Nothing new under the sun..?

     I was reviewing last April’s blog for this time of year. Not much has really changed for this year. There are still very few birds on the Broward during this spring nesting season. The list of sightings recently is identical to last years. Actually, that is very reassuring to me. The Good Book says there is nothing new under the sun. Things go on like they did before when things are normal. But who thinks anything is really "normal" when you read the world news and politics. Thank you Lord at least the Broward scenery hasn’t changed.

     The Great Egrets and other local herons are all showing the breeding colors of spring. My neighbor Doug calls me and asks me “Have you seen the Blue (aka INDIGO) Buntings?".  He has a number of them in his yard right now. He also sends me a photo of Painted Bunting! I have been hoping to see one of those for years and there was one right beside my house this past week and I didn’t know it.  I am camping out this week by the bird feeders hoping it will return. There is some sad news to report also. Something got the Carolina Wren "mommy" I think…the eggs and nest were abandoned for over a week. And now for a bit of good news.  It seems another pair of wrens have just taken over the nest. Maybe we will see some new wrens hatch anyway. While I am waiting for the buntings  and for river bird traffic to pick up I observe a number of other “Shirley Birds” also. Hope you enjoy them.

     I look forward to the arrival of new sightings each day and was thrilled to see my first close up of a Red-Tailed Hawk and several other birds. Things we often think are new or unusual really are not. We were just looking in the wrong direction perhaps and missed them. Soon I will see that flash of pink and know the Roseate Spoonbills are back. Until then, there is nothing (else) new under on the sun or the Broward this week. But you know, that is a good thing. Be Blessed. Harry


There is one thing new under the sun on the Broward. First close up of a Red Tailed Hawk that I have been seeing.

This Red Headed Woodpecker is another new one for me.

See that bright blue little bird on the bottle-brush INDIGO Bunting..yet another new one for me.

Indigo Bunting feeding in the bird-feeder. Now that is Electric Blue!

This little Misses Indigo Bunting..not so bright as its mate!

This little Misses Indigo Bunting..not so bright as its mate!

Northern (or Red) Cardinal, female awaits her turn at the feeder.

If you have an itch scratch it, even if you have to use your feet!. Male Northern Cardinal

Pair of House Finches wait their turn on the feeder. She is complaining the doves are eating too much it seems.

Purple Martin pair. The male is telling the wife, it is your turn to get the bugs..I did it last time!

Small Spotted Sandpiper in breeding colors (the spots)..

George, the Yellow Crown Night Heron and a few other Egrets are the only ones on the river lately.

Muddy raccoon hears the doohickey click.

Can someone help me ID this one? Often seen feeding with the other birds at the feeders..:)

You know it is spring when a Baltimore Oriole shows up to play ball!

Beyond the Broward, the Coming Signs

     In the early morning hours on the 15th of April the first of four coming “Blood Moons”, or lunar eclipses occurred. According to some researchers this is a sign of coming changes about to happen on this earth below. Unfortunately, due to the cloud cover, all I could do was get an obscure glimpse as the earths shadow passed between the moon and the sun. Shortly after 4 am the sky momentarily cleared and I did indeed behold a blood moon before me. However, the only blood color I was able to clearly see was that which I let myself as the IRS withdrew even more again this year.

     For this second Beyond the Broward edition I paid a visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery. There were sure signs of spring as nesting marsh birds waited for coming signs of life in the eggs securely covered by their warm feathers and watching eyes. Great Egrets with their long bright white plumes and green eye shadow colors of the breeding season were building nests by the dozens. At least four nests had recently hatched chicks in them.

     I saw one bird I recognized immediately as the great Theodore “TR” Roosegret. You know, the one whose famous quote was “Fly swiftly and carry a big stick”. This was no doubt penned in response to its mate nagging to make yet another addition to the nest. Along with the Great Egrets were handsome (sorta) Wood Storks, flying Tricolored Herons with bright blue beaks, demure Roseate Spoonbills, and squawking Snowy Egrets. They were all busy going about the true coming signs of spring as they prepared nests or gently covered recently laid eggs. A new generation of marsh birds is waiting to be born.

     Although I could only dimly see this first Blood Moon event with my eyes for most of the night, my heart did indeed quicken at the brief red sight. Is a new generation in heaven about to be born?  I certainly hope so with all my soul and with all my might. In the meantime I will watch the coming signs on the earth below me, with the birds before me, and the sky above me. Be blessed. Harry

Blood Moon over the Broward 15 Apr 2014 4 AM.

Spring is definitely in the air on the Great Egret Nests

Hey, watch me do my NBC turkey imitation!

Great Egret eyes show the green mating colors

Arching display of feathers, Quick push the doohickey, my back is killing me!

Get another stick she says..we have additions coming to the nest.

Theodore "TR" Roosegret, "Fly Swiftly and carry a Big Stick"

Tricolored Heron in Breeding colors, blue beak and maroon legs.

Heavenly flight!

Wood Stork glides "like a swan"

Look Out..sightseeing Bi-plane flies too close for comfort.

 A New Generation waiting to be born! Snowy Egret on nest.

Proud Parent! Great Egret with chicks.

