Our last visit to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens was two weeks ago. During that visit, we didn’t see any Baltimore Orioles. We were wondering if we would find any today. We unfortunately did not. But we did find an Eastern Kingbird nest with two babies! And, saw them get fed by their parents. We also saw many swallows, possibly the most we’ve ever seen here. And of course, plenty of flowers!
Typically, the first things we notice upon entering the gardens are the flowers. Quite a variety!
These common flowers appear to be coneflowers, a species native to the US.
The bees seem to like them, though the bees always seem to like many of the flowers here in the gardens!
There were many swallows flying around once we got to the hill leading down to the pond area. These fast little birds can be tough to photograph. We didn’t get any good photos of them in flight. But we did managed to snap this photo of a Barn Swallow! It seems like it is about to catch a flying insect! This photo was actually extremely out of focus but AI image enhancement did pretty well. Its probably the best I’ve seen it do on a real photograph.
As we got closer to the biggest pond, we saw a Great Blue Heron land near the shore!
It stood still for a bit but then started slowly walking, looking for prey. We didn’t see it catch anything, although it did seem like it made one attempt.
We saw an adult male Red-Winged Blackbird and its fledgling! It seemed to feed it but we weren’t quick enough to photograph the event.
Nearby, we saw a turtle in the grass. It was moving very fast, for a turtle at least! The fastest that we’ve seen one move!
We soon saw an Eastern Kingbird! Its behavior matched the description in eBird, it “watches for large insects and makes quick flights to snatch them.” This is only our 5th time spotting this species. Two of our previous sightings were last year here at the gardens.
We also saw an Eastern Phoebe, also a flycatcher like the Eastern Kingbird.
We’ve photographed these colorful flowers many times!
As we continued to walk around the pond, we spotted the Great Blue Heron again. It was still slowly walking. It seems to possibly be an immature based on its coloration from the front.
This seems to be an Orange Day-Lily. Google’s image search seems to work pretty well!
We passed by a Tree Swallow and its nest box.
The Purple Martins were quite busy at their nests! We saw them going in and out as well as heads poking out from within!
We briefly noticed this little Chipping Sparrow as it was foraging for food on the ground.
These appear to be day lilies as well, though possibly other species.
We saw a few small turtles, like this one, resting on lily pads.
We noticed these baby birds in a tree by the pond. We just missed their parent feeding them. They are Eastern Kingbirds!
We watched them for awhile, hoping their parents would soon be back to feed them! While we waited, one of the two babies preened its feathers!
One parent soon came back but the feeding was extremely fast. We completely missed it! We caught the next feeding but our photos had a bit of motion blur and were also likely a bit out of focus.
Soon, one of the parents came back for a 3rd feeding. We were ready this time! The feeding was, one again, extremely fast.
Right after the feeding, the parent picked up a poop sac from one of the babies and flew away to discard it.
Above us, we heard a hawk. We looked up and saw one soaring very high above us. It looks like a Red-Shouldered Hawk! We used AI image enhancement on this photo to increase its resolution, though the results aren’t too great.
We ended up sitting on some chairs in the shade while waiting to see if we could find any Baltimore Orioles. We did not. We did find one Eastern Bluebird though. Sometimes, we see many of these pretty little birds but not today!
There were some butterflies enjoying the milkweed in the gardens!