Thursday, February 11, 2021

Feathered and furry favorites

I would be a terrible judge in a beauty contest. Selecting one bird or other critter over another is difficult. Its behavior can be as important as its appearance. While looking at it through my camera viewfinder, any creature is my favorite. Usually the photos do not do it justice. It is the same with skyscapes and sunrise images. Pixels do not seem to truly capture the subtleties of color and scope.  

A male American Kestrel occupies a territory very close to our home. He may be the same one which has returned to this spot every winter for for 3 or more years. He generally roosts on top of the emerging leaf spire of a Royal Palm. He prefers to face into the wind, which can be a problem if this causes him to present only a back view. 

However, the morning light and the soft easterly breeze worked together for these views:

Hidden  beauty was revealed when he ruffled his feathers while preening:

At Chapel Trail preserve near our home, a male Anhinga roosted on a post:

A Tricolored Heron permitted me a close approach, too near the subject for my telescopic lens, so I put my iPhone to work:

The heron flew down to forage in the shallow water, barely fitting into the frame. I liked how its posture and suspended foot communicated the intensity of the hunt :

Looking down from the boardwalk I obtained top views of another Tricolored Heron. This perspective distorts the normal proportions of a bird. However, it did display the beauty of its emerging plumes:

As it moved away from the boardwalk, the effect of elevated aspect was reduced:

The Tricolored Heron flew over to the shore and was briefly joined by an adult Little Blue Heron:

Little Blue Herons have white plumage for their first year. This one shows a few emerging adult blue feathers:

Walking along the trail, I was startled to see a Bobcat staring at me from the edge of the track:

For a moment I thought the cat would move across in front of me, but it withdrew into the tall grass: 

It had retreated into a well-worn path. I do not know whether the Bobcat and/or other mammals such as Raccoons, Opossums or Marsh Rabbits had created it:

Over a two month period the local pair of Bald Eagles worked together to build a large new nest. 

One very long stick gave them trouble as they cooperated to move it up into the nest ("Heave-Ho!"):

They appeared to have finished building their nest near the end of January, when they were adding large amounts of soft lining material.  On January 28 the male (Pride) was bringing in clumps of freshly mowed grass which he was picking up very close to a busy thoroughfare. 

I was watching the nest when Pride flew off, circled high and then plunged down almost as if he were trying to catch some  prey:

He landed on the shoulder of the highway and flew up carrying some of the recently cut grass...

...right out low across the road:

He then flew directly over my head and deposited the grass in the nest: :

 On February 1 the female (Jewel) settled down deep and appeared to have started incubating her first egg. Indeed, when I checked the nest I thought it was empty:

However, a greatly enlarged crop of the above image provides a partial view of the head and beak of the female:

The sky overhead was completely clear, but an odd bowl-shaped cloud hung over the eastern horizon, in full sunlight just before sunrise. It reminded me of an alien invasion, but it was an unusual example of a lenticular cloud: 

Lenticular clouds are isolated clouds which form in the Earth’s troposphere (the lowest level of the atmosphere). They usually  occur over mountain peaks and are rarely seen over flat or low-lying terrain. They result from fluctuating wind speeds, created by the action of atmospheric fronts. Perhaps this one was caused by an uplift of warm moist air over a body of water. It persisted at the same location as lower clouds moved under it after sunrise:

The day-old Wolf Moon shone brightly over the lake, about a half hour before sunrise: 

Late breaking news about another furry creature. Our daughter's family in NE Illinois has a new puppy, another Tibetan Mastiff only 8 weeks old. Although no dog will truly replace Agramontehe is from the same breed line as Agramonte, whose Great Uncle won the very first Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Competition in 2007, and this puppy's Grandfather won the Westminster Best of Breed in 2008. Also, this puppy's Dad is the current Best of Breed winner. And, he already has had his COVID-19 Vaccinations!

His name is Calixto Garcia IƱiguez!! (They will call him Calixto or Lixto for short.)

Calixto meets his "brothers" Cazador (Standard Poodle) and Moncada (Tibetan Mastiff)...

...and his two new "sisters:"

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. what a superb series. images each one more impressive than the other. And these iridescent skies are magnificent.

