Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Day at a Conservation Area

The outdoors + our family = a marvelous day together!

On my Dad's birthday a little over a week ago, we were up fairly early in the morning and after getting 'home tasks' and chores done, loaded up in the truck with cameras, binoculars, drinks, snacks, bird books, and set off for a day at our favorite conservation area.

We had such a wonderful time! Soaking up lots of sunshine . . . walking most of the time . . . talking (and laughing :) together . . . seeing so many diverse bird species . . . enjoying the gift of family . . . and enjoying the beauty of God's creation . . . .

Dad photographing a beautiful little Palm Warbler (see the photo below). We saw so many of these striking (and friendly) little birds! 

A Palm Warbler (and I just have to say :) . . . my Dad is so talented with photography! I love seeing the photos he captures.) 

Me out walking to find a little sparrow that dove down into the brush . . . he eventually hopped out, had himself a bath in the bit of water, and let me enjoy watching him. And identifying him: a Savannah Sparrow. (Photo by my Dad)

My beautiful sister, Leah :)

Mom and Leah watching warblers 

It always makes my breath catch a bit to see one of these majestic birds soaring right over head. This Bald Eagle gave me a beautiful view of him . . . and the photo does NOT do it justice!

So peaceful . . . . 

Dad photographing a pair of eagles on the nest 

Love this photo that my Dad captured . . . and while you can't see them, there are three chicks in there!

 Looking back towards the truck and Dad and Mom

The trees are really leafing out now, and with the sun shining through the clouds, it gave quite the contrast with all the blue water. 

Mom and Leah watching more warblers 


Mom and Dad . . . they had just had fun walking over to one of the pools on the right (on the other side of the trees) to look at some shorebirds  

Leah and I watching a little Swamp Sparrow

Leah looking for warblers. There were so many here! 

A Yellow-Throated Warbler which we got to watch for awhile. They are a beautiful little bird! (Photo by my Dad)

Loved this view here . . . water was on the left, the grass was blowing in the breeze, beautiful tall trees stretching up to the blue sky . . . so peaceful. 

Dad and Mom looking at . . . more warblers :) Plus a nest of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers! A teeny tiny little bird . . . with quite the small nest, too.

It was here that we also saw a Bald Eagle fly down to the ground (just a ways back from where Dad and Mom are standing in the photo) and then pick up nesting material in its feet before flying off. It was amazing! Too bad we didn't have our cameras ready! 

Mom and I

Looking towards the bluffs with Blue Winged Teal down in the little pool of water 

Me out walking . . . I loved so much time to just walk and enjoy the beauty all around! 

. . . and take photos :) 

Not terribly long after this (and the location isn't in the photo), I heard a noise in the brush/weeds next to me which I could tell was from a fairly large animal. Venturing closer, out burst a female turkey just a few feet in front of me! That was really neat to see!

It was so fun watching this cute little guy! (A muskrat) Here he was hunting for things to eat. (Photo by my Dad.)

A lone Canada Goose 

Leah scanning the huge numbers of shorebirds that were way out there 

A lovely path along the trees just waiting to be enjoyed . . . I obliged :) 

. . . and eventually could see the river through the trees! 

Before long, I came to a path which wound back to the river . . . I love water and just watching it flow and listening to the sound of it!

The mighty, muddy Missouri River

Up where I was standing high on the bank there was SO much sand . . . evidence of flooding that has taken place in the past. 

 Leah, Dad and Mom watching birds and enjoying the view

How beautiful is God's creation! And how magnificent is the God who created it. 

A little turtle crossing the road 

And right close by was this frog just sitting there

Canada Geese not so sure about us and walking further away 

Rain clouds rolling in 

With it well after lunchtime, we drove home to unload everything and then went into town to have dinner at Chick-fil-a. Then back home for gifts followed by apple pie and ice cream. :) 

It was a very much enjoyed and special day together!


  1. Looks like a lovely day spent with your family! Thanks for sharing.

    1. It was, Carol! And you're welcome. :)

  2. Looks like the perfect way to celebrate a birthday! The photos are so beautiful! I love watching birds. What a treat to see a bald eagle! The picture of the eagle's nest were amazing. I really like your new banner too. : )

    1. It was indeed, Sarah! Thank you for your kind words about the photos. :) Yes, it is always so neat to see the eagles! Nearly every time we go there we see at least one and usually several as there are a couple of nesting pairs out there.

      Thanks for your comment on the new banner! I felt like my blog needed a bit of a 'facelift'. :)

  3. Beautiful photos! And such a beautiful day ♥

    1. Thank you, Mrs. Anne! And it was. :)

  4. A lovely way to spend a birthday, outside enjoying God's beautiful world and shared with family! Thanks for sharing, glad y'all had a great time! Love your new banner. Blessings to you and your family! Linda

    1. It was indeed, Linda! You're welcome for sharing. :) And thank you for your sweet comment! Blessings to you as well!

  5. A perfect day! What a range of beautiful wildlife you have there. And to see a nest with the eagles must have been very special. I hope they manage to raise them safely. Sadly in England the rare Golden eagles' nests are often robbed by callous egg collectors.

