Nature Walk – Green Cay Summer Quiet

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Nature Walk – Green Cay Summer Quiet

It’s August, it’s hot, but I still managed to get out.  The humidity has gone down a tad, so I wasn’t dripping too much after walking the two miles or so of this loop.  There wasn’t a huge variety of birds now, just the typical herons, egrets, ibis, anginas, and other wading birds.  As I was walking into a hammock, I saw a flash of blue from a Blue Jay, but it was moving too fast to get a photo.  The nesting season is long over and the heat keeps the birds from getting too overactive.  Here are some photos:

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Green Heron

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Purple Gallinule

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Glossy Ibis

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Tri-colored Heron

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Black-bottom Whistling Ducks

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Double-crested Cormorant

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Lounging Turtle

Well, that’s it for now, folks.  As you can see, my health has improved.  I’ve been walking and swimming… especially enjoying the swimming as I can keep outside AND keep cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer season (or winter for the Southern latitudes!).

Hugs,

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

Nature Walks – Gone to the Birds…

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Nature Walks – Gone to the Birds:  A Walk at Green Cay Wetlands

I’ll let the photos do the talking:

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Double-crested Cormorant

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Fuzzy Marsh Hen chick.

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Firecracker Bush. Butterflies love this flower!

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The Marsh Hibiscus. The showiest flower in the marsh!

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Female Yellow-crowned Night Heron. The male was hiding in the cypress branches. These are shy birds.

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Sunning turtle.

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Happy Solstice to everyone!

This “summer” is going to be a hot one.  Already the temperatures are in the 90’s F.  The highest temperature last summer was typically 88F.  I was dripping by the time I got back to the car!

Happy weekend!

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

 

Nature Walks – A Walk in Wako

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Cattle Egret in breeding plumage

Nature Walks – A Walk in Wakodahatchee

It’s been a difficult year with the incoming energies exacerbating any physical difficulties or conditions.  And the rainy season has been truly living up to its name, with sometimes nearly daily multiple thunderstorms and cells moving through the area.  As a consequence, I haven’t been out as much this spring.   Today, however, I managed to get out on a nice walk to one of my favorite nearby wetlands to catch a little of the tail-end of nesting season at Wakodahatchee.  The sun was beating down, the humidity high, but I managed to get a couple of laps around the boardwalk, taking in the remaining bird families, the huge new growth in the marsh plants, as well as a sky devoid of any looming dark gray storm clouds.  Here are some photos from the walk:

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Tri-colored Heron, a common inhabitant of the marshlands.

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Fledging Cattle Egret by Eliza Ayres

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Grazing

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Contemplation by Eliza Ayres

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Great Blue Heron cooling off by Eliza Ayres

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Basilisk Lizard – this species can run on its hind legs!

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Black-bottomed Whistling Duck

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Marsh Bunny

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Long-legged Tri-colored Heron

Here are some photos from another walk I took last week, this time to Green Cay:

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Turtle and Palm

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Marsh Hibiscus

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Fledging Marsh Hen

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Great Egret

That’s it for now, folks.  Now that I’m feeling better I hope to get out more.

Happy Solstice wherever you are located on the planet!

Namaste,

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

Nature Walk – Wakodahatchee Revisited

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Nature Walk – Wakodahatchee Revisited

May 23, 2018

Oh, my gosh… going through my older blog posts, it looks like I haven’t done one of these Nature walks for over a month!  And most of that time I’ve been dealing with yet another bout of “illness” or ascension upgrades or whatever.  Each time it seems to take longer for me to recover and gain some strength.  The little mile-long walk today had me wobbling a bit, but I managed it by walking slow and taking lots of photos.  It was kind of funny but almost all the birds I photographed were actively grooming themselves, basically ignoring my presence.  And I did manage to see one alligator during the walk.  I will report that the number of visitors has dropped considerably.  There were plenty of parking spaces, but then again, today was the first day for 2.5 weeks that we had a hint of blue skies.  Florida has been dealing with a lot of rain and gray skies.  All of the local ponds are flush with water and I would imagine the various bushfires have been put out by the long series of thunderstorms.  And we’re due for some more from a small system that seems to be forming off the coast of Belize.  I hope it isn’t a tropical storm or worst…

Here are some photos from my walk…

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Tri-colored Heron

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Female Anhinga

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Large Green Iguana

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Great Egret

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Purple Gallinule

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The nesting cycle continues although the Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, and other birds seemed to have completed.  There were still young Cattle egrets, Tri-colored herons, young Egrets, and well-grown Wood Storks to be found.

