We flew from Anchorage to Illinois, arriving after midnight. It was dark, and the days were shorter. The next morning we learned that a local group who sponsored exchange students from Spain were suddenly in need of host families. They were in an "immersion" English language program. Our daughter agreed to house one of the girls, and we offered the guest suite of our condo to the group's chaperon, a teacher from north of Madrid.
Returning to O'Hare Airport only two days later, we held signs to help the arriving students find us in the welcoming crowd. Celia, a delightful high school student from Madrid who spoke perfect English, stayed with our daughter,
Our granddaughters loved having a new "big sister" for a few weeks.
Fernando, the teacher, was great company. Both were treated like family.
We soon found time to check out the local Bald Eagle nest at Mooseheart. I could find only two of the three eaglets. They appear big enough to have already fledged.
Amid all the excitement of showing our guests the sights of the big city, we were able to walk in nearby Hawk's Bluff Park.
The birds were rather quiet, as breeding season is just about over for most species, and they are undergoing molt. Gray Catbirds were active.
A Song Sparrow seemed interested in our presence.
Blue Jays alerted the world to our intrusion.
A Twelve-spotted Skimmer was on the lookout for the numerous mosquitoes.
Great Egrets explored the lily pads on the Fox River.
Common Yellowthroats sang vigorously in the grasslands.
The Japanese Garden at Fabyan Park in Geneva reminded me of an Impressionist painting, so that is how I processed my photo (click on photo to enlarge it).
There is no need to travel far and wide to find beauty, but I'm sure glad I cruised to Alaska one more time!