Series: Take A Moment and Enjoy A Sunset

 

A silhouetted palm tree sunset from Florida…..

 

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Sunset over Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

 

“A day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.”
– Nicholas Sparks

 

 

Pied-billed Grebe

With alligators, snakes, and other critters slithering around in the swamp, I was surprised and a bit worried to see this little Pied-billed Grebe diving for food.

 

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Pied-billed Grebe

 

I always enjoy seeing this adorable water bird.

 

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Pied-billed Grebe

 

— Photos taken in Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

 

 

Big Gators and Little Gators

There are roughly 1.25 million alligators living in Florida.

If you’re out exploring nature for wildlife in south/southwest Florida, you’re going to see alligators lurking in the wild.

 

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Alligator – “Swamp Skimming”

 

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Alligator – “Big Boy” or “Voluptuous Gal”

 

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Alligator – “Toothy Grin”

 

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Alligator – “I think I’ve outgrown my log couch”

 

 

A different day, I found three juvenile alligators sunning in the early afternoon.  They were about two feet long.

 

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Little Alligators – see all three?

 

I spotted Momma Alligator hiding across the swamp about 60-70 feet away…..just her eyes above the water…..looking my way.

I couldn’t get a decent photo of her from where I was standing and decided it wasn’t a good idea to hang around for one.

I looked back at the juveniles and snapped a couple more shots, as they went on with their afternoon nap.

Those little alligators knew they were safe.  😉

 

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Juvenile Alligator – “Snoozin’ with a smile”

 

— Adult alligator photos taken at Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve

 

— Juvenile alligator photos taken at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

 

 

Northern Parulas

I’ve seen several new bird lifers since arriving to Florida, but they’re in a fleeting moment, winging by me.  No time to even think about putting a lens on them.  So ‘for me’, they don’t count towards my ‘number’.  A lifer seen can only be counted if I score a photo to prove it.  🙂

Sooooo…..I finally got a photo of a new lifer, yay!  A small warbler called the Northern Parula.

I had no idea what the flock of unfamiliar birds were, creating a lovely, exciting noise above me.

They came with a burst through the forest, making quick stops on branches, then taking off again.  I tried my best with hopes of luck to lock on at least one hopefully.

 

One Northern Parula, two angles

 

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Another Northern Parula

 

Northern Parulas are considered an eastern warbler, but they occasionally breed along California’s coast as well as in New Mexico and Arizona.  The key to their presence is moss; Spanish moss in the south and beard moss in the boreal forest farther north.

 

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And another Northern Parula, with a small worm

 

They continued their burst through the overhead tree canopy and were gone, both in sight and sound, in less than a minute.

Welcome to my lifer list, Northern Parula #191!

 

— Photos taken along the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.

 

 

Palm Warblers

 

After summer breeding in Canada where there are no palm trees, Palm Warblers migrate to southern Florida and the Caribbean region for the winter season.

 

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Palm Warbler – “No, I won’t look at you”
Big Cypress National Preserve

 

Though the Palm Warbler’s name might imply it is a tropical bird, it’s actually one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers (except for the Blackpoll Warbler).

They were named when the first specimen was collected on Hispaniola, a Caribbean island that happen to have a lot of palm trees.

In Florida, however, you’re more likely to find the Palm Warbler foraging in low shrubs and isolated trees.

 

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Palm Warbler
Big Cypress National Preserve

 

I’ve fallen in love with my next close-up photo, with the soft colors framing the Palm Warbler.

 

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Palm Warbler
Everglades National Park – Gulf Coast

 

 

Green Herons

 

My last post shared two ‘blue’ herons.  Here is the Green Heron, the smallest of all herons in the United States, in both habitat and close-up shots.

 

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Green Heron

 

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Green Heron

 

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Green Heron

 

— Photos taken at Big Cypress National Preserve

 

 

Herons – Great Blue & Little Blue

 

A Great Blue Heron arrived to fish alongside a Little Blue Heron.

 

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Silhouetted size comparison

Great Blue Heron (background), Little Blue Heron (foreground)

 

As I walked slowly down the trail to the left, both herons began walking to my right, just as I had hoped, continuing their fishing.

Here’s my favorite shot of each heron once I got positioned between the sunlight and them.

 

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Great Blue Heron

 

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Little Blue Heron

 

— Photos taken at Everglades NP, Gulf Coast

 

 

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