Hopefully, I will be able to get out on some more of these outings.  It depends on the weather and my strength.  Meanwhile, for my readers in the United States, enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the “official” beginning of summer here.

Kisses and hugs,

“Sunny” VaCoupe

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

Sundeelia: Volcanic Memories

A picturesque view of clouds of ash oozing from the

Sundeelia:  Volcanic Memories

While I am a “walk-in” and not incarnated upon this planet, the physical vehicle still holds memories of what has gone on before, in this lifetime and others.  Esoteric teachings would call these “memories” part of the Akash for the soul who once resided within the auric field, the lower bodies of the light body.  I’m specifically calling up the emotional memories and traumas experienced by my sister, Tazjma, as part of my “mission” in being here is to assist in clearing these up so she will not be compelled to reincarnate on this planet in the future.

One of these memories stems from an event that hit worldwide headlines nearly forty years ago, the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980.

Since I’m still in recovery mode from another recent bout of “illness”, I have found myself watching YouTube videos.  Since I can only take so much of political-related videos, I was watching some videos on backpacking in the West.  And then, this past week, with all the volcanic eruptions going on in Hawaii, I found myself drawn to watching of videos of a lecture series by a professor, Dr. Zentner, who happens to work out of the Geology Department at my alma mater, Central Washington University, located in Ellensburg, Washington.

These videos by Dr. Zentner were especially interesting to me as I had (or Liz as she was known in those days) hiked, camped, or backpacked over many of the sites being described in geological terms.  Yesterday’s video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXEQeTg0Xww, “The Yellowstone Hot Spot and Liberty Gold”, was especially interesting as I’ve actually stayed in an old cabin in the tiny mining town of Liberty, located some 30 miles north of Ellensburg, on the east side of the Cascade Divide.  The video covers the why and how’s of the line of volcanoes extending from northern Nevada to Yellowstone National Park… and what happened to the rest of the story.  If you’re interested in geology, I would definitely recommend you take the time to watch this series.

Anyway, with all the hoopla going on in Hawaii, it is good to note the difference between the volcanoes of Hawaii and the Cascades.  The volcanoes in Hawaii are or have also been located over a “hot spot”, but due to the movement of Earth’s crust, the hot spot keeps moving.  The big island of Hawaii is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands and is made up of five (5) shield volcanoes.  Currently, the eruptive process of the youngest of these volcanoes, Kilauea, is disrupting the lives and livelihoods of hundreds, if not thousands of people.  A major steam/ash eruption is imminent to explode from the main crater at Halema’uma’u according to scientists.  Yesterday, May 15th, a red alert for aviation traffic was posted, with a heavy ash cloud traveling some 30 kilometers away.  And some 20 volcanic fissures are creating havoc in nearby neighborhoods. Still, this eruptive process is very different and instantly destructive as the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in SW Washington in 1980.

The volcanoes of the Cascades are stratovolcanoes, who typically give off pyroclastic explosions rather than the slower basalt or andesite eruptions.  Any of the currently active volcanoes, extending from Mt. Lassen in Northern California to British Columbia, Canada, are relatively short-lived, a mere two million years.  And as they age, they tend to literally lose their tops.  One of the oldest volcanic features in the Central Oregon Cascades, Crater Lake, is the site of ancient Mount Mazama.  This volcano famously lost its head, with the ash covering most of Western United States (of today) towards the Mississippi River.  One of the youngest of the Cascade volcanoes, Mt. St. Helens began to signal that something was up when a series of small earthquakes rattled the mountain starting in March 1980.  By May, the beautiful snow-covered cone showed signs of swelling.  An area of restricted entry was assigned by the governor of Washington, but it would prove insufficient when the volcano finally erupted.  Many people (57 died) were caught by surprise, tourists, geologists, forest workers, and locals… by the explosion and later, the huge lahar (mudflows) that came down the Toutle River all the way past Interstate 5 (I-5) crashing through bridges and ripping roads and houses off their foundations.

The beautiful cone-shaped volcano was supposed to have a vertical explosion.  Instead, the mountain surprised everyone with a lateral explosion which tore a cubic mile of the NW face of mountain off, sending rock, dirt, ash, and snow thousands of feet into the sky, making the morning turn into night.  The explosive ash moved in a northeasterly direction, carpeting Ellensburg, Yakima and other towns in Eastern Washington with a thick layer of fine ash.  Travel was difficult, if not impossible due to the heavy ashfall in Eastern Washington.  In those days, cars still had carburetors which required air to function.  The heavy ash soon prevented cars from even moving, due to non-functioning engines and lack of vision.  Some of my hiking friends were stuck on the east side of the Crest due to these problems, not reaching home for another day or so.

