Saturday Mornings at Thatcher Woods

The fall migration bird walks I have been involved in with the Oak Park Area Migration Bird Walks group have nearly come to an end. Today was to be the final walk of the season at Columbus Park, but the rainy forecast was too soggy and drizzly. There is a chance we might do one last walk in Columbus Park next Saturday.

We completed three visits to Thatcher Woods which took place on September 9, September 23 and October 7. These photos are selected from all three visits, in somewhat chronological order.

September 9 was early in warbler migration and those birds were distant, but there was plenty of sunshine. Thrushes and flycatchers led the day.

Flycatchers were busy.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

There were also some colorful if distant views of a first-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak…

and Eastern Bluebirds.

On September 23rd we saw more warblers, although they were not easy to photograph.

Thrushes were abundant again. We saw our first Hermit Thrush of the season.

Swainson’s Thrush

I was surprised to find the capture below. If you look carefully you will see a Veery and a Red-eyed Vireo above and to the right of it.

I managed to capture a Red-bellied Woodpecker in flight.

Northern Flickers were adding color to the bare trees.

And for good measure, a couple cooperative Mourning Doves.

The Great Blue Heron at the top of the post was posing for us early that day. Its location in the shade made it look extra-blue.

On October 7 we had sunny skies again. The first birds we encountered were Cedar Waxwings, with several juveniles in the mix.

We didn’t see a lot of warblers. I thought the Magnolia Warbler below looked interesting in the blooming Snakeroot.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere.

The star of the morning was a Merlin, hunting from the trees lining the open grassy area. We saw it go after something (I think it was a Northern Flicker) and later eat its prey. I took way too many photographs of this bird.

Also in the raptor cast was a Broad-winged Hawk.

We later saw several Northern Flickers on the lawn. I managed to capture a brrief eruption of golden shafts.

Here’s one more of the Merlin with its breakfast.

So that about wraps up some of the highlights of the Thatcher Woods visits. We will return to this location in the springtime.

When the Columbus Park fall bird walks are certified complete, I will compile a recap of those outings.

I am getting mentally ready to usher at Unity Temple this evening for Simone Dinnerstein’s performance as part of a biennial Schubert Festival. I have been reading about her and listening to her play and am looking forward to hearing her in person. Although she is not performing Bach in this recital, she will play some other composers’ works beyond the Schubert B-flat Major Sonata. I mention Bach because apparently her recording of the Goldberg Variations launched her fascinating career. There is nothing like the experience of learning and playing the Goldberg. I’d like to think it was the springboard for my exploration of making music with the birds.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Mornings at Thatcher Woods

  1. I enjoyed all the photos from Thatcher Woods. It has been a while since I have done some birding there. I particularly liked the shots of the Magnolia warbler lurking among the white flowers. (unknown plant) Some great pictures of a Merlin, not a common bird. Enjoy the evening performance.

    • Since this morning when I saw you at the Portage, the last bird we had was a Gray-cheeked Thrush and I did get better pictures the second time which is fortunate because it came up rare for this date.

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