Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Avian Red-eye special

Scores of Florida Trema trees* in our local Wounded Wetlands were destroyed by Hurricane Irma back in October, 2017. Nearly all the taller ones were either felled or stripped of their leaves. Most went on to die within a year. Those remaining were mostly saplings which flowered but did not bear the fruit which is so attractive to wildlife. Tremas normally produce abundant berries just in time for autumn migration. This year, some of them have matured and been very productive.

Southbound Red-eyed Vireos usually arrive ahead of most of the other songbirds, often by mid-August and become quite common by early September. On the first day of September, a half hour after sunrise, a flock of five were eating the Trema berries: 

Three days later, just after sunrise, lighting conditions were poor. I did not carry my flash unit, but the vireos provided some nice views as they harvested the fruit:

A male Northern Cardinal joined in the feast. His tail feathers were molting::

I wondered why one of my favorite warbler spots was so quiet. Blue Jays were calling from hidden perches in the area. Then this Cooper's Hawk flew in from an adjacent tree. This species is a "true hawk" ( Accipiter) with compact body, short wings and long tail suited for chasing smaller birds through the branches:

The hawk took off, but patrolled the area and returned several times:

Spotted Sandpipers are returning. In spring and summer they have spotted breasts, like this "early bird" on July 11:

Adults like this one photographed on September 3, have clear breasts in fall and winter:

African dust lingered in the atmosphere just before sunrise on August 31, showcasing the dark shadows cast by cloud tops over the Atlantic Ocean. I followed the emerging solar (crepuscular) beams...

...across the southern horizon. Though straight as an arrow, they seemed to curve down opposite the Sun...

...appearing to cluster with other cloud shadows as an anti-solar (anticrepuscular) mirrored "sunrise:"

*Florida Trema (Trema micrantha) is a shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. It is grouped with Hackberry and Hemp in Tree Family CANNABACEAE.  Leaves are egg-shaped, up to 9 cm long, green on top but covered with white, woolly pubescence underneath. Flowers are greenish-white. Fruits are yellow to bright reddish-orange, up to 4 mm in diameter.


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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. Outstanding photographs, Ken! Good to see the vireos are on schedule. Yours are more accommodating for the camera!

    That is a great photo of the young Cooper's Hawk.

    Now, if you can please convince the migrants to bring a little cool air with them it would be most welcome.

  2. I have never seen a Southbound Red-eyed Vireo and may never do so, that said thanks for the photos, Kenneth. The Cooper's Hawk was impressive and hopefully did not find a meal during your photo session.

  3. Ohhhh these are magnificent photos, however, that first bird is stunning. It looks so soft and the colors are amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. your shots of the southern horizon are amazing

  5. The Vireo photos are wonderful! Fun to see them eating the berries. Amazing shots!

  6. Hi Ken,
    thanks for all the beautiful photos. I love the little bird in the very beginning and I am fascinated about the shots of the sky.
    Herzliche Grüße – Elke (Nature Thursday)

  7. Greetings and Salutations! Clap. Clapping. Still clapping. Those last three photographs of the sky left me speechless. Enjoyed the bird photos too.

  8. Sweet bird pictures. But the sky is gorgeous.

  9. Hello Ken,
    Beautiful series on the Red-eyed Vireo. Love the Cardinal and the awesome Cooper's Hawk. The Sandpipers are pretty birds. Gorgeous sky captures and landscapes. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thanks for the visit and comment on my blog.

  10. I love the photos of the sky and it's interesting to read you information about them. Hope we have some good weather soon to get out. We need a breeze! lol

  11. Hello,:=) Love the sweet Vireo captures, and the Hawk.

  12. Incredible portraits of your birds today, Ken! Magnificent.
    And those sky photos are so majestic.

    Thanks for sharing & linking with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'

  13. Beautiful birds. I too spot many in my village but monsoon season does not offer good light. Despite that some of them turn out well

  14. All of the birdies are adorable. Thanks for sharing with Garden Affair.

  15. Great shots, all of them! I love the one of the bird with the berry in its mouth!
    Thank you for sharing at

  16. Great views of the birds. Good to see so many berries on the trees.

  17. You've got some great shots but the berry in the mouth ones are really great!

  18. And thanks for joining in #Allseasons

  19. Wow! What wonderful photos.
    The red eyed Vireo looks so keen and aware of what’s
    might be happening.

  20. Thanks for taking me biring along with you, Ken.

    I loved the Copper Hawk. My 13-year-old loves raptors too and this time while I was in Kashmir spotted quite a few Black Kites, circling around the magnificent lake, and around the monuments. None of the pictures I took came out too good, on the phone camera.

    But I've realised during this trip more so, how precious it is to be in the moment and enjoy nature as it is minus the lens too. :)

    The cardinals are such radiant beings of light. :) As are the rest.

    Hope to see you, even though I'll be on a bit of a break now.

    Kind regards to you and Mary Lou.

  21. Hello Kenneth, I have written a lot about birds on both my websites sometimes with a poem and other times with a story of with other knowings. And I had a look around your website and also read what your interests were and that really appealed to me as well as this photography you posted. I have added your website URL to my reading list so I can read more. Thanks also for visiting and commenting on 1 of my websites where I had also posted a comment back for you. I will definitely come back ater to read and look at more. Greetings. Tine


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