Recently Franc Gorenc mentioned that he had never seen a Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus. Around the same time a good friend who owns a Century Farm (a farm that has been in the same family for a hundred years or more) advised me that Bobolinks had returned to her pasture land, which she does not permit to be cut for hay until after grassland birds have finished nesting.
Knowing that Franc, our consummate photographer, was anxious to take pictures, Miriam and I arranged to meet Franc at the farm so that he could ply his skill.
The results are quite remarkable I am sure you will agree, as you view the series of pictures Franc took of this very enigmatic bird.
As one might imagine, these pastures are not used exclusively by Bobolinks, and other grassland birds find a safe haven here. Nest boxes have been provided for Eastern Bluebirds Sialia sialis and there is a robust population in residence.
Eastern Meadowlarks Sturnella magna also enliven the landscape, but this is not the easiest species to capture in the camera lens.
Now we have to make a diligent search for grassland sparrows and perhaps we could even hope for an Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda or two. Who knows what a little careful survey work might reveal?
The old barn contains nesting Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica and we will be checking on their breeding success. Look at the door below and see the hole that has been cut into it to permit easy access for the birds.
Tree Swallows Tachycineta bicolor swooped and glided over the fields in search of their aerial insect prey, but very obligingly came to rest for a portrait now and then.
A Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula sparkled in a tree near the house.
We are very fortunate to have as friends people who are concerned with nature and the preservation of a rural landscape where it may prosper. These enlightened citizens deserve the respect and appreciation of all who come to know them.
They have welcomed us at their farm since we first met them and we hope the association will continue for the rest of our lives.
And thanks to Franc too for the use of his pictures. There is a unique enjoyment in spending time with Franc who has an unbridled passion for it all, exudes enthusiasm the whole time, and is never more delighted than when he gets a good picture, all the while putting the welfare of his subjects first. I look forward to many more experiences in the field with Franc.