Shall we gather at the river..

     A smoke like fog swirls over the Broward in the golden morning light as a solitary Great Blue Heron patiently awaits the warming sun. Other birds are gathering too. What is a gathering? There are many synonyms; collection, congregation, meeting, bunch, flock, rally, swarm, get-together, and social function to name a few.  For the past few years a flock of juvenile White Ibis have gathered in our local neighborhood about this time of year. What is different about this years’ event is they have chosen my back yard as a prime gathering place on the river.

     The juvenile White Ibis are still brown or mottled with some white wing feathers showing. The adults are all white with black wingtips and pinkish red long curved beaks. These Ibis feed and forage on insects, seeds, and crabs in small flocks of about 20-30 birds. They move from one yard to another seemingly oblivious to passing cars and people for the most part. I can slowly approach them quite close for photographic opportunities without seeming to bother them. On a recent morning the Ibis were a few houses down, heading in my direction, so I decided to lay down in the driveway while they walked right by me across the road. Suddenly they stopped and headed right for me. About that time I felt a bump on my rear as one had apparently walked right over my back.

     The Snowy Egrets and Little Blue and Tricolored Herons have also been frequenting the banks of the Broward. I know it is Florida but for us Sunbelt dwellers, when it gets near freezing even the birds seem cold. Yet they continue to gather at the river each day and they are rewarded from the bounty of the Broward and straight from the hand of God. It assures me we will be taken care of too. Be Blessed. Harry

Smoke on the water..a solitary Great Blue Heron stands in the swirling smoke fog in the golden light of dawn..waiting for it to warm up

Shall we gather at the river? ..a small flock of immature White Ibis have been feeding in the back yard the past few weeks..

Bird on a limb !

Double Trouble in the form of two Snowy Egrets waiting for the tide to turn and feed...

Sure could use a hot cup of coffee this morning...how bout you there Little Blue?

The young White Ibis have been visiting lawns all over the neighborhood feeding in the grass. 

The Immature White Ibis are brown and eventually the feathers turn white..they walk right in front of me as I lay in the driveway.

This young adult White Ibis has black wing tips and is nearly mature..

Suddenly they turn and head right at me and over me!

Seems I am just a bump in the road of life..what a gathering..

May the Bluebird of happiness shine on you this week..be blessed.

Road Trip..

     When is the last time you took a spontaneous road trip? I mean a real spontaneous one. A distant cousin of mine recently shared that her husband suggested they leave the “warm” hills of West Virginia and go to Florida for a Kayaking river adventure. Off they went and had a great time with the kids. Key factor here is they are young, have kids, and did I say they are young? Most of us “seniors” require a bit more planning I think to be “spontaneous” (except for my friend Frenchy).  When I heard the water levels at the click ponds of the Viera Wetlands were low and full of white pelicans, I couldn’t wait to get on the road. Alas, I had to wait for a little while to cover homecare duties but did get to go there recently. Glad I made it back too!

     Gus and Greta, the Great Blue Herons, were still very much in love and preparing their nest for a new generation. Before the sun was over the horizon, ole Gus was busy bringing that perfect stick to the nest for Greta. She was still most appreciative of the gift (unlike the Editor who didn’t seem to appreciate the “Car Cane” I got her for Christmas). I digress. The sun managed to hide behind a single cloud for hours as the pale pink light turned to blue. I saw the distinct silhouette form of a large “Gator” glide across the surface of the cell pond in the early morning light.  It was at least 10 feet long. A Little Blue Heron was busy looking for minnows only few feet away while I stood at the waters edge taking photos of Gus and Greta. Silently the gator made a turn and began to swim in my direction, its long tail propelling it closer. And closer. At a distance of about 10 feet it stopped moving and just stared in my direction. Was it me or the heron that captured its attention? It began to slowly drift towards me and was within five or six feet when it stopped again, staring at me. Then its body began to submerge until only the head remained. The last thing I saw were those huge cold eyes staring at me. Gators will often lie submerged on the bottom and suddenly blast out of the water to snatch an unsuspecting prey. The heron apparently sensed this and took to wing. I took that as a strong hint to back away from the waters edge. I think I will go look for the pelicans now. And indeed I did, quickly.

      Life is a gift to be enjoyed. Be spontaneous. You won’t regret it. You never know what you will encounter. But when you do encounter dangers, be wise. Listen to that voice in your head that says ”Time to go stupid!” Be blessed. Harry

Gus and Greta, the Great Blue Herons were still busy preparing for the next generation..

Greta seemed appreciative of each gift..(unlike a certain Editor)..

An enormous alligator glides silently across the pond..

A Little Blue Heron hunts for minnows at the waters edge near my feet.

Silently the gator turns and begins to head towards me..

The gator stops within about 10 feet from me and slowly begins to submerge..

The last thing I saw before it submerged were those eyes staring at me..

That sixth sense told the Little Blue Heron, it's time to go....I took the hint and backed away...time to go find those pelicans..

Dozens of White Pelicans were indeed enjoying the easy pickings in the low water level of the click pond.

When this White Pelican drifted by I was not too worried..so peaceful..

All was well until this Boat-tailed Grackle decided to peck at my feet..

I then decided to head back to the other ponds as did this Roseate Spoonbill. 

Gus was still busy bringing sticks to the nest..