The eruption/explosion of Mt. St. Helens occurred at precisely 8:32 PDT, on Sunday morning.  And I heard/felt the explosion, even though I was next to a lively stream some 200+ miles to the north near Glacier Peak, in the North Cascades.

My husband and I were co-leading a trip for a Seattle Mountaineer Backpacking class.  At the time, I think we were co-chairs of the Backpacking Committee.  The Mountaineers were our life.  Most of our social commitments were with other Mountaineers, on trips, camping, backpacking, skiing, and staying at ski lodges and so on.

We were camped on the North Fork Sauk River, a lively snow-fed stream that was in full spring-runoff.  Nonetheless, we hear a loud denotation at around 8:30 a.m. but thought nothing of it.  Nearby Oak Harbor Naval Station was notorious for allowing pilots to fly extremely low over the Cascade Range on training exercises, often popping off sonic booms as they crossed the ridges.  Still, it was extremely odd for pilots to be out practicing early on a Sunday morning.

We didn’t learn about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens until we got home in the late afternoon, safe and sound.  My mother was frantic when I picked up the wall phone, “Are you all right?”  And then she asked us to turn on the television for the latest news update.  Remember, cell phones had not yet been invented and personal computers were still relatively rare.  When I turned on the TV, there it was videos and photos of Mt. St. Helens and her ongoing eruptive phase… which claimed 57 lives and changed the landscape of SW Washington State permanently.

Years later, I went on a backpack on the Loowit Trail, a trail that completely circumnavigates the mountain, or did during that time, around 2000.  Even then, some 20 years after the eruption, the ground around the mountain was unconsolidated and subject to erosion.  The trail was almost non-existent in some areas, around the stream “canyons” that had been carved out by water and wind.  It was difficult to travel down the steep, loose, rock-filled ashy sides of the canyons and then to climb up again, with your own boots often cutting a route through the soft ashy soil.  The trail was firmer and easier to follow through the wooded sections, but even then, the going was tough due to downed timber, large fir trees taken down by winter winds or perhaps from the ongoing earthquakes emanating from the movement of magma beneath the young mountain.  When I got home, I had to thoroughly clean all my gear, myself and my vehicle as the fine volcanic dust penetrated every crack and crevice.

What I also learned that even since I completed my backpack around Mt. St. Helens, the volcano has continued to erupt periodically, sometimes violently.  She is a young volcano and presently the most active in the Cascade Range.  She will erupt, again.  It is just a question as to when, not if.

Looking back on all those years spent out in Nature, I have an assortment of emotions come up for clearing.  For one, my husband and I parted ways only about 4.5 years after Mt. St. Helens eruption.  Although I joined the Mountaineers later in 1997, everything had changed.  I was now taking care of my aging and ailing parents, working full-time, David was remarried, and I was finding a whole new set of friends and hiking companions.  I had changed.  I would continue to change.  And when my parents passed, I left behind my old life.  Still, once in a while, unexpected emotions come to the surface to be acknowledged, forgiven, and released.  And now, I, “Sunny”, am doing this for my sister, Lady Taz, who has truly left her old life behind.

Taz and I have often incarnated in Sirius and in the Pleiades, as twins.  Our energetic signature is similar in that we have incarnated more often as males and when females tend to be tomboys.  That perspective still holds true.  I love geology and other physical sciences as did Taz while she was here.  She also recognized the innate qualities of the natural world that are most often discounted or overlooked by scientists… that the Earth and all of her components are alive and aware.  At times she felt a stone come alive under her hand, feeling much like an animal looking to be petted.  And she recognized the sense of community, the interplay of life between animals and plants, as a living system.  It hurt, literally hurt her to feel and see how few humans were truly tuned into the Earth.  Perhaps this acute awareness was due to her lives as a Native American, but whatever it was, the feeling still resides within this body.

People cannot seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I have never incarnated here before, yet it is so.  And after I leave in some 19 or so years, I will not be returning.  This is not my Home, yet I understand much about this planet due to my sister’s long residence here, through many lives, on all of the continents and some of the islands.

