A Jay and Some Songbirds

Male Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Port St Lucie, FL; FEB 2020

Today, I am sharing some more images from my February birding adventure in Florida. Most of the birds are songbirds. However, I have a jay and a couple of grackles in the set also.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Female Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Port St Lucie, FL; FEB 2020
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Port Saint Lucie, FL; FEB 2020
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Female Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)
Lakes Park, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Male Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)
Lakes Park, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Harns Marsh, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Anhingas and Night Herons

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Blue eye ring indicates readiness to breed.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, FL; FEB 2020

The Anhinga is water bird that looks like a Cormorant but are not Cormorants. Anhinga’s have a more dagger-like beak and longer tails. Like a Cormorant, they swim partially submerged when foraging for food. Typically, we see only their head and snake-like neck above the water line. When I see them, it reminds me of one of the iconic “Nessie” pictures. The name Anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language, meaning snake bird or devil bird. They mostly eat fish which they spear with their dagger-like beak.

Anhingas are found along the coasts of Southeastern US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. They nest in colonies with Herons, Egrets and Cormorants.

Night Herons are medium sized herons that forage mostly at night. In this post, I have images of both the Black-crowned Night Heron and the Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

The Black-crowned Night Heron is found in wetlands across most of the North America, though some winter over in Mexico and Central America. They forage in early morning and evening where they feed on a wide variety of fresh water and marine animals. They nest in colonies with other Black-crowned Night Herons.

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is found mostly along the Atlantic coast of Florida and along North America’s Gulf coast, though some do move much further inland to breed. They are also found along the coasts of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron feeds mostly on crustaceans. They nest alone or in colonies with others of their kind.

Info from: All About Birds by Cornell Labs

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
J N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge; Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Six Mile Cypress Preserve, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Female Anhinga (anhinga anhinga)
Green-blue eye ring indicates readiness to breed.

Lakes Park, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
J N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge; Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Female Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Female Anhinga (anhinga anhinga)
Green-blue eye ring indicates readiness to breed. Lakes Park, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

The Atlantic Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Island, FL; FEB 2020

The Brown Pelican is the common pelican species we see along the east and west coast of the United States. There are 2 subspecies of the Brown Pelican – the Atlantic (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) and the Pacific (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus). There are 3 other subspecies found in other parts of the Western Hemisphere. Today’s post pertains to the Atlantic subspecies birds I saw on a recent rip to Florida.

The Brown Pelican lives in flocks and are primarily year around residents of the areas where the forage. They do migrate to breeding grounds, but they are generally in close proximity to their foraging area. They prefer small fish but will eat marine invertebrates like prawns and scavange dead animals too. Thy sometimes swim in shallow water and scoop up food but they are renowned for  their steep, head first, dives into the water to scoop up their prey. It’s pretty cool to watch. They can pick-up as much as 2 ½ gallons of water with their prey.

Here are a few images to enjoy.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Brown Pelican (pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
The one with the yellow head is a breeding adult, the other is a juvenile.
Bunche Beach, Fort Meyers, FL; FEB 2020
Juvenile Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Fishing Pier, Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Seascape With Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Juvenile Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis); Atlantic Subspecies
Fishing Pier, Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Info from All About Birds (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Pelican/lifehistory) and Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_pelican).

A Peak into the Life of the Hippopotamus

Foraging Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Kruger National Park, South Africa; AUG 2016

A Peak into the Life of the Hippopotamus

When I see pictures of the hippopotamus, it is usually the 2 iconic images: just the nose, eyes and maybe ears sticking out of the eater or just a little of the body above the waterline and with Oxpeckers on its back. I was recently going cleaning and organizing my photo library and took a new look at the images from our Africa trip 3 years ago. In it, was a good collection of hippos in the routine activities of their daily life. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

Some of the images involve a battle over a water hole. Watching that battle unfold was one of the most fascinating events I ever witnessed. I’ve observed that when deer, antelope, sheep and goats battle, it involves locking horns and pushing back and forth until one succumbs and backs off. The hippo battle was similar. They open their mouths wide and attack then push back and forth until one succumbs. But, it also has some similarities to the sumo wrestling I have seen. Two large, muscular, creatures embracing in battle for short periods, back off for a short while, then go at again.

