Ruffled feathers

     They’re baaack….no not the ghosts…the birds! And so is my lens too! HALLELUJAH! The evening the lens arrived I hurried down to the dock…not a bird in sight. All of a sudden I heard a commotion to my left and saw about a half dozen various night herons flying out of the tree next door. Not sure if it was the cause or not but as I glanced upwards I saw it!  A Great Bald Eagle.  I am fairly confident it is the female from the nesting pair I have been tracking the last two years. I expected their return any time now. By the time I got the lens on it,  the eagle was heading west towards the nesting site and clearly out of decent camera range.

     While I really enjoyed learning to photograph butterflies and bees I was going a bit “buggy” without my bird lens. Getting a good bumble-bee in flight photo is a lot harder and more challenging than I imagined it would be. I have since been taking hundreds of test photographs with the lens. It seems to be fairly sharp for what it is capable of. There are growing numbers of birds seen on the dock now.  I plan to get in the Kayak this week and start chasing them around the river too. In addition to the night herons, there are several mature and immature Little Blue Herons ( the juveniles are born white), Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Hawks, and Tricolored Herons. The pair of Belted Kingfishers (Spunky and her mate Funky) has also returned to the dock area. It is “hotter than the blue blazes” and we are definitely having the “Dog Days” of August.  I plan to try and capture some more birds in flight and share them with you. Can’t wait for the Eagles to fly closer too. 

     Although I am glad my lens is back, the birds I see seem to all have something in common. They are ruffling their feathers when they look at me. They are not upset with me but rather they seem upset about what is going on in the world I think. Although they don’t see the news about the riots, butchering murderers, earthquakes, volcanoes, pestilence (Ebola),  the wars and rumors of wars, I think the creatures of God sense what is happening. I am a getting a bit ruffled myself thinking of it. So when it gets like this try to think of the good things we have instead and consider the birds... And be Blessed this week. Harry

I took over 500 bee photos to get this one..ENJOY IT!  I am going back to feathered wings instead..

I got this rare photo of a certain House Congresswoman stepping out of her skin…proof she is actually an ALIEN! 

Something spooks about a half dozen night herons from their roosting tree…but what?

Flying high and towards the nesting sight I spot what I believe is the female nesting Great Bald Eagle. She has returned to the area. 

The Black Crowned night herons are not the only ones ruffled..so is the Tricolored Heron...

So is George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron!

Spunky the female belted Kingfisher has her feathers in a wad too! 

The Great Egret is really upset over something it saw too!

George takes flight!

The Little Blue Heron juvenile is so upset it can't "contain" itself !

And then resumes flight...

A shadowy figure alerts the doves..

The doves take flight before the feathers fly..

Danger seems lurking everywhere now! (Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk)

Whether hawk, dove, heron or human…something ill blows in the wind…so keep alert and think on what is good and right...

And just consider the birds…they neither toil nor reap nor gather into barns...

And just be happy! Joy comes in the morning..

The rain falls...

     Into everyones life a little rain must fall. And the rain falls on the just and the unjust we are told. Finally got my lens and camera back but after using it I could not get them separated to change lenses and something broke again…sent the lens back to the shop. And the rain keeps coming down. Talk about frustrated. On the brighter side,  I did get a shot of the (not so) "Super Moon" although a few days late.

     Before I sent the lens back (third time) I did manage to get a few very close up shots of my Tricolored Heron friend and they seemed to me to be fairly sharp.  He is looking in on you right now and he sees everything. I borrowed a friend’s 100-400 mm lens but it just didn’t focus well with my camera. While I was taking some bird photos a hawk swooped out of the sky right in front of me and took a dove.  The feathers floated down on top of me. Bummed me out a bit.  So I decided to get the macro lens out and go chase bugs and lizards instead. I am learning about our local butterfly population in the interim. I photographed a Gulf Fritillary, a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail female (Eastern tiger swallowtail is the state butterfly of Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Delaware.), a Long Tailed Skipper and some other yet to be identified large butterfly or moth? Do you know what the differences are between Butterflies and moths? Me neither. Butterflies have a proboscis to get nectar/food from flowers while moths live off stored fat from the larval stage. Butterflies use the sun to warm up, moths flap their wings to keep warm.  Butterflies rest mostly with the wings closed, moths mostly with them spread out. Butterflies have no ears and can’t hear, moths can. Butterflies use sight to select a mate, moths use scent. Butterflies are active mostly in the day, moths at night. Butterflies make a Chrysalis and hang from branches and or other support, moths make a cocoon on or underground. Butterflies are usually more colorful too.

And the rain keeps coming down. We need it for the grass I know but is sure makes steamy August weather here in Florida. Wish I could send some to the stranded and persecuted refugees in Iraq who need it.  Lord help them. Please! No one else seems to care much now (after all we gave them some airdrops of water and food). But I know that You do. Be blessed. Harry

Waning Gibbous "Super" Moon 12 Aug 2014

Storm clouds are coming…quips the Tricolored Heron.

Looks like more rain to me…says my weather eye..

I see everything from up here. Right now I have my eyes on YOU!

