That Perfect Blend
Header Image: Picnic Lake At Sunrise
A liter of water and about 60 grams of coffee beans, for me, is a pleasant way to begin a morning. One of my favorite Central American coffees is lightly roasted at a small local roastery. The flavor is wonderful, but I wished it could be “more“. I tried increasing the amount of beans to the grind but, although stronger, it didn’t increase the flavor. When asked about a longer roasting time, the kind artisans said they tried it at various levels but any darker brought out a bitterness which was unpleasant. Experimentation over several months has produced something I really like. Just 15 grams of a very dark roasted variety from Peru added to 45 grams of the Guatemalan has been extremely satisfying to sip.
That perfect blend.
I know you’re tired of hearing about my genius in selecting the perfect life partner, but Gini taught me early in our marriage the importance of what she considers the most vital ingredient of any relationship, other than unconditional love. Communication. If we can’t talk to each other about everything, issues will sneak in and work to destroy what has been built. Thankfully, she worked tirelessly to instill that trait in our two children. Our adult children today define “proud parents”. We discovered each of us had a unique skill set to offer but only by combining our efforts could we be ultimately successful.
That perfect blend.
Spring is upon us! New green leaves are brightening the landscape. Small colorful flowers are beginning to appear along roadsides and under foot in the pathways. Blooming flowers awaken pollinating insects. Early mornings are just cool enough to make a hike in the forest or around the marsh comfortable.
We are at that special time of year when we marvel at Nature’s renewal. Resident birds are busy with the annual rituals of courtship, mating and nest building. Early birds, such as the Bald Eagle, already have young ones teetering out on a limb flapping their new, large wings. Osprey around our many lakes are putting the finishing touches on large nests and many are already brooding eggs. Songbirds are singing love songs seeking the attention of that someone special.
Meanwhile, flocks of birds are passing through the area returning to northern breeding grounds. Along the coast, groups of ducks and geese gather in the marshes to rest and feed and V-shaped formations are seen in the morning skies. In our inland area, small birds are grouping up as they feed constantly to provide the fuel needed for their long journey.
Resident birds courting and nesting. Migratory birds flocking and feeding.
That perfect blend.
Long post. More images than usual. No apologies.
An Osprey greets the dawn. This nesting platform has been used for at least five years by (the same?) Ospreys, except for three years ago when it was appropriated by a pair of Great Horned Owls.
A pair of Double-crested Cormorants warm up as the sun rises on a new day.
It won’t be too long before this Eastern Phoebe wings her way north. We will miss the one in our yard who reminds us every day that her name is “FEEE – BEEE”!
Around a curve in the road we disturbed a group of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings. We often see these species travel and feed together. We sat in the car for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed watching over 50 Waxwings and over 30 Robins gorge on the fruit of the Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).
Two male Northern Flickers seemed to be playing a game of tag, but more likely were engaged in discussing territory or a potential mate. As one takes flight, it’s easy to see why these are called the “Yellow-shafted” form. In the western U.S., one finds the “Red-shafted” form.
Dragons have awakened! We saw several Eastern Pondhawks and Common Green Darners. But the highlight was a NEW species for us! A Sepia Baskettail (Epitheca sepia)! A good day made better.
A White Ibis shows signs of breeding changes as its bill and legs become brighter red than normal.
Docks on the numerous lakes are great places for a Tricolored Heron to scan the water for a snack or relax in the morning sun.
Perched next to the above heron, a Snowy Egret has spotted something interesting in the distance.
I was watching an Osprey pair working on nest remodeling when they seemed to take me as a possible threat. One of them launched out and flew over my head while clucking so I left in order not to disturb them further.
During migration, we see large numbers of Palm Warblers. The Eastern form is bright yellow and brown while the Western form is more subdued in plumage. Constant tail-pumping helps confirm their identification.
Crisp breast streaks and bit of yellow in front of the eye helps identify the Savannah Sparrow, another winter visitor we will soon be missing.
Heading down a path trying to follow a trio of sparrows led to an area filled with blooming Sawtooth Blackberry (Rubus pensilvanicus). These flowers will soon attract a variety of pollinators and in several weeks, the juicy berries will be harvested by several different animals. Including me if I’m quick enough.
Two lone trees in a field and atop one was perched an American Kestrel. Florida has a small number of these falcons which breed within the state and each year we see several dozen migratory Kestrels.
The second of the two trees mentioned above was occupied by our largest Buteo, the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) . As I watched, he took off and displayed his namesake red tail. Majestic raptor!
Coffee, birds, a Spring morning – shared with my best friend. Truly – that perfect blend!
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!