The Red-billed Oxpeckers in the photos are feasting on the bugs in the hippo’s wounds.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Resting Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
A Pensive Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
Don’t Mess WIth Me; Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
You’re in My watering hole; Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
The Face Off; Two Hippopotamuses Ready to Fight Over Water Hole
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
The Challenge; Two Hippopotamuses Ready to Spar
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
This Round is Underway; Two Hippopotamuses Fighting Over Water Hole
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa,; AUG 2016
The Round Continues; Two Hippopotamuses Continue to Spar Over Water Hole
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
Attack and Defense; Two Hippopotamuses Continue to Spar Over Water Hole
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016
The Vanquished Hippopotamus Departs;
Two Hippopotamuses Continue to Spar Over Water Hole
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa; AUG 2016 #Photography
Battle Over;
Hippopotamus with Red-billed Oxpecker ;
After many rounds, the battle is over, the challenger is vanquished.
Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa, AUG 2016
Hippopotamus Foraging on Land – P2
Kruger National Park, South Africa; AUG 2016
Sunbathing Hippopotamuses
Kruger National Park, South Africa; AUG 2016
Hippo in Reflection
Kruger National Park, South Africa; AUG 2016

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Interesting Wildlife from San Diego

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)
Seal Cove, La Jolla, CA; MAY 2019

Last May, we visited some family in the San Diego area. On one of those days, we visited some spots along the shore that teemed with wildlife. It was a great time.

Please note that the wild Red-crowned Parrot is a wild bird. Pet releases and other incidents have allowed a colony of these birds to establish themselves in the San Diego area.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Juvenile Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)
Seal Cove, La Jolla, CA; MAY 2019
Juvenile Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) – P1
Seal Cove, La Jolla, CA
California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus)
Seal Cove, La Jolla, CA; MAY 2019
California Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Seal Cove, La Jolla, CA; MAY 2019
Wild Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis)
San Diego, CA; MAY 2019
Yucca Plant Seed Pods
San Diego Bay National Wildlife, Refuge, CA; MAY 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Random Landscapes

Grand Tetons at Twilight from Schwabacher’s Landing;
Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park, WY; MAY 2019

Here are a few landscapes from our recent trip to the Rocky Mountains.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Spring Foliage on Flathead River;
Confluence of Bear Creek and Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Glacier National Park, MT; MAY 2019
Mt Shasta;
US Rt 97 between Dorris and Weed, CA: JUN 2019
Grand Tetons at Sunrise from Schwabacher’s Landing;
Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park, WY; MAY 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us

Bryce Canyon

The Ancient City
The Ancient City

Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is stunningly beautiful; especially at sunrise and sunset. It should be on your bucket list. You can enjoy it any time of day but, I recommend being there in the morning, before the sun creeps over the distant mountains and as the sun sets in the evening. The colors saturate, the whites appear almost translucent at hose times and it will take your breath away. If you can, walk the trails that take you below the base and look at the hoodoos face on.

As I looked over the landscape, my thoughts turned to the ancient cities from fantasy and action adventures. Perhaps drawing from Petra in southern Jordan. I can imagine temples and palaces constructed from the hoodoos. I see “impregnable” walls being breached by the barbarians outside. It’s a fun connection.

For me, the process of how the land became to look as it does, enhances its beauty. In this case, water channels away the softer soil, forming the hoodoos. The freeze-thaw cycle sculpts the hoodoos by breaking off chunks. The wind helps sculpt too, but, to a lesser degree. What is left are acres of an orange and cream landscape filled with spectacular hoodoos and the erosional hills and valleys at their base.

I can’t wait to go back. Only this time, I am going to allow a day to hike and see what other treasures I uncover. I wonder what it would like in snow.

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution images.

Sunrise at Inspiration Point
Sunrise at Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon - P4
Bryce Canyon – P4

Castle on a Hill
Castle on a Hill

Bryce Canyon - P3
Bryce Canyon – P3

Bryce Canyon - P2
Bryce Canyon – P2

Bryce Canyon - P5
Bryce Canyon – P5

Bryce Canyon - P7
Bryce Canyon – P7

Bryce Canyon - P10
Bryce Canyon – P10

These and other images are available to purchase at my website www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

The Left Brained Photographer

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park.  Winner, Blue Ribbon, Sacramento County Fair, May 2013. Awarded Special Merit, Light, Space and Time Online Gallery 2013 Landscape competition. (Honored)
Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park. 

I am hopelessly left-brained; analytic to the core.  I understand that to truly appreciate a piece of art, one must make an emotional connection to it.  I understand that art is often collected for its historical value or as an investment, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to allow love for it to grow.  I’ve sought to understand how I, personally, create an emotional connection to a scene, how I identify the story I want to tell. I rarely feel the tug on my heart that I feel when I think of my wife, my children or my grandchildren.  A mountain sunrise doesn’t bring tears to my eyes. Yet, I love the mountains, the desert, the clouds, how light plays with the texture of a scene.  But my reaction is a different reaction; it’s that of an analytic.   I look at a scene and marvel at the geologic and/or human forces that formed it.  I see clouds and think about the uplift, downdrafts and other meteorological forces that shape them.  Some may ask how that can evoke awe; doesn’t analysis ruin the mystery and sense of wonder.  Piecing the puzzle together helps me see the processes that shaped the scene and are influencing it now.  Understanding the complexity, how processes interact to create systems, how interacting systems create a scene, creates the sense of wonder in me.  It provides my emotional link and evokes awe in me.   It may not tug at my heart but it tugs at my intellect and helps to create the story I want to tell.

Regards,

Larry