Hoodie Winked...

     Hoodwinked. “To be deceived. It actually derives from the practice of placing a hood over the head of a falcon in the Middle Ages when engaged in the sport of falconry. This was done in order to trick the falcon into believing it was nighttime, thus calming the bird down so that one could recover the prey from the bird's talons.” (source: Urban Dictionary). A new deception is taking over the bird photography community now. It is called “Hoodie Winked”.

     The Hooded Merganser ducks are showing up all over Florida streams, rivers and a ponds. One of the most photogenic of the diving ducks, photographers all over are being deceived into thinking they can capture the perfect “Hoodie” photo. Hooded Mergansers are very animated, dramatic and fast. For years now I’ve tried to capture one of its iconic shake and flap photos where it sits up high on the water and flaps its wings. So far I have a side shot of a male rearing up and a back shot of a female. The male Hooded Merganser, when alarmed, will raise its white hood feathers in a display used to intimidate other rival ducks or let other Mergansers know something is amiss that they need to be aware of. The females raise their head feathers to attract the attention of the males, like showing off a new hair-doo. These diving duck’s antics are a sight to behold. Trying to capture that perfect photo has left countless photographers totally “Hoodie Winked”.

      Undaunted by past frustrations, I plan to keep pushing that doohickey in the coming weeks until at last, one of these days, I will capture that perfect “Hoodie Winked” photo. Until then, you have a Blessed New Year. Harry

Red sky in morning..Sailor take warning..this photo made local news channel broadcast as well as  mention on a nationally syndicated radio talk show. 

Galz and guyz in the Hood...Hooded Mergansers arrive at the secret Hoodie hangout

Hooded Merganser couple,,male has the black and white "Hood" feathers

When alarmed, the male Hoodie "pops his hood" feathers up..

Female Hoodie before going to Janet the feather dresser

Female Hooded Merganser after seeing Janet the Feather dresser..nice doo..

I asked Janet to straighten my feathers...look at what she did!

Look what Janet did to my feathers..left me in the feather dryer too long!

Male Hooded Merganser

Sleepy Fella

Male Hooded Merganser sees me and starts to raise the alarm

Mr Doohickey has been spotted...Hoodie up...sound the alarm..!

I think this hoodie just gave me the "bird" !

I get a rise shot but no wing flap, Hoodie Winked again!

A female Hooded Merganser takes off..

The male Hooded Merganser takes off too..until next time Mr. Hoodie

Broward Bob sees his refection and predicts a Very Happy and Blessed New Year..From Reflections on Broward..


Late Autumn Snow...

     It is only a few days till winter officially begins. Temperatures in Florida have remained unbearable. You know, the 70’s and 80s with lows dipping in the 30s at times. Cool post frontal northerlies bring an occasional cold snap to Northern Florida. I love to sit on the dock after a front has passed. The skies are cool and clear and I see an occasional blowing snowy flurry go by. Not the frozen water type, the Snowy Egret type.

     Snowy Egrets are a small white egret with black beaks and yellow feet. It is hard not to be happy when you have yellow feet I am told. Their animated antics while fishing in the lagoon can keep even the sleepiest photographer amused. We had some autumn foliage on one of the neighbor’s tree that was reflecting hues of orange and red in the water. A Snowy Egret came flying by me and landed on the dock and then hopped down into the incoming tidal pool to hunt for minnows. I carefully scooted on my rear along the dock until I could capture it in just the right morning light. This is one of my favorite captures of the year. The next day the sky was covered with a layer of altocumulus clouds when the same bird came flying in again. The light was not as nice as the prior day but I waited until a break in the clouds provided yet another opportunity to see this late autumn “blowing snowy” on the Broward.

     I live in Florida so I am not dreaming of a White Christmas. However, the Editor and I would like to wish each of you, my friends, family, and readers, a very special and Merry Christmas, from our house to yours. Blessings. Harry

Morning has broken on the Broward.A cool refreshing breeze blows over the Broward.

A snow flake goes drifting by in the wind and lands on the dock. Snowy Egret flake that is...

A snow flake goes drifting by in the wind and lands on the dock. Snowy Egret flake that is...

Snowy Egret with a splash of fall colors...one of my favorite captures this year

I see the same "Snow Flurry" go by the next day..

Drifting Snowy

Is this close enough Mr. Doohickey?

It's Snow-wing!

Snowy Flurries on the Broward

Snowy Topshot

Air brakes set, full flaps landing

And touchdown...

Now where did that dang fish go?

The Editor and I would like to pause and reflect and wish you a Merry Christmas

Almost forgot I have some last minute shopping to do yet..gotta go..

We hope to see you next week..

Let it snow,,,let it snow..let it SNOWY!

Merry Christmas...from our hearth to yours......

