Thursday, May 19, 2016

Crops & Clips: Birds and a Japanese Garden

With rain threatening, Mary Lou and I decided to drive over to Fabyan Forest Preserve in nearby Geneva, Illinois. There we could park in the middle of the preserve and take short walks to see two target birds. A pair of Great Horned Owls are raising a single owlet near the parking lot, and a Yellow-throated Warbler had recently been reported in the Japanese garden.

The garden is a beautiful feature, open to the public on a limited basis and also provides a setting for small private functions such as weddings. A footbridge is reflected in one of the ponds: 

Japanese Garden 04-20160506

Japanese Garden HDR 09-20160506

We started at the owl tree. Sure enough, both a parent and the owlet huddled in their "doorway." Since the nest is so accessible, its fame has spread among the general public and there are barriers and signs which keep visitors at a safe distance from the nest. My telephoto lens compensated for the distance, yet even though I was only one among the crowd, the adult looked surprised when I pointed my camera:

Great Horned Owl and Owlet HDR 01-20160506

They relaxed and snuggled together for a nice portrait:

Great Horned Owl and Owlet HDR 02-20160506

Despite intermittent sprinkles, we walked over to the garden. Almost immediately we heard the distinctive song of the Yellow-throated Warbler. At first all we could see were his undersides, but he briefly alighted on a lower branch to quickly catch and devour a caterpillar. I fired a burst of photos during the couple of seconds he was in plain sight:

Yellow-throated Warbler HDR 04-20160506

Yellow-throated Warbler HDR 03-20160506

Yellow-throated Warbler HDR 05-20160506

This is one of my favorite warblers. Its bright yellow throat contrasts beautifully with a smart black and white body. Rather uncommon during migration here in Illinois, I have seen it at almost this same spot during three past years. It has also appeared during autumn migration in our local Florida wetlands several times. I saw this one last fall:

Yellow-throated Warbler 20151015

They seem to enjoy showing off their bright throat, as this one is doing (September, 2012):

Yellow-throated Warbler 10-20120924

Once satisfied with my views of the warbler, I enjoyed peeking through the shrubs at the Japanese Garden, taking photos at every angle. Looking over this fence, I felt I was seeing an oil landscape created by a Master Painter:

Japanese Garden HDR 06-20160506

Indeed, I treated a portion of this image as an oil painting in Corel PaintShop PRO x8. Here is the crop before and after editing (click on images for more detailed views). The plantings and even the  placement of rocks are very artful.:

Japanese Garden DETAIL HDR 06-20160506

Japanese Garden DETAIL OIL 06-20160506

The skies were too gray for this week's sky shot, so I am showing one I took on April 25 at Nelson Lake, shortly after arriving in Illinois from Florida. The trees had not yet started to leaf out:

Nelson Lake to south HDR 20160425
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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 SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
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Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display

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46 comments:

  1. A lovely series of photos!
    Beautiful birds! And the Japanese garden photos are stunning!

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  2. Hello, beautiful images of the gardens. Looks like a lovely place for a walk. The owls are adorable and I love the warbler. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

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  3. The owls are just the sweetest! And we don't have to wonder how this warbler gets it's name...beautiful! Love the gardens too. Such wonderful photos this week! Thanks!

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  4. Beautiful place, and some excellent shots. kudos

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  5. Oh Kenneth Such a beauiful Japanese garden. Now I could stay there all day but it was wonderful to see bboth the Owls and the Warbler. he is quite a show off and I loved the shot with his beak up in the air showing his very yellow throat. Hope you and Mary Loo have a wonderful weekend.

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  6. What a gorgeous series, Kenneth! Thank you so much for sharing the beauty around you!

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  7. An amazing post. Love the bridge and gazebo. Stopping by from Good Fences.

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  8. Such a marvelous tour. You did a great job.

