Friday, September 7, 2012

Feathers and Flowers from New York

Green Heron
A short stocky heron with a blue-green back, rust red neck and chest.  Dark green crest, and short legs, normally yellow. It is said the legs will turn bright orange during the breeding season
Green Heron
He hunts for fish and aquatic insects by waiting along a shore or wades stealthily. Has been known to place an object like an insect on the water surface to attract fish to catch.
We saw this one at the Sinking Ponds, East Aurora, New York.

While traveling some back roads around East Aurora, we encountered an 8 point buck and his harem. This was the first time we had seen any bucks.  On this trip we saw 2.

Here he is with two of his harem.  There were 11 females and fawns. Amazing!

Zinnia and bee


Butterfly Bush

Black-eyed Susan's

Sebastopal Goose
The frizzled and curly white feathers on this unusual looking breed make it appear as though it had walked backwards in a windstorm.Their feathers will grow until they touch the ground.
Sebastopal Goose
They were in a domestic setting at Fly Creek Cider Mill, Fly Creek, New York

Crested White Duck
  1. This duck is of Pekin breeding.  The tuft of feathers on its head is recognized as a point of attraction is selectively bred for.  This breed has not been extensively bred as not all eggs become fertile.  The best specimens of this breed usually run about one pound lighter then the best Pekins.

These ducks were in a domestic setting at the Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek, New York
Wild Sweet Pea
They were still blooming by the road side.  They looked so pretty.

We came across a small field of Sunflowers,

This variety had the dark brown centers

Another variety of Sunflower

All of these specimans were spotted on our trip east this past week.
Have a great day!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fur, Feathers, and a Butterfly

Otters from the Phillips Park, in Aurora, Illinois

We have had a Mourning Dove nesting in our blue spruce in the backyard.  She was keeping a watchful eye on us.

Okay, this is for my husband.  Princess is made to dance for her supper.  She loves tuna juice. Somehow, she knows when he is going to make tuna salad. She will follow him, until he gives her a little.  She does beg for it!

Baby Robin
They can grow to 11 inches. This baby is likely from the first brood of the year.  Robins are know to have 2 broods a year. It is likely there are 2 eggs in a nest.  This baby may have been from a next in our back yard.

Here is a Great Blue Heron.  They grow from 42 to 52 inches. The male is gray with black eyebrow extending into several long plumes off back of the head.  He has a long yellow bill.  Feathers at the base of the neck drop down in kind of necklace. The female looks like the male,and has only 1 brood per year. 
The interesting thing about them is that they will bark like a dog when startled.

The the Fermi Lab in Batavia, Illinois there were 5 baby buffalo (bison) born this season.  As of this season the herd has 25 animals.

I think this may be a Block-crowned night-Heron. It has been reported they have been seen in our area.  He is still a ways away, so we are not sure.  Could be a Great Blue that is hunkered down.
Brown Thrasher turned up in our yard on 4-10-2011.  The female looks the same as the male.  They are prodigious songsters, they are often found in thick shrubs where they sing deliberate musical phrases. They repeat each twice.

Wild Turkey
This is a huge one. They can grow from 36 to 48 inches. There have been a pair at the Morton Arboretum in West Chicago, Illinois.  When we went for concerts you could see them walking around the grounds. They are the largest game bird in Illinois. The turkey was eliminated by the turn of the century from hunting and the loss of their habitat.  They have been reintroduced. The males have "harems" of up to 20 females.  They are strong fliers and can reach up to 60 mph. They are able to fly straight up then away.  Their eyesight is 3 times better then humans.  Their hearing is excellent, able to hear competing males up to 1 mile away.  They roost in trees at night.

American Goldfinch
Love these yellow birds.  They have the sweetest song. In the winter the they will change to the color of the females, a brownish color. We called them "Wild Canary" when we were growing up. They love Nyger Thistle. I try to keep a supply in their sock feeders.  When the cone flowers are blooming they will take the seeds from them.  If I can keep the feeders full, they will stay the winter.  Love to watch and hear them.