  2. no photos can never capture the reality of nature - looking at photos of the Grand Canyon are so flat and small right? Your phots are always beautiful but I do understand how they do not match the reality in your view finder.

  3. Gorgeous shots of the bobcat. They are so elusive. Beautiful skies too!

  4. Agreed. You posted some incredible sky shots. What a cute, fluffy puppy. Adorable! Be safe.

  5. Oh, I love all your fotos so much! And the Storys you gold. Thank you verry much!
    With best regards

  6. Amazing photos! The third one, preening, reminds of a little fuzzy kitten! Actually, one of my adult cats...

  7. Hello,
    I just love the cute new grand-puppy. It is adorable. Great collection of birds and the Bobcat. The Kestrel, Tricolored, Little Blue and the Eagles are all amazing photos. I love the pretty sky captures, beautiful clouds and colors. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  8. The Anhinga is gorgeous. And wow, great photos of the bobcat! I don't know why but those animals scare me the most...and I've run into bears before! Those lenticular cloud photos are awesome! And I always love to see the eagles, great shots!

  9. Wonderful series, especially like the flight shots.

  10. Hello kenneth
    these moments with the eagle, just great, moments like this are priceless.
    Great puppy
    Greetings Frank

  11. Love the singular puppy photo!

    And all your The eagle photos truly astound me. And, as you, I couldn't judge either...but, I'm leaning towards the Anhinga.
    If you celebrate, happy Valentine's Day & thanks for joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

  12. Wow, your photos always amaze me. As do the variety of bird in South Florida. Like you, I would be a horrible beauty pageant judge. And wow, catching that bobcat is amazing. I've seen them dash across a road a few times, but always so fast it is one of those "Look" and then their gone moments. Love the new puppy too. I remember you posting about Agramonte. Very interesting post for sure. Hope you are having a happy weekend.

  13. Kenneth, I would vote for the tri-color heron as my favorite in this bird series, but then those eagles were quite spectacular. The sunrise photos leave me speechless and that odd-shaped lenticular cloud was simply amazing. But the winner in this post is that adorable puppy and his sisters, your granddaughters. Hopefully one day soon you will see all in person again. Sending you best wishes for a Happy Hearts Day today.

  14. Great photos of fantastic birds. I think it's fair to have a lot of favorites :)
    Love the shots of Altocumulus lenticularis!
    Cute puppy too.

  15. A wonderful set of bird photos, i love the cat and the Tibetan mastiff is very special. Keep well and stay safe, Diane

  16. Simply amazing and beautiful photos! Some are just incredible! Thank you!

  17. Amazing shots! Marvelous!
    Thanks for sharing at

  18. A great post for All Seasons this week Ken! The kestral and the tri=colored heron are such intensely beautiful birds! Haha, great you caught the eagles making their nest bigger (it would be nice if they would have "hands" to bend branches, lol! The head of the "new" dog reminds me of a not-aggresive bear. Am happy you found anew pet:) Thanks for much for your kind comment on the paintings. Hope you had a lovely Valentine's day, Jesh

  19. Magnificent photos ~ but that beautiful doggie 'steals the show' for me ~ thanks,

    Moment by Moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  20. Love the puppy... we have had a Chow-Chow long years ago, he is in our thoughts.

    What a wonderful Post, I enjoyed reading. Thank you for sharing.

  21. You have some great shots. Love those birds. Last year I saw flickers and rose breasted grosbeaks in my yard.

  22. How awesome to watch the eagle building its nest! Great photos all around, especially the new furry family addition :)

    It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  23. Brother Kenneth, that Anhinga is a very first I have seen and heard of, it has an unusual shape of its own, so beautiful! And that mastiff is so cute! I remember years ago on a trip to Southeastern China, a friend of a family member in China had a mansion filled with dozens of Mastiffs! It was crazy and scary because they are all so huge! Stay safe brother Kenneth and stay happy!

  24. Fantastic photos! The eagles are amazing. I like that new puppy.

  25. Extraordinary post and some extraordinary sightings.
    So much going on I will come back later to re-read

  26. Wow great post. Bobcat, the Bald Eagle behaviour but the sunset over the house is a wonderful image and would be befitting of the blog header image


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