Thursday, September 23, 2021

Crops & Clips: Night visions #981

The early morning hours are special. Many nocturnal birds are especially active until about a half hour before sunrise. Birding by ear, I can sometimes pick up the calls of  Great Horned and Barn Owls I have rarely had photo opportunities with these species.  Eastern Screech-Owls are easier to encounter and sometimes pose out in the open even as sunrise approaches.

Last year this one even dozed off as I clicked away in natural light:

Although early morning photos lack feather detail and accurate color rendition, I like the mood they can portray, as in this serene pose of an immature Little Blue Heron which flew in about 20 minutes before sunrise:

An adult of the same species flew in a few seconds later. Its dark plumage almost melted into the background:

As the adult Little Blue Heron flew off,  I could barely see it against the dark background and actually focused on its reflection:

A Great Egret was easier to see in the darkness:

Cameras can sometimes seem to "see" in the dark. This distant White-tailed Buck was invisible until he moved. Although binoculars provided a brighter view, he was barely visible through the camera's viewfinder. The camera tries to make up for the darkness by opening its aperture and slowing down the exposure rate. This results in a washed-out image in the RAW photo. Editing the image to darken (decrease exposure compensation) and sharpen it improved the image somewhat :

A little later, another buck suddenly walked out into the sunlight. Its antlers had only four points. 

Detail of that dark spot inside its rear leg. It is one of the several scent glands. The deer can voluntarily flare the hairs surrounding the tarsal gland. 

Factoid: Making sense of whitetails scent glands:  The tarsal gland is a pad of stiff hairs located on the inside of each deer’s rear leg at the hock. At the base of each hair is a fat, or sebaceous, gland that produces an odorless oily deposit that coats the hair creating a stage for scent dissemination. All year through, deer can flare their tarsals. Scent is released by flaring the tarsal hairs into a rosette. Whitetail deer of all ages, urinate over their tarsals (rub-urinate) throughout the year, bucks more so during the rut. Fawns may rub-urinate to locate their mother.

Early morning light cast long shadows which broke up the profile of this female Northern Cardinal: 

A male Northern Cardinal was eating the Trema berries:

In our back yard, a female Anhinga was joined by a Little Blue Heron. They lounged together amicably:

Or, did they just disagree about something?

An hour before sunrise on the last day of summer, the Full Harvest Moon was over the horizon as we walked into the Wounded Wetlands:

We had hoped to see it set over the lake but low clouds intervened:

Golden sunrise over the gravel road which leads to the lake:

Early morning view of the lake in the Wounded Wetlands:

I started Rosyfinch Ramblings on September 15, 2006, so this is my 15th  Blogaversary!

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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. Wonderful images and information!
    I have a video of a buck urinating on his tarsals in front of the trailcam!

  2. I love the sleepy owl photo. Beautiful moon shots, too!

  3. Oh wow, again, such great sharp photos, and your knowledge of wildlife.

  4. Beautiful birds. I too see plenty of birds during dawn and cloudy weather disappoints the final frame. Some I discard and some I keep for record. The tale of anhinga and heron was interesting :-)

  5. Greetings and Salutations! Sad, that you could not take a picture of the moon over the lake. But, I love your peek-a-boo moon. It is priceless! Over the lake is what every one else is taking. This one is different. Nice job on the bird photographs.

  6. Beautiful harvest moon shots, Kenneth, and as usual enjoyed all the birds, especially the owl and heron.

  7. Hello Ken,
    Handsome buck, I learned something new today about the bucks and their scents. Your Screech Owl photos are awesome. I always enjoy seeing the Little Blue Herons and Egrets. The Cardinal is a beauty! Gorgeous sky and moon captures. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  8. Wonderful captures! The owl stole the show.

    My latest post:

  9. Congratulations on keeping your blog alive for all these many years. Some of these photos are spectacular … the moon, the striding buck, the egret in flight. When light and dark converge with the camera, sometimes the images turn out just right.

  10. It really is special to get to spot an Owl! I hope we get to see one again soon. It's finally better hiking weather here! Less humid!

  11. Wonderful shots!
    I wish I'd had my camera the other night when I saw a Great Horned Owl sitting on a branch with the full orange moon in the background. It was truly amazing.

  12. Marvelous images! I did not know that about deer's scent glands. I have noticed the spots and did not know their purpose.

  13. YOuve got some treally stunning reflection shots there - and the owl shots are fabulous! Great captures. Really beautiful. Thanks for joining #Allseasons

  14. Beautiful birdies. The information on scent glands of Deer is amazing. Your shots of moon is superb. Thanks for joining in Garden affair.

  15. Another wonderful selection of terrific images, Ken!
    I am really jealous of the Screech Owl photos.
    Stunning skyscapes.

  16. As always, I love every photo, but the ones of the owls - WOW!! These are amazing!
    Thanks for linking up at

  17. Glorious captures Kenneth. I especially love those 2 owl shots !

  18. Happy anniversary on your blog! The cardinal is gorgeous!


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