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18 December - Unlike at night when the frogs come out, it’s rare to see one in the backyard during the day. I noticed this one during the afternoon hidden away in the leaves of a hanging plant near the backdoor. He looks quite cozy. Takako later identified it as a Cuban Treefrog. 19 December - This is a video frame grab of a Bottlenose Dolphin surfacing for air in the Indian River Lagoon taken from a canoe during a video shoot for a joint Pelican Island Audubon/Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge project. Note the little burst of water behind the Dolphin’s head as he exhales. This is pretty small compared with some when a big spray of water would balloon out overhead accompanied by a loud snorting sound as the Dolphin surfaced. We saw many Dolphins actively feeding throughout the course of the morning among the small islands around the Spratt Creek area inside the Refuge.
20 December - A River Otter family was swimming around in the mangroves along Birds Impoundment Trail at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge right at sunrise. I thought at first there were only two adult Otters but then in the darkness of the mangroves I could see a group of small faces watching me from atop the mangrove roots. What would have been a wonderful family portrait of young Otters was ruined by the early morning lack of light. I was with the Otters for about twenty minutes before we both went our separate ways. 22 December - A Downy Woodpecker hangs around in an oak tree at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area on Friday afternoon.
22 December - Another image from Thursday morning’s photo shoot at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, a Pied-billed Grebe in its winter plumage. This is a very wary bird that disappears underwater at the sight of people appearing nearby or any other possible trouble. 23 December - Leaping Squirrels! A Squirrel is caught in midair during a long jump between an oak tree and a pine tree in my mother’s backyard this afternoon. It must be a bit heart stopping for the Squirrel since it is a long way to the ground if a mistake is made.
25 December - A feathered Christmas visitor—a female Painted Bunting in my mother’s backyard. 26 December - The Moon and the planet Jupiter came together on Christmas night as seen from the backyard.
27 December - This little Downy Woodpecker seems to have taken up residence in the oak trees around the Audubon office at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. The bird can be seen and/or heard almost everyday now. 28 December - Using a little stealth to peer through the bushes reveals a Zebra Longwing Butterfly feeding on flowers behind the Audubon office at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
29 December - Today was a quiet day with only Sam for a model as he wandered around the yard. 31 December - Another Squirrel making the big leap from tree to tree (See the 23 December post for another leaping Squirrel image). Possibly a metaphor for jumping into the New Year---and jumping Squirrels make a nice counterpoint to photographing flying birds!
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