Riverside Revisits

Here’s a little roundup of my last two visits to Riverside – October 3 and October 5. I was supposed to go yesterday morning but I woke up late in anticipation of the prediction of rain all morning and then felt guilty whenever the sky seemed to clear, only to revert to a promise of rain again and after a considerable amount of back and forth with the forecast, I decided it was just as well, I could process these photographs instead and get them posted. Save up my birding energy for this morning. It was somewhat windy and cold anyway in between the drizzles. This morning’s low produced some frost. I will be trying out my old winter jacket.

The Des Plaines River from Hofmann Tower
The Rock Pigeons are returning to their favorite roost.

The first thing I do after I park my car is check to see if the Great Blue Heron is in its usual spot, farther up stream off of Indian Gardens.

Both days I saw a deer or two on either side the river.

There’s often a Great Egret not far from the Joliet Avenue bridge.

And the Great Blue Heron tends to move after a while close to where the dam used to be.

On the 5th, I was a little surprised to see a Spotted Sandpiper preening.

And there have been Killdeer.

Autumn color is starting to frame the river.

No surprise – my most plentiful subjects were still Yellow-rumped Warblers. But I became enamored of their ability to blend in with their surroundings.

A couple more Yellow-rumpeds flirting with the leaves.

On the 5th I also saw a Tennessee Warbler.

I will miss seeing the Great Egrets.

Another bird good at impersonating a leaf – a Palm Warbler.

I suspect this is the same Cooper’s Hawk that is at the top of the post, but on October 3rd it was sitting on the riverbank on the Riverside Lawn side and then it suddenly took off and I was lucky to capture it. I can’t decide between the two exposures. It seems the camera was nearly as fast as the bird.

There are some early bursts of red leaves here and there.

I liked the way this Yellow-rumped Warbler was framed by the leaves.

And always creating their own color space, male Northern Cardinals.

A number of Common Grackles are still around.

After practically disappearing all summer, the Red-bellied Woodpeckers are becoming easier to see now.

On the 3rd I decided to visit Indian Gardens briefly and I saw this Red-bellied Woodpecker…

and two Great Egrets in a tree overlooking the river.

Also at Indian Gardens, I saw a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow at a distance. It was difficult to capture a clear picture except for when it turned its back on me.

White-throated Sparrows are starting to show up as well.

In between visits it appears someone has been busy planting and staking out some native plants along the paved path.

I saw a male House Finch on the 3rd. I hope to see more like I did last fall. They visit my yard but it’s hard to see them even there with a hundred House Sparrows in the way.

I got to spend a little time with this Palm Warbler.

At Indian Gardens, a Chipmunk sat for me. Since identifying the Chipmunks as the mistaken Yellow-billed Cuckoo, I have started listening to more and more Chipmunk vocalizations and they have quite a vocabulary of steadily insistent sounds.

Along with the Common Grackles there are still a few Red-winged Blackbirds.

On the 5th I was tempted to try and capture a bee on the asters in my front yard when I got home much later.

Well, I am on my way to Thatcher Woods this morning. It’s cold but sunny. I’ll be back.

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