Yay! School’s out for the summer!! Which means that I have a lot more time to get out with my camera. My first outing was to Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Illinois. It takes about three and a half hours to get there. This year my friend Bill went with me; it was so nice to have company for that long drive!
When we first got to the trails, we were very disappointed at the lack of bird activity. However, eventually we came across some birds. One bird that we saw a lot of was the blue gray gnatcatcher.
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
We found a great place to photograph warblers. It was in a marshy area with some low growing vegetation. Right away we noticed a lot of activity in the undergrowth. Photographing warblers is not easy, and I was not particularly happy with my results. However, there were a few shots that were worthy of posting.
American Redstart Female
American Restart Male
This beautiful barn swallow was busy gathering nesting materials.
We also saw an eastern kingbird who had no problem sitting for a photo.
I also got photos of the following birds:
In the area where most of the warblers were I spotted this beautiful sparrow. I had never seen one like this, and I believe it is a Nelson’s sparrow. Please let me know if I am wrong in my identification:-) **Thank you to my birding friends for letting me know that this is not a Nelson’s sparrow, it is actually a Lincoln’s sparrow. Thank you Kelly and Myriam 😃
It was another successful trip to Illinois Beach State Park. I was able to spend more time there and learn more about the trails. I have decided to make this an annual trip to celebrate the start of summer vacation!
My husband is a farmer, and so the majority of my Mother’s Days he has been in the fields. My youngest son helps him on the weekends, so generally my Mother’s Day is spent alone (I really don’t mind:) This year the forecast was for a beautiful, warm day, so I decided to go birding. I have been wanting to check out Cone Marsh, which is just outside of Conesville, Iowa. It took me about 90 minutes to get there. The area consists of two lakes, and several marsh areas. There is a gravel road that encloses the area and there are a couple of parking areas. The only real place to hike is along the dike. It was a good thing that I visited in the spring, because the weeds along the dike were already about thigh high. I know that the weeds don’t get mowed, so I don’t think I will be getting back there until next winter.
During the morning hours there was a lot of bird activity. It was fun to watch the warblers flit about, but they certainly are hard to capture!
Ahhh! Finally it feels like spring! We have finally had some sunshine and warm weather:-) Everything is so beautiful with the colors of spring, and the birds at my backyard feeders are certainly enjoying the wonderful weather. I have never seen so much action as I have the past few days. The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are really enjoying hanging out. There were 10-15 of them at the feeding stations tonight. I also had three Baltimore Orioles eating grape jelly. Of course there are lots of other birds, but the grosbeaks and orioles are very unusual visitors for me.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Female
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Male
White Crowned Sparrow
Spring is finally here. The grass is green, the flowering trees are blooming, there are violets, bluebells, tulips and daffodils. Just being outside brings a smile to my face. This afternoon I just couldn’t resist an opportunity to enjoy our beautiful spring weather. So after work I grabbed my camera and headed out to see if I could get a few bird photos.
High up in the trees was a group of four turkey vultures. They have to be one of the ugliest birds there is, but I am so fascinated by them. They are so creepy, but there is also an amazing beauty to them.
There were lots of small birds feeding on the ground and in the low brush. I was really excited to spot a new-to-me bird. This clay-colored sparrow looks like any other sparrow from a distance, but the beautiful tans and browns really stand out in this photo.
I can’t wait to get out there again!
Great Horned Owlets
I was only gone a week, and up returning I find that not only have the owlets hatched, they are half grown:)