The first real cold snap of the new year has hit the sunshine state. The fireplace is blazing, the coffee is hot and fresh. The steamy aroma is pleasant to my somewhat cold proboscis. I need some dock time. The “She Shed” project has been delayed a few weeks waiting on the engineers to finish their drawings. Don’t have to worry about mosquitos this morning.
As I watch the sun creep over the marsh grass, I see a Northern Harrier swoop along the tree tops before heading up the Broward. Unfortunately, it is heading in the wrong direction and too far away for a decent photo. A shadowy wing glides towards me. It has a long curved proboscis beak which must also really be cold this wintery morning. A few mature and juvenile White Ibis have been hanging around the area the past few days. Frequently seen on lawns looking for large insects as well as probing for prey along the shoreline, the White Ibis, a wading bird of the deep South, migrates through this area about twice a year. This morning two mature and one juvenile Ibis join me for some dock time. Aware of my presence, they quickly determine I am no threat and pull up a leg for some rest and relaxation on the dock. The juvenile is brown with white streaks on the tail and belly. The mature adults are all white with black wing tips. The white blotches in the background photos are not snow by the way. The local Tricolored Heron swoops in and joins them for a few moments and does its ritual feather ruffle routine before settling down. The Ibis seem less tolerant of the Heron than they do of me. It gets the hint and soon departs to feed.
My gaze peers down the river. A familiar bird is heading right towards me, perfect light, time for a great capture opportunity. Ole Man River, the Great Blue Heron, must have spotted me about the same time. As I prepared to focus on this magnificent bird it did an abrupt course change to the left and went high and to my right over the dock. Maybe not as close as I would like, I pushed the doohickey and got a picture of the stubborn ole bird to start the New Year.
Dock Time is different now. It is still my favorite time of the day but now the Editor and I find we can go out to breakfast together after I come in. Although there is an emptiness we notice, we are beginning to get used to the idea there is time we have just for us now. That is a good thing. Hope your New Year is off to a blessed start too. Harry