I spent three hours at Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area this morning. I saw and heard a lot of birds, if not necessarily a lot of species. Most of the birds I photographed were quite far away. Some Northern Rough-Winged Swallows below, then a Field Sparrow.
Did I see the King Rail? I’m not sure. Maybe I did, so maybe it’s half-a-lifer, but without a scope to clarify anything, my binoculars could not discern any detail on the likely suspect and my camera lens was no better at deciphering a preening bird at the water’s edge.
But rarer birds have a way of showing up when you least expect them. So it is with the Yellow-Breasted Chat. When I think of all the Chats I have heard and never seen on their breeding grounds, seeing and photographing one this morning had all the sweetness of any surprise. I was first drawn to the yellow bird by its behavior kiting after insects. Then when it perched I realized it was a Chat, however far away. This species is still considered a warbler.
I was photographing anything I could focus on before identifying it. So it was with the Grasshopper Sparrow below.
And this elusive Sedge Wren too.
This Indigo Bunting was right out in the open. With the abundant sunshine, he picked the right day to do it.
Likewise with this young Baltimore Oriole, but so far away.
Some wildflowers in bloom…the first one is not Blazing Star but similar, and then Bergamot which is now in my yard, and in the lower right hand corner, Wild Parsnip, something I never noticed before but recognized right away this time after all the parsnip growing in my yard.
For all the abundance of Red-Winged Blackbirds I almost tend to ignore them, and in some measure it’s a defensive action because they can get testy this time of year, as you probably noticed in my last post.
But sometimes they can be fun to capture anyway.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a young Eastern Kingbird before, so this was a treat.
And although Common Yellowthroats are constantly announcing themselves, they’re often hard to see, so I was grateful to these two.
I still have a few photos to share from Sunday’s adventures and that could still happen. The remedy for all this is to just stop taking pictures but there is always more to see.
I’m glad I got to Goose Lake Prairie, I missed it last year. The other Goose Lake Conservation Area awaits exploration.