We left hot and dry Illinois for hot, humid and rainy Florida a few weeks ago. Most days the weather and other obligations have kept us from getting out into the wetlands.
This sunrise was typical on most days, and the rain was not far behind.
Happily, there were a few clear days that permitted us to take our visiting granddaughters to our clubhouse pool or to explore the wonders of our lawn and garden. The girls had fun chasing after anoles and geckos in our back yard pineapple patch.
Clutching a poor captive lizard, our older granddaughter does not appreciate the irony of this situation as her eyes communicate her displeasure about the Peacock Bass that our next door neighbor just caught. He quickly obeyed her firm command and immediately returned it to the water.
The girls found this odd creature that was carrying what looked like the bodies of a bunch of dead insects on its back. I had no idea of what it was, except that its jaws looked like those of an ant lion. My guess was close. An Internet search revealed that it was the larval form of the related Green Lacewing http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/enpp/ento/entcirc/ent400.pdf . It collects the debris to hide it from its prey, mostly aphids, as well as from any enemies such as ants.
With the girls acting as spotters, our back patio has produced a few nice finds. This Tricolored Heron was its usual busy self, dashing here and there in search of prey.
This plunge into the lake yielded hardly an appetizer.
An Anhinga dried its wings next to the lake.
A Great Blue Heron did not fit into the viewfinder.
A neighbor’s rooftop hosted a White Ibis.
A couple of mornings we got out at sunrise, and were pleased to see a lone White-tailed deer. A bit smaller than those up north, they are not very numerous in the local wetlands. The young eight-point buck posed nicely. My monopod was not ready for this hand-held shot in the morning haze, so I processed it to make up for the blur.
An adult Bald Eagle flew overhead from its nesting territory towards the large lake in our subdivision.
At the heron rookery, this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron chick represented the third breeding cycle of the season. In all, over a dozen broods were successfully raised this year.
An older fledgling stood at an adjacent nest.
A female parent stood watch nearby. Ready for the molt, her feathers show wear and tear at the end of the nesting season.
Green Herons were also quite successful, raising broods in at least four separate nests. This immature bird has a streaked breast and shows a few tufts of natal down.