First Fall Fallout

Last Tuesday morning at the Chicago Portage was a beautiful day. The heat of the past week vanished with a cool front and with that front fall warblers.

A warbler fallout is described as some weather event that causes birds to stop flying on their migratory route (they migrate at night) and come down to earth. While this may not have been a true fallout in the sense that it was only a cold front, there seemed to be a significant number of warblers feeding busily that morning.

There were several Tennessee Warblers.

Tennessee Warblers can appear green or yellow or even white, depending on the light and their surroundings.

Bay-breasted Warblers seemed to be some of the first to show up this fall. I was still seeing a few.

Black-and-White Warblers also seemed to be in numbers.

One first-year male American Redstart that actually sat still long enough for a photograph. I often see only a flash of tail feathers.

I have seen a lot of Blackpoll Warblers for at least a week now. I think they are starting to replace the Bay-breasted Warblers in sightings, but that of course can make things more confusing. It’s helpful to see Blackpolls’ streaking on the breast and orange feet.

Chestnut-sided Warblers are immediately recognizable by their bright greenish-yellow caps.

In the Colorful Woodpecker Department, Northern Flickers provided a distraction for a while.

Palm Warblers are just starting to arrive.

And Magnolia Warblers are here and there, though not in great numbers.

Most exciting was to come across a Northern Parula. This is a warbler I don’t see all that often. I was dismayed that it was not considered a Northeastern species by my Warbler app, but I did find it in the Southeastern classification later. We are carved out somewhat south, north and west outside their breeding range, so I suppose it’s possible we may see more of them with climate change. The photo at the top of the post is of this bird.

And then there was the yellow bird who was not a warbler, but a female Scarlet Tanager. I always seem to see one here in the fall, but never the male of the species.

There was a young Red-tailed Hawk on board that morning. I have recently discovered that the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks tends to be darker in plumage color and the iris eye color is also darker than the adults.

I was lucky to see a Wood Thrush that morning.

And the White-breasted Nuthatch below is obscured by leaves but interesting anyway.

Here’s a young American Robin for good measure.

It turns out I did have one more Indigo Bunting.

Here are a few more photos of the first-year Northern Parula. There’s just a very faint suggestion of an orange necklace to come.

I have more photos for future posts and I am likely to take even more. One never knows what a migration season will be like, but so far there have been some high points to this one.

4 thoughts on “First Fall Fallout

    • There are so many other things to notice and to do with one’s time than search for birds. Not to mention the fact that I take a lot more photos of leaves than I do of birds, especially during warbler migration. 🙂

  1. I love the opening bird photo, The Post is a nice reflection of migration and at times confusing warblers. Parula is a great catch. It indicates how many times you have been out searching tree branches for these elusive birds. I also need to see a Wood Thrush this year, It might be too late to find one. Todays rain failed to bring down any birds of note this morning.

    • Sorry to hear no fallout accompanied the rain. I stayed in peering at a couple thrushes in my yard.
      I think I had a Parula in Riverside last week too. I have to cover those visits in my next post.
      I just realized I have to stick to my usual schedule because the test of the emergency alarms is quieter at the Portage on Tuesday. So I’ll take my chances by the river tomorrow.

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