Thursday, May 12, 2016

Owls and eagles in Illinois

After enduring a South Florida winter which felt more like summer, it was refreshing to experience cool (even cold) nights and clear skies. Now we slept with the windows open, which was possible only a few times this entire winter in Florida. Each morning we were out early on nearby wilderness preserves and parks. 

This is a view of a slough along the Fox River at Les Arends Kane County Forest Preserve:

Fox River slough HDR 20160421

Moments later the still water was disturbed by a busy Muskrat...

Muskrat 20160421

...and a pair of Hooded Mergansers:

Hooded Mergansers 20160421

Eastern Bluebirds were a sure sign of spring:

Eastern Bluebird HDR 2-20160421

American Robins foraged on the lawns:

American Robin HDR 20160420

This Red-winged Blackbird displayed its epaulets as it burst into song:

Red-winged Blackbird singing HDR 2-20160420

A female Mallard rested in the flood plain, casting a fine reflection:

Mallard 20160421

Bluebells flourished in the shade:

Bluebells 2-20160421

Violets, both blue and white, further evidenced the advance of the seasons:

Blue Violets 20160418

White Violets 20160421

At Fabyan Forest Preserve, a Great Horned Owl again nested in an old snag:

Great Horned Owls HDR 2-20160420

The adult groomed its single owlet:

Great Horned Owls HDR 20160420

A pair of Bald Eagles started nesting near our second home in Illinois just after we moved there in 2007. After about three years their nest fell down and for the last three or four years they have been breeding successfully in a native pine tree which is right in the middle of a residential school parking lot. The cars park right up to the tree trunk, and crowds often watch from very close by:

Bald Eagle nest 20160420 

Unfortunately, the tree started declining and by last fall it was nearly dead. Now it is completely lifeless: 

Bald Eagle in nest 20160420

There are at least two eaglets which look to be about 3 weeks old. Dead pines have soft wood which rots rapidly, and this tree will quickly become a hazard to those who park or walk near it. The tree probably starved because its roots were nearly entirely covered by the asphalt pavement. I do not think anything was done to speed its demise. I wonder what will happen if the eagles  continue to use the tree-- at some point it may need to be taken down: 

Bald Eagle 2 eaglets 2-20160420

Bald Eagle 2 eaglets 3-20160420

Bald Eagle female and eaglet HDR 20160420

Interestingly, this was the first nest in Kane County since before  DDT was banned, and the Pembroke Pines (Florida) nest near our permanent home was also the first in Broward County! 

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

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 BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Today's Flowers Friday by Denise


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



  1. Nice photos. I'm crazy over the first, leaning trees, reflection. I love that shot.

  2. Wonderful photos. The Red-winged blackbird is awesome! I love those photos of Great Horned Owls.

  3. That owl is so perfectly camouflaged in the tree! WOW! I know I say this every time but I so want to spot an owl this year! Love your photos...amazing photography!

  4. Kenneth, your nature photos are gorgeous! I am always saddened to see trees die. They are really needed for wildlife and ourselves, too.

  5. Hello Ken!:) Lovely early morning shots of the wildlife awakening, and all the pretty spring flowers. I especially loved the Owl and Owlets, and Eagle captures,.. hope they stay safe.

  6. Wonderful post. I don't think I've ever seen a Redwinged blackbird do that with it's wings (how cool). The Owls and the Eagles are awesome.

  7. gorgeous opening scene and loved the mallard reflection, too! loved the epaulets and the eagles. :)

  8. WOW, that shot of the Blackbird is fantastic. Love all the different reflection shots adn the Bluebird is very pretty Kenneth.

  9. Awesome shots. I cannot pick a favorite, they're all great.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  10. I really like the owl shots. Great opening shot as well!

  11. Interesting captures of the birds. I like the expression of the red-winged blackbird. Beautiful photos here.

    Have a good weekend!

    Alex's World! -

  12. Very impressive set of photographs. I dearly love the owl peeking out. The eagles in the nest is an amazing image.
    JM, IL

  13. its too bad about the eagle's tree. They will have to start over again somewhere else when the tree comes down.

    beautiful images.

  14. Wonderful view of the Eagles!

  15. Amazing shots of the owl and owlet and the eagles too~ Lovely nature shots ~

    Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

  16. Hi Y'all!

    Love the photos of all the birds, but especially the displaying redwing.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  17. Hello ken, awesome birds and lovely photos. I love the owls at the nest and the redwing blackbird. Thanks for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  18. Oh, baby birds! Awesome! I love the red winged blackbird too.

  19. Love those owls - I may go and see if I can find my Powerful Owls again this weekend - can't really get enough owls!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  20. Your birds are so special and beautiful. Thank you.

  21. Wonderful photos, love that Red wing and the owls. I can never get shots as good as this. Lovely!

  22. I love that Red-winged Blackbird.

  23. That 1st photo of the river is just gorgeous & so tranquil. Took me a moment to spot the Owl in the tree. The last photo of the Eagle is magnificent.


  24. A wonderful series of photos!

  25. Love your muskrat, owls, flowers...and all. Great shots!


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