Monday Bird Blues for Ed’s challenge

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge, is ‘Blue’. He asks us to find something other that blue sea and blue sky, so I decided that the Great Blue Heron, the ‘King of the Pond’, would be quite a fitting subject. He’s almost always there when I look out, and has a few different guises, depending on his mood.

He can look sleek and very regal.

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Sometimes he’s all fluffed up and looking very intense as he eyes his prey.

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“Oh dear, I  just lost a feather; must be the stressful life I lead.”

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Here, he seems to have somehow mislaid his long neck, and looks very grumpy about it.

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He can also look as pleased as punch when he’s just caught the ideal-sized piece of sushi.

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Which of his looks do you like the most?

To see more blue posts, or to participate in Ed’s challenge,  just click here.

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Feathered Derrières for Sue’s Word A Week Challenge

This week, Sue has chosen the word “Behind” for her challenge, so I decided to give you a few behinds, discreetly covered by feathers. As always you can click on the pics to enlarge.

The Wood Stork has a short black tail poking out beneath his beautiful snow-white feathers.

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The gorgeous Spoonbill is modeling the very latest in rose pink ruffles.

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The Anhinga is just hanging out to dry.

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The Tricolored Heron is displaying his very best slate-blue feathered back view.

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Mr GBH really has quite a resplendent behind.

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Last but by no means least, is an audacious display of mooning by a very cheeky duck.  Bottoms up!

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To see more behind pics, just click here.

Sunday Stills: My Backyardigan Birds

Ed’s Sunday Stllls Challenge this week, Is ‘Birds’, and I currently have such a lot of bird pics which I’ve taken at nature reserves close by, but I’ll save those for another post, and just show you the regulars in my back yard.

When we got back to Florida a month ago, Mr Great Blue Heron was the only bird around here, and had the place to himself. Here you see him surveying his territory.

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It wasn’t long before his friend the Great Egret arrived back from his summer holidays up north, and started searching around the foliage for a few tasty tidbits.

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He didn’t find anything worthwhile in our garden, so decided to try next door where there are more hiding places for frogs and lizards.

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A not too frequent, but very welcome visitor, is this Wood Stork, who was just strutting over to start up a conversation with Mr Mottled Duck.

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Suddenly out of nowhere, Mrs Duck arrived to tell hubby it was time to leave, and off they went, sailing across the water.

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The other evening, a Common Gallinule was perched on the roof of our neighbours’ verandah. He was sitting so straight and still that he could have been mistaken for a weather vane.

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Today, as I was typing this post, a merry band of Snowys arrived to try their luck in the neighbours shrubs. I had to sneak this pic through the window, as they are very timid. Maybe that’s why they tend to go around in groups…….. safety in numbers.

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I’m not very good at photographing birds in flight, but I did manage to catch the Great Blue last night as it flew off across the water.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my back yard birds. To see more entries for Ed’s photo challenge, just click here.

‘Ripples’ for Ailsa’s Travel Theme.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~ Scott Adams

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is ‘Ripple’. Not being a ‘water baby’, I’ve never been a person to make a big splash, either in or out of the water, but I just love the word ‘ripple’. It’s sounds so gentle and not in the least bit intimidating. Ripples on the water can be caused by nothing more than a slight breeze, as in these sunset pics of the small lake outside our home in Florida.

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The surface of the water is always on the move, although the Great Blue Heron manages to stand as still as a statue.

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This anhinga also sits so peacefully watching the rippling water.

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Generally there’s nothing more scary than a few ducks and other water birds creating ripples in the calm water,

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except on the odd occasion when the ripples are caused by something slightly more sinister.

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I do hope you enjoyed my ripple pics. I can’t wait to get back there in September to take a few more.

To see other bloggers’ ideas for Ailsa’s them, just click here.

Captivating birds for Jake’s theme

Some of you may have noticed that I seem to find the water birds outside my window really captivating, and I must admit, that I spend a good bit of my day, and my blogging time, watching them. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. 🙂

This year we don’t seem to have as many as there were last winter, but there are always the faithful few. The Great White Egret is a regular visitor to our bit of garden, and this morning, I saw him out of the bedroom window, standing like a statue, staring into the distance.

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Great white egret

As he disappeared behind the tree, I caught a shot of his tail feathers.

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I always thought that unlike myself, birds never have a ‘bad hair day’, but yesterday, it was really windy, and his feathers were flying every which way. I was wondering whether I should swim across the lake and offer him some of my hair spray. 😀

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Another bird which is really captivating to watch, is the Anhinga, also called the Darter. When it sits looking across the water, it really sticks its neck out, and looks so funny, like a nosy neighbour.

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Anhinga

They can sit for hours, just drying their wings in the sunshine. It’s a very relaxed life here in Florida. 😉

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Anhinga

As some of my regular readers may have guessed by now, my favourite bird and the one which I find the most captivating, is Mr Great Blue Heron. Sometimes he looks really sleek and tall, like here.

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Great Blue Heron

At other times, he looks all hunched up and decidedly grumpy, probably because of the unusually cold and windy weather. It’s fascinating how different he can look; almost unrecognisable.

