Two Quiet Days at the Portage

Fall migration seems to have slowed down a bit over the last few days – at least for birds on the ground. The forecast or “birdcast” looks like a lot of birds will be traveling over my area on Tuesday night which might be good for Wednesday morning. In any event, I will keep going out for a look.

These photographs are from the Chicago Portage last Thursday and today. I went out quite late today after spending the earlier quite cloudy morning hours, while it was nicely cool, trying to clean up my backyard to get it ready for repairs. I will be getting estimates on replacing most of the fence, half of which fell into the alley yesterday (I managed to prop it up on an angle hoping it will not fall again) and also removing my beloved but quite dead staghorn sumac tree which is about to fall. The birds and I will miss that tree a lot. I have to figure out where else, if anywhere, to hang the two feeders on it.

So it was around 10:00 AM and I decided to go for a walk at the Chicago Portage anyway even if I expected nothing. The sun was shining. I got to the Portage, then realized I had forgotten the camera, went back home for it and returned. So much for messing with my routine.

Toward the end of my walk this morning, there was the Gray-cheeked Thrush below. The bird at the top of the post is a Swainson’s Thrush from Thursday morning.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

There were barely a few warblers this morning. I was following anything that was moving, most at quite a distance, so these are not great photographs.

I think this is a Pine Warbler

A fungus on a dead log caught my eye.

For sure one species migrating – Monarch Butterflies. They are everywhere and I think I am seeing a few more than I did last year at this time.

A grasshopper wanted its picture taken,

Now the photos from Thursday. I believe the bird below to be a Philadelphia Vireo. It is more yellow underneath overall and there’s a little darkness around the lores.

Another Monarch Butterfly.

Thursday’s best warbler was a Blackpoll.

There was also a nice-looking Red-eyed Vireo.

Most confusing bird of the year is below. It looks like a warbler but likely one you may never see as it appears to be all wet. I was stumped because the feathers make the bird look all different shades of gray. So I asked Merlin for its opinion and it suggested a Cape May Warbler based on the bill shape. After I looked harder at what appears to be yellow in the throat and the general gizz of the bird, I am going with Cape May. I have no idea how the bird got so wet.

Here are some more shots of the Swainson’s Thrush.

And there was a Gray-cheeked Thrush on Thursday too.

Every now and then I see a Northern Cardinal.

And Black-capped Chickadees are usually up to something.

A little flock of Cedar Waxwings was present.

Here’s what the water looked like on Thursday. It’s still duckweed all the way.

And one more Monarch Butterfly…

I hope to be back with some photos from the Columbus Park walks and more warblers from last month when the migrants were first noticeable… unless something unexpected happens the next day or so.

4 thoughts on “Two Quiet Days at the Portage

  1. Well for two quiet days you seemed to put the camera to work. I am glad you are out there helping us all figure out what those olive colored, with some stripes and some yellow and some eye lines etc. etc. are. The task can be daunting. Your camera shots clearly help. Sorry about your fence. But, I am still hopeful to see a few more warblers passing through this week.

    • Thanks, Bob. If it weren’t for the camera I definitely wouldn’t be seeing as much. Then there’s often the puzzle aspect later… I hope we will see more warblers too this week.

Leave a Reply