I was really surprised to look out of my bathroom window and see this new visitor to my backyard. The Black-crowned Night Heron is usually nocturnal, so its appearance at around midday was most unexpected. It’s the first time I’ve seen one of these and I had to consult my ‘Birds Of South East Florida Guide’ to identify it.
We have our family visiting from New Jersey at the moment and are having a great time together. It’s been well over a year since we saw them, so it’s very special to spend precious time together. Wishing you all a great weekend.
A Brown Pelican shows his considerable wing-span as he takes off on a fishing trip.
Because of this pesky virus, it’s been far too long that we’ve been confined to our immediate surroundings. I’m feeling cautiously hopeful that with the vaccine roll outs, we might once again be able to ‘spread our wings’ and fly away to see far-flung family. The last time we saw my mom–in-law in England, she was only 106. This year she turns 108, so as you can imagine we’re really hoping we’ll be able to visit her this summer.
Snowy Egret is a regular visitor to our backyard. He’s usually on a food-finding mission and woe betide any unsuspecting frogs or lizards who happen to catch his observant eyes. He makes short shrift of them, grabbing them mercilessly in his beak and swallowing them whole, never to be seen again. He is distinguishable from the Great Egret by his bright yellow feet, plus he’s somewhat smaller.
In the late nineteenth century, this majestic bird was hunted for its soft, pure-white breeding feathers which were used to adorn women’s hats. These much sought after plumes sold for thirty two dollars per ounce, twice the price of gold at that time. This practice almost led to their extinction. Thankfully, they and many other birds are now protected by the ‘Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918’ which makes it unlawful to hunt, capture or sell nearly 1,100 birds listed in the treaty.
Wishing you all a splendid weekend. We are expecting 30 C today, so I think I’ll stay indoors and play my piano.
One of the largest and most spectacular of Florida’s birds, is the Great Blue Heron, and those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that Mr. GBH is my favourite. Great Blue Herons grow to between 3.2 to 4.5 feet and have a wingspan of 5.5 to 6.5 feet.
They are carnivores and have quite an appetite for sushi, devouring about a pound of fish a day. They are also not averse to feeding on a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents and other small mammals when the opportunity arises. I was horrified to read that they also occasionally snaffle up a duckling or two when Momma duck isn’t looking.
Mr. GBH is such an elegant guy and can strike quite the pose especially when he knows he’s being photographed. He’s so proud of his subtle blue-gray plumage, his slim, cellulite-free legs and that dagger of a beak which can strike like lightning when his laser-like stare spots his next meal.
Great blue herons mostly nest in colonies called ‘heronries’ in trees near water. They are usually monogamous during any one season, but next season often decide to try out a new mate, and scuffles over females are quite common, although never to the death.
To Native Americans, the Heron is a symbol of patience, self-reliance and self-determination. Even though his legs are long and spindly, he has the ability to stand firm and motionless as he calmly waits for his prey to appear.
I hope your week is going well. It’s getting warm again here in Florida and feels more like summer than winter. Hubby and I are looking forward to meeting friends for lunch tomorrow at a waterfront restaurant with outdoor seating.
It’s Mr. GBH heading for home after a good day’s fishing.
It’s been a good week and on Wednesday, hubby and I were fortunate enough to receive our first Covid19 vaccinations. Our second ones are scheduled for early March, so now I feel much more relaxed about the family coming to visit in early April. Wishing you all a relaxing but fruitful weekend.
With the really strong winds we’ve been having in Florida, it was only a matter of time until the leaning palm tree in our backyard, toppled over, fortunately towards the lake and not the house.
Annie Anhinga was the first wild resident to discover it and it soon became a favourite spot for drying her wings in the sunshine.
Next up was Woody wood stork, who also liked to pose there for the odd photo.
I’m happy to report that the Iguana Control guy hasn’t done a very thorough job of ridding our neighbourhood of Iggys, and was delighted to see that a young, bright-green one had also found his way onto the palm trunk for a quick shot, but only with my camera.
In only a few days, the garden service came along with their chainsaw to chop up the tree and cart it away. Annie, Woody and Iggy returned the next morning, only to find that their newfound perch had vanished. I felt quite sad and would have liked to explain to them, but unfortunately they don’t speak English.
Wishing you all a great weekend. Stay safe everyone. (Since updating the software on my Apple watch, it informs me every morning, “You have no events.” Sounds about right.)