I gave in to the prospect of the only nice weekend weather Saturday morning before my dentist appointment and went to McGinnis Slough. Reports of waterfowl seen a day or two before reminded me it was time to renew my relationship with this favorite destination, and the prospect of fall colors made it even more enticing. So now it will be a month or longer, looking back on fall from winter soon, by the time I get around to the last organized bird walk weekend.
The moment I got out of the car I felt restored. I was the only human and could temporarily forget about the whir of traffic noise nearby.
There were still a few Red-Winged Blackbirds hanging out, singing.
In addition to a lot of Swamp Sparrows, there was my first American Tree Sparrow of the season, the arrival of which always reminds me of winter coming…
I was not expecting to see Yellow-Rumped Warblers…or orange conifers…but apparently both exist together. I think the tree is an American Larch or something like that, which turns yellow or orange in the fall.
And of course the waterfowl. Below, a view of only a couple hundred of 850 American Coots. Or so I calculated…
And here are two cute Coots up closer.
There was a nice little group of Green-Winged Teal…
and quite a few Northern Shovelers, although I could not seem to get a good photo of the flashier male
At one point two Mute Swans flew overhead. The second time they weren’t entirely mute and I thought they sounded a bit like Snow Geese so they had me fooled for a minute, but my photographs later said Swans.
The Coot below was enjoying the early sunshine, and so was I, but the clouds started to move in quickly after that.
Plant life taking on fall form…
A Wood Duck was close enough for a photo but by then the sun was hiding.
A few more of the Yellow-Rumpeds and the tree they were in.
The trees looking windswept and leafless…
Sunday morning the choir sang two services, singing “Somebody Prayed for Peace” and “Sweet Freedom” which is based on the national anthem. Afterward I went to city hall for early voting, deciding that it might not be such a bad thing to try, even though I live half a block from my polling place. As I sat in the gallery section of council chambers waiting my turn at the voting machine, I was reminded of sitting in a church pew and struck by the metaphor of voting as a form of prayer.
Random contributions from my new cell phone…the leaves are from one of the towering Sycamore trees I passed this morning on my way to the train, the salad consumed yesterday features the last of my cherry tomatoes, and beneath all that, one experiment in my new Saturday tradition which is to have one midday meal of scrambled eggs and onions and whatever else I’m looking to use up…in this instance, even some stale pita chips. Food as a form of prayer.
One more landscape from McGinnis and a Red-Winged Blackbird looking thoughtful.
This coming weekend will be very busy with the choir tour. I hope to return to this page soon afterward.
Very nice collection of birds at McGinnis Slough, later, all that will be covered with the white “stuff”. I wish I had a marsh close by so I could visit. 🙂
Thanks, H.J.! The last time I was there, there was hardly any water, so this was more like it. There were Gadwall, American Wigeon and Greater Scaup too and probably more birds even the big lens couldn’t find but they were all pretty far away. I do like seeing large numbers of birds, it gives me hope.
A good place to visit. Good luck with the tour.
Thanks. I feel like I’m diving into deeper water all the time!
I am glad you made a point and got out to the preserve. A wonderful variety of birds. And that is a lot of ole Coots!
Thanks, Donna! I guess I shouldn’t take all those Coots for granted – they just always seem to suddenly arrive in big numbers out of nowhere… 🙂
I now realize from your picture it was a wood duck I saw at the Chicago Botanic Garden, at least I think so. I hope that vine is an American and not an Oriental Bittersweet.
Thanks and Happy Belated Thanksgiving and glad you now have Wood Duck on your life list. I’m not familiar with the vine but knowing the Portage I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it was the oriental variety…
Oh, too bad. The oriental is a nasty invasive.