From Loons to Parakeets

Common Loon, Saganashkee Slough

Common Loon, Saganashkee Slough

I’d been thinking all week about where to go on Easter Sunday. My friends had been to various haunts all week while I was at work, and I was tempted by their destinations. While I had a general idea where these places were, I had never found some of them on my own before. It was fun to get out the maps Saturday night and plan my “trip.”

My main focus was bodies of water in the Palos area of the Cook County Forest Preserves, where Common Loons had been seen. I started out at Tampier Lake, which is positively sprawling. My first bird there was a Song Sparrow, doing what Song Sparrows do best.

Song Sparrow, Tampier Lake

Song Sparrow, Tampier Lake

There were a couple loons and dozens of other waterfowl, too distant to photograph, so after I got satisfying scoped views, I headed toward my next stop: Saganashkee Slough, where I was close enough to a Common Loon for the opening photo. Ring-Billed Gulls were everywhere; this one caught a fish.

Ring-Billed Gull, Saganashkee Slough

Ring-Billed Gull, Saganashkee Slough

Saganashkee is a long, strung-out body of water that covers a large area. After I counted all the birds I could see, I headed to Maple Lake, a smaller, contained lake surrounded by woods. I saw two more Common Loons there and distant views of Redheads and Scaup. Mentally, I was taking notes for future visits to all these places.

I stopped at The Little Red Schoolhouse which has a nature center. Families were out in the cool but sunny weather. After walking part of a short trail, I found this Red-Headed Woodpecker near the parking lot.

Red-Headed WP Little Red Schoolhouse IMG_3826_1

Though he gave me many excellent poses when he was exposed on the open limb above, I like the way he looks best behind the few twigs below. The twig cover is probably when, and why, he let me get closer to him.

Red-Headed WP Little Red Schoolhouse IMG_3838_1

There were a couple Brown-Headed Cowbirds strutting their stuff too.

Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Little Red Schoolhouse

Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Little Red Schoolhouse

My last destination was a power company substation in northwest DuPage County where Monk Parakeets had taken up residence. We used to have a flock locally but I haven’t seen Monks for quite a while in my neighborhood. Time to see some green birds.

I didn’t find them immediately, so I took a walk into a small section of Churchill Woods that runs next to a nearby open space. Besides a Red-Tailed Hawk,

Red-Tailed Hawk Churchill Woods IMG_3868_1

and a Turkey Vulture,

Turkey Vulture Churchil Woods IMG_3877_1

I had my first-of-year Eastern Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe Churchill Woods IMG2_3900_1

Eastern Phoebe

The section of Churchill Woods below reminds me a little bit of the Portage.

Churchill Woods IMG_3881_1

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker below reminds me of the first time I ever saw one of them. The scarlet shade of red on its head is so distinctive.

Red-Bellied WP Churchill Woods IMG_3892_1

Churchill Woods had its own number of Song Sparrows, this one foraging in dried stalks.

Song Sparrow Churchill Woods IMG_3940_1

As I headed back toward my car, I heard the Monk Parakeets. They were flying into the trees along a dirt road that runs between the substation and the forest preserve. At first they came to taunt me, and then when I told them my friend had sent me, they flew in closer to check me out.

Monk Parakeet, DuPge County

Monk Parakeet, DuPage County

Except for the guy behind me in a monster SUV–whose foot must have slipped off the brake pedal as we were waiting for the stop light to change, jolting my bumper (except for a little lost paint, car and driver are okay)–it was a pretty perfect day.

11 thoughts on “From Loons to Parakeets

    • Thanks for your kind comment. I have a very old car, so if the bumper didn’t fall off, there was nothing to complain about. As long as he didn’t remove my bumper sticker which says “I Brake for Birds” !

  1. I agree with Syl, Lisa. A fun post, great photos and fun commentary. You bird and photograph nearly like I do. We like to get out and drive to various places to see and photograph what we can.

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