Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer







Sunday, June 19, 2022

Celebrating Thirteen Blogging Years on June 24th~




Hello dear friends!  
It has taken me a long time to put together 100 image shares, a few singles, but mostly mosaics to get my best shared.  
Thirteen years ago I began this beautiful journey and I always miss it when I am unable to post.  I try and post something daily on Facebook, but I find it more difficult to get everything together for publishing for my blog these days.  I promise myself to do better and the days just escape me.  I hope that each of you who view this share are in good health and safe in this big world of so much strife.  
It has been a very long six months since my past posting.  During that time we lost one of our three Long Coat German Shepherds.  Meaka had turned 14 on December 2.  She was such a beautiful dog, but also so sweet and loyal.  There still remains a huge empty spot in our hearts for this girl.  On February 24th we drove her into the city and had to have her placed in eternal rest~

Also in February I came down with a breakout of sorts that had my physicians scrambling.  I had 3 biopsies and 14 vials of blood was drawn in an effort to see what might be wrong.  Six years ago something very similar had happened, but there were no conclusive answers back then.  They suspected once again Systemic Lupus.  I knew within myself, or at least I had pretty much convinced myself that it just couldn't be and I prayed and claimed that it was not.  The prayer was answered, but...while I don't have Systemic Lupus, I was tested positive for Discoid Lupus.  It attacks your largest organ...your skin.  I am dealing with it as best I can.  The sunshine is my enemy and so I must be very cautious.
I apologize ahead of time for different images of the same species not always being together in every set, but they just won't upload properly no matter how hard I try.  I selected some of my better pieces and created mosaics for most of them to be able to share as much as possible for this 13th blog anniversary.  I hope that you will enjoy them and please do leave a comment and let me know how you are doing as well~

*Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slideshow presentation after  you have read the narratives. Thanking you so very much~

  

                                                                        I'm joining Eileen at: 

Saturday's Critter

                     http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.com/

 
 
Anni at:
I'd Rather Be Birdin'

   

 

Angie at:  
Mosaic Monday
 
 
Stewart for:
Wild Bird Wednesday

                                                      https://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com/

 









A very strange thing has happened with the Red-shouldered hawks this season.  I placed aluminum pending around the nest tree as I have tried to do since 1994.  This helps keeps Raccoons out of the nest, however there is still Great horned owls that can take the young. The birds chose a beautiful Sycamore tree in the back yard of a lovely couple that lives down the lane.  I did this task on March 27, nearly 3 weeks after brooding had begun.  Evidently the eggs failed, or the young didn't make it with the very cold wet weather we had during that time.  They must have had copulation sessions that I was not aware of, because they have been on that nest every since the first week in March.  About 10 days ago I began to see some white stuff on the rim of the nest.  That is for sure young ones using the bathroom and I am so happy.  I am so thankful too that the young couple that live there have been so kind and understanding.  The nest is right off of the back deck and any thought of a big family cookout would have been immediate problems either from the birds, or for the birds.  



The female hen looking at her very young eyas last week.  
I cannot wait to see them and know how many there are~


More often than not the male is on the nest and the female will hunt as she can bring in larger prey for herself and the young ones.  
This will be the first successful season for them in 4 seasons.  
The male is lying down and female hen standing~




This was an image that I created using an image of a female Northern Harrier and a snow scene done on the same day.  
It is just kind of artsy and I liked it~



This was an incredible find and I will end up sharing many of my Short-eared owl pictures in this post.  For three Winters I went to a special lane 4 miles from home in search of these owls.  I never saw, or heard one until December 3, 2021.  They migrate down from Canada and stay the Winter here. It was dark and I was getting ready to get into my car to head home when a couple of birds began to fly over me and they were making the neatest voice sounds.  I thought they were Harriers and took 118 pictures in very quick succession.  I got home and sat down to review everything done that evening.  Oh My Word!  It was 118 pictures of Short-eared owls!  I went back nearly every day for 3 and a half months to watch them lift off of the ground where they would sleep all day.  I was enchanted with these beauties and even called one of them Wild Feather~  




