We sought out the shade in nearby Fabyan Preserve, Geneva, Illinois. I so enjoyed this sun-dappled spot in the Japanese Garden, a photo of which I rendered as an oil painting:
Nelson Lake in Batavia, Illinois reflects the blue sky as a Caspian Tern flies over:
Mary Lou appears lost in a sea of wildflowers in the Nelson Lake prairie preserve:
A Red-winged Blackbird calls from a post:
A diminutive Sage Wren is back-lit by the bright sun as it sings cheerfully:
The Sage Wren often closes his eyes while singing, as if truly enjoying the sound of his voice:
Common Yellowthroats sing "witchity-witchity..."
A common summer inhabitant of the grasslands of the central US, the Dickcissel is uncommonly beautiful. Its song is a cheerful iteration of its name, repeated from the tops of shrubs and fence posts. Their abundance in the prairies near our second home in northeastern Illinois may vary from one season to another.
Dickcissels spend the winter in southern Mexico south into northern South America, where they can be agricultural pests, feasting on seed crops and inviting measures to eradicate them. They tend to arrive north later in Spring than many other neotropical migrants, sometimes not appearing in numbers until rather late in May. During breeding season their diet shifts from grain to predominately insects.
I've processed over 200 photos of Dickcissels and have hundreds more RAW images which I am reluctant to discard. Just this past week I re-visited this summer's collection and found an out-take which is now one of my favorites. Taken on July 2, it depicts a male Dickcissel perched above his mate, who is carrying a grasshopper for her fledglings, hidden in the high grass:
Another in the overlooked series, I passed over the following one because the bright sun cast annoying shadows on the subjects:
More recent photos from our walks at Nelson Lake:
This is one of the first photos I took with my new mirrorless digital camera (Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk II), fully zoomed to 300 mm:
Dickcissels and prairie flowers make a nice combination:
Bee Balm and Black-eyed Susan:
The female Dickcissel is smaller and more softly colored:
By mid-July they usually have completed nesting and may begin departing to their wintering grounds as early as mid-August.
Dickcissels often wander erratically during migration and also may suddenly shift breeding locations. Some trickle through Florida and reach their wintering grounds by way of Cuba. Small flocks sometimes show up in south Florida during the winter months.
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
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
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display