State of the Broward Address

     Well, the politicians have had their say recently on the State of the Union address. I slept through it so I hope I didn’t miss too much. Speaking of missing, my Tricolored Heron has yet to be seen this year. Hope he returns ok soon. As far as the State of the Broward, things are reallllly slooowwww. There has been little sunshine, lots of fog and rain, and not much activity. Hmmm, kind of like Washington DC wouldn’t you say?

     The Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Cormorant, Anhinga, Hooded Merganser duck, and Pied Billed Grebe are all active this time of year albeit in small numbers. Capturing them in good light is a challenge though. Goose pond is still very active. However there is a recent move by the local conservation folks to turn it over to the State Government for control of “humans”.  So much for the future of photography opportunities there. I recently attended a few photography workshops in Titusville at the Space Coast Wildlife and Birding Festival. I am hoping to improve my photography skills this year and work on focus and exposure (with the camera that is). I have a few nice photos to share in February from the workshop I think you will enjoy. There is a special Valentines story I am working on.

     As for the rest of the world, well it sure seems to be going downhill fast to me. But the good news is gas is cheap for now. So take a ride somewhere, grab some coffee, visit a friend or family and please tell them you love them.  Be Blessed. Harry

"BLUE HOUR" PREDAWN PHOTO OF MOONSET ON THE BROWARD

"BLUE HOUR" PREDAWN PHOTO OF MOONSET ON THE BROWARD

Blue Moon and Old Man River over the Broward

Old Man River the Great Blue Heron assumes his timeless vigil. I have this same photo now for three years running. 

The Brown Pelican has returned to the Broward, soon I hope to ride with Tommy the Crab fisherman for some close up opportunities.

My "Little Buddy" the Tricolored Heron has not been seen since the last week of December.

The Canada Goose population is still getting that free corn on Goose Pond

Conservation efforts soon my hinder photographers opportunities on Goose Pond. Have to keep those Humans under control it seems.

Very few birds were seen on a recent outing to the Okefeenokee Swamp

Very few birds were seen on a recent outing to the Okefeenokee Swamp

No one here in the swamp but us turtles..

My first confirmed Coopers Hawk fly by.

Pied-billed Grebe keeps an eye on my while I press the doohickey

Red Shouldered Hawk searches the trees.

Fly south for the winter she says..it is warm in Florida…WARM MY TAILFEATHERS!

I'll fly away...

     The harsh cold throes of winter are upon those of you in the Northern hinterlands. In Florida it is the grey gloomy skies of the rainy season. However, we did make the national news feeds when we experienced a day with some visible snow flurries. Any of you snow birds ready to fly away to Florida? At this time of year I see Pelicans, beautiful Hooded Mergansers, Grebes and Snowy Egrets. Another winter visitor to the Broward is the Double-crested Cormorant, a surface diving bird.

      From a distance, Double-crested Cormorants are dark birds with snaky necks, but up-close they’re quite colorful—with orange-yellow skin on their face and throat, striking aquamarine eyes that sparkle like jewels, and a mouth that is bright blue on the inside.  Per the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, “The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigate birds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.”

      Cormorants main two activities are fishing and resting, with more than half their day spent on the latter. When at rest, a cormorant will choose an exposed spot on a bare branch or a windblown rock, and often spread its wings out, which is thought to be a means of drying their feathers after fishing. The “double-crest” of the Double-crested Cormorant is only visible on adults during the summer breeding season. I think they look like a grinning Jack Nicholson myself. They are year round residents in Florida but I mainly see them in the winter non-breeding season on the Broward. About a half dozen of these hungry cormorants came swimming round the island hunting in the early morning light and passed right by me on the dock. One finally noticed me and suddenly launched upwards like a rocket! The others dove and swam away.

      For some of us there is a belief we are going to take off like that cormorant. We are going to be swimming along in life and look up, take off, and “fly away” just like the Albert E Brumley’s epic gospel tune of the same name. Till then, just keep swimming and be Blessed. Harry

Dark grey clouds roll across the sky over the Broward..

Snake like bird necks appear in the channel as about a half dozen double-crested cormorants commence their morning feeding on the Broward

Up-close they’re quite colorful—with orange-yellow skin on their face and throat, striking aquamarine eyes that sparkle like jewels

During breeding season the double-crested feathers protrude from around the eyes which become even more iridescent ..Photo by Jack Rogers with permission.

Cormorants spend half their time fishing…like the fortunate one on the left…and

The other half of the time they spend resting and drying out their wings in this classic  pose..nice life!

One by one the cormorants swim by me on the dock...

Once glances upward as I push the doohickey!

The cormorant suddenly launches skyward like a rocket taking off!

Someday like this cormorant…I'll fly away

The Sentinel

     Day two of the workshop with Jack Rogers takes us to Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve (MINWR), which surrounds the Cape Canaveral launch facility. We begin our day before dawn in order to capture the sunrise over the island. The sky was cloudless and dark blue. Slowly an orange red glow began to spread over the horizon. As the sun peaked over the treeline we click our “doohickies” being careful not to stare directly into the glowing orb of brilliant light as dawn broke the morning sky. Eagles then greeted us as the sun arose.

