Five Flags for July Fourth

Elaine and I have been enthralled by the birds and other wildlife here in Southwest Florida. One Fourth of July I was inspired to pay homage to the flag we love with birds we love. I call this “Flying the Flag.” It consists of three images I took at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

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Note: I did not approach a wild eagle to get the image. It was on display for educational purposes.

I created the piece below to support efforts to restore the Iwo Jima Memorial in Cape Coral. This is a photo of the statue before repairs, superinposed on an image of a flag flying there.

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Life may not be a bed of roses but this Flag of Roses is meant to honor the beauty of our nation’s ideals.

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I saw this flag in the window of a falling down building in rural California. It spoke to me so I captured it.

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And finally, a frangipani flag. Because why not.

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Out Parked by a Pileated Woodpecker

We’ve all been through it. Find a parking space, all clear, all yours. Prepare to move in, and some wild guy rushes in ahead of you. But today, on Sanibel, some one rushed in right over me.  Landed right in front of my car. About three feet from my bumper.

Not wanting to trigger parking space rage, I stay in the car and document the offense through my windshield.  But not satisfied with the quality of my evidence..WPiliatedWindshield3 Pretty soon he becomes careless and flaunts his dominance.  I quietly put down my window to get a few mug shots through the small space between the car body and the driver’s mirror.

WPiliatedHairFire WPiliatedLClose WPiliatedRCute After a while he flies, but lands close enough for a shot of him going about his business as if nothing had happened. WPiliatedVIf you encounter this wild guy give him plenty of space. He could peck the heck out you.

What is on the dock this morning

We get so many great birds on our dock: eagles, great blue, green, tricolor and little blue herons, eagles, osprey, ducks, yellow crown night herons, and an occasional kestrel.

It is always fun to walk out first thing in the morning, to see who is visiting today.

Guess who dropped in

Well it isn’t a kestrel.

Making myself beautiful

Sprucing up for the photo shoot.

Is this my good side?

Is this my good side?

Or is the right profile better?

Or is the right profile better?

 

Why is he looking at me with a glint in his eye?

Why is he looking at me with a glint in his eye?

 

 

I see you, too.

I see you, too.

When vultures fly over me, I usually shake my fist and yell, “Not Yet!” But they are leaders in the art of locally sourced food, and it is nice to spend some quality time together once in awhile.

Redhead

Charlie Brown had his Little Red-Haired Girl.  We were fortunate to have this lovely redhead male visit for several days, a rarity for our backyard.

Resting in Circles

Resting in Circles

Stately Pose

Stately Pose

Rise Up

Rise Up

Staring Contest

Staring Contest

Field Goal

Field Goal

Cliche

Cliche

You can learn a lot more by searching the internet. I found this article especially enjoyable: http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/red-headed-duck.

At Home with the American White Ibis

I haven’t been out and about as much as I would like lately, so it is good I can find so much entertainment at home. We live on a lake, which is actually an 11-acre retention pond. Fortunately a lot of wildlife stops by.

This week, the most entertaining guests was a small group of American white ibises. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

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To learn more about the American white ibis, please visit: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/white-ibis

 

 

 

 

 

Ozzie and Harriet in Good Times

Ozzie and Harriet, our North Fort Myers eagles, have been favorites throughout Southwest Florida, and, thanks to an eagle cam, in many other places around the country and globe. Unfortunately, Ozzie recently died after being attacked by another male eagle. Here are some of my photos of the pair and their family, from the past several years.

Eglet

Ozzie in Flight 3

Ozzie in Flight 3

Ozzie in Flight 2

Ozzie in Flight 2

Ozzie in Flight 1

Ozzie in Flight 1

FWetOzzieEagle

Ozzie

Ozzie

Harriet and Chick

Harriet and Chick

That's a strange bird.

That’s a strange bird.

Checking in.

Checking in.

Harriet relaxes by the pond.

Harriet relaxes by the pond.

The look out.

The look out.

Big bird, small bird.

Big bird, small bird.

