Two Mornings at the Portage

Northern Waterthrush

I started writing this post on Tuesday, which was a very cloudy day. I went back to the Portage (in sunshine) Thursday morning. Even though I didn’t see a lot of birds yesterday, I got a few photos, so I’m going to combine the two days in this post and then try to get a little caught up with my recent visits to Riverside. And last week. And…

Fall warbler migration isn’t over but things have slowed down considerably the last few days. Having said that if I can manage to get back to my photos from last week soon enough I will have more warblers for you. Just trying to catch my breath.

American Goldfinch

It was a little easier to get photos on the cloudy day – there were more birds and I think for the most part they were not as far away. After adjusting for the lack of light I was able to capture a few. There have been a lot of thrushes the last few days – Gray-cheeked and Swainson’s.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson’s Thrushes below. The contrast is clear in these photos but it’s not always so easy to tell.

Lighting or lack thereof can make things even more confusing. Both these below appear to be a Pine Warbler.

A Magnolia Warbler wasn’t as easy to capture.

And only a few parts of a Black-throated Green came out.

This Northern Waterthrush was on a limb of a tree close to the south bridge and I just couldn’t stop taking photographs of such a compliant subject.

Black-and-white Warblers can be easier to capture solely by their predictable behavior, acting like nuthatches on the barks of trees.

Tuesday was a big day for Pokeweed Berries. A large flock of Cedar Waxwings was taking care of as many ripe berries as they could. The bird in the top tiles is a juvenile and the one at the bottom is an adult.

Monarch migration is ongoing and it’s nice to see more of these butterflies than I have all summer.

The photos below are from yesterday. Another Monarch, and a spider web.

Gray-cheeked and Swainson’s Thrushes were still present. Gray-cheeked tend to have more heavily spotted breasts.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

There’s also a wan-looking expression sometimes on their faces, like the ones below. I saw and heard some Swainson’s Thrushes yesterday too but did not manage to get memorable photos. Yet when one is searching for warblers and then a larger bird moves suddenly…you might find yourself saying “another Swainson’s Thrush.”

American Goldfinches are out in full force now, and there are a lot of juveniles. The youngsters even looked a bit smaller in the last photograph below.

Warbling Vireos are still singing and every once in a while, one sits still long enough to be photographed.

I did find a Tennessee Warbler yesterday.

Young House Wrens are abundant as well. This one was curious about the camera lens.

American Redstarts can be challenging to capture when they are trying to catch bugs.

A Cooper’s Hawk flew over before I left.

Well, I will try to get caught up a bit more with the photographs this weekend. We are supposed to get some rain and cooler temperatures starting on Sunday which could keep me inside but for singing in the choir in the morning.

As an aside, there’s a lot going on in my backyard that I have to attend to. These are chiles growing in abundance. I think one of the plants was mislabeled “serrano chile” – the smaller red peppers are very hot and I will have to see if I can figure out what they are. Let alone what to do with all of them.

6 thoughts on “Two Mornings at the Portage

  1. Could any passer by with a bit of patience see the wonderful selection of birds that your portray, or does it take years of skill and perseverance? I can’t imagine seeing so many different birds, let alone recognising them.

    • It’s an acquired skill, yes, like anything – paying attention and studying, learning from observation. I stood on the footbridge this morning in Riverside with a fisherman who was trying to show me a carp swimming below and I could not for the life of me see it, but I did see the minnows when he mentioned them… It’s all a matter of perspective. But also, without the camera, I would not “see” as many birds as well as I do after studying the photos later. …And I do find now that I have more time to do this, I am getting better at it – like anything else. 🙂
      Having said that, people who are not “birders” often approach me telling me about a bird they saw just walking the trail. With binoculars, they could see a lot more.

    • And I’m catching up on your comments. Yes to the Monarchs. Gives one hope for them, at least. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all those little red peppers. I could probably use them to keep the rats out of the yard… 🙂

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