Blood Moon photo taken over Brillion Wisconsin 15 April 2014, Copy by Photographer David Andre with permission.


     Spring is in the air. I enjoyed a beautiful sunset photo shoot under one of our many bridges in Jacksonville this week with a group of photographers. The Editor could not believe I was not out “shootin birds” for a change. Landscape photography is a "whole other world"  requiring different lenses and camera settings and techniques. There were some very experienced photographers there and I picked up some up some great tips and pointers. I feel I am just starting to scratch the surface on that skill set. Couldn’t resist sneaking in one bird shot though.

     Speaking of just scratching the surface, the Black Skimmers were back and capturing them skimming for food has been the challenge of the week. Fortunately for me the tides have been low during the day but, unfortunately, the light was not always the best for photography. I managed to capture a few keepers though. According to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology The remarkable bill of the Black Skimmer sets it apart from all other American birds. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies along, hoping to catch small fish.”  This week I captured some images of a pair of these unusual birds skimming the muddy channel at low tide. Sometimes you see the bill and head snap back as if they caught it on something. On one pass a skimmer’s head went completely underwater. I thought it was going to go into a somersault, but lo and behold it came up with a nice catch. So did I.

      Like these birds, many of us just go through life just skimming the surface. Oh, we get enough to eat on the tidbits we pick up,  but if you really want to learn or feed on the big ones you have to be willing to skim a bit deeper at times. Many don’t want to risk the potential dangers and snags that lie unseen below. It is much easier to just skim along the top. But for those willing to dig deeper, huge rewards can be found. Who knows what treasures you might find? Be blessed. Harry

Sunset Dames Point Bridge, Jacksonville Florida

Pair of Laughing Gulls enjoy the sunset too!

A pair of Black Skimmers work the channel at low tide.

Many go through life like this bird, just skimming the surface of life.

Sometimes you have to be willing to go a bit deeper though!

You have to be willing to get your head wet in spite of the dangers below.

So the choice is yours..just keep skimming the surface of life or..

Be willing to dig a little deeper...

The rewards can be worth it ...

From Ordinary to the Extraordinary..

     Hello Sunshine! Been a beautiful week on the Broward, lots of sunny days.  A frontal system passed through just in time for the weekend bringing April showers to water the grass. A man I am proud to call Friend, Mentor, and Shipmate, recently wrote this statement that more than eloquently describes the week I have had.  “So I will continue to walk the same familiar routes, never expecting to see anything extraordinary, taking delight in being witness to the ordinary, with that ray of hope always present that something special may be in store for me. (By Captain Frenchy Corbeille)” Indeed that is my hope each day as I venture out to the dock.

     Ordinary birds are capable of extraordinary beauty. Many birds have plumage and other changes during the breeding season, which can make even the ordinary very extraordinary. I hope to capture some of these changes during the coming months and share with you. Not all birds are born with lovely Peacock feathers with which to show the world their “tails”. Indeed there are some birds like the poor Wood Stork, whose beauty can only be imagined by most. You should see them fly though. During the breeding season, the Snowy Egrets legs turn from yellow to black and the feet turn a bright orange yellow. The Tricolored Heron’s beak has a black tip with yellow that turns to blue during this time. Their legs go from yellow to pink or maroon in color and the white crown feathers seem to pop out more. They are especially hilarious when the wind spreads the head crown feathers. It looks like the crown on the Statue of Liberty (or a bad hair-feather day). Another unusual bird, the Black Skimmer, has also recently been seen from the dock as it flies low along the streams with its lower mandible skimming the surface for food. If I could only get it to do that in the direction I prefer it would make an ordinary shot into an extraordinary one.

      We ordinary human beings are also capable of the extraordinary. No one (including myself) ever expected me to be a photographer, writer/blogger, or even cook, but miracles do happen each day.  Like my friend Frenchy said, take that step outside today “with the ray of hope always present that something special may be in store” for you too!  Be Blessed. Harry

A formation flight of Ibis on a clear blue morning sky. Must be Air Force pilots, Navy fliers would be in perfect wing formation!

I am not just another pretty face, beneath these feathers is an extraordinary flying machine!

Oh, what a night!  Immature Black Crowned Night Heron sets out for an extraordinary night on the Broward.

Bad Hair-feather Day for a Tricolored Heron. The beak is beginning to turn blue for breeding.

Mature Black Crowned (foreground) and Yellow Crowned Night Heron (Aka George)  discuss the evenings adventures.

Mature Black Crowned (foreground) and Yellow Crowned Night Heron (Aka George)  discuss the evenings adventures.

Ok, you over there, put down the camera or we are all going to an extraordinary "poop" on the dock! Right George?

Little Blue Heron is showing blue beak breeding color also.

Broken Feather, the adult Male Bald Eagle heads home to the nest after a long day of hunting for the family..

Black Skimmer "skims" in the wrong direction..

Snowy Egret beginning to show black on the legs,,,!

Down the hatch,,nothing like a morning minnow for an extraordinarily delicious snack.

You have an extraordinary day while I wait here for my ordinary!


All photographs and materials copyrighted and possession of Harry D Selsor. All rights reserved.

Photos are avail for purchase framed or unframed.