Thursday, May 17, 2018

Birding Bliss

Sunset over the lake at Jones Meadow, a little "pocket park" near our condo in North Aurora, Illinois:

Sunset over lake at Jones Meadow Park 20180509

A bit later, the view of the sky from the adjacent marsh:

Sunset over marsh at Jones Meadow Park 20180509

Mary Lou and I participated with Kane County (Illinois) Audubon in a Global Big Day bird count on May 5. Our assigned territory was Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove, Illinois, a favorite place to visit during migration. 


This also provided one of the few opportunities we had to get out, due to other more pressing obligations. During our two hour early morning watch, we only saw 36 species, but there was lots of color!

Yellow Warblers were singing and courting:

Yellow Warbler 01-20180505

Yellow Warbler 05-20180505

Yellow Warbler 08-20180505

Newly-arrived Baltimore Orioles dashed through the treetops:

Baltimore Oriole 03-20180505

Baltimore Oriole 06-20180505

Baltimore Oriole 04-20180505

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak provided a study in black and white...

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 04-20180505

...and red:

 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 07-20180505

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 06-20180505

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 01-20180505

Mary Lou found another species which continued to carry out the color scheme--

A pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers:

Red-headed Woodpecker 06-20180505

Red-headed Woodpecker 05-20180505

Red-headed Woodpecker 04-20180505

Maintaining two homes and the associated travel has been stressful. Now that we have acquired "two of everything" it is time to let half of them go. We are busy giving away all the furniture in our second home condo. Here are some of the last items being carted off:

Moving furniture 20180512


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Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stretching out Spring in Illinois

We departed from our south Florida home on April 21, just as spring migration was beginning. Our destination was our condo in NE Illinois, just emerging from two weeks of unusually cold and wet weather.  

The next morning we headed to nearby Nelson Lake Marsh/Dick Young Forest Preserve, where we were surprised to find a large flock of migrating American White Pelicans. I counted at least 60.  This is at the eastern edge of their northbound migration from wintering grounds in the Western and Central US. 

American White Pelicans commonly winter in Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico but migrate in a northwesterly direction, generally avoiding the eastern coastal areas. (*See end note)
 
American White Pelicans  01-20180422

During breeding season the adults grow a vertical fibrous plate on their upper mandibles which is shed before they migrate southbound:

American White Pelican 04-20180422

The prairie was just starting to geen up. This is the east entry path, looking towards the viewing platform which overlooks the lake:

Nelson Lake east entry 20180425

On our way back to the condo we stopped at Jones Meadow Park, where the path had been flooded because of rain and snow-melt. The bare trees cast nice reflections:

Jones Meadow flood 20180426

A Tree Swallow defiled the warning sign:

Tree Swallow 3-20180508

Tree Swallow 2-20180508

Seeing an American Robin is quite a thrill. While they migrate into Florida, they rarely appear in our neighborhood:

American Robin male 01-20180422

The next day we visited Lippold Park in Batavia, Illinois. The Canada Geese were nesting. At the end of the boardwalk an especially protective pair guarded their eggs and even attacked some visitors. We steered clear:

Canada Goose guardian 04-20180423

Canada Goose nesting 01-20180423

We observed the incubating female from across the pond:

Canada Goose nesting 03-20180423

Three male Mallards swam in closed ranks:

Mallards 01-20180423

I obtained one of my nicest photos of a male Red-winged Blackbird as it sang "Conk-ra-lee!"

Red-winged Blackbird 02-20180423

In the wooded area, a Brown Creeper was almost invisible against the bark of a tree:

Brown Creeper 02-20180423

I finally obtained a side view:

Brown Creeper 01-20180423

A sweet little Golden-crowned Kinglet posed very briefly:

Golden-crowned Kinglet 01-20180423

We are in the throes of marketing our condo-- so much stuff to move out and donate or give away. Our granddaughters were given two new puppies this week-- so much excitement! They will never forget Siboney but the girls are absolutely thrilled with their pets...

...a tiny (but eventually full-sized) Poodle puppy named Cazador ("Hunter" in Spanish) meets old Tibetan Mastiff Agramonte for the first time:

Cazador & Agramonte

The next day, Moncada (4 month old Tibetan Mastiff, named after General Guillermon Moncada, hero of the Cuban War of Independence and civil rights advocate) arrived-- here napping after having great fun with his new little "brother"...

 Moncada

...and they got along splendidly, even after Cazador jumped on him and woke him up!:

Cazador attacks Moncada

With so much going on I may need to take a break but will try to get out as much as possible while my emails pile up! Sorry if I have not yet gotten back to everyone who have posted such great comments (they get a priority position in my in-box!).

