That Spring Feeling

Yesterday morning was beautiful with clear skies and the promise of warm temperatures. I decided to visit Riverside because I wondered if perhaps I would see a returning Osprey or Great Egret as both as had reported in the Palos area. I did not see either of these yet, but there was a Great Blue Heron on the river.

The Des Plaines River from the Riverside Library grounds

The walk started out slow and uneventful. I found a Song Sparrow busier foraging instead of singing although I heard one earlier when I was on the other side of the river. I inadvertently flushed this individual when I advanced along the trail at Riverside Lawn.

There was a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, and later a pair of Common Mergansers as well.

Dark-eyed Juncos are still around.

One Downy Woodpecker was available for a peek.

Although the landscape is still brown, there was a little moss and lichen color by the paved walk.

The most interesting part of my walk came at the end when I returned to my car parked by the Hofmann Dam and saw a Great Blue Heron farther up river. Some time after I got over to the Hofmann Tower, it started to walk across the river to the other side. I was at quite a distance, but the heron might have taken my presence and interest in it as further incentive to move. I try to be careful and keep this in mind, but it seems nearly unavoidable.

While I kept an eye on the heron, other birds caught my attention. A posing American Robin sat for me, and a flurry of Red-winged Blackbirds were likely beginning to pair up. The singing male was clinging to the phragmites stalk he sat on through a lot of gusty wind. I liked the way the group of Canada Geese in the river blended in with the rocks.

A Common Grackle flew by.

Then the Great Blue decided to try a different location altogether and flew downstream. I managed to capture its departure.

I will continue to monitor the presence of herons. I wonder if the same Great Blue and Great Egret that presided over the shallower rocky area where the geese were sitting will return to that spot. In the interim, here’s an extra of a female Red-winged Blackbird.

It was also time for a Red-tailed Hawk to fly over nearby.

Looking back to when the Common Mergansers were sitting on the ice… I am quite sure we are done with ice on the river now and I promise not to reminisce any further.

Although I heard a Belted Kingfisher the other day, I haven’t seen one here since December 30 when I managed these two photos.

We now have three days of gloom with wind and rain in the forecast. Every time I think about going out today I decide not to, even though today probably would have ranked as a good day a month or two ago.

Yesterday afternoon was quite pleasant for digging up Lesser Celandine in the backyard before it completely takes over. This is a futile pursuit, but I feel like I must take a stand anyway. I almost wish I could do a controlled burn. In any event, I heard Sandhill Cranes overhead although I could not see them. I was out even long enough for the yard birds to tolerate my presence somewhat but with muddy gloves on I did not engage in trying for any photo opportunities.

I am just content at this point to be slowly but surely adjusting to the disruption of the time change. Since I have to get up and feed the birds every morning, I am consigned to waking up in the dark and preparing the bird breakfasts long before sunrise. I have to keep working on it because next month with walks starting at 7:00 AM, even though the daylight will have increased in the morning, I will have to get up even earlier so I can leave the house by 6:30. Luckily those planned walks are only once a week. The reward will be the welcome sights of migrating birds.

4 thoughts on “That Spring Feeling

    • I sometimes wish bird walks started later, but the idea is to get there shortly after the birds wake up, because after they have had breakfast they can tend to disappear back into their hiding places. 🙂

  1. Great shots and sightings, Lisa. I hope that’s the last you see ice. I still have Juncos today in my backyard eating up a storm, I’ve been trying to get some last minute shots before they are suddenly gone, I will miss them. I love that fun action shot of the Common Merganser sitting on the ice with its beak wide open!

    • Thanks, Donna! We still have a lot of Juncos too, I’m surprised, after they seemed to take a while to show up in the first place. Likely climate change has something to do with it.

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