Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bird Hike with Grandparents (Guest Blog)

Graciela, our 11 year old granddaughter wanted to contribute to my blog before we returned home to Florida from Illinois and asked me put up some photos to illustrate her observations. She is becoming an old hand at this, having posted here in the past.  Among her contributions have been a humorous description of my encounter with a hawk, visiting a Bald Eagle nest, using grocery bags as birding boots, a Grand Canyon adventure, and  watching wildlife in Florida.

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:

 Graciela watching eagle nest 2008

Graci enjoyed nature walks with her little sister and their huge Tibetan Mastiff:

Nietas y Agramonte

Graciela writes--

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:

Mary Lou and Graci at Bliss Woods 20150629

We heard this House Wren singing very loudly:

House Wren 20150629

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:

Eastern Phoebe 20150629

I could not see the whole nest, behind the post:

Eastern Phoebe near nest 20150629

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.

 Nelson Lake sign 20150711

It was cloudy and pretty cool for July:

 Meadow and silos HDR 20150712

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.

American Robin 20150708

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.

 Barn Swallow fledglings 2-20150708

The tiny swallows looked right into the camera when Grandpa took their picture. They were so adorable!

Barn Swallow fledglings 20150708

As we walked along the path I mostly heard Red-winged-Blackbirds and Song Sparrows:

Red-winged Blackbird 20150515

 Song Sparrow HDR 20150709

Then I heard the Common Yellowthroat singing "wichity-wichity-wichity." 

Graci 20150708

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.

Nieta y Abuelo 20150708

Common Yellowthroat 4-20150708

There were many milkweed plants with flowers, Black-eyed Susan and sunflowers. We saw some Cedar Waxwings among the Queen Anne's Lace.

Black-eyed Susan 20150712

Queen Anne's Lace 2-20150708

The meadowlark was whistling "Spring of the year."

Eastern Meadowlark 2-20150712

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:

Dickcissel 2-20150708

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!

Barn Swallow four nestlings 20150710

Barn Swallow feeding four nestlings 2-20150710 

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...

Lake Louise reflections HDR 6-20150620

...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):

 Bow River just above falls OIL 20150620

Thank you, Graciela, for giving me the week off!
= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


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



  1. Hello Graciela, I enjoyed your report on your birding outing. Wonderful sightings of all the birds, gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing, have a happy day!

  2. What an absolute delight it must have been to have this very well informed, clever young lady with you whilst bird watching. Amazing captures from you all.

  3. i LOVED the 'ruined' family shot! perfect!! adorable young girl growing into a lovely young lady. enjoyable post all around!

  4. Adorable shots.

  5. HI Gracieia That was a great report you gave us of your sightingof birds. You arevery fortunate to have a Granpa so interesting in allthings nature adn also a mmarvellous photogrpaher. You made the firstvideo very well and i can see you are very good at spotting the birds. Thank you for taking thetime to share with us. You granpa's reflection shots are awesome.

  6. Hello Graciela. Thank you for such an interesting roundup of your bird walks and sightings.

  7. I love Graci's sense of wonder and curiosity. She is lucky to have grandparents that encourage that in her. Great photographs all around. Congratulations on a fine post.

  8. Wonderful post. You are so lucky to have such a great little granddaughter who enjoys nature just as much as you do. It was so much fun to read her thoughts and to see all the birds. I loved seeing the different nest.

  9. What lovely photos, and what a lovely thing to do with grandchildren. We did that, too, when they were young! And they remember!

  10. Graci, you wrote a great post which was very interesting to read, thank you! All the photos were great too. How wonderful to develop a love of nature when you are young. Please say hi to Grandpa and the rest of your family, and have a great weekend :)

  11. I love seeing these happy young birders! As always, your photos are wonderful.

  12. Your Lake Louise reflections photo is terrific. Also enjoy your bird photos. You are quite good at capturing birds in your photos.

  13. Love of nature, observational skills, and the talent for explaining it all just beautifully ... Graciana is definitely Grandpas girl! Loved walking along with you both. Sure would like to see and I'd a bobolink and a Dicksissal myself.

  14. beautiful collection of images. love the rockies reflections.

  15. great blog post...lots of stories and photos. My favorite is the baby swallows on the roof...but the reflection at Lake Louise is wonderful too.

  16. Wonderful blog post, well-written and illustrated with beautiful photos. I agree that those baby swallows are adorable.

  17. Your grand-daughter is a natural! She loves it and has great teachers, plus it just seems to be in her blood! Wonderful narrative by her, and wonderful post with some fabulous photos. The videos of the barn swallows were great (my video posting is so amateurish!) and Lake Louise....WOW!

  18. Beautiful collection of photos of nature!
    I love them all.
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

  19. Hello ken, stopping back to say thank you for linking up this post. Have a happy weekend!

  20. Great posting from your grand-daughter, she's quite the blogger already. Great outing and wonderful photos, almost like being there too!

  21. Great post! Get them young and keep them forever! Post like this give me hope in this digital screen world!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  22. Thank you, Graci! I really enjoyed your post today! You found some terrific birds, nests and babies! It will be interesting to see if they nest in the same spots next year.

    Ken, thanks for this. Totally wonderful!

  23. This is a great post...our 6yr old granddaughter enjoys going to the strip pits with me to look for birds and likes to go fish and to play in the creek.

  24. adoring birds and flowers I miss

  25. Exquisite photography and wonderful post ~ grandparents and grandchildren are so lucky to have each other ~

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  26. What a wonderful post. That looks like a great place to go birding. Your photos are awesome!

  27. Beautiful and captivating series, Kenneth! Here in Montreal, Canada, we have many nature parks, and, if I am not mistaken, I have visited them all...if not all, certainly a good number of them. There is nothing like a nice leisurely long walk in nature for mental and physical health!


Thank you for visiting Rosyfinch Ramblings! I will enjoy a visit to your page just as soon as possible.