Beyond the Broward Part 2...Blue Christmas

    The iconic song of Elvis “I’ll have a blue Christmas, without you" rings in my ear, Sorta. It will be a Great Blue one instead. The rising sun is lighting up the sky with a golden yellow glow. Silhouetted by the glow are two Great Blue Herons who greet the morning and each other with the kind of affection we human couples strive for. It looks to me like Gus and Greta, the Great Blue Herons have returned to the wetlands to renew “auld acquaintances” and ensure that next year the gift of life will continue to another generation.

     The morning light fills the wetlands.  I can see at least a half dozen pair of Great Blue Herons moving about. It is mating season again. From my research and observation, things are in motion for a very productive season. The male Great Blue Heron stakes out a nesting site and will protect it from the other rivals with fierce displays and fights. They will return to the same area and site again and again. Then they wait for some good looking female Great Blue to check it out.  In Gus’s old palm tree stump, he waits for Greta to show and approve the site. From the carrying on and embraces exhibited by these it is apparent Greta is pleased with the nesting site. Their displays, and hugs are enough to make a grown man blush. Ole Gus is sure glad to see his mate and gain her affection. I sit down in my folding chair and set up my tripod to capture the moment. Another Great Blue flies in and lands right behind me and walks over to a nearby bush to select a suitable stick for his nest. After carefully examining the bushes he selects a small branch, breaks it off and launches off to the nest to present it to his mate. She is so excited to see him come and with a display of feathers and strutting, accepts the stick and carefully places it in just the right place. She then tells her mate, now go get a bigger one next time. And so he does, again and again until she is pleased. He knows if he doesn’t it will be a blue Christmas indeed. Great Blue Herons are not known to mate for life but do indeed remain monogamous throughout the mating season. And so it begins.

     I hope to return to the wetlands soon and see how things are going. In the meantime there are presents to buy and wrap, reservations to be made and plans to be made. The Editor seemed pleased with the huge Christmas tree “stick” I brought her this year too. Yes the tree is finally up and the lights and decorations are too. The Editor and I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas! Blessings. Harry

The Great Blue Herons, Gus and Greta are silhouetted by the morning sun..

Male Great Blue Herons stake out a nest site and wait and wait for a mate to come check it out.

Look who's coming! 

It's Greta!

Greta finally arrives and Gus is excited to greet her...

It is tough to kiss when you don't have lips...but they manage

Get a stick..she says...wonder if this is big enough...

Nope, too small,,,,this one is bigger, it should do...I hope..

She likes it!

Now that the nest is done, time to eat..now where is that fish?

Road Trip...Beyond the Broward Part 1 of 2

     December is finally here. Got your Christmas shopping done yet? Me neither, besides, I have plenty of time. Got the tree up finally (It only fell over two times so far). The holidays and recent "Election stress" was getting to me so the Editor decided I needed a road trip. I didn’t argue and packed my bags and headed to the Viera Wetlands for an overnight trip. The Great Blue Herons are beginning their nesting behavior and I wanted to see if I could capture some of the courting behavior.

     When I arrived before sunrise I found that half the ponds were closed to the public. So much for those plans. I toured the remaining cells and watched the sunrise. Indeed a few pair of Great Blue Herons were starting their nesting behavior. Gus and Greta were there (see last February’s story). More on the Great Blues Herons to follow next week. I heard the Sandhill Cranes in the distance. Due to the click ponds being closed I missed their morning dance but did catch a pair later on near the parking lot that let me walk up right to them. Anhinga were in abundance as well as double crested Cormorants, a few Little Green Herons, an American Bittern, Snowy and Great Egrets, Tricolored Herons and a few Black-bellied Whistling ducks. A Bald Eagle and a Northern Harrier made a pass through the area also looking for prey. By the time I got out of the car with my Doohickey they were almost out of sight. After taking nearly 2000 photos I decided I better head back to the Broward and start editing.

     I needed that. I love the backyard Broward birds but it is nice to hit the road for a change of scenery and some other photo opportunities. Hopefully in the coming new year I can do some more Beyond the Broward road trips. I think the Editor was glad to have me back though after this short trip. I know the pups sure missed me. Blessings, Harry 

Sandhill Crane fly by to start the day

I thought this Sandhill Crane was coming through the truck window..Got any food Mr Doohickey?

Look at the size of those drumsticks,,good thing Thanksgiving is over

Dressed to kill,,,female Anhinga shows off her wing colors..a feme fatale

Female Anhinga with fresh catch of the day who does not look too happy

An Eastern Phoebe lights up the day

Shy Pied-billed Grebe

White Ibis take off..

Osprey Vigil..looking for breakfast..

Palm Warbler also known as "Butter Butt"

I will see  you next week with part 2.  So don't be blue

email: selsorhd@me.com

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