Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall birding in yellow and gold

Gold comes in many colors, mostly shades of yellow. In temperate climes these are the colors of fall. In Florida, the foliage resists the change, but we find gold in the sky. We have temporarily left behind the golden sunrise over our lake in south Florida:

Golden Sunrise HDR 20150611

Upon returning to Illinois after spending much of the summer in the Sunshine State, we welcomed the refreshing cool breezes and the profusion of wildflowers on the prairie. Yellow now predominates, in the flowers and in the plumage of the most common bird that nests among them.

Yellow composite 20150901

Compass Plant 20150901

American Goldfinches bounce over the prairie, twittering their flight song, repeating phrases ("per-chick-o-ree") synchronized with each dip in undulating flight:

American Goldfinch 20100820

American Goldfinch 20130823

American Goldfinch 4-20150826

American Goldfinch 2-20150714

American Goldfinch 20150702

Male Bobolinks have shed their distinctive black and white breeding colors and have molted into golden basic plumage, quite identical to females in appearance:

Bobolink with flowers 20150831

Bobolink 2-20150831

Bobolink with flower 20150831

Greenish-gold Tennessee Warblers are heading south for the winter:

Tennessee Warbler 20150828

A lowly grasshopper on a milkweed leaf reflects the light as would a replica made of precious metal:

Small grasshopper on milkweed 20150825

The Chickweed Geometer moth adds a regal touch of purple:

Geometer moth 20150831

Sunlight suffusing through the turning leaves of the canopy provide a golden backdrop for a female House Finch...

House Finch 20150824

...and for this Chipping Sparrow:

Chipping Sparrow 2-20150831

An Eastern Wood-Pewee is bathed in golden bokeh:

Eastern Wood-Pewee 20150903 

The plumage of a Cedar Waxwing is best described as burnished gold:

 Cedar Waxwing 3-20150824

Butterflies are becoming scarce as gold. I suspect that the widespread use of insecticides, out of fear of West Nile Virus, may be a factor. Great Spangled Fritillary (my first):

 Great Spangled Fritillary 20150902

Back-lighting accentuates the gold tones in the wings of a Monarch butterfly, another creature threatened by human activity, particularly loss of habitat and host milkweed; I have examined hundreds of milkweed plants the past few weeks and have found no caterpillars:

Monarch butterfly 2-20150901

Pearls come in every color of the rainbow. This is a Pearl Crescent:

Pearl Crescent 20150827

One of the namesake hills in nearby Hickory Knolls woodland is a mound of gold:

Hickory Knolls HDR 20150902

We spent a long Labor Day weekend in Door County, a narrow peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin, about 275 miles (440 km) north of our Illinois home. It projects out into Lake Michigan (seen here), flanked by Green Bay to the west:

Lake Michigan 20150906

On our first morning the yellow of goldenrod pierces through the fog that has rolled ashore:

Baileys Harbor shoreline 2-20150905

The fog mutes the reflections of the dock at the marina:

Baileys Harbor pier 20150905

A Bumblebee collects pollen from a Purple Coneflower:

 Bumblebee on coneflower 2-20150906

A Clouded Sulphur contributes to the color scheme:

Clouded, not Dogface Sulphur 20150906

An inquisitive Red Squirrel clings to the stringy bark of a White Cedar, which a predominant tree in coastal areas of northern Wisconsin:

Red Squirrel 4-20150906 

Back home in Illinois, Agramonte, our granddaughters' golden Tibetan Mastiff, greets us at the driveway:



  1. Hello, beautiful series of birds, butterflies and blooms. The sky is lovely and I just love the dog! Great post, enjoy your day!

  2. beautiful shots and i just love that friendly guy at the end!

  3. Super shots and an adorable face at the end. Have a great day!

  4. Gorgeous sunrise! Love the goldfinches and bobolink! They have their own gold! Great countryside photos and shots of the birds and butterflies.

  5. love the pup!! love the adorable squirrel. beautiful door county scenes! great bird shots. enjoyed the bobolink shots a lot!

  6. Loving all the yellows! Beautiful photos of the birds and butterflies. Love that sunrise, and the little squirrel is so cute!

  7. Wonderful post leaves me anticipating Autumn!

  8. I'm usually drawn more to sky shots, but your bird shots steal the show for me this time!! Wonderful photos.

  9. You had a delightful selection of yellow birds and flowers.
    Enjoyed the cute little squirrel and the butterflies. I liked your fence shot and your gate greeter very much.

  10. Greetings from Dubai...really enjoyed your post and specially those butterfly captures and the Beautiful sky! Have a great weekend!


  11. Wow - such gorgeous shots. Love that sky.

  12. First of all I love Agramonte's name. It suits him, beautiful dog! All your photos have a wow factor. Enjoyed each of them very much. Have a great weekend :)

  13. lovely photographs as usual...and lovely dog!

  14. Love that opening sky shot, KCS. And the goldfinches!

    Also that Chickweed Geometer moth. I think I've seen them, but not with a camera in my hand.

  15. A truly golden collection. The sky and its reflection in your first photo is glorious.

  16. It is always a great joy to see your photographs Kenneth. Definitely a yellow theme an the wildflowers re gorgeous an the birs can hi within them. That first shot is so beautiful. Great reflections and fence shots. Have a lovely weekend

  17. Hello Ken, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  18. A beautiful series of photos! Each one prettier than the one before!
    Have a great week-end!

  19. That really is a set of golden images - the goldfinches are remarkable.

    Cheers - Stewart Melbourne

  20. WOW!!! Fantastic set of photos! It's beautiful where you live!

  21. Beautiful series! I especially enjoyed the birds on the flowers :-))

  22. You found some of the best forms of gold...wonderful images. Love the mastiff!

  23. Love the 'welcome' driveway shot!!! Beautiful dog!!!!
    And your Then, the foggy day shot....fog is one of my favorite weather phenomenons.

    But your yellow birds....fantastic. No, golden

    Thanks for sharing this link at I'd Rather B Birdin' Ken.

  24. What a brilliant set of pictures, especially the butterflies. I hope their numbers recover in the future.

  25. Fantastic images! Love the Goldfinch.

  26. That's such a great collection of fallish pictures. Love the beautiful sunrise!! and the goldfinches.

  27. What gorgeous photos - loved seeing the Bobolink and the Cedar Waxwing in particular!

  28. Pure gold for sure. Cedar waxwings are my favorite bird , but the yellow on yellow goldfinch have stolen my heart today. All beautiful Autumn scenes and it's a great time to be where you can see the changing seasons ... I love being here in Oregon for that reason. Though , as with you I'm sure, family is the main one!

  29. Wonderful yellows! I love the moth and the butterflies.


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