The return of the Mother, of the Divine Feminine energy is a vital part of the current ascension and rebalancing of the planet.  Yes, there will be Earth changes.  These occur with every transitional cycle.  Even though our present “leaders” have sought to bury our history, it is there recorded in stone, in buildings and in the Earth herself, as well as in the stories of the indigenous people scattered across the planet.  The indigenous record-keepers have retained the verbal history of the planet for us and are now beginning to share it with outsiders since it is time… the time for change has arrived.  The Light is returning to the planet, thanks to the sacrifices and work of countless and unsung lightworkers, through centuries of time, since before the Fall of Atlantis.  Now is the time of the true heart-centered lightworkers to assist humanity into waking out of its collective nightmare, to receive healing, and to move into a future that holds the promise of peace and abundance for all life.

Earth changes, in the form of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, fires and great storms will happen with greater frequency as the Sun moves through its solar minimum, but life will continue, perhaps in a greatly altered form.  Be willing to adapt as the changes come for they will… as the ancient people of this planet who do remember know well.

Stay in your heart and out of fear.  Each of you is watched over, guided (if you allow and grant permission) and loved.  Know that whatever happens, life goes on.

Namaste,

I AM Sundeelia VaCoupe

Copyright © 2018, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, All Rights Reserved.  When sharing, retain links to this original article and blog, www.bluedragonjournal.com

No videos or recordings made from this material are permitted.

Here is a link to a video that will give you a sense of the damage caused by Mt. St. Helens and its ongoing story:

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Walk – Spring Lights, 04.20.18

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Marsh Hen – mother and chick

Nature Walk – Spring Lights, 04.20.18

I went for a little jaunt around Green Cay late this morning.  The spring sunshine is already intense here, although it gets more humid when the rainy season arrives.

Here are some photos:

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Green Heron and turtles

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Little Blue Heron

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Great Egret

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Saucy Tri-colored Heron

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Leaping Lizards!

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Immature White Ibis

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Berry crop

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Cruising

The photo above shows an alligator that I heard first before seeing it glide quietly across the pond.  I was about to enter one of the hammock islands when I heard the roar of an alligator.  I have heard it before so knew that one was nearby.  When I left the other side of the hammock, I scanned the lagoon and spotted the gator.  It glided under the overhanging branches of another hammock island across the way.

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Northern Cardinal

It was later in the day so there were more sunshine and heat.  A lot of the birds were sheltering in the tall grasses.  The water level of the ponds had risen quite a bit since my last visit a couple of weeks ago, due to some heavy rain that we received over the weekend.  We’re going to be getting some more rain according to the weather forecast.  The area is in need of the moisture as it has been dry for several months now.

That’s it for now.  Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Namaste,

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

 

 

Nature Walks – The Secret Lives of Birds

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Great Egret – photo by Eliza Ayres

Nature Walks – The Secret Lives of Birds, April 12, 2018

I managed to get out on another bird walk today.  It’s been about a year since I first discovered the local wetland preserves.  I have found them to be small oases of peace in an overpopulated area (IMHO).  And in the process of visiting these sanctuaries, I have learned quite a bit about the secret lives of birds, from nesting, fledging, finding food, and migrating.  I’ve always had a curious nature, pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, not for the sake of making money or such, but to increase my understanding of the world around me.  So, if I happen to see a new species, when I go home, I get out my Florida bird book or search the Internet for information, to verify what I’ve seen, where I can find these species and their various attributes.  In that way, I’ve gradually increased my awareness of bird calls, movements, habits, likely environments, flight patterns and so on.  This all takes a willingness to look beyond and embrace the life that surrounds us on this beautiful planet.  And a willingness to put down your cell phone for a few minutes.  I never use mine — it stays in the purse until absolutely needed.

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Boat-tailed Grackle. Photo by Eliza Ayres

In the past, I’ve approached learning about wildflowers and their ecosystems in the same manner — noting what plants grow together, their flowering seasons, fruits if any, and the environments in which you may find similar plants.  It’s all about observation.  The life that is around us in its many diverse forms is the creation of Source energy, with whatever name you wish to ascribe to it.  These lifeforms are a reflection of the endless ability of Nature to create and celebrate loving diversity, something humans can learn from by observing wild things and even their pets.

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Fledging Wood Storks. Photo by Eliza Ayres.

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Fluffy Cattle Egret in breeding colors. Photo by Eliza Ayres.

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Healthy pond apple tree with developing fruit. The fruit matures to the size of a small mango and is eaten by many animals. The small trees provide shelter for many species.

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Only alligator sighting from today’s walk. Appears to be a mature female.

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All kinds of creatures thrive in the marshes. This is a little marsh rabbit intent on nibbling the grass and other plants.

