Sunday, June 27, 2010

Color Blooms In June

After several days of tempestuous storms, muggy air and sweltering heat, Thursday's mild weather brought welcome relief. Thrilled that the summer sun was shining its glorious rays upon Chicago, I set out, camera in hand, in search of glimpses of radiant beauty that June has to offer. Enjoy! (I welcome identification corrections)

A resplendent Monarch Butterfly explores a milkweed bloom

Brilliant yellow flower petals dotted with moisture

A pollen dusted American Hover Fly

The intricate, dazzling center of a hibiscus flower

A Golden Northern Bumble Bee can't resist this stunning purple bloom

A Red Milkweed Beetle finds this milkweed plant especially attractive (the little ant does too!)

This vibrant dianthus was spotted in the middle of a trail that runs along a beautiful pond

A lovely Painted Lady Butterfly flits from flower to flower

Monday, June 21, 2010

Curious Gestures

One of my favorite birding spots is a 13 acre pond located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Green Heron sightings are common at this urban nature oasis. Most often I view the ever colorful Green Heron in the same pose, perched on a limb or log, crouched low, eyes alert, ready to strike at some unfortunate fish, frog or insect. Though, if I observe long enough, every once in a while, I will spy some curious behavior. This beautifully plumed, shy bird becomes a rather goofy clown with a variety of humorous gestures.

I usually observe Green Herons hunkered down, still and ready to strike ... but, once in a blue moon, I will delightfully see interesting behavior such as ...

A bit coy

Dancing the Hokey Pokey

"You talkin' to me?"

Perhaps a furball?

Aspiring Hip-Hop artist

Back to business

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This spring Bruce and I were overjoyed when our resident Eastern Bluebird couple from last year returned. The pair attempted to set up home in two different nest boxes, but to no avail (story in a future blog). Third time's a charm! Dad and mom bluebird are now proud parents of five cheeping, hungry nestlings. I don't believe the little downy feathered ones know how lucky they are. Dad works overtime to keep them clean, happy and well fed.

Soft, plump wax worms seems to be a favorite meal in the bluebird household. I've noticed for every four trips dad makes to the worm bowl, mom makes one. Mom often indulges in a few squiggly appetizers before selecting one or two worms for her nestlings. Dad is all about the kids, I have not seen him partake in the wormy delights since the eggs hatched. He even tends to the kids while mom is out splishin' and  splashin' in the bird bath. No doubt about it, this bluebird dad is tops!

This Father's Day post is dedicated to my fabulous, generous dad and all the other wonderful father's who lovingly provide and take care of their children.

Though some of the images are of poor quality, I hope you still enjoy the post.

This photograph of the male was taken in April when the Eastern Bluebird pair were actively searching for a nest box to raise their young

  Dad with nesting material, patiently waits his turn while mom works decorating magic

One juicy wax worm fits between the beak quite nicely for this father of five hungry nestlings

Two squirming worms are easily handled

With wiggly three, the degree of difficulty is increasing

Five makes quite an ambitious father

Super dad!

Lucky nestlings!

Mom bluebird enjoys a calm, relaxing moment in the whirlpool while dad tends to the youngsters back at the nest box

Dad performs the task of waste removal

After a busy day of tending to the youngsters, dad still makes time for mom

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Closer Look: Part 3

This is part 3 of a series featuring beautiful nature sightings captured on our lovely property in the country. I welcome identification corrections.

A diminutive House Wren takes up residence in a bluebird nest box custom made by a dear friend

The metallic green beauty of a Halictid Bee

The splendid colors of young maple leaves

A little bunny enjoys a delectable daisy salad (photo taken 7/2009)

This radiant Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly blends in well with the green foliage

A Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly explores the fruit of a sumac tree

A Gold-backed Snipe Fly perches upon a leaf

An exuberant Gray Catbird showcases its vocal abilities

The delicate wings of a Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Closer Look: Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part series featuring beautiful nature sightings captured on our lovely property in the country.

This handsome Eastern Bluebird and his mate are currently waiting for their 5 powder blue eggs to hatch

The beautiful newly formed leaves of an oak tree

An exquisite Twelve-spotted Skimmer sets down on a thorny branch

This Haploa Colona Moth was spotted atop forest ground cover ~ I find its markings quite interesting

This Red-eared Slider Turtle most likely journeyed up from the marsh in search of sandy soil to lay her eggs

A striking damselfly rests upon lush, green forest foliage

Love is in the air!

Brilliant wild strawberries dot the prairie area of our property

Take a closer look ~ This caterpillar resembles a leaf

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Closer Look

As many of you know, Bruce and I own some beautiful acreage out in the country along the Indiana/Michigan border. Just 70 miles from bustling Chicago, our land is a welcome serene retreat teeming with fascinating wildlife and insects.

What especially appeals to me about our property is the variety of terrains. At one time, the front of our property was a Christmas tree nursery, thus we have rows of lush, beautiful evergreens year round. Further in, there is a large grass covered clearing which is our prairie area, a paradise for snakes, rabbits, insects and Eastern Bluebirds. Three years ago, at the highest elevation, we planted a small fruit orchard with 34 peach and apple trees and a few raspberry bushes. Moving back on the property, the land becomes more hilly (rolling) and the trees thicken with deciduous and coniferous forest growth. The shallow ravines are blanketed in green flora. A reedy marsh borders the back edge of our acreage and plays host to a variety of wildlife.

My favorite time of day is early morning, when the rising sun casts long shadows, animals seek nourishment and a chorus of beautiful bird songs are music to my ears. Our two 7 month old rambunctious puppies stir around 6:00 AM, wide awake and eager to head outside for a energizing morning walk around the property. They excitedly drag a sleepy-eyed, bed-headed woman down the cleared paths and deer trodden trails, exploring with their eyes, ears and noses all that the morning holds. When we return, I drop off the panting, thirsty pups, grab my camera and head back outside for a closer look at the lovely land that we will someday call our permanent residence. There is always something beautiful and interesting to see. I try to venture out with my camera two or three times a day as glorious Mother Nature is fascinating at all hours. Below are several images taken in the country. Part 2 will follow in a few days.

A stunning Red Admiral Butterfly clings to a sawn log

An Eastern Box Turtle, a common sight this time of year 

The many splendid colors of "maple keys"

A lovely Swamp Darner hangs from a branch (please feel free to inform me if the identification is incorrect)

A closer look

The delicate wing pattern of a Little Wood Satyr

The rosy blush of a ripening peach

I'm not sure of identification of this insect sitting on a pollen covered leaf (any assistance would be appreciated)

This American Robin must have a lot of hungry mouths to feed. I count at least 8 inchworms and 1 grasshopper