This is not the greatest picture. I have to find the better ones.  Plus the other ones have the babies.

These are the Robins that we saw last Christmas.  They were perched outside Dad's windows at Alden.  It is the first time I have ever seen robins in winter.

Canadian Goose
They will grow from 25 to 43 inches. In the Spring it is fun to watch when they pair up. They will have from 5 to 10 babies in the Spring.  Adults will mate for life, but do not breed  until their third year. The male will act as a sentinel, and will come aggressive to anyone that approaches.
Red-winged Blackbird
The male is jet black with red and yellow shoulder patch on upper wing. He has a pointed black bill. The male will return first and defend territories.  Their nests are usually over shallow water in thick stands of cattails. They have a distinctive song. You know Spring has sprung when they appear.

Cooper's Hawk
We have had them come to our backyard looking for doves, that are unaware.  They will grow up to 20 inches. They are a medium hawk with short wings and a long rounded tail with  several black bands.  He has a rusty colored chest with dark wing tips. Slate gray back with a bright yellow spot at base of gray bill called a cere. He also, has red eyes. He really loves to frequent my backyard. 
American White Pelican
On the Mississippi River in March you can see them migrating  North.  They are very large, heavy-bodied, long-winged bird. They have a long bill and large pouch typical of pelicans. They are graceful fliers.  Before they fly north, breeding birds may get yellowish feathers on breast, crown and upper wing coverts.  They grown a rounded keel on their beak. Once they are feeding the young, the feathers change and the keep is shed.
We have found an area in Aurora that has a pond,and the White Pelican has been seen on their migration.  They truly are a fascinating bird to watch.

Here is one of the Pelicans in flight. You can see the keel on his beak.

Baby foxes.  On a trip to Kolona, Iowa last Spring, we came upon a group of baby foxes. Mom was nearby, watching us, to make sure we did not bother them

The babies were playful.
The beautiful butterfly checked out one on my phlox. 

There will be more to come. No swans tonight.  You know how it is, if one picture is good a whole bunch is better!
Have a great evening.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dragonfly and Swans

I don't have a bug book, so unfortunately do not know what this one is.  It must be a dragonfly of some sort. While I was cleaning up my garden today, he was nice enough to sit and pose for me.

Just had to show an update of the swans by Dad's.  They were enjoying the waterfall and the algae on the rocks.  Mom is teaching them something new everyday!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Marshall County, Indiana, July 2 and 3

When we went for a stern wheeler ride on North Webster lake, this female mallard was part of our send off committee.

This family of 3  came to visit as we were having dinner at the Frog in Syracuse, Indiana.

See how the male arches his wings.  It is beautiful to see.

Here is their baby. Check out the size of that foot.  The babies do swim with one foot on their backs.  This is the first time we had seen swans in the wild, and with babies too.  They were much bigger then the ones we see where my Father lives. The adults have their wings clipped so they can't fly away.  These wild swans were liking the handouts they were receiving at the restaurant!

Rose of Sharon was in bloom. It has been years since we have seen these. They are not so popular where we live, but seemed to pop up all around where we were touring in Indiana.

This was so pretty, too.  Another color of Rose of Sharon

While we were traveling the back roads of Marshall County, Indiana, I had to make my husband back up to get this picture.  She was so nice to stand in the water while I took her picture.

I love how her reflection was in the water.

As I have said before, these pictures are ones I thought turned out pretty good. They will win no prizes, but are a great reminder to me of the beautiful things we see in nature.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Riding the wave!.  This swan was having a great day in the hot weather. There is a waterfall at the community where my Dad lives, and this swan found it was great to sit undr the fall, and just ride the waves!

Here is this cute baby robin. I happened to see a spot in the grass and went to investigate. Here he was just sitting there. My guess was that he was resting after his first flight.  So precious.

Great Blue Heron. These birds can grow to 52 inches tall. The male and female look the same.  They build their nest lake a platform, or on platforms. The heron lakes 3 to 5 eggs and it will ake 56 to 60 days for incubation. There is a reserve near Joliet that has an island that the herons and  egrets flock to.  They are beautiful birds.