Thursday, July 22, 2021

Saharan dust

South Florida has settled into a rather boring but typical wet season pattern following the spate of tropical storms which culminated in Elsa. We are also in the middle of the Saharan dust season. Dry air masses laden with dust have been coursing over from the African continent. This has the welcome effect of reducing the intensity of the tropical storms which spawn cyclones in the eastern Atlantic ocean.

Visits to nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve were not very productive. The high water levels dilute out aquatic prey and wading birds are free to forage over a much greater expanse. 

Often I can find a dozen or more Gray-headed Swamphens, but this morning there was only one:

A pair of Northern Cardinals foraged on the boardwalk for the fallen fruit of an overhanging tree:

The male cardinal perched on the boardwalk railing near an interpretive sign:

A male Anhinga, partially hidden in the spike-rush, dried his wings:

A juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker searched for food on the trunk of a small tree:

White-winged Doves nest along the boardwalk:

Swamp Lily:

Brown Basilisk:

The Sarahan dust is said to stabilize the weather, which has been rather monotonous, with warm days and nights along with intermittent "pop-up" showers. This past week's forecast was remarkable (32.2 to 25.5 Celsius):

The dust can produce very colorful sunrises and sunsets. Fifteen minutes before sunrise this past Saturday morning, the unseen sun was reflecting off a pink mass in the upper atmosphere:

Within minutes, sunlight had illuminated the expanse of the dust cloud:

While the sky directly overhead was otherwise clear, storm clouds were lined up along the Atlantic coast to the east. The shadows of the tops of the clouds broke the rays of the rising sun. The rays reflected off the dust layer and converged over the Everglades on the opposite (western) horizon. The anti-solar rays were creating a "false sunrise," so I hurried to the lake to catch the reflections on the still water:

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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Nature Thursday

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. I guess the "false sunrise" happens after the real sunrise?? Our skies have been smoky all week from the fires out west..Our Moon for two nights was orange..I didn't think to get a picture..Dumb me!! We have a number of red bellied Woodpeckers here..always at my feeders..I have never seen an immature one..nice picture..

    1. @This N That-- Hi, Mollie-- the "false sunrise" occurs just before and during the first 10 minutes after sunrise. Before and for a few minutes after sunrise, the reflections do not reach down to ground level as the shadow of the earth is in the way of the sunbeams. Best wishes and thanks for dropping by!

  2. floridian nature is very rich and amazing

  3. That is interesting about the dust from the Sahara. And I always enjoy seeing your gorgeous photos.

  4. Hi Ken,
    finally I also read "why call me rosyfinch".That was really interesting. These rosyfinches remind me of our "Bluthänflinge" = Linaria cannabina. - Your photos are great as always.Today I am especially enchanted by the sunrises. Thanks for that.
    Herzliche Grüße – Elke (Naturdonnerstag)

  5. Your skies are so beautiful. I've never seen a weeklong weather forecast with identical highs and lows!

  6. I met an artist who does stained glass art(a New Jersey girl in Texas -it changes the demographics of the state!), depicting birds.I referred her to your blog, because of the diversity of birds you have on your blog.Love the skies here, Ken! Hope you are doing well.
    Oh, before I forget, I changed my username from Jeshie to Emille (to resolve a blog problem). Have a great weekend!

  7. Wow, gorgeous sky images. The last two sky shots are my favorite. I miss the Florida lizards, I do not see many in Maryland. Your cardinal photos are lovely. Sweet captures of the Doves. The Gray-headed Swamphen and young Woodpecker are great sightings too. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for the comment and visit.

  8. the cardinals are just gorgeous, they are so easy to admire!! i don't think i have ever seen a gray headed swamp hens, they have an interesting look!!

    the false sunrise, which i have never heard of, is beautiful. the 5th from the last image is so interesting!!

  9. Lovely pictures of the birds and the sun rays pic is breathtaking!

  10. Wonderful light and reflections. The early bird photographer does get the shots.

  11. We too are experiencing the African dust along the Gulf. Of all your photos and narration, I have to say the anhinga is one I've been wanting to see but haven't yet; this summer
    Enjoyed your post, and photos. Thanks for linking up this week at IRBB.

  12. This is an exceptional series of shots. I especially enjoyed seeing the sky shots.

  13. That dustcloud is amazing - the reflection on the ever so still water. Love the last three with the light beams too. Great work. Thanks for joining in #Allseasons

  14. Wow ! Stunning bird captures, lovely sky shots. Thanks for sharing.

  15. The weather forecast, while monotonous, is consistent and not one that would make me happy, Kenneth. That said, it has been rainy and warm even in New England. As always, enjoyed the bird images, water lily seeing the beautiful sunrise that resulted from the dust.

  16. Hi Kenneth! :) Oh those Cardinals, what lovely birds, you take fantastic shots. I love the cloud photos too! :) Hope you can stay cool! :)

  17. Your Brown Basilisk photo was so interesting, I had to look it up. I always enjoy your amazing photos, especially the sunrises and sunsets.

  18. Great bird photos, and I love those sky shots too!

  19. Lovely series of images!
    Thanks for sharing with us at!

  20. Fabulous birds, as usual!! And the sunrise sure is a beauty :)

    Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!


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