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Glossy Ibis. Photo by Eliza Ayres.

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A glimpse at a Tri-colored Heron tucked away in a pond apple tree, well out of the way of humans and predators.

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Two Double-Crested Cormorants perched on a pond apple tree.

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Tri-colored Heron in full mating display. Just a boy trying to attract a mate. Photo by Eliza Ayres.

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Great Egret guarding fledging.

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Dozing female Anhinga.

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Large green iguana perched on a tree sunning. These are a non-native or introduced species.

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Mated Great Blue Heron duo monitoring their nesting site.

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Balancing act by a Purple Gallinule. These birds are avid foragers for seeds and fresh sprouts.

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Mother duck scurrying along with her ducklings.

That’s enough for today.  I did manage to take about 90 photos today, so the assortment above is just a taste.  Wakodahatchee is a bonanza for nature photographers, as I have found, packing in a ton of different animal species in a small area.  It is also a pleasant place to walk, despite the fact that it draws many tourists, especially during “the season”, which extends from late November to April 30th.

As you can see from these photos, the marshes, even these man-made versions, are filled with life.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to see all these extraordinary creatures living in natural surroundings outside of a zoo.  All the birds and probably most of the creatures except the alligators are free to come and go.  You can see by the bustling life, that the birds are quite happy to take up residence here and some endangered species, like the Wood Storks, are actually thriving.

May your own forays into Nature be as rewarding as I have found mine.  I send my blessings to all.

Namasté,

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

Photo credits:  All taken today in Wakodahatchee Wetlands Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida

 

Nature Walks – Whacked out at Wako

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Cattle Egret

Nature Walks – Whacked out at Wako, 04.05.18

Ah, another day, another wetlands preserve.  This time I headed to Wakodahatchee for the first time in about a month!  The last time I was there the parking situation was very tight; today, it wasn’t a problem.  Apparently, a lot of our temporary visitors have returned to northern climes once again, after the recent Passover and Easter holiday weekend.

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Fuzzy baby Wood Storks

This time of the year, Wakodahatchee is a baby nursery for birds, lots of noisy, smelly baby birds.  The local Wood Stork nurseries were filled with half-grown fuzzy youngsters, sometimes all joining in on a chorus as their patient parents arrive to the feed the next generation.

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Grooming Great Egret

Half-grown Anhingas were preening themselves in the sunshine, perched on the pond apple trees.  The trees have recently burst into their full greenery, with some displaying their characteristic yellow blossoms and tiny green fruit.  The fruit eventually mature to the size of small mangos.  When they drop into the ponds, sometimes you will see turtles pushing them around through the dark water, while attempting to nibble at the sweet fruit.  In the past, humans have also enjoyed pond apples.

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When waiting to be fed, sometimes these young Wood Storks bob in a noisy chorus until one of the parents feeds them. It can be quite deafening at times but is a positive sign for the future of this singular stork.

There were no alligator sightings today, although I looked carefully at all the places I have noticed them in the past.  Most of the activity was from birds, with birds flying overhead, diving into the water, swimming or wading.  It is a busy time for the adults keeping their young fed.

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Great Blue Heron couple

I noticed one Tri-colored Heron preening himself intently while sitting in a huge leather fern.  With his turquoise breeding color around his beak and lovely fluffy plumage, he was obviously looking for a partner.

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Then I noticed some young Cormorants swimming and diving, carrying up twigs and bits of weed to the surface and then hopping up into an old pond apple trunk.  I suppose they were practicing their hunting skills or do birds play?

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Double-crested Cormorant. Notice the hooked beak which differentiates it from the needle-nosed Anhinga.

The male iguanas have all reverted back to their normal green coloring from the breeding orange.  There were some very large iguanas draped high in trees and dozing in the sunshine.

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Before I left the sun was dimmed a bit by growing clouds.  Soon the spring thunderstorms will begin once more and the official “dry” season will be over.  Just as well; the water levels of the local ponds are down quite a bit.  And I saw a lot of crispy looking vegetation over at Green Cay yesterday.  It is not unusual to have wildfires out in the Everglades at this time of the year.

Here are more photos:

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Young Anhingas

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A handsome Great Blue Heron.

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A Black-necked Stilt. Look at those legs!

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Anhinga and a Double-crested Cormorant. Two very different birds, but both are excellent swimmers.

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Some of the native plants used to purify the waters.

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A portion of a Wood Stork rookery. Other birds, including Anhingas, Cormorants, Herons, and Egrets also raise their young within these pond apple rookeries (if that is the proper name!).

