I went to the Chicago Portage on Monday morning, the last time we had full sunshine, and I met a lot of birds and some people too. It was cold, but the sunshine gave a little bit more than the illusion of warmth. In all it was good to go slowly and watch the birds, but I took way too many photographs. I wonder how I will manage to get through warbler migration at this rate.
After stopping and talking to some people on the trail and mentioning that Golden-crowned Kinglets had started showing up when they asked me if there was anything new, I encountered about half a dozen of the birds and managed to capture one who volunteered for a lot of clicks.
It was almost worth it to memorialize the blue sky background.
Somewhere next to the trail by some spindly young hackberry trees I saw this very thorny plant that had the only green leaves in the entire preserve. I am not familiar with this at all. I welcome identification from any botanists out there.
I kept waiting for this Northern Flicker to fly so I might capture its golden shafts but it was definitely not going anywhere.
I never know when I will see a pair of Northern Cardinals. In this case I think she was waiting for him.
I spent the longest time behind this bird photographing it without identifying it. Backlit and alone on the path in front of me, it seemed unfamiliar. I have now decided it’s a Brown-headed Cowbird. I think I have never seen one in the cold before – in other words, it was so fluffed up I couldn’t recognize it.
There are a few American Goldfinches at the Portage. Here’s one, early on in my walk, looking rather cold.
If you stood in the right spot on the trail where I suspect asphalt will be going in, it was possible to see American Tree Sparrows everywhere. At some point one sat and started singing, and I tried to record him over a lot of noise. I did manage to get a couple recordings, as faint as they are, and they are below this photograph. I heard one singing earlier this year and compared it to the recording on my Sibley cell phone app which was made in Alaska, where they breed.
I did manage to take too many pictures of American Tree Sparrows fading into their surroundings.
I almost forgot, a Killdeer landed in the marsh and this was the best I could do through the vegetation.
I was delighted to find a Fox Sparrow in my photographs. I don’t remember taking these pictures. My camera remembered well, though.
I couldn’t help but notice the duckweed staging a comeback.
Messing around in the marshy area were a few female Red-winged Blackbirds.
And I was taken with this pretty little Song Sparrow.
On the way out, I saw the pair of Eastern Bluebirds again, only this time there was better light. They were quite far away for the most part but I tried to at least capture some of that blue.
The closer photos were of the female who is drabber in plumage but I think she is lovely nonetheless.
Perhaps the birds of the day were the American Tree Sparrows. I suspect that with the warmer winds we are now experiencing, they will be moving up north and this could have been the last time to see them.
I was going to add some photographs from March 15 – but other than the fact that it was not a sunny day, which clashes with the theme, this seems like quite enough for now. It’s rainy today and we have one more rainy day tomorrow, so I am going to try to finish taking care of some things that I keep putting off and I will be back as soon as I can get it together.
It was good to see your blue skies, even if you didn’t get very warm. Your green thorny plant looks interesting. I hope that someone can tell you what it is.
We had a slight, soggy warm up but the rain has turned to snow, going back to cold and sunshine tomorrow. I’ll keep my eye on the green thorny thing.