Buzzards, Blizzards, and Blues..

     The haze grey cloudy sky is filled with Buzzards lately. I think the Chinese New year folks got it wrong.  This is the year of the Buzzard…not the horse. I also heard they were having another Blizzard in Massachusetts this past week. Weather and other circumstances also prevented my planned excursion Beyond the Broward this month.  The sun has been barely visible this week! And I got the Blues! It is so hard to do decent photography without some sunlight. But come rain or shine there are a few faithful fowl out there each day. So we try our best.

      On the one day of sunshine, I walk out the back door after supper and head to the dock. As I look up I see a Bald Eagle flying towards me. An instinctive reaction with my finger on the doohickey is the only thing that captures that moment. The majestic bird continues in the direction of the nest.  In order to confirm my identification, I follow it and get a photograph in the vicinity of the nest. An examination the photos confirm that this is the same female adult.  While going back over some older photos I also conclude that this eagle has been in the area at least since early September.

      Later back on the river I spot my little Tricolored Heron friend a few feet away patiently watching for minnows. As the sun sets it flies to the pole above my head.  In a close up crop of the photo can you actually see the reflection of the sunset in its eye. But that was about the last time either of us saw the sun. Regardless of the skies, spring is in the air on the Broward. Old Man River the Great Blue Heron is seen high in one of the trees in a courting display for his mate before flying off for another adventure. The breeding colors are showing on the Great Egrets and the other heron species also. Spring also means crab season and I see George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron, feasting on a small blue crab sandwich on the bank. While searching near the zoo, a Roseate Spoonbill goes winging by. Can’t wait to see them on the river.  Those bright pink wings certainly light up any day.

      Ever stop to think how the weather sometimes affects everything in life? We know that winter is followed by spring as the seasons progress.  I have always been able to deal with that until I took up photography. I really look forward to days filled with blue skies. But I also appreciate the cloudy rainy days. We all need them and so does the earth. BUT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. COME ON PHIL, YOU DUMB GROUNDHOG, TURN OFF THE WINTER BUTTON! NOW! There. I am ok. Be blessed. Harry

Hey, who turned out the lights?

A majestic Bald Eagle , I mean BALD BUZZARD soars right over me on the dock.

Now a majestic Bald Eagle soars over me on the dock!

This is the same female adult eagle near the nest. Photo comparisons confirm the identification.

The Tricolored Heron patiently waits for minnows!

I can see the sunset reflection it the Tricolored Heron's eye! The last one we saw that is.

George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron enjoys a Crab sandwich.

A Green Heron is also spotted, first sighting of the Spring.

The Great Egret is showing breeding colors of Green around the eyes.

The Little Blue Heron's beak is also turning breeding blue.

Waiting for the sun, and breakfast.

Seen any sunshine up there lately? There ain't no sunshine in my eyes is there now?

We still have some blowing "snowys" on the Broward but no Blizzards.

See ya later sunshine!

Take me out to the ball game...

     The fading curtain of night is pulled below the western horizon by a setting full moon. On the opposite horizon, a pre dawn pink glow lifts the veil of morning as the sun begins its timeless journey through the sky. Gleaming white jet contrails streak across the deep blue morning expanse of the heavens. A juvenile Bald Eagle accompanied by an adult sweeps low over the river in this early morning light. The adult eagle perches in the tall branches of a pine tree on the opposite bank of the river and watches it offspring search the river below for fish. Spring has officially arrived on the calendar but for me it is just another beautiful day on the Broward.

     One sure sign of spring has been the arrival of the Yellow Crowned Night Herons. A distinctive white patch below the eye and yellow crown feathers with a white plume mark this particular heron species. Yes “George” is back. And the favorite fare of this fowl is crabs. Tommy the crab fisherman has recently reset his crab traps in the river so the blue crab will soon be in season. And George just can’t wait to taste them. I have also met a new friend (human type without wings) named Scott who showed me some of the local Bald Eagle nests (thank you Scott!). The eagle pair I often see on the Broward have their nest in a subdivision a few miles away right next to a baseball park. So much for peace and quiet in that nest this spring. However, if the fish get scarce they can always eat hot dogs. There are two juvenile eagles on the nest, one is flying to the nearby trees already, and the other is still staying on the nesting tree but should be flying soon. By mid May the Bald Eagle nesting season will end in Florida and these eagles will be fully fledged and probably head north with the other “Snowbirds”. Bald Eagles usually return to the same nesting sites in Florida for many years. In the meantime each weekend it is take me out to the Ball game. Sure hope no “fowl” balls bean the eagles.

     Although it’s Spring and George is back, most of his time will be spent hunting for crabs in the mud at low tide.  Sorta like life huh? We slog and toil in the mud in the low tide of life to get the things we want (or think we need). Then the high tides come in and we have to wait it out for the next opportunity to get more “stuff”.  Hmmm… if only we could stop the tides.  Well sorry George, it is the tide of life giving waters that bring those crabs and all the other nutrients we need. So relax, just ride out the tide. Heck it’s springtime after all.  Go watch a ball game with the eagles and have a hot dog instead…Be Blessed. Harry

The setting full moon pulls the curtain of night below the western horizon.