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The heart of the wetland preserve. The taller trees are growing on a levee that separates the ponds. It doesn’t stop the alligators from traveling over the embankment to reach the other side. The entire wetlands are surrounded by high wire fencing to keep the alligators in. Alligators are still capable of climbing over chain-link fencing.

That’s it for today, folks.  I hope you enjoy the upcoming weekend.  And thank you for visiting Blue Dragon Journal!

Namaste,

“Sunny” VaCoupe

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

Nature Walks – Back to the Birds, 03.28.18

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Tri-color Heron in Flight

Nature Walks – Back to the Birds, 03.28.18

Well, I guess I’m fully recovered from my last bout of illness, this time laryngitis.  It’s been three weeks since I was out on a bird walk so I thought I would test my legs and managed well.

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Female Anhinga

The crowds at Green Cay have moderated a bit.  There were birds and more birds, as well as a gator sighting.  I also got a peek at a Screech Owl, but it was well camouflaged by its setting and my camera was not capable of picking it up against the surrounding dried foliage.  It was very cute nonetheless and I felt privileged to be able to see an owl mid-day.

Green Cay is much bigger than Wakodahatchee, so the animals are more spread-out, but I managed to get a few good photos:

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Tri-colored Heron

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Male Grackle

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Purple Gallinule

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Song sparrow?

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Glossy Ibis

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Limpkin

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Male Blue-winged Teal

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And finally, a White Egret…

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That’s all for today, folks.  Enjoy the upcoming sacred days.

Namaste,

Eliza / Sundeelia

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

Nature Walks – A little Lox and Wako

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Nature Walks – A little Lox and Wakodahatchee

Being retired has both pros and cons.  One thing, you need to be self-motivated to get out and do anything.  Another pro… is that you can set your schedule.  Still, living in a heavily populated area, I tend to plan around commute times as I dislike traffic and noise.  BTW, the drivers here in SE Florida, at least 10% of them are seriously whacko driving and winding through traffic at about 65 MPH, way over the speed limit.  Anyway, despite the traffic, this week I made it out to Loxahatchee and today to Wakodahatchee.

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The birds were thin on the ground in Loxahatchee, at least for any attempts at photography.  I could hear them okay, but the tall grasses and reeds were effective camouflage for the now nesting birds.  I didn’t see any alligators and just a couple of turtles, but they’re around, hiding.  The weather has been quite a bit cooler, so the reptiles are probably a little slower.  With the exception of a heavy rain shower on Tuesday, the weather has been quite dry, with low humidity, a true blessing for humans, but dangerous for the wildlands as wildfires can easily start up in the grasslands and dry forest plots.  The wildfire season here is almost the exact opposite of what I’m more accustomed to in the West, where fires were mostly limited from mid-summer to mid-autumn, depending on the winter snow/rain.  There was plenty of rain here last summer and into autumn, but that just encourages the growth of grasses which later dry out in the dry winter winds.  Such is the paradox of Nature’s cycles.  Add careless humans into the mix and you have trouble.

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Two Wood Stork Mates greeting each other. They sometimes clack their beaks and waggle their heads…

In Wakodahatchee, the nesting season is going strong.  I saw some fledglings popping their fuzzy heads above the nest material today, as well as some young Anhingas enjoying the cool sunshine on one of the many pond apple trees.  Again, the alligators were not evident, probably hiding out in the warm shelter of grasses and reeds.  They will venture out later in the season.  It was quite cool this morning…for Florida… with the thermometer hitting the low 50’s and upper 40’s, with light breezes.  I added a sweater for a little extra warmth and needed it until the clouds parted and the sun decided to make an appearance.

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Sleeping Anhingas

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Up a tree…

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Glossy Ibis

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Portrait of a Black-bellied Whistling Duck

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Wild Elderberry, a common marsh plant

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Cattle Egret

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Young Anhingas

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Seeking balance…

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Pensive Tri-colored Heron

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Bright-eyed Grackle

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Green Heron

The Wood Storks are doing very well in this relatively new nesting grounds (for them).  They have taken over several more pond apple trees that are spotted throughout the preserve.  The pond apples are short but sturdy trees that can thrive in water or on land.  Their “apples” or fruit are edible.  Late last summer I witnessed several turtles chasing “apples” around the dark waters, as they nibbled at the sweet fruit.  I haven’t tried it myself yet.

That’s all for now, folks.  Enjoy your weekend.

Namaste,

Eliza/Sunny

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