Trick or Treat...

     Do you remember a time when you put on a home made costume and took a big paper bag or bucket to carry all that candy and went off to visit all the neighbors homes? They would then try to guess who you were?  We would say "Trick or Treat" and most of the time we got a wonderful candy treat.  If no candy was given, it was a toilet paper trick on them instead. Trick or treat times have changed it seems, or is it just me?

     Two large brown eyes of a Barred Owl peer down from the cypress tree. Who? Who? Who cooks for you? The familiar call of this unique raptor fills the cypress swamp. Actually it is a recorded owl call being broadcast by a bluetooth enabled speaker and phone to lure the Barred Owls in to view. If the "trick" works I get a "treat" of a photo opportunity. In a short time the owl appears deep within the tree branches and begins to search for the source of the “owl intruder”.  This owl is wise and it remains hidden back in the shadows while my back, arm, and shoulder begin to ache holding the heavy camera while waiting for the owl to fly. Finally the muscles fail and I put the camera down. Of course that is when the owl decides to fly over to investigate us. “There it goes” I call out. Missed another opportunity. I think the “trick” was just played by the owl. Later I was fortunate to capture a few still photos of these beautiful raptors. Hope you enjoy them this early autumn season.

     Rumor also has it that a ghost has been sighted on the Broward. This morning before sunup I set up to investigate the ghost sightings. Sure enough, a strange white ghost-like form suddenly appears. Thankfully it is just a Snowy Egret hunting for breakfast. Whew!

     Don’t eat all that Halloween candy now! I have to remind the Editor that the black jelly beans and Reese’s Cups are MINE! Be blessed. Harry

The Barred Owl is lured by our trick call and peers out of the tree to find the source of the strange sounding hoot. 

I see you in that camouflaged boat, You can't fool this wise ole owl. 

Your arms are getting heavy...very heavy...put the camera is so heavy..

Ha! The trick is on you buddy, now I'm gonna fly...Trick or Treat!

A ghost like creature suddenly appears on the Broward in the wee dawn hour...

Brrr..that water is cold this morning...whew, it is just a Snowy Egret..glad it isn't a ghost..

Time for some Halloween Shrimp!...Hope you had a nice treat today...

Roll Call...

     Be careful what you ask for is all I can say. I spent most of the week alone on the dock complaining because there were very few birds seen. Then one night I saw them, the Pied Billed Grebes have returned. The next morning, however, it looked like a veritable bird roll call on the Broward of nearly every local marsh species on the neighbor’s dock.

     At first there were two Wood Storks flying in to feast on shrimp before the tide came in. Then the Tricolored Heron joined a Great Egret as they too flew in for a meal. I glance up on the copula roof and there is the muddiest Roseate Spoonbill I have ever seen. A Snowy Egret and a Little Blue Heron join the gathering. Sitting there amazed at the variety of birds I glance up to see a Bald Eagle winging westward over the Broward, then soon thereafter another one. About that time I begin to hear a squawking from the Night Heron roost as four of them fly out of the tree to join the Spoonbill on the Copula. Then Old Man River, the Great Blue Heron, flies in to join them. Flocks of black Crows cover the trees in the front and are soon flying over the dock to see what is going on. A juvenile White Ibis lands on one of the boat hoist pilings. Not to be outdone the Kingfishers fly in to make it a dozen different bird species on the dock.  The Anhinga then popped its snake like neck up to make it one more.

     All birds on the Broward present and accounted for Sir! In the span of less than an hour a “Bakers Dozen” of species show up around or on the neighbors dock. I think the man upstairs is trying to tell me something. Don’t complain! I barely got done focusing the doohickey on one bird then another comes in. Hmmm...maybe the Editor will spring for that new lens now that I have all this extra work to do.. Be Blessed. Harry

They're baaack...The Pied Billed Grebes have returned.

The next morning several Wood Storks fly to the dock..

The dirtiest Roseate Spoonbill I ever saw joins the Wood Stork..

Spunky the female Belted Kingfisher takes her favorite fishing perch on the dock boat hoist piling. 

Four Black Crowned Night Herons join the dock party

Then the Snowy Egret Blows in on the dock!

A Juvenile White Ibis chases the Kingfisher from the boat hoist then flies over beside me to hunt for food in the grass

Annie the Anhinga pops up and hops on the old dock to dry out also. 

A flock of crows join the party too!

The Great Egret flies in and lands on the dock..where is the food?

The Great Egret flies in and begins looking for food..What is a dock party without food?

Old Man River, the Great Blue Heron and Patriarch of the Broward makes an appearance..

Hey, you can't have a dock party without me squawks the Tricolored Heron.

Can't start a dock party with out music..How about the  blues....Little Blue Herons that is..

All birds on the Broward present and accounted for SIR! At ease spoonie!


Hawks and Doves...

     It has been high tide on the Broward these past few weeks with a scarcity of sunshine.  And I really mean HIGH TIDE! You all have heard of the rain and flooding devastation in South Carolina recently. We were fortunate to just see much higher than normal tides overflow the bank daily bringing some new feeding opportunity to the herons and egrets. In a way the birds of the Broward are just a bit of a microcosm of society.

