Looking Back on October 23rd

Not yet a month ago, I stepped out of my front door on October 23rd with the intention of visiting the Chicago Portage and was immediately summoned to action by the calls of American Crows. Crows make a racket whenever there’s a predator around, and sure enough, a Red-tailed Hawk was perched on my neighbor’s radio antenna across the street.

What ensued was Crows chasing the hawk, which gave me some lovely images against a cloudless sky.

When the three Crows had dispensed of the Red-tailed Hawk, they perched on the antenna for a moment, perhaps reflecting on their successful mission.

I got into my car and drove over to the Portage to savor one of those last beautiful fall days.

Yellow-rumped Warblers hadn’t left yet. It was a challenge to pick one out from the fallen leaves on the grass off the parking lot.

An American Goldfinch blended in with the dried up foliage.

It’s been a difficult season to capture a White-throated Sparrow well. I became more intrigued with the pattern on the back of this one.

White-throated Sparrow

I think this was the last time I saw a Gray Catbird.

I reported 16 Golden-crowned Kinglets but barely captured this one.

It was still possible to see Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging in the duckweed-covered stream, and of course Mallards were making their way through the muck of it all.

I counted four Hermit Thrushes that day as I found them all over the preserve. Later going through my photos I thought I had a Gray-cheeked Thrush, but it came up rare on ebird and I didn’t feel like arguing the point when the Hermit Thrush I was also photographing had distinctly dark spotting on the breast.

One thing I did notice a lot this year was Hermit Thrushes standing flicking their tails upward.

So here’s the bird I think was a Gray-cheeked Thrush. It seems crazy to report it almost a month later. I think I’ll pass on this enigma.

More American Goldfinches blending in with the fall colors.

All these leaves and their colors have left us by now.

Perhaps my biggest surprise that day was seeing an Eastern Phoebe. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t a pair at the Portage all summer, but it was nice to see this one coming through so late. I couldn’t stop taking photos of it.

And the birds I will be seeing all winter were becoming more visible, like this male Downy Woodpecker.

I always hear and generally see Black-capped Chickadees but they don’t always give me great opportunities for photographs, so I took this one up on its offer.

I will be back soon with photos from more recent local expeditions. I just wanted to share this before it got too far away from me.

We are feeling winter’s grip this week. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday. I guess it’s only fitting that the temperatures match the ever-diminishing hours of daylight. Even though I bought a nice little lamp to light up my music, I think I’ll have to start playing piano just a little bit earlier. Maybe the best thing about all this is comfort food, particularly soup and bread.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back on October 23rd

  1. Some very nice fall photos. I skimmed one section and saw gray-cheeked thrush. I looked at the bird and said how does one decide on that thrush? I did some quick research and thought that looks like a Hermit thrush. Then I reread your post. So several points: 1 I need to read more carefully and 2 I liked the challenge to check out the bird. Keep up the good work and the challenges,

    • Thanks, Bob. Yeah, for the thrush, since I didn’t have complete views of it, I went with Hermit even though I was leaning Gray-cheeked. Allowing for individual differences sometimes it’s nearly impossible. Not to mention lighting and a million other factors. I have to say I got spoiled years ago downtown when the Hermit Thrushes just ran out to greet me. That’s how I knew they were Hermit Thrushes. Lol.

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