Winter Scenes at the Portage

We haven’t had much snow this year. That which we have received did not last for long. These photos are from two visits to the Chicago Portage on February 2 and February 7 respectively. There haven’t been a lot of birds available for photographs lately but it’s still good to go out because sometimes the unexpected occurs.

At least it was nice and sunny. American Tree Sparrows are still a possibility.

The Dark-eyed Junco below was barely visible in the snow.

Also tucked into the snow, a Song Sparrow, a male House Finch and another American Tree Sparrow.

The Downy Woodpecker below was a willing subject.

On my way out, I saw a coyote in the distance.

And then I had a brief, close encounter with a Red-bellied Woodpecker and his friend, the White-breasted Nuthatch.

I suspect the man who feeds the deer is responsible for the ridiculous offering below.

On the 7th it was quite cloudy, with most of the snow gone.

The best part of that visit was the local pair of Bald Eagles. Unfortunately because of the light, and the fact that they were fairly distant, I couldn’t get great photos. But it was nice to see them fly over.

Not much going on with this Downy Woodpecker.

And then I caught him briefly in flight.

All the other birds were at a considerable distance and with the lack of light, focusing was problematic. Below, a Song Sparrow, an American Tree Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco leaving the bridge.

I did follow a White-throated Sparrow as it foraged for seeds to eat.

A group of American Goldfinches was happy to sit still, probably because they knew they were barely noticeable. This is more goldfinches than I have seen all winter at my feeders. They have been staying in the wild, so to speak, I suspect because it hasn’t been all that cold and bleak and they are still able to find plenty of food.

It’s hard for a male Northern Cardinal to disappear in any season.

I am recovering from a little right-knee setback – thankfully it hasn’t lasted long at all and I am already back to about 97%. It was also a busy weekend with the 21st annual Gull Frolic on Saturday and singing two of my favorite songs with the choir on Sunday morning.

This morning in Riverside, in addition to Northern Cardinals singing, I heard and saw three Red-winged Blackbirds, a Black-capped Chickadee trying out his “hey, sweetie” tune, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers have started singing their quirky song as well. I heard a House Finch vocalizing a couple days ago. An American Robin has been here and there, albeit not singing quite yet. Spring is coming. Any minute now. I hope to be back soon.

10 thoughts on “Winter Scenes at the Portage

    • Thanks, Bob! It felt colder at the Portage this morning, even in bright sunshine. The wind chill was 14. Heard and saw a Redwing and heard a Song Sparrow singing. No coyotes or even deer.

      • I was there yesterday and had a nice chat with Juan. The wind chill predictions led me to alter my activities for the day. Have not seen a redwing in a while.

      • For what it’s worth there were half a dozen redwing males on site this morning, but they were about the only birds I saw in the blustery overcast. Walked half the way with José.

  1. I really loved the “back-to” photo of the Red Bellied woodpecker on the tree trunk. The converging grooves of the bark and the tapering shape of the bird really made it a stunning image for me. 😊

  2. We had grackles and singing robins last weekend. It’s cold again this morning but by the afternoon I think we’ll hear them again so I’m sure you’re not far behind!

    • Wow I haven’t heard a robin sing yet but I’ve been seeing them here and there. We warmed up today and there’s a hearty chorus of red-winged blackbirds setting up territories everywhere. It will take a while for grackles though. 🙂

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