One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2017—Blue Bird In A Blue Bayou

There can be little doubt how the Little Blue Heron got its name.   This particular Little Blue Heron was foraging in a pond at the Six Mile Cypress Slough in Ft. Myers, FL very late one afternoon in March.

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2017—Tactile Feeding

Roseate spoonbills are tactile feeders.  They have sensors on their long, flattened bills that feel small fish and other food as they probe the water, waving their submerged bills back and forth.  When they find a fish, their bill snaps shut on the prey in a vice-like grip, then they lunge their head forward and open their bill slightly, moving the prey toward their throat.  The small fish about to be swallowed by this Spoonbill is visible about mid-bill as it is flipped backwards toward the gullet.

Corkscrew Swamp, Ft. Myers, FL, March 2017

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2017—Introducing Sheila

Meet Sheila…Sheila’s Perfume to be exact.  She is a beautiful and fragrant floribunda that anchors the row of rose trees along my driveway.  My roses are glorious right now and I’m home for a few days at the peak of their spring beauty so I can enjoy and appreciate them.   They are gorgeous despite my benign neglect.  I don’t prune them the way I used to.  In fact, while I once spent hours deciding which stem should be clipped for the perfect urn-shaped rose bush, I now let my gardener slash at them however he sees fit.  I haven’t fed them in years.  I suspect the abundant rain we’ve enjoyed this year has contributed to their current glory.

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2017—Avocets

It was early April and the shore birds were in breeding plumage in Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.  This avocet, a bird I’d never seen, in or out of breeding plumage, was feeding in the marsh in a place called Tyrell Park on the edge of a golf course south of Beaumont, TX.  There were scores of avocets in the area and the water surrounding their legs was several inches deep so despite their long legs, it looks as if they’re swimming.  The avocet in the first shot has just captured a morsel in its long curved beak.   The group of avocets in the second shot appear to be working together as a group to corral some crustaceans or small fish.

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2017—Walking On Stilts

Black Necked Stilts look like they just emerged from a Walt Disney cartoon.   Their huge eyes and their long, skinny, unwieldy legs make them instant charicatures.  I took this shot of a black necked stilt last week in Texas on Bolivar Peninsula.

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2016—Balancing Act

A Great Egret struggles to keep balanced on flimsy branches in the High Island Rookery.

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2017—Nose Dive

Taking, let alone featuring, butt shots of birds is considered rude.   I am mindful of this and try not to do it.  But, sometimes, when my camera rips off a dozen shots in a second, butt shots happen.  And sometimes, the resulting photographs are fascinating.  I love these two shots as this Great Egret looks for a landing spot in the crowded rookery.

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2017—What’s With The Semipalmates?

Here’s another bird that’s semipalmated.  When I first reviewed the images of this bird, I thought it was a sanderling in breeding plumage.  As it turns out, this bird is actually a Semipalmated Sandpiper with, you guessed it, incomplete webbed feet.  Sanderlings are in the sandpiper family but, Sanderlings don’t get their breeding plumage until May.

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2017—What The Heck Is Semipalmated?

The other day on Boliver Flats in Texas with my friend Connie, I noticed a couple of birds that I thought were plovers.  When I reviewed my Sibley Guide to Birds,  I identified them as Semipalmated Plovers in breeding plumage.  I got to wondering what in the world makes this plover “semipalmated?”  What the heck does semipalmated mean?  Often the common name of birds includes a characteristic that sets them apart from other similar species.  But sometimes these names make no sense as in the “Worm-eating Warbler.”  Don’t all warblers eat worms?  But I digress.  I looked up “semipalmated” in my Funk And Wagnalls and it turns out that semipalmated refers to a bird’s foot that has incomplete webbing between its toes, i.e., not quite a duck’s foot.  The first photograph below shows the right foot of this Semipalmated Plover and it does have a minuscule web between its toes but I think there might be a better characteristic that would distinguish this species of plover from another.  The second shot shows the “semipalmated” foot a bit better but the bird was further away from me when I took the shot and the shadowy silhouettes of the birds in the background are a little distracting.

 

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2017—Impressing The Ladies

A couple of female Prairie Chickens visiting the lek look on from a distance as two males put on their best displays to attract them.

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