Before the Leaves

April was cold and rainy, to the best of my recollection. But there were a few bright spots. On April 9, I heard a sound I couldn’t place, until I realized I had just not heard it for a long time. A Monk Parakeet was staring down at me from its perch at the Chicago Portage.

These birds used to visit my feeders years ago after I moved into my house, but when their nearby nest in a cellphone tower was removed, they disappeared. There must be another colony nest somewhere in the general area. This is the first time I have seen a Monk Parakeet at the Portage. Below are two recordings. First, the call I heard, and then, the second recording is almost like a little song he’s singing.

That was a sunny day with a clear, blue sky. Ten days later at the Portage it was quite overcast and the earliest migrants were appearing. Red-winged Blackbirds are always first heard and seen.

Brown-headed Cowbirds came in with the Red-winged Blackbirds.

Song Sparrow

Blue-winged Teal were around for weeks.

Kinglets were among the first insect-eaters to come through, with Golden-crowned Kinglets outnumbering the Ruby-crowneds.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglets below.

There were several very young deer.

Somehow the cloudy sky over the naked trees seemed worth noting.

Here’s one last photo of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

I have been birding lately and will be back with some reports eventually. I had planned to stay in today due to the forecast of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but because I could not swim last night due to a tornado-force storm that moved through the area around 7:00 PM, I did not go swimming and decided to swim this morning instead. All my trees are standing, and miraculously I suffered no damage save a few shingles on my roof: I filed a claim with the insurance this morning. As it turned out there was a massive power outage close to us which my neighborhood escaped, but the gym closed early because of it last night and then as I drove there and back this morning, every other traffic light was out and some were not even flashing which made it even more difficult and dangerous. There were crews everywhere working on power lines, but the damage must be extensive. Since tomorrow’s forecast isn’t any better. I will choose to stay safe and inside for the most part.

These weather events are now so predictably unpredictable. The original forecast for rain and storms vanished earlier in the day from the weather app on my phone to predict clear and sunny in the afternoon and evening, until suddenly the National Weather Service was blasting alerts on the radio about a tornado warning which then turned into a tornado watch. My birds always complain collectively when they hear the test of the alarm system as it happens once a week or so, but after so many alerts last night they finally gave up on their comments.

2 thoughts on “Before the Leaves

  1. Ah isn’t spring weather wonderful. I see you have had a little heat up there. Your post seems similar to weather out here in Montana. Have seen little sun, lots or rain and a high of 46 today. But, there have been some good birds seen and a grizzly bear yesterday. Enjoy the heat, shelter from the storms, take some pictures of any birds that show up and avoid the bears.

    • Wow, what a difference where you are. I don’t know if I’d embrace 46 degrees but at least it’s not dangerous. Except for maybe a grizzly or two. Likely there will be plenty of heat left to greet you when you return.

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