     The flooding has been both a curse and a blessing. A blessing in that we on the Broward have not seen the devastation they are having in South Carolina and a curse in that the lack of sunshine and high waters have certainly put a damper on my photography recently. What I have seen though lately is more hawks and doves. Kind of like the local politics lately (you are either one or the other it seems). A Red-tailed Hawk landed in the front yard and by the time I got the camera all I got was fleeting shot in the cloudy skies. Later, a Red-shouldered Hawk landed on top of the Bald Cypress in the back yard while chasing some Red-winged Blackbirds. The Mourning Doves have been in abundance too and are some of the favorite targets for the two hawk species. The hawks seem to be missing their targets a lot lately. Hmmm...sorta like the efforts in Syria. The “doves” on the other hand are having a bit of a mess too. They just seem to getting in each other’s way without getting much done. Sounds kind of like our Congress.

     Another thing I have noticed is the young seem to taking over the old favorite haunts of the adult birds. George the Yellow-Crowned night Heron has left but I saw George Jr. on the dock. Old Man River has not been seen much either but his young progeny I believe is now sitting on the boat deck and the dock in the same places I used to see the venerable Great Blue Heron that I call Old Man River. A new generation is on the scene. Hope they learned well. Our future (and my photography) now depend on them.

     Art imitates life they say. So it is with the birds on the Broward. Hawks and doves, peacemakers and those who hunt and kill.  The youth seem to have taken over and are changing lots of things, yet some things remain as they were. Hopefully they were taught the true lessons of life well. Time will tell. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow too. Blessings. Harry

The tides have been abnormally high, often overflowing the banks the past few weeks. Nothing like the devastation though in South Carolina. 

Low tide for comparison...often the bottom mud is totally exposed in this lagoon..

Red-tailed Hawk chasing prey in the front yard..missed again..

Annie the Anhinga has been a frequent visitor lately...also know as the Water Turkey or Snake Bird..

Female Anhinga stretching its feathers and wings..

Classic Anhinga pose while drying its wings..

Red-Shouldered Hawk misses its prey, some Red-winged Blackbirds...

Off for another try...prey in sight..

The Mourning Doves are so shook up by the Hawks they nearly collide..

Hey where you are going!

So much for blessed are the peacemakers...I'm gonna "bless" that dove out next time I see it all right!

Mourning Dove takes off looking for peace...peace peace..but there is no peace..

This raucous Mocking Bird is making lots of noise while we try to relax on the porch..

A new generation of Black Crowned Night Herons is taking over the roost..This juvenile has been evading most of my efforts for a good flight shot...

This Juvenile Little Blue Heron is often seen in the area also..

Thankfully this juvenile Tricolored Heron is allowing me some great photo opportunities. my lil Buddy use to..note the changing colors in the marsh grass as autumn colors begin to fade to brown.. 

I believe this to be the progeny of Old Man River, the Great Blue too has been hanging out in the same places the older generation once did. 

A Snowy Egret fly is welcome...Snow is not!

Pain in the neck...

     I love my chiropractor. Some folks call em quacks...not me. On more than one occasion they have fixed my crooked neck or back. When they manipulate that joint and it cracks just right it relieves the pain immediately. What has that got to do with birds on the Broward one might ask?

     Last December my “lil buddy”, a friendly Tricolored Heron, left and never returned. It use to fly right up to me and land on the boat hoist pole, pose and let me photograph it very close without bothering it. My lil buddy was a regular. I would hear it squawk and recognize it half a mile away. Sure miss him. This past week while sitting on the dock another Tricolored Heron flew up and landed beside my chair. It was not the same bird. This one was a juvenile.  The young heron just looked at me and went about its morning routine and hopped down into the Broward to hunt for minnows. Slowly getting up out of my chair, I follow my new lil buddy down by the floating dock. Again, it just looked at me and kept on hunting. Getting these ole bones down in a prone position without scaring the heron is no easy task (getting up again is yet another extreme feat of accomplishment). However, after successfully doing this I capture some great images of this bird as it looks one way, then the other and stalks the minnows in the shallow outgoing tide. The way these birds bend, coil, stretch, and twist their necks is a sight to behold. It coiled up so tight once I thought it would take a bird chiropractor to fix it. If I moved my neck like these birds I would have a pain in my neck even a chiropractor would have a hard time fixing. 

     Some people can be a pain in the neck also. Too bad we can’t just send them to a chiropractor to fix. How bout you? Got any “Pain in the necks” you would like fixed? Most of em are politicians I think. They can be a pain in another part of the body. Not sure they can be fixed. Be blessed. Harry

A juvenile Tricolored Heron flys up towards me and lands near my chair. 

Like my ole "lil Buddy", this bird is not bothered by my presence and just relaxes a while.

When the tide begins to recede the bird hops down and begins to hunt, undisturbed by my presence. 

The Tricolored Heron stretches that neck this way and then that way peering into the water..

Was that a minnow over there I wonder?

The Tricolored Heron begins to stalk pauses..

It darts that long neck out like an arrow..gotcha!

Oh my neck! I think I pulled something. 

Got one of the three minnows..

Nothing like fresh minnows...

Down the hatch..

Got another one..

I think my neck is stuck...I need a bird chiropractor!


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Photos are avail for purchase framed or unframed.