Greta must be getting ready for eggs soon as Gus kept bringing more sticks for the nest..

Ole Blue Eyes, the White Ibis says see ya later..watch out for the Gator!

Reflections

     The golden light of morning creeps over the Broward. It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a new year. Time for a cup of coffee, some quit time on the dock, and a pause to reflect on the coming day and give thanks.

     As I walk down the dock the Snowy Egrets who were gathering there, take wing and head for the old broken pier next door. Broward Bob, the Little Blue Heron, sits quietly undisturbed on the bank, enjoying the morning light. I capture the moment with a click of the doohickey. His peace is soon disturbed by the cacophony of the Snowy Egrets as they intrude on his solitude. Bob flies over to the channel in front of me to escape the Snowy Egrets. But not for long. Soon they join him again. I am sorry for Bob but happy I am getting some great reflection shot opportunities. A cormorant swims around the channel and comes in my direction before it goes into the lagoon. In a few moments it surfaces with a fish and shortly afterwards another. About this time three Pied Billed Grebes come swimming by, their images perfectly reflected in the water. Suddenly I hear a huge splash and look up to see a juvenile Brown Pelican swimming towards me. It comes so close I can’t even retain focus as it swims by.

    So much for my quiet time, but who is complaining? I love getting good reflection shots, they are my signature blog photos when I can get them. That is how we are supposed to be too. When someone looks at us they should see a perfect reflection of our values and the one who created us. What do folks see in your reflection lately? Blessings. Harry

Broward Bob, stands quietly enjoying the morning light..for a moment that is..

Then here comes the Snow..Snowys that is..

So much for peace and solitude..

Broward Bob flies over the the channel in front of me to get some relief and reflect on things..

Here comes the Snow (Snowys) again!

Hey Bob, what ya know? Any minnows over here?

All the Snowy's seem to do is reflect trouble..

A cormorant then swims up the channel towards me..

I heard there was some fish over here! The Snowy's told me ...

Caught one...

And another one!

I hear a splash and look up to see this Brown Pelican Juvenile swimming towards me..its reflection distorted by the waves it creates ahead of its path.

The Pelican swims right up to my feet and I can no longer retain focus, it is too close for the lens..sorta like life, some things need to be kept at the right distance to be in focus..

Three Pied Billed Grebes swim by casting a perfect reflection...can you say the same? 

Challenges..

     Welcome to a new year of Reflections and a new year that will bring us all many challenges. I am not big on resolutions but I think it wise to reflect on the past year and resolve not to make the same mistakes if possible in the future. That said, I want to share with you some of my favorite photos of 2015.

      In January the Brown Pelicans were again on the Broward following my friend Tommy's crab boat. Winter is the breeding season for many of the Florida native and migratory birds. Gus and Greta, the Great Blue Herons of the wetlands, brought a smile to a lot of faces in February. The Ospreys of Blue Cypress Lake were March's awe inspiration and powerful to see. April brought my favorite character “George”, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron back for an award winning mating display photo for the Wildlife Conservation Society.  This was followed in May by another winner in the Wild Amelia photo contest and calendar cover with a Tricolored Heron “truckin” down the beach at Fort De Soto. The beautiful Pink Roseate Spoonbills brightened up June and made The Wildlife Conservation Society's 2016 international calendar. July was hot on the Broward. I got real low to photograph some illusive Little Green Herons. Bird Stewarding on the sizzling August beach allowed me to see the Royal village of Huguenot and the Royal Terns raised there. As we rolled into September, Broward Bob, the Little Blue Heron gave me lots of photo opportunities. I had an “Owl-o-ween” experience also with the Barred Owls of October.  The illusive 007, a Belted Kingfisher, was my November highlight followed by another Viewbug award winning photo called "Sunset Glow" of a Snowy Egret on the Broward to close out the year.

     Along with facing challenges that the times will bring to all of us, I am going to resolve to improve my photography both in the field and in the “computerized darkroom” and challenge myself to make 2016 and even better year of Reflections on Broward, Lord willing. Time to press forward now. Be Blessed. Harry

The Brown Pelican was back on the Broward in January following my friend Tommy's crab fishing boat.

Gus and Greta, the Great Blue Herons stole our hearts in February at the wetlands..

The awe inspiring Ospreys on Blue Cypress lake brought the promise of Springtime in March.

This Wildlife Conservation Society award winning photo of "George" the Yellow Crowned Night Heron in a mating display heralded the month of April.

May followed with a Wild Amelia contest award winner and Calendar cover of this Tricolored Heron "Trucking" down the beach

"Pink Angel Wings" of this Roseate Spoonbill made an international contest selection for a Wildlife Conservation Society Calendar for 2016 also in June.

I had to get real low to capture this Little Green Heron on the Broward in the heat of July

It takes a Royal village to raise a Royal Tern and lots of fish at Huguenot Beach in August.

Broward Bob, a Little Blue Heron gave me lots of photo opportunities in September..

October brought a Happy "Owl-O-Ween" with this Barred Owl capture.

The illusive 007, a Belted Kingfisher was captured by my doohickey in November..

We closed the year 2015 with this Viewbug award winning winter photo of a Snowy Egret called Sunset Glow for December..the new challenge begins..

email: selsorhd@me.com

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