The thin veil of morning lifts with the sun, revealing jet plumes of white streaking thru the heavens.

Female Bald Eagle near nest launches from an Electric Power Pole in the area.

The eagle's nest with two Juveniles has been identified right next to a  nearby ballpark! This one is ready to fly!

George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron is back!

A yellow crown and white plume and band below the eyes clearly identify this heron.

George spends a great deal of time in the mud at low tide!

A Greater Yellowlegs Sandpiper joins the hunt for food on the outgoing tide

George comes flying in from his muddy crab hunting expedition.

Birds are not the only creatures hunting in the low tide..soggy raccoon emerges from the marsh..

Tricolored Heron captures a snack too!

Tide is coming in...Take me out to the Ball Park..gonna get a hot dog...see ya!

The Ides of March are upon us. Beware of the watchers….

     On this mid March day the famous last lines of Julius Caesar “Et tu Brute?” were spoken.  He was warned to “beware the Ides of March”. Last year on that date I observed an adult and it’s juvenile Bald Eagle offspring practicing “Tail and dive” maneuvers on a poor unsuspecting Osprey.  No such luck this year but I have been spotting the Bald Eagles in the area still. I have a lead on the possible location of their nest that I plan to check out later this week. The March winds have definitely been blowing on the Broward. Although I have not seen a lot of activity I do have some good news to report.

     George and his lovely wife Georgette, the Yellow Crowned Night Herons, are back. Yesterday I spotted the pair on the dock. They flew to the same tree they used for roosting last year. Hope to get some photos soon. In the meantime I had a nice encounter with my Tricolored Heron friend that I shared with you earlier this week. This bird is quite use to my presence. I spot it on the dock and slowly approach. When it gets nervous I sit down low and began to talk the bird. I suggest that it should go to the opposite side of the dock where the sun would be at a better angle for photographs. To my surprise the bird looks at me, turns around and starts walking towards me (takes a small “break” on the dock), and saunters across to the other side. It hops down right where I wanted it and let me take some excellent shots while it chases down minnows for an afternoon snack. At one point I notice the bird looking up in the sky. I follow its gaze and spot a juvenile Bald Eagle flying over. The heron knew potential danger was overhead. I didn’t hear it, how did the heron know?

     There are always watchers overhead on the Broward. This week I capture the Red Shouldered Hawk watching the bird feeders. Those predator birds are always looking for opportunity. That is how life is in nature. We too have watchers I believe. Where do you think they get that phrase about being careful lest a bird tells on you from? Not all watchers are malevolent though. We have all had those narrow escapes, a swerve at the last second that avoided a tragedy.  Was someone good watching over you then? So remember that next time you see the shadow fly overhead. We have watchers too. Be Blessed. Harry

Sunrise on the Ides of March..

Bald Eagle on the Broward..

Snowy Egret fly by..

Tricolored Heron saunters over to the others side of the dock..just where I wanted it.

The Tricolored Heron enjoys an afternoon minnow snack.

A shadow passes overhead, the heron looks up! An eagle glides overhead..watching..

The Little Blue Heron is starting to show breeding colors..

Female Mallard duck takes wing..

There are watchers above...Sub-adult Bald Eagle flies overhead..

Pied Billed Grebe watches me while I watch it..

Red Shouldered Hawk watches the feeders for opportunity

No need to be alarmed though..

Rest assured says my Triclored friend..someone is watching over us all...

Birds of a feather...

     I awake early this morning to a nearly cloudless night blue sky. The sun is still below the horizon as I gather up my camera gear and head for the dock.  A faint orange glow begins to gleam like gold behind a cloud bank on the horizon before the sunrise bursts through. It has been nothing but rain and overcast all week. Finally going to see some sunshine. Heard some sad news last night though. Dozens of Brown Pelicans have been found on the local Mayport beaches, apparently dead of starvation, malnutrition and cold weather. Similar reports are in the news all up and down the Florida coast. If only they had signed up for OPelicare.

      A Great Egret glides to the distant old dock. As I slowly approach for a photo opportunity, lo and behold a familiar beak (a local Brown Pelican) glides onto the dock (albeit not as graceful as the Egret). They say birds of a feather flock together. Must be true because the Egret turns and gives the Pelican a look of disgust and seems to have said something to hurt the pelican's feelings. The poor pelican then hung its head and flopped into the river. Walking back to the dock I discover that there, sitting on the Jon boat, is my Pelican pal. I start talking to the pelican and tell it there is no truth to whatever the Egret said. The Pelican looks up at me as if to say thanks for understanding. Not wanting to leave it alone, and moving ever so slowly, I join my feathered friend sitting on the floating dock. Beckoning the bird closer, after a short while the pelican seems sure no harm is meant and comes out from behind the Jon boat and just relaxes in the sun with me. It then just plops down and begins to preen and scratch while stretching that neck this way and that way. The direction of the sun’s morning light makes for less than optimum backlit photos. There is little that can be done without scaring the bird away so the doohickey gets pushed as best I can before letting it alone to snooze away the morning. I don’t want this Brown Pelican to end up like those poor ones on the beach so I tell it all about where to sign up for OPelicare.

