Highlights from a not-too-birdy bird walk

Juv RB WP IMG_9180_1

A young Red-Bellied Woodpecker

I joined ten hardy souls of the DuPage Birding Club on Sunday, venturing to get acclimated to the cold front we’ll be dealing with it all week. We met at Waterfall Glen which is in DuPage County surrounding Argonne National Laboratories. While the bird sightings were few, there were some nice surprises, and even though I didn’t get many pictures, it was still worth the effort.

Compare this Red-Bellied Woodpecker to the one at the top, it appears to be more of an adult.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

YB Sapsucker IMG_9016_1

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

We counted 6 of 7 possible woodpecker species, including the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker above. I did not get a picture of the beautiful Pileated Woodpecker that flew directly overhead after responding to a tape, but it was well worth the look. The only woodpecker we did not have was a Red-Headed.

Tree Sparrows were out and about. The abundant sunshine warmed our spirits.

Tree Sparrow IMG_9093_1

American Tree Sparrow

My most cooperative subject, in the parking lot when I arrived, a legendary pair of shoes.

Shoes IMG_8996_1

The highlight of the trip’s end was an adult Bald Eagle, judged to be a female, who flew over the Des Plaines river and then perched far from us on the other side. I was blocked by a lot of tree growth but did not want to harass her to the point where she would have to move again. She was well aware of our presence and kept her stern eye on us. I’m planning to take a couple trips to see Bald Eagles in February where I hope to get more definitive shots, but it was worth documenting her presence.

Bald Eagle IMG_9253_1-2

The most cooperative bird of the day turned out to be one of two White-Breasted Nuthatches who flew into a tree right in front of my car when I returned to the parking lot to head home. So I’m including this little study of a nuthatch going about his job.

WB Nuthatch IMG_9301_1

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Depending on the light and the angle, these birds can look simply black and white, or suddenly offer bursts of unexpected color. I’ve been intrigued by the rosy-colored vent lately, which I first noticed getting closeup views of these birds on my peanut feeder at home.

WB Nuthatch IMG_9292_1

Then there’s gray on the back and even some brown…

WB Nuthatch IMG_9275_1

WB Nuthatch IMG_9287_1

WB Nuthatch IMG_9258_1

But most surprising to me about this bird is the base of its upturned bill which has an indentation I’ve never seen before.

WB Nuthatch IMG_9288_1

2 thoughts on “Highlights from a not-too-birdy bird walk

  1. As, usual, I enjoyed your little narrative about your birdwalk, and the pictures. I got a kick out of the photo of the shoes. I am glad you said what they were, as I couldn’t find them in my Stokes Bird Guide. LOL 🙂

    • If I was really doing my homework I would have been able to identify the shoes by brand, model… afraid I’m pretty ignorant on that count. In any event the cold, dry weather has preserved them well!

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