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

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Happy New Year 2023 and Farewell to 2022~

Happy New Year to all who might have the time to be able to stop by and visit my blog once again.  It has been 6 long months since my last entry and with every try that I make to do better, life just gets in the way it appears.  

I miss my heavy blogging days when we were able to visit one another on our blogs and keep in touch with special friends that we learned to know through those lovely visits.  The last few times that I posted were so sporadic due to my sister's illness and then her passing away.  I then had some health issues that came along with life difficulties that we had to help with and it has just taken the back burner and I truly hate that.  

This past year has had some changes one in particular that has been such a huge blessing was when our youngest daughter and her husband moved back to Kentucky after living the last seven years in Florida.  Having them home has been delightful.

 We had a very rare bird that visited the adjoining Shelby county that caused quite a stir even on the news stations.  I was able to see and photograph the bird on November 17th.

A Pink-footed goose 

"The Pink-footed goose is a goose which breeds in Eastern Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. It is migratory, wintering in Northwest Europe, especially Ireland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Western Denmark. The name is often abbreviated in colloquial usage to "Pinkfoot"

Our area of Oldham County Kentucky has had 2 other very rare birds that ended up just 4 miles in two directions from our home the way a bird flies.  

A juvenile Trumpeter swan.  I first officially saw it on December 26th.

A Rough-legged hawk was seen and I was able to see and photograph it on December 28th.

Cover photo is one that the blog was named after...a Red-shouldered hawk~


*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


 Anni at: 

I'd Rather Be Birdin'


 The Short-eared owls were here for a few months in 2021 and 2022.  

Sadly they have not yet arrived back in our area for this season.  
They are some of my favorite birds~


From May 25th through July 23 I had the pleasure of raising a female Wood duck that I named Bennett. I got it a little buddy to help raise it with that was a Rouen duckling that I named Fendley. I think of these two every single day. I hope and pray that somehow they survived, but it was a very bad situation~

I had walked down the lane to see if any Hummingbirds were at the Mimosa trees across the land from Tingsgrove. There are at least three trees that have branches hanging over the lane and that makes it easy to stand on Tingsgrove and see some of the activity. This time there were no hummers, but rather lots of butterflies and one single Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. I was thrilled because any of these moths are just stunning. The colours of the Clearwing moth are burgundy and olive down the back, and a light yellowish white and burgundy underneath. It's wings are transparent with a red burgundy border around them~

I had an injured Carpenter bee as a favorite from August 2nd until August 27th. I called her Bumble thinking that she was a Bumble bee. Actually she was Bumble the Carpenter bee and she trusted me. I found her just outside our gate on a bench. She was laying there late in the evening and I left her. The next morning she was still there and I couldn't believe what I did, but I put my finger down in front of her to see what she would do. She crawled right up on my hand and never showed me her stinger which she really had one that she could have chosen to use. She would crawl up on my fingers to my hand every day a few times. My husband liked her so much and we both still mention her from time to time.
We didn't have any idea as to how long she would survive, but Bumble the Carpenter bee was here for twenty five days. She really was such a wonderful creature to observe and care for...a very special gift~

I went to my friend Mack's house one day and got to see one of the 4 young Green herons that had just left the nest rim the day before~

I just really liked this picture of a juvenile Red-tailed hawk on one of my favorite country lanes~

One of our neighborhood White-tailed deer had triplets this past Spring~

Darling Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were around from Spring through October fifteenth~

A magical morning with an Egret taking off as I had just arrived at the park~

This year was my second to raise and release Monarch butterflies.  I had twenty seven.  Most of them I gathered in their egg stage and they all did really well.   This was such a rewarding experience too.  
These were all late stage eggs and caterpillars that ended up taking all the way through October ending for many of them to get to fly free.  
I also got a few from my next door neighbor that were in various stages of caterpillars and some of them had already been bitten by Tachinid flies and didn't make it through their chrysalis stage which  is always a sad happening.
The first few mosaics are a little story about a little egg that had hatched and I momentarily lost the baby caterpillar.  All turned out well though~

