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!
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:)
It was a beautiful day here in the mid-west, and I couldn’t resist getting out to enjoy the weather. I decide to explore a new spot, the Morrison-Rockwood State Park in Morrison, Illinois. It is about a 50 minute drive from my house, which gave me an opportunity to reflect on my work day as I drove there. Finding the park was a bit of a challenge, but once I got there I was pleasantly surprised by the large lake and both woodland and prairie areas to explore. I definitely will have to come back when I have more time to see what the park has to offer. While I was there, I was excited to get a shot of this cute American tree sparrow. This is a new-to-me bird, and another sparrow to check off of my list.
The last few months I have been pulled in a number of different directions. There have been a lot of things that have needed to be taken care of, and leisure time has not been on that list. Things have settled down a bit, and finally I feel like I can set aside some time to get out with my camera. It feels good to be back:-)
Great Horned Owl
This beautiful owl has found the perfect nesting spot (in my opinion). She has a clear view of what is going on around her, and I have a clear view of her for some great photo opportunities. Thank you to my friend Bill for sharing her nesting site with me. I have stopped by to see her three times, and all three times she has been on the nest. Therefore, I assume she is incubating her eggs. It is going to be very interesting to watch her raise her babies!
I was so excited to get a photo of this eastern meadowlark! All last summer I tried to get a photo of this very common, but skittish bird found along the farm fields in my area. Most of the time when I would see one I couldn’t get close enough to get a shot. Today was my lucky day! This handsome guy was more than happy to stay put and sing a beautiful song for me.
Now, I am off to check out what all of you have been up to in the last few months!