stay safe, Diane

    1. Thank you, Diane. Norton has kept me from commenting on either of your blogs. I enjoyed seeing the neighborhood church and the birds, especially the Blue its and European Goldfinch. Some of the latter have shown up in our former neighborhood in NE Illinois. Some say they were escaped cage birds. Very pretty in any event.

  7. Outstanding collection of photographs, Ken!
    Jealous of Bell's Vireo!

    Spectacular skyscapes, too!

    I was recently diagnosed with PMR and have now tapered down to 7 mg of Prednisone daily. Shutter-release finger is stiff this week. Here's hoping the best for us both!

  8. Wonderful photos! I used to see lots of hummingbirds but not anymore. I probably should get a feeder.

  9. Magnificent, as always! Your incredible bird shots are so therapeutic, peaceful, and heartwarming, especially of the small ones.

  10. Enjoyed your photos today. The sky ones were labeled appropriately for those with a vivid imagination.

  11. Such gorgeous photos of the birds.
    I am very excited.
    The sky views are also very impressive.
    best regards
    My sky

  12. I love the close ups of the hummingbirds! That Parula is beautiful!

  13. Hello,
    Awesome captures of the kestrel! What a great variety of Warblers, they are so pretty. I miss my hummers, great collection of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  14. It’s always hard to pick out a favorite between the birds and the sky captures, Kenneth. The contrails were so colorful and the skies always look so dramatic through your lens. Sorry to read about the PMR relapse and hope you will be feeling better shortly.

  15. You are so right . That Kestrel is a real beauty as is the Humminbird. These sky shots are amazing and I did see Venus in that one shot (with your help) The reflections shot is superb Kenneth. Have a great Sunday and week ahead.

  16. Hello Kenneth
    Covid changes a lot, with us it is getting closer and closer to the lockdown
    a crazy time that makes it difficult to get some nice photos because there are many closures, but always nice to see the bird world with you very diverse and beautiful
    I always like it very much
    Greetings Frank

    1. Hi, Frank. Thank you. We are sill sheltering at home. Norton Security would not permit me to comment on your blog post, but the sky photos were awesome!

  17. Your photos are great. I really like the last one with the clouds, contrail, and silhouettes of the trees. Amazing!

  18. Great shots, all, but the kestrel photos are outstanding! What a gorgeous bird!
    Thanks for linking up at

  19. Yet another great collection of pictures - I really like the Kestrel, a fine and colourful bird.

    Cheers - and stay safe - Stewart M - Melbourne

  20. Wonderful Post for Our World Tuesday, thank you for sharing.
    Stay healthy and well.

  21. Ken, I was floored by all the avian wonders. And that sky, oh! dear God, pur bliss and magic. Thank you for sharing these awe-inspiring moments of your life with me on #WordlessWednesday.

    Your posts I look forward to the most, I have to admit!! Biased as I am towards wildlife. :)

    Have a blessed week ahead! Happy holidays. Stay safe and stay wonderful as always.

  22. I so love the variety on this post my friend Kenneth! I love all the colors and sizes of the different birds :) I love how crisp and clear the close ups on the Kestrels! You can see how big the tiny leaves look!

  23. Great photos! Stick to your plan and eventually you'll see your beloved relatives again. I miss my daughters and my sister so much!

  24. Definitely looks like something shot through your sky view. Impressive.

  25. The American Kestrel is handsome for sure. The warblers and vireos sightings have been good. I hope your wetland becomes lively soon.

    The humming birds remind me of sunbirds. Their iridescent colors are a delight to watch.

    The skyscapes are brilliant.

    Do take care of your health and yes get well soon :) This year has kept most of us from our families especially aging parents.


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