I am rather pitiful as every time that I have the chance to see this amazing process, I get all choked up because it is so awe-inspiring and magnificent to see~

One of the Monarch chrysalis and the changes it makes during the 9 to 14 days in this final stage before it ecloses and becomes a butterfly~

This is one of 4 Ospreys that hatched atop a tower near where I go birding several times a week.  One afternoon it took one of it's first flights and came right where I had been standing~

On October 27th I got a call from a friend about her relative who had a baby Grey squirrel who needed help. It was orphaned and I had to get my blanket permit renewed to rehab and release so that I could care for her. The lady that brought her to me had named her Bumper. Most Grey Squirrels breed in June and January but this baby was so small, it was a late litter and if I was going to care for her, she would have to spend the Winter with me. In my years of rehabbing and releasing them...I had 63 Greys and 6 Red Fox squirrels in 8 years...none were ever single babies. I feel really sorry for her, but I couldn't find any more orphaned babies to place with her. She will stay here until the canopy of Spring green begins to form in about 2 months and then I will work on a good release for her~

What an extraordinary find last November by a woman who took notice of something very different and made sure that others would know about it. It was quickly established by those in the know of such wonderful things that in the state of Kentucky, and the city of Shelbyville had a very rare visitor!
The morning of November 17th I had read the emails about this find, but had to dash into town and run errands and had pretty much allowed this delightful information land on the back burner friend Christine called to alert me that she had been to see the bird and if at all possible I needed to get there. Twenty minutes away, that is how close this awesome Pink-footed goose had somehow arrived from far, far away from it's destination. Here is a brief description about them from the Internet...

"The pink-footed goose is a goose which breeds in eastern Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. It is migratory, wintering in northwest Europe, especially Ireland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and western Denmark. The name is often abbreviated in colloquial usage to "pinkfoot".

Oh My Goodness the poor beauty has certainly flown way off course. While so thrilled to see it, I could not help but feel quite a bit sad for it...where must it's buddies, family be and how can it possibly ever get back on the pathway that it became lost from...I shall ponder that for a long while and never know the possibilities are lost in the thought of so many scenarios. We got word that the goose had flown off with the flock of Canada geese late this afternoon

One of my favorite birds to observe and photograph is the Common Loon. This one is either a juvenile, or non-breeding adult. It has taken me several trips over to Reformatory lake to first locate it and then try and get a few nice captures. I feel quite pleased with this set. Taken during two weeks beginning November 23rd~

What a neat surprise!  
We have lived here since August 1981 and we have never had a Red Fox squirrel visit.  They live out on the main road nearly a mile away.  
The songbirds were going crazy with something in our garden back in early December and I didn't know if I would be looking at a snake, a cat, or a bird of prey...but it was this beautiful one.  I guess since the yard birds had never seen one before, they must have though it was a cat ;)~

I got up early to go birding on December 27th and then to check out some Otters that a good friend saw and photographed late afternoon the day before. Well I went to the right place and I did see a nice size creature swimming back and forth past me, but it was not one of the Otters. It was a Beaver. The Beaver swam near me for several minutes, took a quick dive and then moved in some new furniture to it's lodge across the way from me~

On December the 10th I went on a wonderful outing with friends at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Seymour, Indiana. We had gone to see some of the 37,000 Sandhill Cranes that had roosted on their grounds the evening before. With numbers like that we were bound to see birds. They roost on land at the refuge where human kind cannot go. Then in the mornings you can hear their amazing voices begin to rise. They can be heard from as far away as two plus miles and I have to say...if you have never heard them, you have to look up the voices of the Sandhill Cranes online. One can drive around the rural community and where there are harvested corn fields, you will most certainly find hundreds, or thousands as we found them in the fields today. The males enjoy a game of corn husk tossing to try and attract a mate. This set of images show juveniles, as well as the adults joining in the Crane dance activity which is quite amusing and delightful to witness. All of these were taken from the car too, with windows down of course~

