Graci has had an eye for nature since she was very young--
At Disney World when she was two years of age she spoiled a family photo op when a gull flew over. (Guess who else looked up?)
During a visit to the zoo she noticed a sparrow in the tree above:
At four years of age, she loved to find fossils along the shore of our lake in Florida...
...and watched the Bald Eagle nest:
Graci enjoyed nature walks with her little sister and their huge Tibetan Mastiff:
Several times I tried to set up a bird walk with my grandparents but the first couple of times it rained. They did take me out to Bliss Woods but the mosquitoes almost ate us alive!
Grandma with me on the bridge over Blackberry Creek in Bliss Woods:
We heard this House Wren singing very loudly:
A phoebe was catching mosquitoes and I saw it carry food to a nest under the picnic shelter. Gramps couldn't find it at first in the dark but it flicked its tail:
I could not see the whole nest, behind the post:
When it stopped raining we planned to walk at Nelson Lake, particularly to try to see a Bobolink. On the way I asked Grandpa to stop off at a neighborhood park because I had found a nest and did not know what type of bird it belonged to. The nest looked like a Chimney Swift's nest but it was made of mud stuck to one of the metal support posts under the edge of the roof of the pavilion. I did see the bird but did not know what kind it was. It had a blue back, cinnamon color on its throat and a dark line like a collar. Grandpa said it sounded like a Barn Swallow and sure enough it it was.
If the video does not launch in the space below, try this link.
While we watched the nest an adult bird flew in and seemed to be feeding one or more tiny babies. We were not able to see them, but after getting a few photos and a video we moved on to Nelson Lake.
It was cloudy and pretty cool for July:
We began hiking the trail and we saw lots of birds, mostly Red-winged Blackbirds. There was a large picnic shelter and I went under it to see if I could spot any bird nests. I found three nests, one with a robin sitting in it.
We saw some precious baby swallows on the roof of the shelter, but inside there were no swallow nests. I saw some places where there may have been swallow nests but they looked like they had been knocked down, hopefully not on purpose.
The tiny swallows looked right into the camera when Grandpa took their picture. They were so adorable!
As we walked along the path I mostly heard Red-winged-Blackbirds and Song Sparrows:
Then I heard the Common Yellowthroat singing "wichity-wichity-wichity."
After Grandpa spotted the yellowthroat and pointed it out to me I said it was very cute with its little black mask. He had to wear a coat but I live in Illinois and am used to the cold weather.
There were many milkweed plants with flowers, Black-eyed Susan and sunflowers. We saw some Cedar Waxwings among the Queen Anne's Lace.
The meadowlark was whistling "Spring of the year."
At first we could find no Bobolinks until Grandpa saw a female, which flew by really fast. Then I spotted a male down close to the ground. It kept moving but down low where I could not see over the grass. Gramps could not get a picture of it, but a Dickcissel suddenly hopped up on a flower right next to the path. I didn't know how beautiful it was until I saw it on the computer:
The good thing was that there were no mosquitoes!
Two days later we went over to check the Barn Swallow's nest again. This time we could see FOUR baby birds!
Ten days after Graci found the nest, on July 15, 2015, there were FIVE hungry nestlings! (Click here if video fails to load in the space below):
Well, here is Grandfather back again, to add some sky and reflection shots from our Canada Rockies rail trip. This is Lake Louise, Alberta on a very calm morning...
...and this is an oil painting effect on a photo of Bow River just above the falls at Banff, Alberta (click to view full size image in FLICKR):
Thank you, Graciela, for giving me the week off!
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display