Thursday, June 6, 2019

Crops & Clips: Flashback to peripatetic June, 2016

Three years ago we enjoyed a very active June, starting out at our home in south Florida followed by flights to Illinois and then Colorado, and a motor trip across the northwestern US through Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and back to Illinois before flying home. 

During the following weeks I processed more than 700 photos out of over 2000 which accumulated during the trips, and am now selecting some which reflect favorite memes: critters (especially birds), skies and landscapes, reflections, fences, and scenes which speak for themselves. 

During our first week in Illinois we visited the prairies of Nelson Lake/Dick Young preserve and saw a good variety of recently arrived breeding birds, including...


Bobolink on post HDR 06-20160605  

Bobolink on post HDR 07-20160605


Dickcissel 3-20160627

Dickcissel 4-20160629

Red-winged Blackbird:

Red-winged Blackbird 20160629

Common Yellowthroat:

Common Yellowthroat 20160629

American Goldfinches:

American Goldfinches 20160629

MaryLou and I celebrated our 56th Wedding Anniversary at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, hosting all of our descendants-- three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, spouses and MaryLou's brother:

Family reunion HDR 02-20160615

Because of a mix-up with the reservations we were assigned a cozy cabin, but it was a long walk away from the rest of our party who were clustered together. This actually suited us just fine, as our sleeping and waking patterns did not match those of the young crowd.

Our cabin ASPEN HDR 20160612

Our nearest neighbors were Green-tailed Towhees...

Green-tailed Towhee 08-20160612

...Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and...

Broad-tailed Hummingbird 03-20160612

...Violet-green Swallows:

Violet-green Swallow 02-20160614

Along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountains National Park we saw a Hoary Marmot:

Hoary Marmot 5-20160615

Following our 5 nights in the Colorado Rockies, we joined our daughter's family for a long drive in a rented SUV. We winded our way along the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota, passing through numerous tunnels:

Tunnel on Needles Highway 20160617

The Needles, a magnificent rock formation:

View from The Needles 02-20160617

MaryLou and I posed at The Needle's Eye:

MaryLou and Ken at Needles Eye 20160617

As we emerged from the last tunnel, a distant view of Mount Rushmore opened up in front of us:

Rushmore in distance CROP embossed 20160617

At Mount Rushmore National Monument, we were awed by the spectacular carvings of four former Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln:

Mount Rushmore CROP 03-20160617

We stayed in Blue Bell, South Dakota, in Custer State Park, where we occupied adjacent cabins on the Wildlife Loop road:

Blue Bell Schneider 24 Cabin 20160616

View from Wildlife Loop just after sunset:

Wildlife Loop after sunset HDR 20160616

Highlights of the drive along Wildlife Loop included American Bison..

American Bison 20160618

...a Whitetail Deer fawn...

Whitetail Deer fawn 2-20160616

...and a Pronghorn Antelope:

Pronghorn Antelope close HDR 20160616

From there we traveled into southwestern South Dakota and spent two nights at Circle View Family Ranch in Badlands National Park. Our accommodations were primitive, but the scenery, wildlife and great breakfasts were totally enjoyable. Our lodging was a refurbished ranch-hand shack, the Tree House Cabin:

Schneider Tree House Cabin 20160617

Our daughter's family stayed next door in the more luxurious Cowboy Cabin, which even had utensils and a kitchen sink:

Orama Cowboy Cabin at Circle View 20160617

From the porch of our cabin we saw (among many species) Lark Sparrows...

Lark Sparrow 07-20160618

...Lark Buntings...

Lark Bunting 2-20160619

...Blue Grosbeaks...

Blue Grosbeak 04-20160619

...and Western Meadowlarks:

Western Meadowlark 03-20160618

Driving through the Park, the views were fantastic. 

Badlands Wall HDR 02-20160618

Yellow hills HDR 20160618

Badlands HDR 01-20160618

A Bighorn ram grazed next to the road:

Bighorn ram natural 20160618

I must stop writing somewhere as it is impossible for me to do justice to the beauty we saw this month. In Florida it began, appropriately, with a "Mirrored" (anti-crepuscular or false) sunrise on the western horizon opposite the sun, on June 1...

Mirrored sunrise HDR  02-20160601

... and ended with us back in northeastern Illinois, with a robin on a fence...

Robin on a fence 20160628

...and a walk in the short-grass prairie path at Nelson Lake (oil rendering, click to enlarge):

Nelson Lake barn OIL  20160627

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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. What an amazing set of photos and many congratulations on your wedding anniversary. Wow you have a large family, there is only the two of us !!
    Have a good day, Diane.

  2. Pretty sky images and I love all the birds and critters. The Bobolink is a favorite. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend!

  3. I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. Your photos have pushed this a couple notches higher on my to-do list! Love that photo of the Needle's Eye. Very cool!!

  4. Red-wing blackbirds always remind me of visiting my grandmother in central California. There was a marsh nearby where they clustered on the cattails. We have violet-green swallows here at the float cabin plus tree and barn swallows. - Margy

  5. I really love the photos Kenneth! And most of all the stories that shared with us through it and the words. I have always been fascinated by the prairie especially we don't have such vegetation here in the Tropics! Some of the landscapes you shared reminded me of some stages called "The Badlands" on a video game I played before. Thank you for sharing these amazing photographs and also for visiting my Blog! I will be frequenting your blog, bookmarked it on my browser! Warm hugs from the Philippines

  6. You've capture such beauty. I've never seen a marmot before - he kind of reminds me of beavers w/o the their tail

  7. Great series again and that crepuscular rays are stunning

  8. Well I am blown away with this post. Amazing time for you and all your family. What a wonderful trip and congratulation on 56 years married and many more to come. Your photos are ALL fabulous, both scenery and wildlife. Have a wonderful week ahead Kenneth.

  9. Fine pictures there Ken. You beat us on years and Grandchildren, but not by many. I remarked just today to David G in Canada what an unusual plumage pattern the Boblink has. You pictures capture it perfectly. Perhaps it's the Bobolink's way of diverting attention away from his nesting mate during the breeding season?

  10. Hello, this looks like an awesome place to visit. Great bird and critter sightings. The Green-tailed Towhee is a beauty. Love the Bobolinks too. The Bighorn sheep are neat critters. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend.

  11. What an amazing place to visit. I'm in awe every time I see Mount Rushmore, but I do love your bird and animal pictures. The Violet-green Swallow is a new bird for me. Thanks for sharing.

  12. amazing set of photos that talk to me even more now that I just returned from the big tour of US south west national parks.

  13. Wow! You sure have been busy and your photos are amazing!

  14. What a wonderful trip! Love that Marmot! I think I saw one years ago hiking in the Rocky Mts but at the time I had no idea what it was. Love the variety of birds you've seen in the different places. And thanks SO much for taking a risk to visit me. It sure means a lot to me! Happy weekend!

  15. First of all, many congrats to the two of you celebrating your life together!

    Today, I'd like to extend my many thanks for being a loyal participant at I'd Rather B Birdin'...much appreciated!!

    Ps. I GREW UP & raised my family near Estes Park.

  16. One of great problems (or maybe joys!) of blogging is seeing all the places that you still need to visit! Oh well, maybe one day!

    Great set of pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  17. So happy you enjoyed the delights of South Dakota, my home state. The Black Hills state parks and the Badlands are wonderful places. You got great bird photos.

  18. What a marvelous trip you had! I'm so glad to have seen these.
    Thanks for sharing at


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