On December 4th, I had the pleasure of the company of going with my friend Christine to view the beautiful Snow Geese and White Pelicans that have migrated up through areas of Southern Indiana and Northwestern Kentucky. The day before at one of the locations we went to had a showing of some 10,000 birds. We could hear thousands of them that were in a lake that was protected. While we could not see them, we could certainly hear them and the sounds were awesome! We had stopped along a little country lane when Christine all of a sudden heard them and when we looked up flocks of them began to fly towards us and over us. I actually wept tears of joy because the sounds and the viewing them was truly amazing to see and hear. We both agreed there were thousands of them. The Snow Geese were accompanied by larger White Pelicans and every once in a while a showing of a Ross's Goose, and Ring-billed Seagulls. It was a truly very remarkable day.
In the very first images you will see tiny specks and smears that are in actuality thousands of Snow Geese and White Pelicans flying towards us. The darker birds are juvenile Snow Geese~

A beautiful Red-tailed hawk having a bit of wild feather activity while it hunted~

One has to take the loop drive to see the beautiful Bald Cypress trees when they visit Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Indiana. I have stopped to get pictures in fog, cloudy weather as well as frigid code and sunshine. The water reflection opportunities never fail me~

This was somewhat of an Otter banner day for me and this had to have been a banner day for this Otter and it's huge catch for the day also on December 27th~

A pretty rare, or accidental species in Oldham County, Kentucky would be this beautiful juvenile Trumpeter swan seen on December 24th first by my friend Mack. It was thought to be a Tundra, but later confirmed ID was for an even rarer species of the Trumpeter. It was laying with a pair of established Mute swans. I love the picture of the Mute Swans looking down at the young Trumpeter...what must they be thinking 😉 ❤ Trumpeter swans are the longest and heaviest birds in North America~

You just never know what rare bird will show up in a field, a body of water, or flying over when it's not only migrating season, but the weather it sure is a changing for mankind and wildlife. On December 28th I saw my third ever Rough-legged hawk here in Oldham County, Kentucky. Less than a mile the way a bird flies from the even rarer juvenile Trumpeter swan. About these hawks in our state...from the Internet:

They are not very common in the state and are only seen in less than 1% of sightings in Kentucky. Rough-legged Hawks are usually sighted hovering over marshes and open fields or perched on a pole. The feathered legs give the Rough-legged Hawks their name and help to keep them warm in the arctic~


  1. It is not often I can say that one of your rare birds is a fairly common one for me - the pink footed goose. I enjoyed your series of photos documenting the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Incredible photos. I hope you have a better year and manage to read and post a little more.

  2. I always look forward to your posts and amazing photos. And it is truly a gift to get to see and photograph something rare. We get a lot of neat sightings here in Florida too. I hope you are able to take care of yourself and be healthy in this year to come. Sweet hugs, Diane

  3. Thank you so much Diane! I do miss my blogging days and I am so happy to hear from you. I hope you are doing well. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. Happy New Year Mary! You have had a busy year, lots of festivities and your birding and photography are all as always. It is always great to see an update post from you. Take care, stay safe. I wish you all the best in 2023!

  5. PS, thank you for linking up and sharing your post!

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  7. Good for you Mary. Welcome back. A Pink-footed Goose is indeed rare in Kentucky but extremely common here at the moment, passing overhead or feeding in our fields all day long in their thousands.

    I enjoyed your slide show and the shorties. I agree about the shooters and how everything they do is to maximise their kill rate and any benefits to other species an accidental bonus. Happy New Year to you.

  8. Mary, these pictures were stunning and your narrative so full of joy. I'm SO glad you are back. The birds are wonderful; congratulations on getting there to see the rarities... I'm going back to look at the pictures in slide-show format after I send you this. Oh and that otter~!~! His prey is bigger than he is. Those guys (whether river or ocean species) are so funny, just thinking of them makes me happy. As do all your pictures. Thanks for sharing.


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