Down by the River

My visits to Riverside last Wednesday and Friday were quiet but interesting. On Friday, I found myself at eye-level with a Great Blue Heron perched in a tree near the paved trail in Riverside. Returning in the opposite direction on the trail, I encountered the heron fishing by the shore.

Leaves starting on the trees

I was so happy to see the footbridge without scaffolding, I didn’t look closely enough to realize that it was still under rehabilitation. After I turned away, a woman passing by said it would be closed for two months! Right in time for warbler migration, I thought. But there are still plenty of places to walk without crossing the bridge.

The Golden-crowned Kinglets were first to show up, and now the Ruby-crowned Kinglets, like the one below, seem to be prevalent. You have to look really close at the bottom photo to see a sliver of red on the crown.

The unusual way the light struck this American Robin made it look almost like another species.

Everything seems transformed by spring.

A White-breasted Nuthatch on my favorite Hackberry tree bark
A Boxelder Maple
Lichen or fungus and moss underneath

Walking in Riverside Lawn, I spotted two Eastern Phoebes near the water. They were both singing slightly different songs.

It’s nest-building season and this female Northern Cardinal was on a mission.

This Song Sparrow was curious, but not singing.

In the fluddle that occurs below street level in the field by the paved path, I found a pair of Rusty Blackbirds.

There was a Common Grackle, for comparison.

Ring-billed Gulls are returning
A very young buck
This was the last time I saw this pair of Red-breasted Mergansers

I am not seeing Red-bellied Woodpeckers as often lately, but I always hear them.

When I got back to my car parked by the Hofmann Tower, the Great Blue Heron was standing in the water by the former dam.

On a whim, I stopped by Zoo Woods on my way to the pool. This is another wooded area that runs along the Des Plaines River and is directly across First Avenue from Brookfield Zoo. It has no trails, only a long, winding drive full of parking spaces. I got out of my car and walked the periphery. I had heard there were nesting Great Horned Owls here. I didn’t find any owls, but there were some other birds. Below is one of the Northern Flicker photos that didn’t manage to make it into the last post.

There was a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I was delighted to see my first Eastern Bluebird of the season.

And then right before I left, a bright yellow bird caught my eye. It turned out to be a Pine Warbler.

We have now had two cold days with rain and snow. Mostly it has been cold and windy and barely enough precipitation. I am looking forward to sunny weather tomorrow morning, even though it will be on the chilly side. I hope to be back soon.

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