During the busy holiday season we made time for brief birding stops at nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
One sunny morning just before Christmas, the Sandhill Crane greeted us in the parking lot.
The crane permitted me to take a close-up as it preened.
A Northern Mockingbird stood out against the blue sky.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers were courting in a Melaleuca tree.
The male exhibited his bright red cap.
The female’s cap is just as bright, but does not extend down her forehead.
This Tricolored Heron roosted in a very small tree next to the boardwalk.
A Little Blue Heron perched on the rail of the canoe dock.
The heron then assumed some interesting postures before flying off
This morning, on our way back home from running chores we stopped by again before checking on the Bald Eagle nest that is about a mile away. The sky was fully overcast and there was the threat of rain, so we did not walk the full length of the boardwalk. The crane was not in the parking lot this time. We worry about its welfare, as it has a habit of walking across the busy street in front of the nature center. Peering down from a small tree in the lot, a Blue Jay’s colors seemed to be more vivid in the subdued light.
Just under the entrance bridge, a Green Heron stood motionless in the shallow water. It was still there when we left a half hour later.
Along the shore of the first lake, two immature Purple Swamphens foraged on dry ground.
The adult Swamphen was picking through the floating vegetation.
We encountered a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers and several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The gnatcatchers were in perpetual motion. I took many pictures of bare branches and blurred wings.
One gnatcatcher stood still long enough for me to capture it on a maple twig. The cypress trees in the background have turned mostly to reddish brown and should lose their needles within the next few weeks.
A Soft-shelled Turtle with beautiful eyes swam by.
At the eagle nest, we again found an adult incubating deep in the nest, barely in sight. The first egg was laid on December 11 and is expected to hatch 35 days later, on January 15th.
A Great Egret was fishing in the canal in front of the nest.