The Red-Tailed Prince...

     What a beautiful weekend on the Broward. Although we had a bit of morning frost, the days are getting warmer and the winds have finally calmed a bit. Perfect coffee drinking weather on the back porch. I finally got the camera out one evening and was just enjoying the setting sun, when the Red-Tailed Prince of the Air attacked.

      There is a nesting colony of Black Crowned Night Herons next to my property along the bank of the Broward. They generally wait until I leave or the sun sets to venture out for the night to feed at low tide. They are illusive to capture in just the right setting golden light. Tonight I had some help from the Red-Tailed Prince of the Air. I heard a loud commotion in the tree and looked up to see a Red-Tailed Hawk swoop down on the tree hoping perhaps to capture a late evening snack of one the night herons. About 14 Black Crowned Night Herons took flight at the same time (literally “poopin” themselves) at the sudden attack. They all came flying right at me to take cover on the pier. Finally spotting me, they did a quick turn and all of them settled nearby along the riverbank. The predator hawk took off, empty handed so to speak but returned about five minutes later and flew right towards me allowing me to capture a few keepers.

     Like the poor night Herons, we too are under the watchful eye and sudden attacks of the prince of the air according to the book of Ephesians (see chapter 2). We also have a promised refuge though from the Prince of the Air through the Chief Cornerstone. The herons took refuge along the river. So someday will we too dwell in peace on such a river. Be Blessed. Harry

The Red-tailed "prince of the air " can be a scary sight if you see it coming at you..

The attack on the Black Crowned Night Heron colony was sudden and silent but an alert sentry sounded the alarm.

About 14 Black Crowned Herons suddenly took flight heading right towards me...scared the "you know what" out of this one...no wonder...

Filling the Frame..this poor scared Black Crowned Night Heron almost landed on me before realizing it

This bird passed to my left, wide eyed with flight or fright syndrome..

Seeing me on the dock they all took refuge on the river...someday we will too hopefully..

The Red-tailed Prince of the Air finally left ..without its intended prey..at least on this night..

With the coast clear the herons returned to the safety of their tree one by one..

The show must go on...

     As I looked up into the trees while taking out the trash the other day, I saw a bunch of familiar looking red-bellied birds...Robins.  The next morning while going to the doctors they were all over the front yards of the neighbors. By the time I returned they were gone. Alas, no photos to share but they were indeed heading north, a sure sign of spring. And Hope.

     They say the show must go on. When times get tough you find your inner strength. I am posting these recent photos from our recent quarterly Snapshot Society outing at the zoo. For a few days I had no desire to even pick my camera. I have been far too worried about the Editor and the impacts and changes her sudden upcoming retirement is going to make. Then my Doctor told me to be concerned, but not worried. He is right. One day at a time now.

     These lion and lioness with cubs photos were taken recently at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The first one is called “Happy Harry” because that was the look on my face when I went to park in my usual Disabled Parking place only to find they had been replaced by Electric Car only parking. The Disabled Parking is now further away.  GO GREEN “my foot” is all I could think about. The three cubs (two male, one female) are about a year and five months old now. Hope you enjoy...Zoo animals are not my usual subjects since they don’t fly much but they sure were entertaining. But I hear some elephants do fly. Blessings. Harry

I call this one Happy Harry because this is how I felt when I found Electric Car Parking Only in my usual Disabled Parking

This lioness, like my Editor is resting more comfortably right now..

What or who is for dinner look..

Male Cub reacts to all the doohickies and photographers

The sun made a brief appearance that morning giving this rim lit shot.

He is just a roaring lion..like life, not to be feared..so the show must go on..

One day maybe soon, the lion will indeed lie down with the lamb..and there will be peace forevermore.

Patience

      If there is one trait I find hardest to exhibit it is patience. To be a success in any endeavor (especially photography) one must possess and exhibit patience. However, the older I get the less I seem to have. This morning I watched as a Great Egret exhibited this trait and was duly rewarded.

     The Great Egret is one of the most graceful and beautiful of the Heron Species. This particular bird fishes regularly in the lagoon near the dock. I slowly approach and after one look it ignores me and goes about its daily task of looking for breakfast. Its keen eyes search the shallows. It stretches that long neck up and down trying to find just the right fish. It hops from one pool to another, pauses and looks and then moves on. Suddenly it freezes for a moment then “Splash”, it lunges for a fast fleeting fish. When it looks up, it proudly exhibits its catch for me. A little flip to get the fish’s head adjusted and then down the hatch it goes. This birds patience paid off.

     Frances De Sales (a bishop of Geneva during the time of the reformation) said “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them– every day begin the task anew.” May these thoughts be with you as it was with this beautiful bird. Blessings. Harry

Dawn breaks over the Broward

A Great Egret sits patiently in its favorite fishing hole...watching and waiting

Nothing here,,let's check over there...

Gotta land gently so as not to scare the fish..

This looks like a good spot..

I see one..!

See Mr Doohickey...I got a nice one!

