Chicago Portage: A January Thaw the Day after Christmas


Red-Bellied Woodpecker

It was raining and cloudy when I woke up this morning and the forecast as read on the radio didn’t sound too promising, but then the clouds appeared to be clearing and I had no more reasons to dawdle, so I set out for the Portage.

My timing was right – there were a lot of sparrows and three species of woodpecker which isn’t phenomenal but one, a Hairy, I hadn’t seen in a while so that was special.


Hairy Woodpecker

There was a lot of fungus growing everywhere which made me realize just how much life goes on in spite of the cold and snow.

Northern Cardinals were abundant but distant, even with the long lens. I don’t know what happened with my setting on the right, I am unaware of changing anything but I must have hit a button somewhere, but maybe the contrast is interesting anyway, seeing as how the sparrows were blending in with everything.

American Tree Sparrows were most abundant.

This was the only Dark-Eyed Junco that didn’t fly away immediately.

deju-12-26-16-5797Several hardy little Song Sparrows surviving our surprise winter.

sosp-12-26-16-5669A couple pictures of the thaw. No birds in the water but some flew over as if considering it.

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker was enjoying the sunshine.

rbwp-12-26-16-5859Milkweed pods almost looking like birds hanging from their stalks.

milkweed-portage-thaw-12-26-16-5942It was wonderful to be out. I had the place virtually to myself and it felt like home again. I made an early resolution to spend more time in these woods, to bear witness to the changes of the seasons, the habitat, and the inhabitants.

6 thoughts on “Chicago Portage: A January Thaw the Day after Christmas

  1. It’s a similar situation here in my backyard, there’s a filling of emptiness however you can see some birds flying from trees or bushes but not to stay longer than a minute in one place.Today’s been dark for most of the morning and part of the afternoon with some rain to top it! Good captures Lisa! 🙂

    • Thanks, H.J.! Yeah, I don’t know, it’s like maybe the birds are confused or we’re confused and they know better. No birds in my yard this afternoon – it’s really, really windy. I was going to sit out back and see what happened but I decided not to, the Portage was enough. And by the time I left there, not a bird in sight, they all took off for somewhere else. Go figure.

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