This Common Loon was all alone for weeks and then one day a second Loon appeared.  
They stayed for a few days and then flew off together.  
It made me very happy knowing that the lone Loon would no longer be by itself~




Short-eared owl~  



Last year I saw my first ever Bobolink.  
I was pleasantly surprised to see several this Spring nesting on my favorite birding lane near home.  
This is the male~




A mother Great-horned owl taking up a very grand spot in her nest cavity~


Another Short-eared owl.  Such beauty in the looks of these birds~




The evening twilight colours cast a brilliant glow on this owl~




A recently fledged Barn Swallow.  
Swallows are one of my favorites...all of them~


Sandhill cranes in Southern Indiana.  
I love these large cranes and their voice is mesmerizing~














One of the Northern Harriers that stayed all Winter from Canada~




This was a female Hooded Merganser that was still in our area the first week in June~




The Great Blue Heron flew onto the top of the fence while I was busy photographing a young Bald Eagle.  
I had to get a shot of this beauty as well~


Three more images of a couple of the Northern Harriers. 
The females are brown and the males are gray and white. 
 The males are sometimes called the Gray Ghost~









Red-winged blackbirds.  
They arrived a couple of weeks before the females.  
The were in town to claim a prized portion of land.  
Each male services 5 to 15 females in a harem~



This was the palest of the Short-eared owls~


The Eastern Meadowlark was singing just for me...okay and maybe in pursuit of a mate as well~



Meet Mr. and Mrs. Wood duck.  Such gorgeous birds~




A single Pied-billed Grebe remained on the water through the first week in June as well as the Hooded Merganser~


A very lovely Barn Swallow.  
What is not to like about these wonderful insect eating birds~


Short-eared owl in the snow, with icing on the branches~







The Short-eared owls really enjoyed the company of one another.  
Their voice calls were absolutely nothing short of pure jubilance~


My first ever Orchard Oriole.  
I had never even heard of them until my young friend Mack introduced them to me~




The well poised Tree Swallow.  
What is not to love about these birds!


An adult Barn Swallow came in to feed a few of the many babies~
















A Mourning dove gets frightened by my presence and flew~





A few more of the sweetest faced Barn Swallows~



















A few more images taken of the lovely Mourning Doves~





Baby Barn Swallows begging for a bit of food~








There were 4 Purple Martins amongst the Swallows~





Barn Swallow cuteness overload~


I believe this to be a Song Sparrow loaded up with worms for the young in the nest below~



Mississippi Kite building upon a nest in Lexington, Kentucky last month~


White-eyed Vireo was adorable and quite strikingly beautiful~




A pair of Eastern Bluebirds~ <3




This was a wonderful snag!  
After studying this bird for several hours amongst other birders, it was determined to be a first year juvenile Indigo Bunting~



The Bald Eagles season went pretty smoothly again this year in a location near our home.  Once again the pair produced two beautiful eaglets.  I wasn't able to get over to the location as often this season, due to a number of reasons.  After learning that the second eaglet had fledged, I headed over to hopefully see them and I was able to get the first and only in flight captures of larger eaglet.  There was a female and male this year.  I hope that they are thriving, learning to hunt and  do well~

The larger female adult eagle brining in a large catch for dinner.  
My friend Beth and I totally thought it looked like a cat, which they can and do take~




The last time that I photographed the two eaglets on the nest~




The only flight pictures taken of either eaglet.  
Amazing beauty in flight~


On one of my early evening journeys I was surprised with a Giant Swallowtail.   They are the largest butterfly in North America.  What a treat in that it stayed with me a couple of minutes before taking course over the uncut hay fields to ventures beyond~



The handsome Red-winged blackbird has several females that he caters to during the breeding and nesting season.  
I think the females are really beautiful birds~




