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Green Jay

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This beautiful Green Jay is known locally in southernmost Texas as the Rio Grande Jay. The Green Jay has such brilliant colors! This one was kind enough to land on this stump surrounded by red pencil cactus. They are very social and are usually in family flocks like other members of the Jay family. This brightly colored bird lives in the tropics with only a very small area of South Texas fortunate enough to encounter this iridescent species.

Female Northern BobWhite

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The Female Northern BobWhite is seen (at least for me) even more seldom that the male. The Northern Bobwhite nests on the ground. The male and female work together for about five days to weave grass and weeds which camouflage their nest. The Female can lay as many as 28 eggs! That’s a lot of Baby Bobwhites to keep warm and feed. I photographed this Female under a Palm tree in Florida. Nesting on the ground seems risky anywhere but especially in Florida with all the predatory animals around. Owls, Snakes, Hawks, Raccoons and Skunks all prey on the adults and their young!

Northern Bobwhite Quail

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The Northern Bobwhite Quail is a very familiar sound for those of us living in the Eastern United States. Many summer evenings their characteristic whistling call Bob-White is heard frequently but these stocky little quail aren’t seen very often. They are very well camouflaged and tend to hide. They scurry between cover and I felt very lucky to spot this one running along this dirt path (of course he was chasing a female!)

Duckweed and Green Herons

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I am still looking through and processing images from past  photography trips because of the COVID-19 restrictions on travel.  I found this image of a Green Heron landing in a pond in Florida.  The Green Heron is a beautiful little stocky heron with some high level hunting skills.  They actually sometimes place bait deliberately in the water to attract fish!  

You will notice a circle of yellow behind the bird which is present on the Raw file also. I considered fixing the color because it looked a little like post processing gone wrong but it is not processing at all. The plants behind the heron are very yellow and that prompted me to try and discover what that odd plant is that looks like green and yellow lentils on top of the water.  The plant is Duckweed and if it is yellow it is losing nutrients which is another way of saying it is dying.  Duckweed is a fascinating little plant. Each little “lentil” is a plant floating on the top of the water.  These little plants  are able to double their mass in 1-2 days, and they can grow just as fast at night as during the day!  Duckweed is being used in many places to filter harmful chemicals from water and many parts of the world consider it as a water purifier. Duckweed is currently being studied in Brazil as a biofuel source with the added benefit of leaving clean water behind.  The other fascinating use is to control mosquitos in still or slow moving water where mosquitos love to lay their eggs. The duckweed covers the water surface like a blanket and prevents the mosquito from reproducing!    I learned about Duckweed because of a yellow circle behind a Green Heron image.  What an amazing little plant.

Goldeneye

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These two images of a Male and Female Common Goldeneye are from early winter.   I am going through past images because all of my spring photography trips are cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Common Goldeneye (Bucephalus clangula) is a beautiful, readily recognized little duck. In spring and summer they breed in the colder parts of the United States in upper Michigan, Minnesota and Canada.  Goldeneye are cavity nesters. They frequently lay their eggs in abandoned woodpecker holes, natural tree cavities or nest boxes.  In winter they retreat to the warmer areas of the United States in saltwater bays and ice free deep lakes. The Goldeneye is one of the last ducks of the season to head south. They migrate in flocks and are very fast muscular fliers.

The Common Goldeneye has been nicknamed The Whistler because of the loud whistling noise their wings make as they fly.