Portage Presents

It’s getting colder. Winter’s last gasp, I hope. But the sunshine returned this afternoon and gave me some well-desired energy that has been lacking the past couple days. This is a little collection of photos from the Chicago Portage earlier this month (and a couple I snuck in from yesterday) – with the exception of some Eastern Towhee photos which I took way back in November. It was to be a reminder to look for their return this spring.

As it turns out, when I visited the Portage yesterday morning in cloudy gloom, I did catch a glimpse of a male Eastern Towhee with the blur of Juncos, White-throats and Song Sparrows. It was impossible to capture a decent image of the bird but I did have proof that it was indeed what I and the camera barely saw.

Below are more photos of the Towhees in early November. The female has her back to us in the top left photo. There were still a few leaves on the trees.

Back to the reality of March 2 and 4.

On March 2, the sun was trying to force its way through the clouds

I spent time staring down a White-throated Sparrow.

The American Tree Sparrows have been faithful to this location all winter.

Downy Woodpeckers are more visible lately chasing around with the sparrow flock, closer to the ground.

On March 4, I encountered a Downy Woodpecker on the paved part of the trail who seemed to be interested in something undetectable by me.

A delicate-looking Dark-eyed Junco

A male Northern Cardinal tolerated my attention briefly, at a distance.

Deer were present earlier this month but I haven’t seen any lately.

Below, the Mallard couple I continue to encounter when the water isn’t frozen.

Sometimes Black-capped Chickadees seem glad to see me.

March 2 was a day for an observing male Belted Kingfisher.

More recently, as in yesterday morning, I briefly saw the female or immature Belted Kingfisher below. It’s definitely a different bird from the one above. As if to prove spring is indeed on the way, more birds are coming through.

I have been seeing House Sparrows a lot more lately, albeit around the parking lot. Even their comings and goings are no doubt affected by the longer days.

European Starlings and House Sparrows

Also never far from the parking lot, American Robins hunting in the grass,

I spent a pensive moment on the trail with a Song Sparrow.

The bottomlands were completely flooded on March 4.

Two more long shots of obliging birds perched over the marsh background.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all those celebrating. The forecast is for wind chills around zero tomorrow morning, mostly cloudy and windy. It doesn’t sound too promising, but I will probably go for a walk around the Portage anyway and see what happens.

4 thoughts on “Portage Presents

  1. That towhee helps keep me focused for Spring. My calendar tells me it is close but my thermometer continues to disagree. I spent some time today out in the southwest burbs looking at mergansers, ducks and grebes. Cold and windy but some nice birds.

    • It was funny that I was thinking about seeing the Towhee last year and then one showed up yesterday.
      It was very cold and windy this morning. I had a couple mergansers in the Des Plaines River and some flocks of blackbirds but no sunshine until I was swimming in the pool.

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