Down the ole hatch..

Just have patience..it pays..be blessed..

Blue Hour on the Broward

    They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. It is also one of the most serene moments of the day. Some call this the blue hour. Per on line sources “The blue hour is the period of twilight during dawn each morning and dusk each evening when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. This effect is caused by the relative diffusibility of short blue wavelengths of light versus the longer red wavelengths. During the "blue hour" (typically the period is about 40 minutes in length), red light passes straight into space while blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and therefore reaches the earth's surface. Because of the quality of the light, artists and photographers treasure this period.

      The setting (or rising) moon over the Broward in the blue hour is one of my favorite scenes. The birds are often up and active during this time. However, it is often too dark for bird photography. I have a professional photographer friend in Amelia Island (Dawna Moore) who specializes in this blue hour photography and I plan to take some lessons from her soon. In the meantime I sip my coffee and wait for the golden rays of the sun to light up the marsh. That is when the Pied-billed Grebes, Cormorants, and other birds catch the golden glow of the morning. Sky blues are deep and rich, earth tones are bathed in gold, and when there is no wind it makes for beautiful reflection photos.  Here come the Pied-billed Grebes now (seems like they are having a bit of a discussion). Apparently these two are a mating pair. Wish I know what they were “discussing”.

     Birds like these little Pied-billed Grebes show a lot of the same emotions as people to me. I can tell when they are happy, or angry, or bothered, or just plain at ease with the world. And unlike us they don’t pay taxes or have to worry where the next meal is coming from. They just never seem "Blue". We could take a lesson sometimes. Be blessed. Harry

"Full Moon Rising" by my friend and professional photographer Dawna Moore with permission...one of her many specialties is teaching Blue Hour Photography

My attempt at Blue Hour on the Broward, Full moonset prior to dawn..

Moon reflects over the Broward at Dusk..Saltbushes in bloom..

Mating Pair of Pied-billed Grebes having a little discussion..(click on photo to enlarge for full effect)

I guess she didn't hear him right the first time...just like a married couple huh?

I guess they made up and are speaking again!

The golden hour follows the Blue hour when low angle golden light fills the marsh..

Sky Blues seem deep and rich right after dawn as this little Pied-billed Grebe gets ready to feed..

I think I see a fish!

Tax free breakfast on the Broward..life is good!

A cormorant surfaces in the golden light of morning..

Won't be long before spring is here..

The Pied-billed Grebe didn't see its shadow so Spring will be here 20 Mar 16 rain or shine..

Raptors of the Everglades

     The late Steve Irwin aka The Crocodile Hunter, thrilled audiences with his love of nature, and fearless approach to dangerous species such as crocodiles, pythons, and all sorts of creatures. I got to spend a few days with Florida’s own Irwin version by the name of William Steele, a naturalist, alligator wrestler, snake handler, falconer, dive expert, and bird and wildlife photographer extraordinaire. William is a true born and bred Florida naturalist, and runs his own company called Brother Nature Tours.  Recently I spent a great weekend with him in the everglades of South Florida and got to see some species of raptors I had never seen before. And best of all I met a wonderful new friend.

     Per the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, The Peregrine Falcons are the largest falcon found over most of the continent. “Powerful and fast-flying, the Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. They were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century. After significant recovery efforts, Peregrine Falcons have made an incredible rebound and are now regularly seen in many large cities and coastal areas. “ William and I saw a number of these beautiful raptors. The other major highlight was the capture of a few photos of a rarely seen White-tailed Kite, which is only found in extreme Southern Florida and the west coast in the US. Bald Eagles, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks were seen about the area in abundance. My favorite rented lens autofocus feature malfunctioned on me when I tried to capture a photo of a male Snail Kite also but I salvaged a few shots. I totally missed my only close opportunity of the illusive “Gray Ghost” or male Northern Harrier. Perhaps another time my ghostly friend.

     We all regret missed opportunities I am sure. But that challenges me to make up for it. Don’t wait too long though my friends. We may never pass this way again. Be blessed. Harry

Peregrine Falcon Profile

Lift off of a young Peregrine Falcon

The second  largest of the Falcons and favorite of many falconers..eye on the prey

This was my favorite capture of this magnificent raptor

White-tailed Kite, note the red eyes...

Lift off of White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite..wings up on fly by..

One of the many Red-tailed Hawks we saw...lifting off..

Caracara looks for road kill..

This Caracara is mainly a feeder of carrion or road kill

I hope to capture some better photos of this Snail Kite on an upcoming expedition..It is holding an Apple Snail, its favorite food.

Snail Kite male in flight with apple snail snack..

A Meadowlark mimics Willliam's bird call in the morning light..

Glossy Ibis with snack..

Turkey Vultures were very much in abundance...and they make great birthday photos for friends and relatives..

Loggerhead Shrike profile.

Although I missed my "Gray Ghost" shot, I got this beautiful wild "Wiley Coyote" stopping to smell the flowers...and observe us watching him..

email: selsorhd@me.com

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