Between Raindrops

Summer’s soggy saga stays steady. Hot. Humid. Wet. Thunder. Lightning. No letup in sight.

IT’S TIME TO GO BIRDING!

As difficult as it may be to fathom, annual fall bird migration has already begun. Swallow-tailed Kites are forming into groups, foraging over agricultural fields snapping up flying insects and devouring them in mid-air. Prothonotary and Yellow Warblers are starting to appear on checklists and we spotted an American Redstart a couple of days ago flashing her tail broadly to frighten bugs from hiding places.

Our local patch, Lake Parker Park, is a nice spot each year for small numbers of migrating passerines and waterfowl. The radar showed a band of more thunderstorms moving our way from the Gulf of Mexico. If I hurry, perhaps I can make fantastic observations in record time!

The sun actually made an appearance! Of course, it was directly behind the young Green Heron I tried to photograph, resulting in a faded out silhouette. At least you could make out his “immature” hair-do. The usual cast of characters were present going about the business of survival. They don’t care if a storm is coming, a bird’s gotta eat!

A Snail Kite flapped lazily over distant reeds searching for breakfast. Two Osprey splashed down onto the lake’s surface almost simultaneously about 50 yards apart. Both came up carrying fresh fish. Noisy Common Gallinules were abundant, most with small, black fluffy chicks in tow. Purple Gallinules ran up and begged for a handout – one of the negatives of birding in an urban park. The eerie cries of Limpkins rang out up and down the shoreline. A Red-bellied Woodpecker circled a dead oak tree limb, probing for some morsel. Two Marsh Rabbits slipped into the tall grass and became invisible. An alligator watched the aforementioned Gallinule chicks as well as a small dog whose owner allowed his pet too close to the shore.

As I made my way around the park, not many birds presented an opportunity for photography. Dragons, however, were very industrious. Lots of ovipositing, patrolling, fighting, hunting. Action galore! Of course, I only brought the big lens and trying to heft the monster back and forth to track a small dragonfly was almost beyond my ability. I came away with a couple of images that aren’t completely awful. (We won’t discuss the other hundred or so).

There was a change in light and a coolish breeze sprang up. That felt good! It also meant I should head for the car. Drops began falling just as I reached for the door handle.

The Amazing Gini was waiting in the kitchen with bagels, boiled eggs and strong coffee. But first, hugs and kisses. Unlike the birds and beasties, we rank food second on the list of our priorities.

Only a few photographs of today’s outing. (“Thank goodness.”) Hey – I heard that!

 

A young Green Heron stalks a frog near the lake shore. He eventually got it, too! Naturally, I missed the shot.

Lake Parker Park

 

Dark all over with a very tapered abdomen, Pin-tailed Pondhawks (Erythemis plebeja) were very active along a canal which feeds the lake.

Lake Parker Park

 

One of the most common dragonflies in our area (and maybe in the entire eastern U.S.) is the Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis). Adult females are a striking green and the males dusty blue (“pruinose”) all over. Immature males begin life looking like Mom and gradually transition to Dad’s blue suit.

Lake Parker Park

Lake Parker Park

Lake Parker Park

 

A bright spot in the world of dragons, adult male Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami) are hard to miss!

Lake Parker Park

 

In her element, a Limpkin appears somewhat prehistoric as she rests on a log just before the rains begin.

Lake Parker Park

 

Don’t let a little rain in the forecast stop you from seeing what your own patch has to offer just before the drops start to fall.

 

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Between Raindrops

  1. Raining ? In Florida? Everything comes to he who waits. Seriously, I really like that Limpkin picture – slightly dark to emphasise the plumage and the time of day, evening? Super dragon pictures Wally. That Gini spoils you. All I get is ” It’s home”.

    • Thank you, Phil. The Limpkin image was early morning with the just risen sun shining down the length of a canal to produce nice long shadows.
      Gini said to tell you: “I really enjoy spoiling him.”
      No – really – she actually used those words.

      Enjoy the weekend! Go ring something.

  2. Love the dragonfly images, always nice to see species from the other side of the pond!

    • Thank you very much for stopping by, Brian! We’re a bit “bird-centric”, but I’ve been making an effort to include more dragons when possible. (That means if the bugs will perch long enough for my slow reflexes to respond!)

      Have a great weekend!

  3. Really intrigued by your wonderful dragons, Wally, but that Limpkin image is an absolute classic. Thank you for a delightful read to brighten my evening. Best wishes to you both – – – Richard

    • Hey! You’re supposed to be resting, not ogling Odonata!

      Thank you so much, Richard! Just thinking your evening is a bit brighter makes our day so much better. Please don’t overdo it!

      Gini and I have you and Lindsay in our prayers.

  4. I really love that Limpkin image and why do I love everyone else’s dragonflies but never seem happy with any I have taken. I love dragonfiles. Yours are great!! And a neat variety.

    The Limpkin really stands out against the dark background and the green duckweed. Love the delicate inquisitive stance of it .

    Enjoyed your alliteration of summer’s soggy saga…if the rain couldn’t just stay on that soggy plain in Spain!! Well, I don’t mean that really…I love the clean earthy smell of the rain coming and some of my favourite bird pictures were of rather forlorn demeanor with drops dripping down their beaks after a rain.

    • Judy, thank you for your very kind remarks! I know what you mean about the rain. Just before and just after a rainstorm are my favorite times to be outside.

  5. Several mornings these past week we have also experienced forced leisure, watching the raindrops from home. I especially liked the Limpkin photo. The darkness of the background contributed to excellent composition. Wish you could send some of those kites into our neighborhood, as I have only seen one here during the past 10 years of nearly daily walks. Maybe we are just out too early, but the heat drives us home before the shadows shorten.

    • Thank you, Ken. I totally understand about taking our heat/humidity in small doses! We are not too far from the Peace River which the kites use for navigation I believe. We’ll try and convince a few to head southeast!

  6. It looks and sounds like a wonderful day from begining to end. Huge thanks for taking us along (and not sharing the heat/humidity). I would really like some of your rain though.

    • Thank you, EC! It was a very good morning! We shall begin filling rain barrels for shipment down under immediately.

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