Am I a moth or butterfly? Answer- Moth, Carolina Sphinx

Is this a Proboscis or not?  (not)

A Gulf Fritillary or passion butterfly

Long Tailed Skipper Butterfly (note the long Proboscis).

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (female) 

Flying Green June Beetle

Leaf Footed bug

Bumble Bee…Bzzzz Bzzzz Bzzz..

Somebody say bugs?

Here comes the wind..then comes the rain...

So am I the just or unjust?…still getting rained on here…can't wait to get that lens back..till then…be blessed.

Sundown on the Broward..

We report. You decide!

     There appears to be a serious bird health crisis on the Broward. The birds are just gone! Sightings are few and far between. I decided that since my lens is still in the shop I would do some investigating into this crisis.  I have three observations on the situation. Here is what I found.

     Photo number one is a healthy male Northern Cardinal taken shortly before implementation of the Unaffordable Bird Care Act (UBICA). Note the summer plumage is not as bright as the bright red winter garb. The bird appears healthy. Previously I had seen lots of these healthy male cardinals around. Photo number two was recently taken by a fellow photographer (thanks Michael Sugden! ) just a few months after UBICA was implemented. Note the severe loss of plumage and mangy look of the young male cardinal. It can’t even fly now. Is it just a coincidence that the mating season ended also? Or is something terribly wrong? Photo number three is a photo of a young male Laughing Gull taken shortly before the mating season started.  Photo number four is the same male two weeks after implementation of UBICA (which just so happened to coincide with the end of the mating season also).  Photo number five shows a young mallard hen with five ducklings. Sure they are cute but that is a lot of beaks to feed. The Drakes are no where to be found. Thankfully they have free UBICA corn provided by the government each day. Photo number six shows the same mother with the fully grown "young ones" still trailing and at home. Under UBICA they can stay on mom's health care plan so why fly away with the other young ducks. Here are my startling conclusions below:

1) The cost of UBICA has so severely impacted the male bird population that they are pulling out all their feathers to pay the taxes and aging them beyond their years or,

2)  These young males had such a good time during mating season it will just take a few more months to recover fully. So is it severe "molting" caused by having to pay feathers for the UBICA tax or just too much exhaustion from the mating season? 

3) Under UBICA the young ones stay on the family health care plan, still get free food, and don't have to leave home. So why fly? We report. You decide!  Be Blessed. Harry

Photo number one. Young male Northern Cardinal in summer plumage taken before UBICA (and mating season). 

Photo number two. Male Northern Cardinal after UBICA (and breeding season). Feathers molted and gone, can't even fly. Photo courtesy of and with permission of Michael Sugden. 

Photo number three. Male Laughing Gull taken before UBICA implementation and start of Breeding season.

Photo number four. Same male Laughing Gull after UBICA implemented (and breeding season over). 

Photo number four. Same male Laughing Gull after UBICA implemented (and breeding season over). 

Photo number five, Young unwed? mallard hen with five hungry ducklings to feed. Thankfully we have UBICA corn provided daily. 

Photo number six. Same mother with fully grown ducklings (and a cousin). They won't leave home because they can stay on Moms UBICA health care plan and still get free corn. 

Look! Up in the sky..

     Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, It’s a plane. It is blue and red and streaking thru the sky. No it isn’t Superman, just the Southwest Eagle flight coming in for a landing. Summer is sure heating up on the Broward and the number of birds is still few and far between. The camera and lens are going back in the repair shop. I might have to take a little break on the Broward until it gets back. Maybe a friend will let me borrow one in the meantime (hint, hint).

     One of the faithful feathered friends I see on the outgoing tide is the Tricolored Heron. It looks up in the sky. What is it looking at I wonder? No hawks in the area.  Soon I see it snatch a dragonfly out of the air for a late afternoon snack. Poor fella. The dragonflies emerge from a larval stage from the water about this time of year and only have two or three weeks to fly, mate and then be gone. Hope it had a good time before it became a snack. A swirl of minnows engulfs the Heron as the tide recedes. Soon it has a harpooned a nice fat minnow and makes short work of the meal before flying off to the mouth of the channel. In the distance I see an Osprey dive into the river and bring up a fish. It flies in my direction giving me a nice profile shot of the squirming redfish in its talons. Nice catch too. A Snowy Egret lands in the channel only to act camera shy and takes off again but not before I capture the moment. The grace and beauty in the wings of white nearly take my breath away.

     I am growing restless as the summer heats up. How about you? Is it the heat or something else in the air besides dragonflies? I am not use to being without my camera for so long.  I don’t what to do with myself. So I’ll just try to be patient and wait until things change. Good things come to those who wait they say. In the meantime, look up in the sky! Who knows what’s coming next. Be blessed. Harry

Look! Up in the sky...!

It's a bird!

It's a bird!

It's a plane, the red and blue Southwest Eagle coming in for a landing!

A Dragonfly is snatched out of the air for a quick snack. Poor fella...

A swirling school of minnows surround the Heron, the hunter strikes.

The Tricolored Heron harpoons a nice fat minnow for supper!

A Snowy Egret briefly touches down and takes off again...

Graceful wings of white take away my breath for a moment..

Good things come to those who wait..see what the Osprey caught!  Nice Catch.

email: selsorhd@me.com

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