I went to La Bagh Woods for the first time this past weekend after hearing it identified as a birding “hot spot,” particularly during spring migration, for years. This has been a weird warbler migration year, so I thought I might as well check it out. The primary regional hotspot, Montrose Harbor, has been predictably pretty good all season, particularly during the week while I’m at work, although the numbers have been low even for Montrose.
After coming downtown all week I am not in a hurry to frequent the lakefront. It’s generally crowded, which is not my favorite way to see birds. How can I be sure a bird is looking at me if there are ten other people with binoculars/cameras trained on it? This is also the place where those who can bring out their 800mm lenses and huge tripods and I feel silly, almost apologetic, schlepping around a 400mm lens.
I started out at La Bagh seeing a Wilson’s Warbler. I have always found Wilson’s to be friendly when they’re down about eye level, and this one was no exception. It was pretty shady though.
Wilson was not far from the landmark graffiti, which came in handy later when I was trying to find my way back to my car.
No surprise that I found a Lincoln’s Sparrow, I guess. There have been a lot of them this year. And here’s a goldfinch.
There’s an old railroad bed running alongside the preserve. The tracks have been removed, leaving gravel to walk on, out in the open, which is where I saw a Golden-Winged Warbler.
I wasn’t close enough to get a sharp picture but I’m excited anyway, this is the first Golden-Winged I’ve seen in years. Even though the warblers have been few and far between, they have been rewarding nonetheless.
Other forest creatures were perhaps better models. I’m sorry I didn’t manage to capture the two coyotes I saw early, but there were several deer,
and a squirrel looking strange carrying its young in its mouth up the tree.
There were a few thrushes. I managed to capture a Veery with its back toward me,
and this Swainson’s Thrush on a log.
What else? A Blackpoll Warbler with his back toward me.
A preening Baltimore Oriole with his back toward me too.
I could call it La Back, instead of La Bagh.