Even if the temperature doesn’t seem springlike lately, the trees are starting to leaf out, the birds are returning, and there is every other indication that spring is here. And now that the Spring Music Festival is over, I wonder if I will stop having occasional ancient dreams about performing because I have actually done so. It was good to be “back in the saddle again” to quote from our minister Emily’s opening monologue as she was the perfect emcee for the event. She actually played guitar and sang her own version of “Back in the Saddle Again” to reflect the novelty of a return to this tradition after a three-year pandemic-induced delay.
For the moment, we are experiencing a lot of rain, the complete antithesis to last year’s drought. I managed to visit Riverside Lawn yesterday but it’s likely I will not return immediately. In the back of my mind I anticipated flooding would happen eventually. Below is a portion of the trail I encountered.
Beyond that it’s been cloudy and chilly, so lack of light has been an issue especially focusing the camera with my old eyes. And I still manage to take too many photographs. This is a combined post of photos from yesterday and my visit on 4/29.
The most beautiful sight was at least 50 Chimney Swifts circling around the bend in the river. If you click on the photos below you might be able to see some of them – it was impossible to capture them all as they moved about quickly and then dispersed. I thought there were more than 50 but ebird pushed back on “60” and since I couldn’t possible count them individually for as quickly as they moved I settled on an acceptable number.
Green Herons have also returned to the area. I have seen two at the Chicago Portage in the last week but haven’t been able to photograph them well yet. With all this water I am confident I will see them again in sunnier and greener conditions. These photos are from the 29th.
On both days I saw a few Solitary Sandpipers in the fluddle close to the paved path in Riverside.
I know I said I was not going to bother with photographing Palm Warblers but with not much else standing out in the gloom, if they were close and still they became irresistible.
Great Blue Herons always manage to blend in, whatever the light conditions.
But then sometimes they take flight.
All this gray made paying attention to a lovely Yellow Warbler that much more attractive.
A few more soggy scenes from yesterday’s Riverside Lawn trail.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are still present. With barely a hint at a ruby crown.
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers abound.
On the 29th, not far from the Hofmann Tower in Lyons, I spotted a Peregrine Falcon. At first it had its back toward me but then it turned around. I speculated later than the Hofmann Tower would be a perfect nesting spot with built-in pigeons to feed the chicks. But this could also explain why I haven’t seen a lot of pigeons up there lately.
It was time for a stretch before it took off.
After the Peregrine Falcon nothing seemed too exciting but I am out there to observe whoever shows up. Like a White-breasted Nuthatch.
Blue Jays rarely sit still, so when this one did…
I barely captured what appeared to be a bedraggled Swamp Sparrow.
A Chipping Sparrow also in hiding.
The last time I saw the pair of Red-breasted Mergansers that have been in the river at this point was on the 29th.
I haven’t seen a House Sparrow scaling a wall in a while.
This Robin had a beautiful song. And yes, if you listen, there are some Canada Geese in the background.
A Black-and-White Warbler was foraging low.
There are gong to be a lot of Red-winged Blackbirds if these females stick around.
Apologies for the Long Post but I anticipate so many more photos to come – and I still have quite a few left from other recent outings – and what better way to spend part of a too rainy day? I hope to be back soon,