Ain’t No Sunshine

Header Image: Cold Front Departing

How can we be “The Sunshine State” if the sun is not shining? Winter. What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!

So there we were, standing on the dock of the lake, peering into grayness. At the end of the dock were two Brown Pelicans, peering into grayness. Soon, the fog will lift and they can go fishing and we can go birding. Soon.

Any minute now.

Still waiting.

So there we were, standing on the bank of the canal, peering into grayness. The gray plumage of a Great Blue Heron blended nicely with the reeds shrouded by gray mist.

Very gradually, the day became slightly brighter. The birds became active and so did we. We visited three different spots around Lake Parker, including the city park on the western shore. The lake is only ten minutes from the house and we stop by often to check on the residents.

A cold front arrived last night and sure enough, it was cold this morning! Usually, we don’t get thick fog with this type front. Just lucky today, I guess. The icy air and damp mist made me regret not stopping to get a coffee. Gini, you remember her, said: “I’ll be in the car. Let me know if the fog lifts.” In the car. With the heated seats. And banana bread.

Eventually, we found a few birds. The cold front moved off to the east and around mid-morning the sun still had not made an appearance. I want my money back. “Sunshine State”. Right.

Yes, we are totally spoiled! It takes a day like this to remind us how good we have it the other 364 days a year. When the sun shines. In the Sunshine State.

If you squint and use your imagination, there are actual bird images somewhere around here.

Brown Pelicans on the dock. Honest.

A Green Heron doesn’t care about the fog. Wading around the weeds will work just fine for breakfast.

Clinging to a cattail in the mist, a Yellow-rumped Warbler has his fog lights on.

Another hunter who doesn’t need flight clearance for a meal, a Purple Gallinule uses its over-sized feet to step from one lily pad to the next.

Apparently, swallows have some pretty advanced technology on board as they seemed to have no problem at all zipping above the lake snapping up bugs. The photographer, on the other hand, had a huge problem trying to get a picture worth more than one or two (unprintable) words.

Atop a cypress tree, an Anhinga has not yet realized that spreading her wings to dry during a misty morning is an exercise in futility.

The smart bird of the morning. A Black-crowned Night Heron woke up to cold wet fog and simply buried his head deeper into his warm feathers.

Limpkins can find snails and other tidbits to munch on foggy days just as well as they can on sunny days.

At last! The air began to clear and a tree filled with delayed flights began to flap to life. White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Anhinga, Cattle Egret, Boat-tailed Grackle – all relieved as they each received permission from the local air traffic controller to take off.

The back end of the cold front shuffled over the lake to the east bringing its damp cold gift to thousands of Disney World visitors. Aww.

Despite no sunshine and few birds, we had a wonderful morning. It wasn’t really all that cold and the fog was not nearly as dense as I have described. No, really, it wasn’t.

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

26 Comments on “Ain’t No Sunshine

  1. I guess fog better suits landscapes than bird photography but you managed some nice images with recognizable boids. That’s a fine shot of Snoozy the Black-crowned Night Heron and the parting shot with a tree load is wonderful.

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  2. I won’t comment on the cold as we are on a different scale ha. For starters, my face has a vivid green hue to it as I admire your Purple Gallinule. Three years counting and I still haven’t tinned that **** bird. Fingers crossed during our upcoming trip to Gulf Shores/Florida I can finally get that checked off my list – lucky enough to get my first Limpkin last month while in Texas. Have you see a big explosion of butter-butts in your area. Got so tired of them (again in Texas) that I refused to take anymore pictures of them after the first few weeks of the new year.

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    • We’re definitely spoiled fair-weather brats.

      Good luck on the gallinules.

      The butter-butt numbers seem to be about average for our area. Ten in the front yard as I speak, dozens and dozens on most trips now. They’re busy fueling up for the flight north.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know exactly which day you were out! lol We sure are spoiled here in Florida with beautiful weather…most of the time. I love the big Cypress tree! We might get rain tonight…that’s a better time of day for rain. Enjoy your day!

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  4. This made me chuckle so hard…I felt like I was right there with you shivering! I bet those heated seats felt good when you got back to the car.

    I’m impressed with your sharp swallow shot in that low light. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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    • You’ll have to talk to the Boss about how nice the heated seats felt. I was stuck in the fog pointing my lens at ghosts. Brrrr!

      Thanks for the visit, Jess.

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  5. A very atmospheric collection of images ๐Ÿ™‚ Couldn’t resist. I love how you are able to be so fully in your surroundings, and share them so completely with us. Keep exploring!

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  6. We’ve had this sort of fog ourselves for a few days, although in my case the frustration it causes is related to trying to meet work-related deadlines. Thank goodness, while I wait for it to lift I can enjoy the good use you made of the stuff! That photo of the Black-crowned Night Heron is my favorite, bar none. I love the birds in any pose, any day: but their “napping stance” is particularly charming. It suggests a wonderful combination of acceptance, patience, and shyness. (Anthropomorphize, much?)

    That said, the final photo of that avian assembly is wonderful. It’s such an interesting combination of birds. It always surprises me to see Ibis and such in trees. Obviously, they make use of them in a number of ways, but I’m just accustomed to seeing them at the coast. Their rookeries and so on aren’t so accessible, or I haven’t done enough exploring to find them.

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    • The Black-crowned Night Heron is definitely a favorite of ours, too. Truth be told, this one had likely been busy hunting all night (“Night” Heron) and was settled in to sleep until her next shift started (at “Night”).

      That “bird tree” is among several along the shore of the lake where during winter we see large numbers of Glossy and White Ibises roost for the night. Pretty awesome sight as night approaches to watch waves of birds gliding in.

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  7. What would life (or photography) be without a challenge every once in a while? As long as it’s every once in a while. Which is usually is in Florida.

    Your perseverance (and photos) are admirable Wally. A great representation of what Florida is (sometimes) like – well done!

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  8. I very much enjoyed this somewhat different post from you, Wally, seeing how your morning unfolded, with the ‘reveal’ in your last image being absolutely wonderful.

    We too awoke to a foggy morning today, although it is now just past mid-day and it has reduced to a light mist – they’re even forecasting some sun for later this afternoon – which is great, as Lindsay has expressed her intention of taking me out for a short walk! (she drove for the first time since the beginning of December yesterday!).

    Best wishes to you and Gini – – – Richard

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    • Don’t tell anyone, but we feel really fortunate to still be able to get out and about in ANY kind of weather!

      We are extremely happy to hear that same attitude exists in the two of you as Lindsay is walking and driving! Good news, indeed!

      You realize, of course, in another month I shall be complaining about our insufferable humidity.

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  9. Your persistence in spite of the cold paid off. As you said, most of the year you have it pretty good down thereโ€”at least when you’re not dealing with hurricanes.

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    • Persistence, thy name is stubborn. It takes more than poor weather to keep me from achieving outstanding photographs of the natural world.

      Well, a bit of talent would help, but then again, pictures of birds in the fog may not be all that technically challenging.

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