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 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 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



  1. Wow, what a great collection of photos, and of course birds I would never see here. I was saddened though to hear of the loss of Siboney and so young. My thoughts are with the family. Have a good day, Diane

  2. So hard to lose a dog. I hope Cari's adjusting OK. It can be tough. By the way, love the contrast between the tall metal fence with ribbon wire and low country fence. Wow!!

  3. Wow!Awesome collection of birds you got there.Loved the swallowtail on the dandelion :)

    Sorry about the loss of Siboney :(

    Greetings from Sydney and have a lovely day.

  4. So sad that Siboney had such a short life.
    Your photos, however, are wonderful...I found myself looking up many of the birds, and changing my mind about my favourite several times, and I must admit that among all that beauty in bird-dom, I have to love the owlet best.
    Thanks for sharing all this beauty.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. Please accept my condolences for the loss of Siboney. It's never easy.

    Your pictures are lovely, and i understand about it being too hard to keep two homes. Comes a time when you just have to simplify.

  6. Great collection of photos.Red-tailed Hawk ensured an early morning laugh. Sorry to hear about a loss of that beautiful animal.

  7. What a colourful collection of beauties!
    Have a good time in ILL.

  8. I am sorry about Siboney. Your photos are excellent.

  9. Oh, what a beautiful dog and a sad loss. I love seeing your bird photos and the wildflowers. I never think of the swallows having that much color. Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Thanks for the entertaining you bring each week for your fabulous photos. Gorgeous pics.

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. Gorgeous photos of everything!

  12. to lose one's pet & companion is so hard to deal with! I feel the sad times along with you all!

    Impressive bird photos! That chipping sparrow in breeding plumage really caught my eye!

    Thanks for allowing us to join you from your link at I'd Rather B Birdin!

  13. Enjoyed this flashback. So many wonderful photos and memories. I am so sorry for your loss. I know what it feels like to lose a furry family member. Hugs.

  14. What gorgeous photos - my favorite is the butterfly, but all the birds are beautiful too.

  15. I wonder why we don't have as many colorful birds on the West Coast, well at least in my area, as in the East and Midwest. Perhaps I'm not paying close attention yet. Cheers to Siboney! May his spirit soar joyfully and peacefully through the universe. And, cheers to you!
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  16. A fantastic photo of the bluebird.

  17. Wow, Siboney has the impressiveness of a lion! Sorry you have to miss him. Am glad you didn't forget your blog post this week, for your posts are so versatile, interesting, and entertaining. The flowers are gorgeous, and I did not know any of these. Hope the sale of the condo will go smooth and you'll get a good price for it! Thank you much sharing all these details with All Seasons! Wishing you a smooth going week:)

  18. So many beautiful bird visitors! Lovely all of them...and one wet one! :-) Loved the flowers, especially that exotic orchid-looking one. And what a sweet dog!

  19. What a hectic week you've had. The photos are fabulous and impossible to pick a favourite.

  20. The bird photos are stunning and such a treat. I'm sorry to hear about Siboney :(

  21. What a collection of wonderful photos! I hope your move goes smoothly!

  22. I'm back, coming here from Our World Tuesday this time, and I think I've made up my mind about my has to be that bluebird...what an amazing, wonderful blue it is.
    Thanks for sharing.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  23. I'm so sorry about Siboney.... Beautiful birds as always ... and the Spring flowers (most of which we don't have at least in this part of Florida, so I never see them).....
    "Change" seems to be as certain in this life as death and taxes. Best wishes on the sale ... and, even though we now live in a tiny apartment when we're in Oregon, I know what you mean about keeping up two homes. (and closing them down -- with a month to go here, I'm already feeling the

  24. What an awesome retrospective ... and yet sad to see Siboney as a puppy and now gone ...

    I am always amazed at your photos - it is like looking through a bird guide - they are so clear and perfectly posed. Are you sure you're not paying them for this???

    I hope your home sale/transition goes well ... as one who has done a lot of this lately, it is not for the faint of heart and it takes a lot of time we would rather spend blogging or out in nature!!!

  25. Great pics you are sharing. It is exciting to see the migratory birds return.

  26. I haven't seen an indigo bunting in years - we used to live in the right setting for them, but haven't seen them since we moved.
    Thanks for sharing at

  27. What a huge and beautiful dog...

  28. So many amazing looking birds. The Orioles are pretty special.

  29. What an amazing post! So many wonderful photos! I was saddened to read about Siboney.

    Best of luck with your condo sale and move.


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