     The late John Lennon penned in his utopic song “Imagine all the people”, about Living life in peace.  This all sounds great on the surface but it is difficult to “imagine” after reading the news. The Pelicans are starving and freezing to death. The old “Cold War” is hot again. No imagining required there (just ask the people of the Ukraine).  Mr. Lennon’s lyrics state that if there were “no heaven or hell or religion” to worry about we could all just “get along” and “the world will live as one”. It seems that most of the world has already rejected the notion of Heaven and Hell. That Living life in Peace thing is not working out so well then is it Mr. Lennon? There is a reason Birds of feather flock together (safety, security, survival of the species). And just like humans they don’t always seem to get along together with other birds who are different. But that pelican and me, we get along just fine. We share the same spirit (IE feather) in some regards. Maybe we should all be that way. Think about it. Be Blessed. Harry

Sunrise breaks over the Broward

A Brown Pelican lands  under the wary eye of the Great Egret.

The Egret seems to chide the poor hapless pelican..

The Pelican plops into the river and swims away rejected..

The Turkey Vultures have no problem getting along,,,they are birds of a feather after all...

I find the Brown Pelican sitting on the Jon Boat...dejected looking..

I find the Brown Pelican sitting on the Jon Boat...dejected looking..

I assure the Pelican I mean no harm and it comes out from behind the Jon Boat..

It begins to relax...I mean really relax...

It begins to relax...I mean really relax...

We both sit in the sun and enjoy the early morning warmth.

Maybe we don't always see things eye to eye..but we get along just fine me and the pelican..

Where was that Wingsite for OPelicare at you mentioned?

Does OPelicare cover pre-existing conditions like my itchy feather syndrome?

Lennon wrote..Imagine there is no heaven, above us only sky....Why I ask? Who wants to live in that world?

I think I would rather believe in heaven than the world we live in now..My friend nods in agreement..we birds of a feather that is..

My Tricolored Heron friend just sits and observes it all...Imagine being in Heaven where we all can fly!

Some day soon maybe on some moonlit night...the midnight cry will sound..

Red Sky at night..

     “Look at that Sunset” the Editor exclaims! I get up from the computer and glance out the window. Grabbing my landscape lens I fumble a bit changing lenses and then rush outside to catch the moment. “Red Sky at night, Sailors delight” is an apt description of the fading deep crimson glow in the clouds as the sun quickly sets over the Broward. Changing settings for a High Definition Resolution (HDR) exposure, I push the doohickey three clicks in quick succession. And then it is gone. However, the resulting captured moment reflected in the river was highlighted a few hours later on the local evening news. Hope you enjoy it too!

     The frontal passage early that morning set up the atmospheric conditions for the memorable sunset.  A few days later March arrives in Florida more like a lamb than the fierce lion like storms that most of the rest of the states are experiencing. Buds are emerging on our Bald Cyprus that we call “the General”. Flowering pink and red buds are showing on some of the trees. A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers drop by for a few moments one morning. A few robins are still hanging around in the area as they get the northern weather forecasts on the bird wire and are enjoying the spring like temperatures of Florida a few more days. Migratory songbirds like the Northern Cardinal are hoping in the General's branches while a Bluebird takes its perch at the very top of the tree. A Morning Dove leaps with joy over its mate. A Mocking Bird munches on a spring bud over my head and looks down on me as if to say one step closer and I may drop a “surprise” on you.

     As I grumble to myself about life and circumstance, I watch a flight of Ibis wing by.  I am suddenly reminded of the words “Consider the birds of the air”.  The Good Lord takes care of them each day and the promise to we sojourners of life on two legs without wings is that we have even more assurance that our needs will be met also.  So (self) quite complaining about the weather and things we can’t control and just “Consider the birds”. Then go enjoy a beautiful sunset. Be blessed. Harry

Red sky at night, Sailor's delight..Sunset 27 Feb 14 reflects on the Broward

March comes in like a lamb in Northern Florida with flowering spring tree buds ...

A Cardinal breaks into song..

A Chipping Sparrow gives me the eye...

A Morning Dove jumps with joy!

A Bluebird sits over my shoulder in the tree

A Snowy Egret bids goodbye to winter as it wings bye..

A Mocking bird casts a wary more step mister and I let er rip...

Female Pileated Woodpecker hunts for food, note the square like holes it leaves behind..

Seemingly like this egret I grumble about life and circumstance as I reflect..then..

I consider the birds of the air.."Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew  6:26 KJV


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