May Migration Memories

Canada Warbler (female)

It’s hard to believe but spring passerine migration has come and gone again. I never made it to the lakefront, where I’m sure most of the migrants coming through the city were. The trees in the park near my office were late in leafing out, and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever see any warblers, and then, the last two days of May, there were a few pretty birds in that last push.

I took all these photographs trying out my new mirrorless camera. The purchase was inspired by the fact that one guide and one participant were using the Sony RX10 on the Texas trip, so I took that fact alone as a recommendation. I really haven’t had time to investigate all the features, but it’s more compact and easier to carry than my Canon 70D with the 300mm lens attached, so I have this now for situations when I don’t want to carry quite as much gear.

Eastern Towhee

After all the Hermit Thrushes that were in the park weeks before (not as many as last year, but I think I got pictures with the other camera…), I was surprised to see this Wood Thrush on May 30, after I had gone back to try to get a picture of the Eastern Towhee above who showed up on May 29 but eluded my efforts.

White-throated Sparrows were more prevalent in April – they seem to be all gone now

More shots of the Canada Warbler. She was in the park for two days. I often think that someone should name shades of yellow after particular warblers, but the steel-blue gray back of a Canada Warbler always stands out for me.

I adore Wilson’s Warblers – because they tend to move more slowly and deliberately in the trees! And I recognize Wilson’s Yellow, which is a good thing because I don’t always get to see that trademark skullcap.

It was especially challenging to get a photograph of this male Mourning Warbler. Usually they are closer to the ground, but this guy was up in the trees after their burst of foliage attracted just the bugs or worms he was looking for.

Mourning Warbler

Was surprised to see this flycatcher on May 30. Even more surprised to get a picture of it.

One of the last Ovenbirds – they were on the ground in the park for at least two weeks before the end of May

I don’t expect to see much along the Chicago River in the next month or two, save a Ring-Billed Gull or Herring Gull, or the occasional Mallard. Every once in a while there is a Black-Crowned Night-Heron making its way slowly along the river. But birds move and there’s always the possibility of a surprise somewhere.

I have many pictures I want to share from several Portage visits, and of course I will get back to the Texas adventure as soon as possible. Looking for more space in my non-blogging life. Survived the annual choir appreciation dinner and talent show Wednesday — the offerings from the choir members were outstanding and seem to get better and more varied every year. The “survival” part was debuting a flute-and-piano piece with my flutist extraordinaire friend Linda Rios, based on a melody I had written 50 (?) years ago to the lyrics of a Robert Frost poem, “The Vindictives.” Which has led me back to Frost and poetry in general. Looking for my next melody to show up sooner than another 50 years …And I hope to be back to this page soon!

10 thoughts on “May Migration Memories

    • That’s the challenge I face every year – what to play for the talent show! The music was haunting me, which turned out to be interesting because it brought me back to the poem which has a lot of relevance for what’s going on in the world right now.

  1. Wow! I’m impressed by the variety of birds you have for this gallery. I wish I had a place near me to get such variety. Thank you, busy lady. 🙂

    • Thanks, H.J. They only show up twice a year and with the weather as it has been, I suspect I actually saw fewer species but it was nice on the 30th to have the variety.

    • Thanks, Donna! I should get to know this camera better while things have calmed down a bit. As for spring’s ephemeral occurrence I think the birds are as surprised as we are but I hope they figure it all out.

  2. Your pocket camera takes fantastic birdie photos; much easier than lugging the long lens and bag I’m sure! We had a touch-and-go migration this year. Some days there were practically no birds to find, and other days so many that we had a difficult time keeping up the count (much less taking pictures). Can’t wait until next spring! Canada was a life bird for us this year .. unmistakable necklace and eye ‘pop.’

    • I wish the camera would fit in my pocket! As it turns out it’s still rather heavy and takes up enough space in my backpack… but it’s nice to have another option, and it has a bunch of features I still have to check out (ah, technology). This spring was challenging migration-wise. Save for the one primary hotspot on the lakefront that I almost never get to. I love Canada Warblers. I always want to sing the one chorus of “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell when I see one… “oh, Canada…”! I don’t know if they appreciate it though.

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