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Of course the sweet little ducks are always captivating, as they lazily float around, also doing nothing of any great importance.

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Florida ducks

If you’ve enjoyed my captivating birds, please go across to Jake’s Sunday Post to see his wonderfully captivating graphics. Maybe you too can join in the challenge.

A word a week: Zoom

Sue of ‘A Word in Your Ear’, has asked us to share some of our pics where we have used a zoom. I’m not very good at zooming in, unless it’s on an airplane to some exotic destination. 🙂 This morning, I was sitting on the sofa, perusing the blogs whilst drinking my mug of green tea, when I saw what looked like fire in the lake outside the window. “What’s that?” I asked hubby. He was drinking his coffee, reading the South African news on his laptop, and was sitting at the wrong angle to see what I could see, so I dropped everything…….gently, and went to grab the camera before the phenomenon disappeared.

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I thought I’d like a closer shot, so fiddled with the zoom a bit, as a little duck paddled in to also have a look.

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It obviously didn’t like what it saw, and quickly disappeared back to cooler, non-fiery waters.

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My final attempt at zooming in on the burning water, yielded this pic, which I think is quite pretty.

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All the while this was going on, Mr. Grumpy Blue Heron, stood passively staring into the distance, probably waiting for the fire to disappear before going in search of his breakfast.

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When hubby saw the pics, he said that it was just the sun reflecting off someone’s window. I was disappointed with such a boring explanation, and my tea by this time, was stone cold, but I drank it anyway. The sacrifices we bloggers have to make! 😡

To see more bloggers’ interpretations of Sue’s theme, just click here.

Jake’s theme: Focused attention.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you can see
when you take your eyes off your goal.”
~Henry Ford

Jake has given us some fine examples of images which demonstrate ‘focused attention’.  He defines it as “the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.”

I chose a few photos which to me suggest that something or someone is paying very close attention to the job in hand, to the exclusion of everything else.

This Great Blue Heron outside my house here in Florida, was obviously focusing on his next meal.

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My sister-in law’s poodle, Luca, was keenly focused on the rabbit amongst the fairies and black cats in her mom’s back garden. She did make a dash for it, but of course that rabbit was very quick off the mark. 🙂

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Little Max was fascinated by the ‘Remnants of Supernova’ exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

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Back home in South Africa, this Vervet monkey was very focused on my bananas in the fruit bowl. Unfortunately for him, the door was closed.

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If you would like to join in, or see more very focused pics from other bloggers, just click here.

Peaceful in my back yard for Jake.

Jake has asked us this week to do a peaceful post. I hope that you find that most of my posts are peaceful, with the possible exception of the jackhammering and the parasailing, ones. 🙂

Today, whilst hubby was busy again in the kitchen, building cupboards, not cooking, I took a walk outside to see what was going in in our peaceful neck of the woods.

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The only sound was of the wind gently rustling the palm fronds, and not a single person was to be seen. The only inhabitants of the lakeside, were the birds. The Great Blue Heron seems to be the kingpin around here, and he stood meditating by the water’s edge for quite a while,

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before marching off to see what was potting a bit further down.

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His friend, the Anhinga was busy drying his wings, and didn’t want to chat to anyone.

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and the duck family were practising their  swimming, up near the golf course,

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under the watchful eye of mom and dad.

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The Wood Stork was umm…… just stalking around, 🙂

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and then there was a bit of action, closely watched by the Ibis.

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Mr. Great Blue decided to go over to the other side of the lake, and catch himself some breakfast too.

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Yummy  sushi  is his favourite dish.

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The most peaceful creature of all though, was Lizzie lizard, who just sat motionless, waiting for her breakfast insects to venture near.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my peaceful morning in my back yard. To see more takes on Jake’s theme, as well as his own amazing images, just click here.

Lovely weather for ducks

We have had so much rain here in West Palm, and yesterday whilst out shopping, one of the assistants asked us if we knew about the threat of Hurricane Sandy. Apparently the schools and some businesses were going to be closed today, just in case it should hit here.

Well, the danger seems to be over for us, and Sandy has moved on. I see that the storm is forecast to maybe hit New Jersey, where my son lives, on Tuesday.

Some of our local residents don’t seem to mind the extra water at all.

The Great Blue Heron has come back, and is definitely the king of our lake.

There’s always something to photograph here.

The local air force either stand elegantly on guard,

or entertain us with a spectacular ‘flypast’.

This afternoon, I have to go and visit one of the ladies on our committee. She has been writing the monthly article for our club magazine, and wants to pass the buck on to ‘muggins’ me. She phoned at 10am to say that she was off to her beautician and would only be home by 3pm. That sounds quite ominous. How do I compete with someone who firstly, has a beautician, and secondly, spends 4 hours  there, being beautified? 🙂 Ah well, it’s really terribly windy here, so I’ll probably arrive with my hair  looking like these palm fronds, and say, ” Just look what the wind blew in!” 😀

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, wet or dry. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out Cee’s post to see her amazing water pics.