Thursday, July 2, 2020

Crops & Clips: Flashback to July, 2017

At the beginning of each month I enjoy looking back at photos from three years previously, to refresh old memories and perhaps anticipate what beauty awaits this year. Especially, I look for favorite dreams, memes and themes-- critters of all kinds (especially birds and butterflies), flowers, clouds, skies, reflections, fences... and images which speak for themselves. This month's harvest makes me miss our summers in Illinois (or anywhere besides being locked down at home).

We spent the entire month of July at our (then) second home in northeastern Illinois. We watched our favorite grassland birds, and mourned the continuing loss of  their habitat. A family of Sandhill Cranes climbed on a pile of dirt where their prairie home was being converted into a housing complex. An unruly blackbird added to their discomfort, but only the colt paid attention to the attacker:

Sandhill Crane adults and colt 20170702 

A Lark Sparrow perched on a sign advertising a home site. These birds had not been verified as nesting in Kane County until MaryLou first sighted them and we saw their fledgling. Later the nest was discovered and photographed by others. This entire area was staked out for development:

 Lark Sparrow 02-20170707

Documentation photo of young Lark Sparrow being fed by parent:

Lark Sparrow juvenile and adult 01-20170710

Lark Sparrow juvenile fed by adult SHARP 04-20170710

We visited Nelson Lake preserve as often as possible. This is a path through the prairie:

Nelson Lake north entrance 20170727

Wildflowers were abundant. These are Purple Coneflowers:

Purple Coneflowers 20170711

That's MaryLou beyond the mass of wildflowers:

Wildflowers and MaryLou 20170714

Cedar Waxwing on a sapling in the prairie at Nelson Lake preserve:

Cedar Waxwing 20170707

The diminutive Henslow's Sparrow finds refuge here, where controlled burns are rotated to provide its exacting habitat needs. It usually nests two years after a fire, in the layer of dry grass which is packed down by the second winter's snow. They have greenish heads and are tiny and elusive:

Henslow's Sparrow 02-20170725

Henslow's Sparrow portrait 094-20170725

Other small sparrows which nest more widely at Nelson's Lake are the Grasshopper Sparrow...

Grasshopper Sparrow 02-20170724

...Savannah Sparrow...

Savannah Sparrow 04-20170723

...and the rather plain-looking Field Sparrow which has a pink bill:

 Field Sparrow 01-20170709

Dickcissels were abundant. This pair were tending a nest and the female was waiting for me to depart before delivering a meal for their chick:

Dickcissel male and female 02-20170702

Male Dickcissel:

Dickcissel 02-20170714

American Goldfinches brightened the scene:

American Goldfinch 02-20170709

American Goldfinch 08-20170728

Common Yellowthroats sang along the trail:

Common Yellowthroat 04-20170727

The boardwalk and pavilion at Lippold Park:

Lippold Park pavillion 20170728

Mallards preening:

Mallards 20170711

We checked the Bald Eagle nest near our condo. The two juveniles had fledged, and one flew by:

Bald Eagle juvenile 02-20170701

One of the parents stood guard:

Bald Eagle 05-20170701

Fox River floodplain:

Fox River flood plain 03-20170724

Common Buckeye butterfly:

Common Buckeye butterfly 20170721

American Lady butterfly:

American Lady NOT Painted Lady butterfly 02-20170724

A Painted Lady "attacked" me:

Painted Lady butterfly 05-20170725

Agramonte, our Granddaughters' beloved Tibetan Mastiff, now 13 1/2 years old, is not doing well this year. He can barely climb the stairs. The girls hold out hope but must face the fact that he is failing. Three years ago he was sleeping on the cool floor as usual:

Agramonte 20170730

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


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


  1. I like that idea, of looking back. Lovely birds.
    How wonderful, your birds!

  2. Your photos are a treat for the eyes. I'm sorry to hear about your grand-dog. I hope the girls can spend as much time as possible with him, and shower him with love and affection.

  3. it's nice having a second home - so you can enjoy the best of both environments

  4. Beautiful photos. I like the shot of MaryLou in the wildflowers!

  5. Very happy to see these lovely photos. Thank you!

  6. I adore sparrows and enjoyed seeing all the varieties but really every picture here was wonderful! How have I not added you to my blogroll before today?!

  7. These days three weeks seems like a long time ago! Great set of pictures.

    Hope all is well - Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. Hello, Ken
    Beautiful post!I just love all your bird photos, great variety of Sparrows. I think the Dickcissel is one of my favorites. The field of wildflowers is beautiful. I am sorry to hear about your grand-dog!

    Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy 4th of July! Enjoy your day, have a great weekend! PS, thank you for the visit and comment.

  9. Gorgeous collection of photos!

  10. So many different Sparrows, and all good looking in their own right.

  11. Love the shot of the mother sparrow feeding her big baby. I've seen that at our place with Juncos. - Margy

  12. Beautifully photos! Sorry to hear about Agramonte.

  13. Hello Ken
    a great selection, perfect photos in all details
    Regards Frank

  14. So sad about the dog...I hate seeing them suffer. Beautiful birds, as always. (Love the field of cone flower also). Sparrows are my nemeses...difficult to IDENTIFY...I have two in my folder yet to know which species. All I know is, they're not house sparrows. Thanks so much for allowing us birders to drop in and enjoy your photos from I'd Rather B Birdin'.

  15. Always interesting to look back and see what has changed and what to possibly expect. Like the sand hill cranes to start the post, some day I'd like to see them in migration. Sorry about the beautiful dog. Hope you've had a nice holiday weekend!

  16. What a splendid collection, Ken!

    The field of wildflowers is superb. It's great to see so many birds in their breeding habitat that, here in Florida, we only glimpse during migration.

    Hope your new week is off to a great start!

  17. I don't like to think that our Molly the Cat is aging just like us. She's turning 10 this year.
    Thanks for the peek into your neck of the woods. Cheers!

  18. Amazing birds from three years ago including many I have never heard of before.

  19. The wildflowers are stunning.

  20. I enjoyed the variety of photos in today's blog post. So sad that the birds are being displaced.

  21. Sorry about your failing dog - one of the reasons we don't have a pet. I couldn't bear to go through the process. Do you miss Illinois? Great capture of the Dickcissel, and the blooms with Mary Lou:) Smiled at your gaffe in the boat. Sometimes we remember and they become pleasant memories:) Many thanks for your memorable clips, Ken! Have a great week,

  22. The wild flowers are enacting as are all the winged wonders.

    Sending big love to Agramonte. <3

    Lovely post as always, Ken. A treat to the eyes and soul.

    Have a good week ahead!

  23. Such lovely photos!
    Thanks so much for sharing at

  24. What wonderful creatures you show us today! I had no idea there were so many different types of sparrows there! Yes, we are terrible at taking their homes, I wish we would stop and consider them for a change.

    It's great to see you at 'My Corner of the World this week! Thanks for linking up with us.


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