Thursday, October 27, 2016

A creeping bird and a really creepy tree

Prior to departing departing for our Florida home we visited several parks and preserves near our northeastern Illinois condo. While not expecting a riot of yellow, orange, gold and red as experienced in New England, we hoped to see some fall color. 

Before the first frost, a touch of yellow as this Clouded Sulphur butterfly visited a lingering Dandelion:
Clouded Sulphur 20161009
However this year, because of unusual heat and rainfall in late summer and early autumn, most of the trees simply turned from green to brown. Windy storms stripped many of their leaves. Only a few maples showed their red colors. 

On October 14, when trees should have been approaching the height of fall color, the leaves of Cottonwoods along the Fox River at Lippold Park simply "turned loose" rather than "turned yellow:"

Contrast this with the expected modest show of color in Lippold at the same time just two years ago:

We witnessed passage of flocks of Canada Geese...

...and family groups of Sandhill Cranes:

The cranes often called loudly, alerting us to their approach:

Here a large flock of geese moves in over Jones Meadow Park. A rail fence separates the wild from the manicured and landscaped areas (click for enlarged view):

The presence of Yellow-rumped Warblers and winter sparrows signaled that migration of northern-breeding land birds was dwindling down. We hoped that American Tree Sparrows and longspurs might arrive before we departed, and it was yet too early to expect an influx of northern duck species. 

One welcome arrival which does not winter in south Florida was this "upside down bird," a Red-breasted Nuthatch, seen at Lippold Park on October 13. Most of my photos were badly back-lighted by the bright sky:

The "upside-down bird" lived up to its reputation:

Oddly, this Orange-crowned Warbler followed the nuthatch closely from one tree to another, possibly benefiting from any insects stirred up by the latter's meticulous foraging:

In a cloudless sky, from ground view, these two aircraft appeared to be on a collision course. Suddenly the smaller plane on the right veered down and away, possibly on orders of a flight controller,
perhaps because their degree of separation was judged to be unsafe. They were obviously flying at different altitudes:

At Hickory Knolls woodlands in St. Charles, fall beauty was "confined." This beautiful maple tree exhibited its rich colors from behind the razor wire fence surrounding the medium security correctional facility:

An anonymous "jailbird" perched on the razor wire:

In keeping with a Halloween theme, I found this old stub of a branch protruding from a large oak, also at Hickory Knolls. Does it resemble a rhinoceros, a turtle, or some kind of prehistoric monster?:

Really spooky tree Monster-Rhino HDR 20161010
This little bird is not "creepy," rather it is one that I have only rarely photographed, an inconspicuous Brown Creeper circling its way up a tree, unlike the nuthatch which usually works its way down headfirst: Brown Creeper 20161017

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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 Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Today's Flowers Friday by Denise

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display


  1. Lovely photos. Enjoyed all.

    I say, rhino

  2. the autumn color, the blue sky - beautiful. the nuthatch stole the show for me. and i've got some of that razorwire fence at my workplace, too. :)

  3. I hope this finds you and yours doing well. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

  4. amazing photos .Halloween branch is fantastic choice .
    you captured the birds so beautifully .
    it was pleasure being on your blog

  5. Great fall showing. I love the ones of the birds. You did an excellent job.

  6. In enjoy watching the nuthatches in our yard - something about the way they're always upside down. The planes look just a bit scary. I'm thinking the orange crowned warbler is a very smart bird - and I love your shot of canadian geese!

  7. Wow, Kevin, the colours and details in your photos are phenomenal! And so nice to see our Canada geese making their way to many places!

  8. I like that monster tree! Also the acrobatic nuthatch shots are great.

  9. Love the agility of the Nuthatch and the shots of the Cranes and Geese in flight were very good but really another wonderful post Kenneth

  10. Wonderful to see the sandhill cranes! Beautiful, detailed photos. We have the little nuthatches here in WA and they are quite friendly, too! It is interesting to see the changes in foliage from year to year due to climate variances.

  11. Love that Red-breasted Nuthatch, KCS.

    I only see the White-breasted ones in W.V.

  12. Nice shots! I love the fall colors and blue skies!

  13. Nice shots - that tree really does look like a rhino!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. Ooh boo...that tree stub is wonderfully creepy in the Halloween sense ... I like the "creepy" birds in this season and any other. It is too bad you missed out on Autumn color and I worry what that means besides the short term. I appreciate the seasonal changes here in Oregon even more now that this is the only change of seasons we really notice. (Longer term Floridians tell me they see Spring change, but it doesn't seem real obvious to us.).

  15. Hello, love the geese and cranes in flight. I miss the Nuthatch and the Creeper, great birds and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your Saturday and the weekend!

  16. I enjoyed this post,you really caught alot of different birds & got beautiful shots.
    I am always taken by the faces on trees as well,they make me smile,have a great weekend,it was a beautiful visit here,thanks for sharing.phyllis

  17. Wonderful story to go with the photos. They are beautiful.

  18. I'd say the tree burl looks like a rhino!!! And the 'near' plane collision is frightful in its own way...whoa!!

    LOVE the sandhill crane in flight.........and it was captured by you doing their best thing---calling!! I love hearing them.

    We birders appreciate your participation this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin'!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!

  19. I love the captures of the flock of Canadian geese :) great shots!!

    I hope you have a great Halloween :)

  20. That is a great shot of the planes. I wonder if someone got told off for that


  21. Wonderful series as always. LOVE that upside down bird and little sulfur butterfly!

  22. Delightful photos!
    Thanks for joining the party at

  23. Absolutely wonderful captures of the birds Kenneth - thank you.

  24. great bird photos, especially the crane squawking

  25. I must say despite our strange weather this summer too our trees were quite striking if only for a short time.

  26. Beautiful and colorful shots!

  27. I love the butterfly shot. Fabulous photos of the birds as usual.


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