    1. Yes, it was, Elizabeth! I don't think we could have asked for a much better one. :) There was indeed quite a range of wildlife which always makes it fun. My parents and Leah also saw a bunch of deer, though we did't get a photo of those.

      It is always a treat to see the eagle's nest! There are a couple of nesting pairs out there every year, and as a result, the eagle population is increasing. It's sad what is happening with your Golden Eagles! Hopefully that will stop and the population will increase again!

  6. Sounds like a fun day! Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

    1. It was, Fairytale! And you're welcome and thank you. :)

  7. Beautiful pictures, Sarah! It's hard to post too many nature pictures. I can't imagine how much more beautiful it must have been in person!
    We love to take walks in the wilderness and go to parks. Seeing all your lovely posts inspired us to start bird watching ourselves. It's been great! Now we have an excuse to spend more time outside looking at things rather than just finishing our walking route.
    Would you have any tips for a couple of amateurs bird-watchers? :)
    Haha, besides remembering the camera! I keep finding when I'm out in the wilderness just starting to see really neat birds when I think, "Oh! I wish I had my camera!" Hahaha!

    Thanks for posting!
    God Bless,

    1. Thank you, Christina! I always have a hard time choosing which nature photos not to post! :)

      Your alls walks sound lovely. And your starting birdwatching because of my posts made me smile! I am so glad you're enjoying it! It brings even more pleasure to the outdoors to be able to watch and observe the birds.

      Hmm . . . tips for amateur bird-watchers . . . I'm not really sure. :) Just enjoy and keep looking and working to identify new species! Also having a good birdbook or two is a good idea. My favorites are "A Guide to Field Identification Birds of North America" (by Golden Books) and then "The Sibley Guide to Birds". Have fun!

      Thank you for all you shared :) . . . I enjoyed reading it! And too bad you don't live closer as it would be so fun to go on a wilderness walk and bird watch with you!

  8. What a beautiful place it looks vast.
    Thank you for sharing your day.
    love to you .

    1. It is, Sheree! And you're welcome. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Sounds like a splendid family outing, Sarah. It is inspiring to see how y'all take pleasure in simple activities that are also healthful, spiritually uplifting, and educational. Your Dad is indeed a great photographer--I see you got your "eye" from him.:-). Do y'all have any particularly favorite bird books that you find especially helpful?


    1. It was, Betsy! We love times like that together. I had to smile at your photography comment :) . . . thanks!

      Yes, we do have some favorite bird books, and my top two are: "A Guide to Field Identification Birds of North America" (by Golden Books) and then "The Sibley Guide to Birds". Other than those two, we have several others that don't seem to be quite as good, but it helps with identification to have a diversity!

  10. Wow, those eagles are amazing. How wonderful to see them nesting!

    I love your new banner too :) the afghan is so inspiring, as was your recent post about it.


    1. They are indeed, Rena! It is always such a treat to see them.

      I'm glad the afghan and other recent post were inspiring and that you like the new banner. :) It was fun to design!

  11. thewarmfireplaceApril 30, 2016

    What a wonderful time out together, your dad has taken some beautiful photographs.

    1. It was, Sue! And I'll pass your kind words on to him. :)

  12. Majestic. What an amazing day.

  13. Katie D.May 03, 2016

    This definitely sounds like a wonderful day! I love your dad's pictures. You're right that he's a good photographer! This week, we have had a flock of twenty or thirty goldfinches on our property, which I have been watching and photographing with much delight. They are my favorite bird, and pretty rare to see around here. I love watching birds, and I'm very glad to see that your family does too. What are your family's favorite birds?

    I love these verses from Psalm 104, which refer to all God's creatures, including birds: "These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good" (Psalm 104:27-28). If He cares to feed even the sparrows, how much more will He feed and nourish us, both physically and spiritually. For He values us "more than many sparrows"!

    1. It was, Katie! Thank you for your comment :) . . . I enjoyed reading all you shared!

      How fun to see so many goldfinches at a time! The males are especially beautiful this time of year with their bright yellow coloring and rich black caps. That's great that you've been able to photograph them!

      Our family's favorite birds vary, and it's hard to pick :) . . . Leah loves watching waterfowl the most, my parents like most everything, though I think my Dad quite likes the waterfowl as well. I love the little, brightly colored and cheerful warblers plus sparrows and birds of prey, but really enjoy seeing/watching any birds.

      Thank you so much for sharing the verses from Psalm 104 as well your thoughts on them! It was an encouragement to me to read. He is such a wonderful God and loving Father, isn't He?


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)