A Warbler Here and There

Welcome to Fall Migration Warbler Identification Meditation. (I was inspired after reading an article about meditation going mainstream.) Warblers are starting to arrive, and I had more species in my photos than I realized while taking them. Since many of the warblers look quite different from their spring plumages, and are often hard to distinguish from others, it necessitates a review of wing bars, undertails, bill shape, and if you ask me, even a facial expression can sometimes play a role.

I had been seeing a warbler here and there over the last week or so and was planning to gather them all together in one post here, but my visit to the Chicago Portage on Tuesday morning – before the Heat Wave – proved too busy to ignore, so I am just going to consolidate what I saw on Tuesday and come back later with the rest.

My visit didn’t start out with warblers, of course. Except for a few American Robins, the birds were at quite a distance. This young Robin was enjoying some ripe pokeberries.

There were birds perched from time to time in the bare trees that border the water, and for the most part, I was just taking photos to identify them later. There were some interactions going on that I might not have bothered to notice.

An Eastern Kingbird is at the top, a Baltimore Oriole below

All I can figure is the Baltimore Oriole started moving toward the top of the tree where the Eastern Kingbird was perched and there was a bit of an upset. My last photo was of the Eastern Kingbird either going after prey or giving up on the challenge to its position.

Then I was following perhaps the same Eastern Kingbird with what looked like a cicada. It wasn’t having an easy time of it.

After all that, a quiet moment for the Eastern Kingbird.

Young and older Northern Flickers popped up here and there.

It was probably the first time I did not hear a Song Sparrow, but I did see this young bird at a considerable distance.

Quiet bird moments gave me opportunities to focus the lens on other things. I really like the way the foxtail grass looks with the sun shining through it. Then for butterflies, there was a Hobomok Skipper, a Monarch, and a Pearl Crescent.

A spider web off the trail was more challenging.

A view of the new trail from the south end of it

And now for the warblers. Just as I was pretty much on my way out, so to speak, but before I reached Tadziu’s bridge (by the way, I saw and head a couple adult male Indigo Buntings, but I do think Tadziu has left for his winter home), I noticed activity in the expanse of trees between the trail and the train tracks. At first, there were several Red-eyed Vireos.

I barely caught a clear glimpse of a Magnolia Warbler.

I was not aware until I developed my photos that one of the first birds I was following was actually a Chestnut-sided Warbler. There’s not much chestnut siding in this bird, but the greenish-yellow coloring on the crown and back, the eye-ring, and yes, its posture/expression tipped me off.

The Black-and-White Warbler was easy to see, however briefly, but difficult to capture. I managed one clear photo.

I had the feeling I was seeing more than one Bay-breasted Warbler.

This is likely a different individual below.

And the bird below is the same individual as the one at the top of the post.

With the mixed flock was a young-looking Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

I at first assumed the bird below was another Bay-breasted but changed my mind when I saw the photo of its back. I started going down the Blackpoll Warbler trail. It’s also very hard to see some vague orange coloring on the foot in these photos. But there is faint streaking on the breast in the first photo.

A couple Baltimore Orioles were in the mix as well, if a bit farther away.

The Baltimore Oriole below was intrigued by some dead leaves.

Here’s one of those not-in-focus photos I got of the Black-and-White as it escaped scrutiny.

Well, our 100 degrees Fahrenheit has given me the opportunity to sit inside and finish this post. We are due for cooler temperatures tomorrow. I will likely visit Riverside in the morning to see what migrants are appearing there, and then drive to my temporary swimming location. I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures on the weekend and into next week when I will be able to resume a more regular routine again. But I am already starting to make room for fall activities. Wednesday evening choir rehearsals have returned. The kids are back in school down the block. The Saturday morning bird walks begin on September 2nd at Columbus Park.

And somehow in spite of my efforts at population control inside the house, increasingly louder begging noises have me expecting to see a new Zebra Finch fledgling or two shortly. Somebody is getting better at building predator (me)-proof nests.

To be continued. 🙂

4 thoughts on “A Warbler Here and There

  1. Productive use of your time on this excessively warm day. If I keep looking at your identified fall warblers maybe I will begin to be able to identify some. Thanks. Enjoy the swim.

    • Thanks, Bob. It felt strange to limit myself to grocery shopping, but I sure am looking forward to cooler weather. If the forecast is correct the weekend highs will be in the 70’s.
      I can’t always tell fall warblers on first sight. That’s why I take so many photographs. 🙂

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