     No stop on the Great Florida Birding trail is complete without a visit to MINWR. You never know what birds or creatures you will find on the Black Point Wildlife Drive and the other sites. This was my first visit and I was anxious to see my first Florida Scrub-Jay, a native bird found only in Florida’s diminishing scrub oaks. The Cornell Laboratory  of Ornithology describes it thusly  “ A bold and curious bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay can become hand-tame in areas where it comes in contact with people”. Jack placed a perch stick on the ground when we entered Scrub Ridge Trail and held up some acorns. Scrub-Jays always have a sentinel on duty watching for predators. The sentinel bird watching our arrival knew we were not a threat and told the others Scrub-jays to get ready for a treat. As Jack tossed acorns (one of their natural foods) near the perch, we focused in for some incredible close up photographs of these beautiful birds. The Black Point Drive marshes were full of Coots, several Osprey and Eagles, and some wading marsh birds and ducks. A river otter also kept us entertained as it searched the under-brushes for mussels and fish. We practiced birds in flight shooting techniques prior to our departure for the day. By the end of the day even the birds were pooped out I think posing for us. 

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a sentinel watching out for us? I believe in fact that we do. We just often ignore the warnings though. Have you ever felt that sixth sense that perhaps you shouldn’t do something but talk yourself into doing it anyway? Have you ever swerved out of danger driving a car at the last split-second. Something caused you to glance at just the right time. Hmmm…maybe there are guardian angels after all. Be Blessed. Harry

Sunrise over Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve (MINWR)

A river otters flashes a toothy grin as it pauses for a photo op.

A Little Green Heron reflects in the morning light.

A pair of Hooded Merganser ducks provide a brief opportunity before dashing off.

Roseate Spoonbill fly by..

Osprey with "carry out" catfish..

The Sentinel Scrub-Jay watches our arrival and tells the others we are coming with food!

My first Florida Scrub-Jay…it hops down on the perch Jack set up and spots an acorn..

Mine...

Mine...

Mine Mine Mine….how many acorns can a Scrub-Jay hold?

Black Bellied Plover in non breeding colors on a low flight profile..

Black skimmer fly by..

Osprey with fish snack on a limb..

Can't a bird have lunch without all you doohickey folks looking at us?

That's it Jack..I'm pooped..

Happy New Year!

     Reflections on the past may seem futile to some, to others a needed time to pause to remember, a time to recall, reminisce and then renew. How did you spend this past New Year’s eve (or do you even remember)? I think for most in my age group we struggled to stay up to watch “the ball” fall in New York as the countdown to 2015 was completed and had a toast with friends or relatives and loved ones and then, quickly fell to sleep. But now a New Year is upon us and so begins another season of Reflections on Broward.

     This is Part 1 of my recent journey with some photo friends on a workshop headed by my friend and acclaimed nature photographer Jack Rogers. It was a chance to meet with some great photographers, enjoy photo opportunities with Jack, and learn new techniques and methods to capture and share photos of these wondrous creations of winged flight. We began (or should I say they began because I was late arriving) at sunrise in the Viera Wetlands. The Viera Wetlands (also known as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands), located at the west end of Wickham Road in Melbourne Florida, were created as part of a water reclamation and treatment project. It is one of the stops on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife trail you shouldn’t miss. These wetlands offer exceptional birding by car, foot or bicycle. My favorite subjects this visit were the Crested Caracara, the Roseate Spoonbill and, the Florida alligator. I hope you enjoy the photos.

      There are some places in life we just always like going back to. For me, the Viera Wetlands is one. Although we can’t go back in time, we can go forward with today because that is all we are truly guaranteed. So if you are reading this blog today on this first week of the New Year, welcome back! I sure enjoyed last year with you and look forward to sharing new photos today and hopefully in the year ahead. Be Blessed. Harry

The Crested Caracara, a local popular raptor species, flies by while Jack is teaching…sorry Jack couldn't miss this photo opportunity!

Another view of the Crested Caracara. Nice hairpiece!

Roseate Spoonbill liftoff! Talk about poetry in motion..

Spreading those graceful pink wings...

One last look..

An American Bittern poses for the photographers in the bright morning sun.

Little Green Heron before visit to Janet the hairdresser!

Little Green Heron after visit to Janet the hairdresser ! What a doo!

Northern Harrier female surveys the marsh wetlands for opportunity.

Loggerhead Shrike protests my arrival. 

Loggerhead Shrike looking for lunch..hopefully I am too big to bother with..

Blue-winged Teal female duck paddles precariously close to an alligator nearby. 

The alligator waits and watches!

I am going to keep an eye out for you this New Year!

email: selsorhd@me.com

All photographs and materials copyrighted and possession of Harry D Selsor. All rights reserved.

Photos are avail for purchase framed or unframed.