A Saturday Evening Drive

We took a drive in the golf cart around the farm last evening. The hay was recently cut which makes traveling about much easier. The sun was low, as it was well past 6:00 PM, but I took my camera just in case we might see something worth filming. I’m happy I made that decision. Below are images of our little jaunt, including a few birds that I had never seen before.

First find. A yellow bird that was in the tall grasses and weeds of a hedgerow. At first, I thought it was a female Summer Tanager. But, after seeking advice from some bird experts, this bird was confirmed to be an Orchard Oriole female. Thank you IBET (Illinois Bird Exchanging Thoughts group members.)

Here are the wild blackberries and red raspberries that will provide a sweet treat for both birds, and us humans if we can get there in time!

These spent blossoms will become blackberries in July.
These are the promise of red raspberries.

We traveled about 1000 feet from where we saw the yellow bird (female Orchard Oriole) and saw this bird. This is a male Orchard Oriole, and strickingly beautiful. I’m not sure if the bird posted above is the mate of this bird, as they were quite far apart from each other. Perhaps we have several pairs. I will keep my eyes open for them!

Here are a few images of the property. The pastures are cut around this time, then not again until September. That allows many bird species which use prairie grass habitat to thrive.

That big tree in the center marks the northeast corner of our property. It’s a fairly open fence line on the east side, and neighbors plant crops in the field east of our property. There are mature trees along the north property line, including oak trees.
The hay in this field was cut last week.

I saw many Eastern Meadowlarks in the fields as we drove across the pastures. I suspected that the bird below was a juvenile Meadowlark, but it didn’t have even a little yellow on its face. After some expert feedback, I was told this is, in fact, a female Red Winged Blackbird.

There are a few magical places on our property, but none is more enchanted than the place we call the “canopy.” These are Osage Orange trees – referred to by the locals as “hedge” trees. I had the wrong lens on my camera to do it justice, but Robert took this shot with his cell phone and it captures the essence of this special place.

Here are a few other pictures I took with my camera, but they don’t adequately capture the mythical feeling one gets when traveling through the cool, dark place.

Once you travel through the canopy, which has a near 90 degree turn at the end, you come out at the very northern edge of the pond. You can see the shallow water in the foreground of the next photo. We often see Great Blue Herons here. Our neighbors who live about a mile up the road complain that the herons steal fish from their pond. I am happy to offer the birds a meal.

There were two birds that we saw at the very end of our journey. The timestamp on the file says it was 7:43 PM, so the sun was very low and the light was insufficient for a good photo. But, I took these shots anyway. I received feedback from the Birders that it’s a Brown Thrasher. That was one of my guesses.

The other bird was sitting on a fence near a nest box. The consensus of the experts was that this is, in fact, a House Wren. We checked the nearby box, but it’s empty. Perhaps this bird might consider using it in the future.

On the northern property line, in the stand of mature trees, I saw this dead tree filled with woodpecker holes. I need to go back to that location when I have more time to sit patiently and discover if any of the holes are occupied. It was getting dark when I shot this picture.

On our pass along the hedgerow west of the pond, we encountered this fellow and another smaller bunny. If you live in a city you are fairly used to bunnies and many species of birds that have acclimated to city life. But, our wild neighbors are truly wild and skeptical of humans. While I know that many rabbits exist, we really don’t see them as often as one might think.

And, that concludes today’s ride around the farm. Have a wonderful day.

2 Comments on “A Saturday Evening Drive

  1. Those trees over arching over mowed pat are Osage Orange, very old ones planted as living fences in the olden times.That female is an Orchard Oriole, the one you called Meadowlark is a female Red winged Blackbird. The one by the box is a very young Eastern Bluebird. Beautiful farm you have there.

    • Thank you Rhetta. Although I received a vote for House Wren I think you’re right about the baby E Bluebird. I appreciate your feedback. The locals call the Osage Orange trees “hedge trees” and I see that the terms describe the same species. Thanks for your help!

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