*PS:  We have had them in our local south Florida "Wounded Wetlands," where in 2012,  I documented their cooperative fishing style (pardon my New Jersey accent):





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Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________









Thursday, May 3, 2018

Crops & Clips: Flashback to May, 2015

As has been my habit, I have brought out the retro-spectroscope and reviewed my archives from three years ago. My photos bring back fond memories of springtime at our second home in NE Illinois. My selections include favorite memes: skies, reflections, fences,signs of the season, Critters of all sorts (especially birds), and scenes which speak for themselves.

What better way to begin the month than to see a harbinger of spring, such a dear memory from childhood but absent from our south Florida neighborhood-- an Eastern Bluebird, perched on his nest box at Hickory Knolls woodlands in St Charles, Illinois:

Eastern Bluebird 2-20150501

In stark contrast is this view from the bluebird's front door, a razor-wire fence which surrounds a detention facility. While those inside look out longingly, birds enjoy the freedom of the skies:

Razor wire fence 20150501

The peaceful park is intersected by the road to the foreboding gates at the entrance of the detention facility:

Hickory Knolls and prison entrance 20150515

Also on May 1, a nearby Chipping Sparrow in breeding plumage shows off its new bright chestnut cap:

Chipping Sparrow 2-20150501

Nelson Lake/Dick Young Marsh Forest Preserve is close to our condo. We visited it almost daily during the first three weeks of May:

Nelson Lake east entry HDR 20150512

Signs of spring abounded. Among the early bloomers--

Jack-in-the-pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum:

Jack-in-the-pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum HDR 20150502

Phlox divaricata:

Phlox - Phlox divaricata 20150502

Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria:

Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria 2-20150502

Wake Robin:

Wake Robin 20150514

Nodding Onion:

Nodding Onion 2-20150517

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Dandelion:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 3-20150515

Colorful migrating birds had arrived--

Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-20150502

Baltimore Oriole:

Baltimore Oriole 20150502

Scarlet Tanager:

Scarlet Tanager edit 20150514

American Goldfinch:

American Goldfinch 20150515

Indigo Bunting:

Indigo Bunting 2-20150517

Yellow Warbler:

Yellow Warbler 3-20150518

Among the less colorful but equally welcome arrivals--

Lincoln's Sparrow:

Lincoln's Sparrow 20150503

Northern Waterthrush:

Northern Waterthrush 20150503

Field Sparrow:

Field Sparrow 20150503

"Traill's" Flycatcher (very likely the Alder Flycatcher in this species complex):

Traills Flycatcher SOOC 4-20150506

Tree Swallow:

Tree Swallow 20150506

Sora:

Sora 2-20150506

Yellow-rumped Warbler:

Yellow-rumped Warbler 3-20150513

Yellow-rumped Warbler 20150513

Swainson's Thrush:

Swainson's Thrush 2-20150513

Not to be overlooked were some of the permanent residents--

Northern Cardinal:

Northern Cardinal 20150506

Red-tailed Hawk (a bit shaggy after a bath):

Red-tailed Hawk 2-20150506

Red-winged Blackbird:

Red-winged Blackbird 20150506

Red-winged Blackbird in flight 20150515

Black-capped Chickadee:

Black-capped Chickadee 3-20150515

Great Horned Owl with one of its three owlets:

Great Horned Owl owlets 3-20150507

I must not forget the departures--

Soon heading north is the White-throated Sparrow:

White-throated Sparrow eBird 20150506

And  soon we, leaving for Florida  with memories of grandchildren...

...Graci spotting an oriole..

 Graci 20150514

... and now
(flashing forward to the present), in 2018, remembering Siboney, the Tibetan Mastiff who was a frisky puppy in 2016...

Siboney portrait2 CROP

...and grew into a powerful pet, ...

Siboney - Tibetan Mastiff 20170503

...but sadly, had to be put down just this past week. Siboney was Cari's constant companion.The girls, and his elderly "Big Brother" Agramonte must mourn:

Cari Agra APR 2018

I nearly forgot to write and post this week's blog because of all the distractions between relocating from Florida to Illinois, the loss of Siboney and also preparing our condo for sale.


Yes, we plan to have only one home if the sale goes through. Keeping up two residences has become too much of a burden. We certainly will miss the extended visits, the thrill of experiencing the changes of season and the diverse flora and fauna of the Northern Midwest USA. 

Home in Florida, the view of sunrise from our back patio on May 30, 2015:

 Monaco Cove sunrise 20150530

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia

________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________