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.
January 17th, 2012 at 4:28 pm Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.
January 17th, 2012 at 8:03 pm Beautiful photos Ken! I would love to get that close to a Sandhill Crane! The Red-bellied Woodpeckers are gorgeous (I have a soft spot for woodies) and the Herons are always special aren’t they? The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is awesome Ken! Tough to get that one I know.
January 17th, 2012 at 8:31 pm My favorite for today is the Green Heron under the entrance bridge. What beautiful colors and composition! Also the shot of the turtle. I look forward to checking out your blog each week.
January 17th, 2012 at 10:28 pm Some wonderful captures here! I will have to send your address to a couple of friends. I love the shot of the sandhill crane preening! Just the detail in its eye, and the feathers!!!
January 18th, 2012 at 3:18 am Wow! Fantastic photos, Ken! I love the Tricolored, Little Blue, and Green Herons! Awesome! The mockingbird photo is beautiful.
January 18th, 2012 at 4:33 am Awesome birds and fantastic photos, Ken! Some of my favorite are the crane and the little blue and the green heron. And the Swanphen is cool. Thansk for sharing, have a great day!
January 18th, 2012 at 12:17 pm A wonderful post.. your images of your beautiful wildlife are fantastic… the turtle is superb..
January 18th, 2012 at 12:59 pm What a great variety of birds here! I love all of them, but Crane is so special:)
January 18th, 2012 at 2:39 pm A series of beautiful birds and great photos of course. The Green Heron is especially beautiful.
January 18th, 2012 at 5:18 pm You sure got close to the very timid Sandhill Crane…very beautiful! We went to view thousands of them last week in TN. The Tri-colored Heron is a glorious looking bird!
January 18th, 2012 at 10:23 pm This is a great series. I’m envious of the crane, I’ve been out photographing them recently but couldn’t get that close. You have herons there that we don’t see in California; the little blue and the tricolored. I do see the Green Heron, Black Capped Night Heron and Great Blue. I guess I need to go birding in Florida.
January 19th, 2012 at 1:34 am A great collection of birds again as usual but to see the crane up close and personal was really something. I had never noticed before that their red cap is pulled right over their matching colour eyes.
January 19th, 2012 at 7:46 am Such exquisite images, Ken! I love the close-up of the Sandhill Crane.
January 19th, 2012 at 11:08 am Superb collection Ken! The detail is mind boggling!
January 20th, 2012 at 8:56 am Wow so many awesome shots in this post! Hard to pick a favorite, but I really love that tricolored heron perched in the branches!
January 20th, 2012 at 10:41 am Wow! What a collection of gorgeous captures!
January 29th, 2012 at 1:21 pm Thanks, everyone for your generous comments. I’ve since learned a bit more about the Sandhill Crane that appears to be so tame. Very possibly it is the chick of a pair that nested there two years ago. There was an incident in which someone was caught with the baby crane in his possession. He said it was “his” crane and had saved it from wandering out into the road. The incident was reported to proper officials and I don’t know what became of it– it may have been an entirely innocent capture. However I do suspect that this bird is being fed, perhaps in the parking lot of one of the nearby businesses. What worries me is that the bird is still missing as of our visit this morning. Hope it did not get hit by a car on the busy road between the Nature Preserve and the businesses. I had seen it walk across in traffic twice.