Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 2024 Visit #2

We went back to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens today after visiting for the first time this year two weeks ago. We once again saw a variety of flowers and birds. We in particular had many Orchard Oriole sightings as well as many swallows as usual, though unfortunately no Baltimore Orioles.

It had rained overnight and many things, like this leaf, was at least a little wet.

We found a ladybug on these fuzzy leaves.

Some of the taller trees in the park are flowering trees like this one. We saw many flower petals on the ground, possibly more than were on the branches above.

We noticed these purple orbs of flowers, which we don’t remember from our last visit two weeks ago.

We walked by a number of blue and yellow colored pansies.

As we headed down the slope towards the middle pond, we spotted an Eastern Bluebird in the grass up ahead. It was still pretty far away but unmistakable with its bright blue color!

We watched as an Eastern Bluebird flew up to a nest box with nesting materials in its mouth. Two weeks ago, we saw a Tree Swallow at the entrance to this particular box.

Speaking of swallows, we saw a Barn Swallow in some muddy ground holding something in its tiny mouth.

As we continued walking, we found another Eastern Bluebird, this time perched nicely on a branch.

There was a female Red-Winged Blackbird walking in the grass.

Up in a tree where we sometimes see swallows perched, we found Cedar Waxwings! These pretty birds have a very unique appearance!

As we continued walking by the middle pond, we saw Tree Swallows at a pair of nest boxes.

We found yet another Eastern Bluebird, this time in the grass with a relatively large worm in its mouth.

Like on our visit two weekends ago, we spotted an Eastern Kingbird.

Quite a few flowers were in bloom today!

As we moved between the middle and eastern ponds, we spotted a male Northern Cardinal perched on a branch.

We heard quite a bit of Canada Goose honking as we approached the eastern pond. As the pond came into view, we saw a Canada Goose being aggressively chased away.

We had another Eastern Kingbird sighting as we walked by the western edge of the eastern pond.

The Purple Martin nest pods were pretty active, just like two weekends ago. We once again saw heads popping out of the pods, though again all seemed like they were probably adults.

These flowers are pretty!

We quickly reached the eastern edge of the eastern pond where we often find orioles. The first one we spotted was a female Orchard Oriole!

We spotted a banded American Robin in the same area.

We spotted a male Orchard Oriole after a few minutes, though we did not get a clear look at him.

We found another female Orchard Oriole later, though it could be the one we saw before.

We continued to stay in this area, hoping to find a Baltimore Oriole. We ultimately did not find one today, though we had another Eastern Kingbird sighting. Unfortunately, we haven’t found a nest like we did last year.

We quicky spotted both male and female Orchard Orioles. It seems unlikely that there would be very many individuals here, though we have no idea what the population is here.

And, another Eastern Kingbird sighting. Like the Orchard Orioles, are we seeing the same ones over and over?

We soon had the clearest view of a male Orchard Oriole today!

We were a little surprised to find an adult male Red-Winged Blackbird that was missing its tail feathers. He had a very visible red spot on his wing, more visible than we usually see.

We continued to see more Orchard Oriole activity. Despite seeing them here so often today, we have not found any nests.

We were able to photograph this male Orchard Oriole after he flew to the very top of a tree.

As we started walking back to the entrance, we spotted a Tree Swallow perched at the end of a small tree branch.

We walked by this plant with small flowers that were just starting to bloom.

We tried to photograph Barn Swallows in flight at the slope above the middle pond. We were only partially successful. They are tiny and fly extremely fast!

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