Invasion of the Nesters

Tree Swallow Nest, Chicago Portage

Tree Swallow Nest, Chicago Portage

Yesterday, whatever holiday you may have been celebrating, was also a beautiful day in the Chicago area. For that matter, Saturday was quite wonderful as well: I had a visceral perception of my depression lifting and concluded it must have been directly related to abundant sunshine. Although having a new car to drive to the pool and grocery shopping didn’t hurt either.

Ottawa Trail Forest Preserve, Cook County, Illinois

Ottawa Trail Forest Preserve, Cook County, Illinois

Sunshine aside, it was warm yesterday as well. I started out at Ottawa Trail around 8:00 a.m. wearing a t-shirt, sweat shirt and windbreaker. I shed the sweatshirt before I left and by the time I got to the Portage at 10:00 I was minus the windbreaker too.

Robin with nesting material, Ottawa Trail

Robin with nesting material, Ottawa Trail

For all the warm weather, there weren’t an awful lot of birds at Ottawa Trail, but improvements have been made and it’s easier to walk all the way now, it doesn’t stop abruptly anymore and insist that you be in good enough shape to climb down and back up a 3-foot cement retaining wall, while still leaving enough of the former demolished structure to stop and rest, lay down your optics and take off your sweatshirt to stuff in a backpack.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

It’s always nice to see a Turkey Vulture flying overhead. Another raptor seen here was a Cooper’s Hawk but the photographs were good only for later verification of its ID.

BC Chickadee 4-20-14 Ottawa Trail 6925.jpg-6925

The designated Black-Capped Chickadee greeted me.

Blending in at the Ottawa Trail

Blending in at the Ottawa Trail

The image of a Canada Goose above explains to me how even if you have black and white markings on your body you can still blend in with the scenery.

Blending in at Ottawa Trail

Blending in at Ottawa Trail

Walking back along the Des Plaines, I saw something black and white across the river but had no idea what it was until I got it in the camera view. The nesting spot above looks like a fort.

Tree Swallow Nest

Tree Swallow Nest

I stopped at the Jewel-Osco and then went on to the Chicago Portage to see what, if anything, had changed over the week. The ground is a lot drier, leaving the bottomlands almost drained. But I was quickly awakened by chirps of dueling Tree Swallows. The one I photographed most was protecting his prime nesting spot in a dead stump right by the south foot bridge.

Tree Swallow Nest Portage 6957.jpg-6957Tree Swallow Portage 6968.jpg-6968

It occurred to me that a lot of male birds were strutting their stuff yesterday, and with good reason. “It’s my job to be beautiful – go ahead, look at me! Just don’t look at my nest!!”

Canada Geese, Chicago Portage

Canada Geese, Chicago Portage

The Canada Geese were defending their territories too, sometimes quite vigorously.

Goose Portage 7239.jpg-7239

C Geese Portage 7039.jpg-7039

C Geese Portage 7040.jpg-7040

I must have startled this Mallard, but he gave me some interesting shots.

Mallard Portage 7028.jpg-7028Mallard Portage 7026.jpg-7026

Blue-Winged Teal have decided they like the Portage. I wonder if they will stay. I counted four pairs yesterday!

Blue-Winged Teal, Chicago Portage

Blue-Winged Teal, Chicago Portage

The first picture below illustrates how well they can blend in too. The second shows a flash of that blue wing.

BW Teal Portage 6979.jpg-6979Blue-Winged Teal BWTE Portage 7185.jpg-7185

There was another warbler I have yet to identify from many crummy pictures, but below is the only Yellow-Rumped I could find.

YR Warbler Portage 7099.jpg-7099

There were two Blue-Gray Gnatcacthers chasing each other, probably over that nesting thing.

Blue-Gray Gnatcactcher, Portage

Blue-Gray Gnatcactcher, Portage

Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers won’t nest here, they travel much farther north. But it sure was nice to see this guy in his breeding plumage.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

YB Sapsucker Portage 7087.jpg-7087

I am sparing you a lot of Painted Turtle Pictures this time, although they were out in great force soaking up the sun. Below is my cooperative Tree Swallow once more.

Tree Swallow Portage 6972.jpg-6972

I will try very hard to come back one more time before leaving for the Edwards Plateau in Texas on Friday.

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Invasion of the Nesters

    • What? You’ve never seen a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker?? I would think with all the big old trees and your proximity to the lakefront you would get them in your neighborhood. I have seen one or two on occasion in Berwyn. Actually, there were 10 or so of them in my little lakefront park hangout last week. They used to come through Daley Bicentennial in numbers, so it’s logical at least a few stopped by Lake Shore East Park. They tend to dart around and blend right into the tree…I hope you get to see one soon! The females are less colorful. And in the fall the immature males look like the females.

    • Thanks so much Donna. Sorry for the delayed response, I’ve been away and now I have all these damned photographs to go through. Tee hee. I love swallows when they sit still… 🙂

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