Sights and Sounds: Chicago Portage

Brown Creeper, Chicago Portage

Brown Creeper, Chicago Portage – a sign of spring

It’s been raining on more than off all week, so the farther I get from last Sunday’s excursion, the harder it is to visualize.

Portage IMG_4435_1

The Chicago Portage is still asleep but starting to wake up now with the rain and intermittent spells of warmer temperatures.

Turtle IMG_4516_1

Turtle sunning itself

Last week I purchased a Roland hand-held recorder to use in the field. I have had a Marantz with a very sensitive microphone for years, but it’s a lot to carry and I wanted something more portable. I figured by now technology had caught up with me. I’m still learning how to use it, but I managed to get a few sounds.

American Goldfinc

American Goldfinch

The picture above is not of the Goldfinch that is singing–albeit in the background overshadowed by a Red-Winged blackbird–in the clip below. The actual singer, although I did photograph him, was rather far away.

Goldfinch Portage IMG_4369_1This was our songster.

A bit later there was a wonderful Song Sparrow singing, and although he wouldn’t let me get the classic shot while he was performing, he did give me a nice picture anyway.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

I will keep experimenting with the recorder and from time to time share the best songs with you.

Just to taunt me, two Great Blue Herons flew over, followed by three Monk Parakeets. I managed to get a fleeting picture of one Great Blue.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

This huge fallen tree just next to the path that leads down to the Des Plaines River behind the Portage was recently dismantled. Part of its core looks diseased, making it easy prey for the strong winds.

Downed Tree IMG_4462_1

Not too hard to find a Red-Winged Blackbird here, singing his head off.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

Fox Sparrows are still at the Portage.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

And the Downies are busy as usual.

upside-down Downy Woodpecker

upside-down Downy Woodpecker

I have seen an Eastern Phoebe almost every day this week somewhere.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

The water levels should be higher this week after all the rain. If we get another break in the clouds I’ll go back and check.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Portage IMG_4387_1

17 thoughts on “Sights and Sounds: Chicago Portage

    • I know, when I heard that sharp-taily sounding sparrow downtown a couple weeks ago I thought there’s got to be a better way than trying to remember to turn on my cell phone, find the voice recorder and pray. Now I can record birds anywhere, anytime. As for the Monks I think they were just passing through but I know there has to be a colony somewhere around here. Not as easy to find as your power substation, though!

  1. As I listened to your recordings, I woke up my finches. From deep in their snuggly nest I heard their sweet little “Who’s that??” chirps. My heart smiled…

    • My birds do the same thing – and when it’s a recorded alarm call it doesn’t matter what language it’s in, they recognize it immediately! Thanks for your comment.

  2. I loved your pictures, Lisa. I was hoping the Red-winged Blackbirds that nested here would return, but, so far, they haven’t. I hear them elsewhere so I know they are back in VA. The same phoebes are building a nest on our porch in the exact spot they did last year so I’ll get to see the young ones fledge again. I love spring.

    • Thanks so much, Jo Ann. How wonderful to have these birds nesting on your property. It’s early yet for the blackbirds, I don’t think the females have shown up yet, at least they haven’t here. 🙂

    • Wow, Bob, thank you! Had no idea I could manage to make you envious. I was a bit surprised myself to see them close at the Portage (used to it in the city parks, such as they were) but there were two of them so maybe they felt “safer” in number. I wish you luck with a Brown Creeper soon. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Syl. You’re compliments are likewise. 🙂 I don’t take a lot of landscapes but I guess I’m so familiar with the Portage it’s like an old friend to me and I like to keep track of its changes.

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