The Eastern Kingbirds are the last of the Spring ground nesting birds to arriver in Oldham County, USA.  Such lovely birds they are too~





A Mourning Dove overlooking the lovely wildflower fields where hundreds of birds nest on the ground.  First comes the Red-winged blackbird males to tighten a hold on a plot of land for his soon to arrive harem of females.  The Eastern Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows arrive at about the same time.  Next comes the Bobolinks and Dickcissels, and Eastern Kingbirds. Bobwhite quail and Song sparrows come in the end of the nesting season of the others. In the nest boxes along the fields are the Eastern Bluebirds and Tree swallows.  Barn Swallows come around when the fields are cut for baling.  This is the same land that in the late Autumn through first of Spring the Northern Harriers and Short-eared owls reside.  The lane is so special, just at a mile long it is one of the birding hotspots in our area~



Blue Dasher Dragonflies along a nearby pond~



Eastern Amberwing Dragonflies~




This year at Cave Hill Cemetery the Red-tailed hawks raised 3 young~  


A male Dickcissel overlooking his territory now torn up along with hundreds of nests that were destroyed only days before the young could fledge.  The reason... the hay fields needed to be cut and baled as well for feeding the cattle on the property up and down the lane.  I did everything humanely possible to hold them back for 7 more days, but I lost the battle.  They took out the most important fields, the one with wildflowers, no hay and left so many dead in their wake as well as misery from the adults trying to locate their nest, and yet 8 days after the cutting hay fields at over 3' to 4' tall remain untouched.  
It is a bitter part of birding and it just seems so not right~ 




There were some birding battles for housing.  Here a pair of Tree swallows battle for use of the at the time house being used by the Eastern Bluebirds~




A pair of Baltimore Orioles~



Bobolinks have been a huge favorite of mine since seeing one last year.  
Many people travel far to get a chance to see and hear them~

















More Eastern Kingbirds~




Just a pretty Spring posies~



An Osprey chasing a sub adult Bald Eagle away from it's nest site~



Mr. and Mrs. Red-winged blackbirds~
\

Many might not have seen one of these birds.  
This is a female Bobolink.  
I found them striking, but on the wing a little too easy to mistake with the female Red-winged blackbirds~

We were happy to find several Rose breasted Grosbeak in the trees and feeders here on Tingsgrove~




Mr. and Mrs. Blue Grosbeak nearby as well~




More pictures of the darling White-eyed Vireo~



One early afternoon while observing birds in the garden this treat appeared.  
My first ever viewing of a handsome male Cape May warbler that was in migrating North mode~


My first also Yellow warbler, oh like sweet sunshine~




Pine and Palm Warblers jolt me a bit on ID, but these warblers stayed in around almost 2 weeks in May~







A Blue-gray gnatcatcher was so tiny and so beautiful hiding amongst the seed pods and Spring pollen makers~




Ruby-crowned Kinglets, oh so small and oh so brilliant~




Adult Bald Eagles chasing a juvenile away from nest area for this recent season~



More of the pair of Wood ducks~



A female Great-horned owl in her favorite tree and superimposed over a weeping cherry tree~




The Common Loon after a long time alone, suddenly was not any longer.  
The two left together after only a couple of days~



The Great-horned owls at this nest site had two precious owlets this season as well~


Dad, owlets and Mom Great-horned owls~




I really was so pleased with these captures of this Short-eared owl~


Snow, and ice along with morning light gave these images a peaceful feeling~



This was the Short-eared owl I called Wild Feather.  
Where you see feathers missing on left wing.  For a couple of months the feathers stuck out almost in every direction imaginable~ 
A Northern Harrier checks out the larger Red-tailed Hawk to see what it might have to try and steal away.  
The hawk if you look closely is wearing an ice ball on the top of it's head~





The Northern Harrier ended up with it's own Field mouse and so all was calm ~