Looks like a big world out there.

Looks like a big world out there.

Mom's up there.

Mom’s up there.

All together a little longer.

All together a little longer.

Let's figure out how these things work.

Let’s figure out how these things work.

This could be fun.

This could be fun.

Look out for the tree.

Look out for the tree.

Letting go.

Letting go.

Flapping.

Flapping.

Calling.

Calling.

Getting the hang of it.

Getting the hang of it.

Clean up time.

Clean up time.

Flying low.

Flying low.

Where has E4 gone?

Where has E4 gone?

Family time.

Family time.

Coming in.

Coming in.

Big tree.

Big tree.

Checking things out.

Checking things out.

Take off.

Take off.

Desert Rose

By the entrance to our pool, just outside the backdoor, is a stand with a desert rose. It is thriving under my wife’s loving care. I pass it everyday, not always paying attention. This past week, it has called out to be noticed. I responded, and took these photos over the course of a week. View them as a slide show, and/or scroll down to view larger images.

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Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Desert Rose Trunk

Desert Rose Trunk

Desert Rose

Desert Rose

Six Mile Cypress Slough

I visited Six Mile Cyprus Slough last week, before its temporary closure for boardwalk repairs. It is well worth visiting when it reopens.

The following is from its web site; click to view: The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is over 3,400 acres of a wetland ecosystem. A myriad of animals like otters, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more live at the Slough (pronounced “slew”) year round. Others, like migrating birds and butterflies use the Slough as a feeding area or a winter home

Here are some photos from my vist:

Woodstorks

Woodstorks

Great Egrets, Reseate Spoonbill, Ibis

Great Egrets, Reseate Spoonbill, Ibis

Great Egret

Great Egret

Wood Duck Pond

Wood Duck Pond

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Web

Web

Woodstork Flying

Woodstork Flying

Lichen

Lichen

 

Floating Feather

Floating Feather

To learn more about Six Mile Cypress Slough, please visit Friends of Six Mile Cypress Preserve.

Please see the blog roll at the top right of the page for other Swank family pages.

ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT DING DARLING NWR

For the second year, Elaine and I were pleased to offer a guided birding/photo tour of our favorite National Wildlife Refuge at our church auction. Four other members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Myers joined us for fun, fellowship and adventure. We saw 25 species of birds in a few hours, and had many photo opportunities.

 

Yellow crown night heron

Yellow crown night heron

Reddish egret preening

Reddish egret preening

One white pelican, many willets

One white pelican, many willets

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Little blue posing, no zoom required

Pileated woodpecker near exit

Pileated woodpecker near exit

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

White pelican landing, cormorants ignoring

Osprey taking off

Osprey taking off

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Yellow crown night heron watching the watchers

Here are the 25 bird species we were lucky enough to see:

Reddish egret, great egret, little blue heron, tri-colored heron, white ibis, yellow-crowned night heron, pie-billed grebe, red breasted merganser, double crested cormorant, white pelican, brown pelican (on causeway), willet, spotted sandpiper, bald eagle, shortbilled dowitcher, dunlins, osprey, pileated woodpecker, roseat spoonbills (fly over), royal tern, fish crow, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, red-shouldered hawk, northern cardinal.

There were other critters and plants to see as well:

 

Tree Çrab

Tree Çrab

Needle nose fish

Needle nose fish

Flowers by the education center

Flowers by the education center

 

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

Mangroves, critical to our ecosystem.

 

 

 


							

FUN WITH A RED SHOULDERED HAWK

I was looking for crested caracara, but one of my favorite birding moments was when this gorgeous red shouldered hawk flew in front of me and landed nearby.

Red shouldered hawk flying by.

Red shouldered hawk flying by.

Nearing touchdown

Nearing touchdown

 

Final approach

Final approach

This illustrates one of my basic principles of nature photography: Take the photo you are given, even if it is not the one you were seeking.

By the way, I did find my caracara.  More later.

Want to learn more about red shouldered hawks? Visit http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-shouldered_Hawk