Winding Down

BTGW 10-22-2017-0059

Black-Throated Green Warbler

Last Sunday morning was my only chance to get out. Rain was predicted but luckily did not start until I left the Chicago Portage. Conditions became ever cloudier which affected everything photographic, but now I am looking back on what was then warmer weather with increasing nostalgia.

I had stepped off the trail to get a better look at something and while I was standing there, a beautiful Black-Throated Green Warbler popped up in front of me. In that moment I was thankful I didn’t have my most humongous lens which might have scared him off.

Below is how the Portage looked last Sunday morning.

Portage 10-22-2017-0066After the Black-Throated Green left, this Swamp Sparrow occupied the same spot for a moment.

SWSP 10-22-2017-9878The Black-Throated Green was unusually late for this location, so he earned a citation on the rare bird alert. But the rest of the birds were pretty predictable, like these three Mallards enjoying the open water.

MALL 10-22-2017-9940A Red-Tailed Hawk made a couple backlit appearances… If you click on the images you can see more detail.

I followed the large white rump patch of this Northern Flicker in flight until it landed far across the pond.

Below, two birds that herald various stages of the approach toward winter…a Dark-Eyed Junco, a snow bird, and likely the last Yellow-Rumped Warbler until spring.

The other likely late-ish warbler is the Palm Warbler below.

PAWA 10-22-2017-9951And where the preserves were crowded with kinglets the previous week, I now saw only one, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, below.

RCKI 10-22-2017-0116On the home front, after a short sprinkle but before ensuing downpours, my yard was full of House Sparrows.

HOSP 10-12-2017-0359But I did still have a couple White-Crowned Sparrows who now rely on me to put out some partially chewed-up spray millet sprigs in the compost.

WCSP 10-22-17-0383WCSP 10-12-2017-0374Hanging out with the House Sparrows by the back fence was a Northern Cardinal.

NOCA 10-22-17-0417Busy 10-22-17-0409A few House Finches managed to forage on the ground.

After weeks of preparation, I jointed the Unity Temple choir in our “Best of Unity Temple Choir” concert last night. We sang for nearly two hours. I feel we did well, at least if the audience response is any indicator. It was exhausting fun.

It’s still hard to believe that the milestone has passed, however. Without much time to reflect, I am moving onward to the next challenge, which will be at work tomorrow morning. I leave you with a contented-looking House Sparrow.

HOSP 10-12-2017-0354

12 thoughts on “Winding Down

  1. You have more variety of species where you are than here in GA. This morning we had our first frost and temps dropped under 30º F. last Saturday we had rain all day. My poor birds are not happy with this weather. I went to Alabama on Saturday and got rain too and no birds. Oh well…Your gallery looks pretty good for an outing this time of the year. 🙂

    • I don’t know what’s worse, having a beautiful place for birds, not many species but plenty of opportunities to watch them or being in an area where more birds visit and not having much time to find them… it’s going to be a long winter.

  2. Hawks are always exciting, neither Judy nor I have ever gotten a photo of one in flight. Northern Flickers are one of my favorite birds. How can one obtain millet sprigs? Or do you grow them yourself?

    • Spray millet is foxtail millet, apparently, and although you could grow it, the birds might demolish it. It’s grown commercially for the pet trade and small quantities can be rather expensive. My indoor birds adore it so I buy it in 25-lb. quantities. I suspect it’s sort of addicting like popcorn for birds. I haven’t noticed the House Sparrows or any of my other yard regulars liking it but the White-Crowned Sparrows seem to appreciate it. My theory is they have seen it growing in Canada during their breeding season.

    • Thanks so much Donna. I was so happy to see the BTBW because for years it seemed I had missed them during spring and fall migration. So much depends on weather I suppose. I got my “fix” this fall. 🙂

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