Thursday, March 25, 2021

A morning visit to Chapel Trail Preserve

At least once a week I try to visit Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, a City park in nearby Pembroke Pines. In previous years I led a public monthly wetlands walk during the cooler half of the year (September - March). Thanks to COVID-19 all the walks were canceled in the fall of 2020 and early 2021. 

For a time the park itself was closed, but in recent months restrictions have been eased and visitors are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. 

On March 11 my visit was shortened by an approaching rain storm. Under menacing clouds I snapped a few shots of American Coots...

...and Gray-headed Swamphens....

...before heavy rain arrived and I sought shelter in my car:: 

As the sky began clearing I decided to check the Bald Eagle nest, hoping to see the eaglet(s) which hatched about a week earlier. I found both members of the pair on the nest. The female (Jewel) was sitting high and the male (Pride) appeared to be tending or feeding a chick, but they were out of sight

Pride flew off the nest to roost nearby:

The skies darkened and ended the morning's bird quest. 

My next visit to Chapel Trail, shortly after sunrise on March 18, was more productive. I was the first visitor-- almost! A Raccoon left tracks in the heavy dew which covered the boardwalk:

A Purple Gallinule was harvesting the spent flowerheads of the Spatterdock (Yellow Pond Lily). The developing seeds of this plant are one of the gallinule's favorite foods:

A distant male Belted Kingfisher kept watch. It will soon be migrating north to its breeding range:

Blue-winged Teal were visiting before their departure to Canada and the the northern tier of the US:

Two pairs circled the wetlands before settling down

A Great Blue Heron obliged me by posing on the boardwalk before flying off...

...and settling down in the wet prairie, where fresh Spikerush was restoring green color to the landscape:

A male Boat-tailed Grackle looked me over:

The bright blue bill of a Tricolored Heron indicated that it was in breeding condition:

An adult Little Blue Heron flew over, non-stop:

Carnivorous Florida Yellow Bladderwort were blooming. They capture insect larvae and even small fish fry by trapping them underwater in collapsed hollow tubular root-like leaves. When disturbed, the end of the tube snaps open and creates a vacuum. which sucks in the prey:

Blossoms decorated the Wild Magnolia trees:

On our local wetlands in the darkness an hour before sunrise, the fragrant Moonflowers almost glowed. This vine Ipomoea alba, aka Tropical White Morning-Glory, is an annual native to North America and flourishes as a perennial in subtropical climate of south Florida. Unable to photograph them in such poor light, I used flash to see them before the flowers closed up and died after sunrise.

As expected at the vernal equinox, the sun rose directly to the east over the lake, lined up with "Sundial Alley:"

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Linking to:

Garden Affair

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 wonderful place to take pictures..Such a variety of nature visiting opportunities. Super pictures of the Blue-winged Teal and The Great Blue Heron..amazing action photography..Jimson Weed sounds familiar to me...I never knew what it looked like...The early morning lighting is perfect but I guess you already know that..Have a nice Easter..
    Thanks for sharing..

  2. Holy moosepoops, Ken!! I wish I could have been in your pocket especially for the visit to the Eagles' nest!! The pair I monitor has been incubating for only 13 days. Your photos are amazing of the Coots, GB Heron and Little Blue...just gorgeous, crisp, clear photos!!

  3. I bet you led great tours. What a lot of information you provide. I had never heard of swamp hens before so I learned something from you today.

  4. Just wonderful write-up sir. Gets you going. Plenty of birds to enjoy

  5. Dramatic sky. Beautiful critters and flowers. Nice shot of the broadwalk.

  6. Excellent pictures as usual. You've inspired me to pay more attention to the wildlife around me. I walk in the evening but still I've seen coyotes, snakes, lizards, hawks, geese, egrets, herons and owls.

  7. Beautiful shots of the heron. Lovely skies, too!

  8. The eagle shots were magnificent, Kenneth, but that Great Blue Heron performing for your lens were the best photo opps. watching a heron touch down in the water with its long legs is quite a treat to see.

  9. Hello, Ken

    Beautiful sky and scenic photos. Awesome bird sightings too, I love all the Herons and Eagle images. The Coots, Swamphen and Gallinule with the pond lily are all beautiful captures. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  10. You take such amazing photos! We still are not seeing many people at the parks and preserves we go to. I wish more took advantage of getting out in nature. You see a lot where you live. One of these days I would like to drive down there and spend a few days.

  11. Great photos! The views of the heron landing are spectacular!

  12. As usual Kenneth a wonderful post of brilliant photographs and an amazing place to visit. I especially loved the Heron coming in to land with his legs stretched out. I hope you have a great week ahead

  13. Hello Kenneth
    the eagle on the branch is my favorite, you won't see anything like that here, beautiful
    Greetings Frank

  14. Stunning Sky Capture ,Beautiful shot of birds and what a lovely MAgnolia capture .Thanks for joining in Garden Affair.

  15. Well, I feel refreshed after joining your "virtual" walks! Magnificent collection of photographs, Ken.

    It has really been an active couple of weeks as we transition from spring migration to local breeding season.

    Thank you for sharing some of your beautiful birds!

  16. Lots to enjoy there. Loved the blue of the teal and the blue bill of the heron.

  17. So much to see here, Ken! What a treat to see the moonflowers before closing up the the yellow carnivorous flower! So interesting to see how the purple Gallinule swept up the flower head. The blue winged birds in your header almost look like planes:) Hope you didn't have to wait to long for the rain to pass! Many thanks for this versatile post, also the eagles:)and sharing it with All Seasons! Have a great week, exploring, Jesh

  18. Your photos are always stunning. Great shots!
    Thanks for joining us this week at

  19. All wonderful images but the several shots of a heron taking wing were particularly delightfully captured.

  20. Another spectacular series of images - those stormy cloud shots are fantastic!
    Easter blessings.

  21. lovely selection as usual. with lot of interesting information.

  22. Your fabulous bird photos are so striking and lovely to see each week! The magnolia bloom made me wish for spring in GA again :)

    Thank you for being a part of 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  23. It's beautiful that you can observe birds so closely. Great photos.


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