Thursday, January 8, 2015

Warm Thoughts of Florida Birds

As frigid arctic air moves into the Midwest, I thought I would post some bird photographs taken during my March visit to Longboat Key, Florida. Thoughts of warmer climes, lush foliage and stunning birds certainly ease cabin fever on a day where wind chill readings of -30 degrees are expected here in Chicago. Brrr!

A handsome Barred Owl roosts quietly in the forest canopy

A hungry owlet calls out for its parents

A stunning Great Blue Heron shows off its impressive wingspan

Two Limpkins explore Celery Fields

A Great Egret in breeding plumage finery

Two curious Great Egret youngsters move about the nest

A striking figure amid the Spanish moss ~ White-eyed Vireo

Pretty in Pink ~ Roseate Spoonbill

A juvenile Little Blue Heron scratches an itch

The midnight blue feathers of an adult Little Blue Heron

Foraging amidst the Sarasota Bay mangroves ~ Yellow-crowned Night Heron

A colorful Green Heron perches above swamp waters

Searching for food ~ Glossy Ibis

Soaring above Celery Fields ~ Northern Harrier

Exhibiting courtship behavior ~ Double-crested Cormorants

A red-eyed Black-crowned Night Heron peeks out from behind the mangrove leaves

An American Alligator basks in the warm morning sun

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Western Wilderness Wonders

This past August, I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Tremonton, Utah. While he attended to business, I visited a couple of birding hotspots in the surrounding areas. My favorite location was Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah.  A wide variety of beautiful birds and wildlife were seen, as well as stunning scenery. I also drove through Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City, Utah. The bird numbers were impressive and the drive quite enjoyable.

After my husband concluded his obligations in Tremonton, we drove north and spent three days exploring two majestic and extraordinary national parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone. We meandered through stunning alpine meadows and breathed in the beauty of dramatic vertical peaks. Large herds of bison, elk and pronghorn were observed grazing in sagebrush dotted valleys. American Eagles and Osprey soared effortlessly aloft. At Yellowstone, we were mesmerized by the spectacular geothermal wonders and the radiant colors of the hot springs. A return trip will definitely be planned, as we wish we could have spent more time exploring these awe-inspiring destinations. All in all, I tallied 37 life birds!

A feisty Rufous Hummingbird perches near the wild bergamot (bee balm) patch - Life bird!

A handsome Peregrine Falcon scans the vast fields for prey

Two American Avocets feed in a shallow salt water pool

Long-legged beauty ~ Black-necked Stilt

A striking Western Grebe floats lazily on calm waters - Life bird!

Two juvenile Western Grebes enjoy the sunny day at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

A lone Ring-necked Pheasant steps gingerly across the road while I stop the car for its safe passage - Life bird!

A handsome Townsend's Warbler seeks nourishment in the berry laden-trees - Life bird!

Perched on a rocky peak and chattering away ~ Rock Wren - Life bird!

An adult Western Kingbird feeds its hungry offspring - Life bird!

 A second ravenous juvenile kingbird attempts to run interference

A young Mountain Bluebird perches on a dried branch - Life bird!

The always majestic American Bald Eagle

A relaxed Bison looks rather surprised when a bold Black-billed Magpie lands on its back


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flying Jewels of Spring

The spring season is one of my favorite times of the year. Along with milder temperatures, the greening of foliage and flowering trees, bird migration occurs. Colorful, active birds make regular stops throughout the Midwest. Some delight us with their beauty throughout the summer months and others stop for only a brief visit as they make their way north. These bright, dazzling birds decorate the blossoming trees for all to appreciate.

Always a glorious sight ~ Scarlet Tanager

A resplendent Blackburnian Warbler explores the oak tree leaves for prey

On the hunt for a buggy snack ~ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

A brilliant Yellow Warbler pauses for a moment in the marsh

A secretive Kentucky Warbler searches for food amongst the leaf litter

A stunning Chestnut-sided Warbler among the budding pink blossoms

A bright orange beauty ~ Baltimore Oriole

A gorgeous Magnolia Warbler gleans insects from a budding tree

A striking Cedar Waxwing sups on fresh blooms

A black-capped bird in search of a meal ~ Wilson's Warbler

A Brown Thrasher forages near the forest edge

Seeking nourishment along the creek ~ Prothonotary Warbler

Sitting pretty on a branch ~ Ovenbird

A lovely Canada Warbler searches for nutrition amidst pretty pink blooms

Crooning a tune ~ Hooded Warbler

Blue brilliance ~ Eastern Bluebird

A moment of peace for this busy Ruby-throated Hummingbird