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  9. Your photos are as always beautiful! Love these two owls, and I don't know if you edited the 2nd capture, but it's very well done! Have a great weekend:)

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  10. What a lovely park! Gorgeous shots of the warbler and owls.

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  11. Schitterend ( great ) You makes me really glad with ALL your nice photos. Thanks.
    http://momentsfrozentime.blogspot.nl/

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  12. A gorgeous setting. Beautiful to wander. Adore the eyes on the owls.

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  13. i love that garden. so beautiful. the owl family is adorable.

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  14. A beautiful garden, and I like you oil paint edit!!

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  15. What a lovely garden area. The pink tree was so pretty. Loved the Owls and that was very nice fence. As always great to view your wonderful photos.

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  16. Great garden, and great bird shots!

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  17. What a beautiful garden and your nature shots are superb.

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  18. Wow - amazing shots of the garden. And those owls are adorable.

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  19. What a beautiful gardens. The photos of owls and the Yellow-throated warbler are so great.

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  20. Great bird and garden shots. I think you don't need an artsy filter to make your photo's more interesting. They are good enough already.

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  21. A delightful series Kenneth. Your Warbler is not unlike Australia's New Holland Honeyeater.

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  22. Hello Ken, I just wanted to stop back and say thank your for linking up your pretty bird and post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

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  23. This is a beautiful post. What lovely photos. The owls are truly amazing creatures

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  24. A wonderful series of photos! I love Japanese gardens and owls. :-)

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  25. Wow, stunning post and images of the garden, owls and birds. Just amazing!

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  26. Every picture perfectly beautiful as always. The owl portrait is absolutely amazing . What a great place to walk. You have the best of both worlds!!

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  27. All very wonderful photos ~ Owls one is exceptional, love the asian gardens and wonderful macro avian shots!

    Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

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  28. I wrote a comment as answer on your intersting comment! Thank you so much. http://momentsfrozentime.blogspot.nl/

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  29. Your images of the warbler are spot on...showing why it's named the yellow throated....well done. And the Japanese Garden. Oh how I wish that was MY back yard.

    For the weekend, I want to send along my thanks and appreciation for sharing your link at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

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  30. Fantastic photos! They are so sharp and clear. Adore the owls especially and your header shot is also stunning.

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  31. Beautiful place! Oh, yes! The perfect place for a wedding! Loved the photos. That yellow-throated warbler is gorgeous and I loved seeing the owls! Great post!

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  32. Good morning!:) Japanese gardens always exude feelings of peace and tranquillity, and I love your photos, showing the pink flowering trees, and the bridge and reflections in the water. Beautiful images of the Owl and Owlet, it's great when you know where to find them, and your captures of the Yellow-throated Warbler are just gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by to see my Lapwing post I also learned something from your visit.:)

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  33. Loved the photos...beautifully captured!!!!

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  34. great owl photos...and lovely reflections too!

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  35. Those owl shots are so good - what great birds.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  36. Those shots of the yellow-throated warbler are absolutely amazing...what a beautiful bird.

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  37. The owls are so cute. Great set of the warbler, too.
    ~

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  38. Thank you for including a link to image-in-ing's weekly linkup in your list. I always love it when you join us.
    I'll have to look in my bird book - what we've been calling a rosy finch doesn't look at all like what you've pictured, but then we're relatively uneducated (though enthusiastic) bird watchers.
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/05/american-tobacco-campus-durham-nc.html

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  39. I like the pictures of the owls. The blend well and are framed nicely in the natural wood.

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  40. Beautiful photos of the garden and birds. The owl is a surprise.

    Have a great week ahead!

    Alexander
    Alex's World! - http://alex.kakinan.com

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  41. The Japanese garden is lovely & the Owl photos are magnificent with their lovely bright eyes. The Warbler is a beautiful bird too.

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  42. The Japanese garden looks so beautiful and harmonious. The photos of owls and the Yellow-throated warbler are so great.

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  43. Beautiful photos! I love the bridge and the owls are adorable.

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