Last Thursday at the Chicago Portage

I had just been thinking about Orange-crowned Warblers, wondering if and when I might see them, and then there they were at the Chicago Portage on October 13. I saw two different individuals. And I took way, way too many photographs – again! – but how could I resist?

Orange-crowned Warblers tend to show up later in the fall, if you haven’t guessed that already.

The arrival of migrating birds in the fall is concurrent with things like leaves changing colors, starting to cover the ground and crackle under my feet. The birds have often changed their colors too. Fall sparrow migration is something I look forward to in particular. It always seems to start with White-throated Sparrows.

White-throated Sparrows are like my special friends. I spent years hanging out with them around the train station downtown, in the parks and outside office buildings that had park-like areas. I found myself responding with my lame imitation to their little contact calls. I guess you might say they are my Spirit Sparrows. Here are a few more photos.

The bird below is a Swamp Sparrow, noted for its rufous color in the wings and gray nape.

I also had a young Lincoln’s Sparrow that day. They tend to be on the dark side, which this one was. Confirmation of the ID is in the buffy malar.

Two more sparrows revealed themselves that day. I apologize for the fact that the young White-crowned Sparrow below is barely visible. But I promise to post a better photo or two of this species soon, as I have encountered more individuals.

I had read someone’s post on IBET (Illinois Birders Exchanging Thoughts) about seeing a Clay-colored Sparrow and I thought that would be nice. And so it was. Below is a Clay-colored Sparrow.

There was a Downy Woodpecker to photograph that day.

I don’t know why, but I am always happy to see a Turkey Vulture. They are so graceful in flight.

My focus isn’t on Yellow-rumped Warblers by now but I really liked the look of this one in the leaves.

I managed to find a Palm Warbler again. Just barely.

Golden-crowned Kinglets have been a little harder to capture this season but I still managed here and there.

A group of American Goldfinches perched among these sparsely-leafed oak branches look like a wallpaper pattern to me. Or maybe a silk scarf would be nice.

And it’s the time of year to see foraging flocks of House Finches. This one male emerged from the tangles.

So. There’s been a little excitement on my visits last week to Riverside, so maybe that’s where the next post is coming from. I ventured there again this morning as well – cold, windy, cloudy. Hints of winter are doubling down on us lately…

4 thoughts on “Last Thursday at the Chicago Portage

    • Thank you. I am not sure I was aware of the design-like pattern when I took the photos, I was probably just interested in how the birds were positioned or how many there were, but now I feel like going into textile design.

  1. I agree with the previous poster; that composition of the 3 goldfinches on the branch is really stunning. And thank you for the vicarious sighting of the orange crowned warbler! I haven’t seen one this fall.

    • Thanks, Ann. The orange-crowned only become visible, it seems, when there’s really nothing else to confuse them with. I do appreciate the fact that they seem to like to feed below eye level. Or it could be I just missed earlier ones in the trees altogether.

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