Sparrows and More at the Portage

The prospect of rain cleared away Sunday morning and the sun was shining. In contrast, this morning was cloudy and drizzly. It seems fitting to do a short post about my Sunday visit to the Chicago Portage, seeing as how there’s always more from before.

I caught up with Bob S. and we walked the trail looking for activity. Yellow-rumped Warblers were reliably located by the Harlem Avenue bridge.

It was a while before more birds appeared.

We caught up with a lot of birds feasting in the marshy area. There were several Nashville Warblers.

There were also plenty of American Goldfinches.

I started trying to capture distant birds to identify later. Below is most of a Song Sparrow. I also found a Lincoln’s Sparrow in my photos but the lighting and distance made it unsuitable for any representation here.

I was quite surprised to find an American Tree Sparrow, my first of the season.

There was an unmistakable male Eastern Towhee perched across the water. He or someone like him eventually flew right in front of us, but I was unable to get a clear photo as he disappeared behind leaves.

Another distant bird that we first thought was a wren because of its tail sticking up turned out to be a Swamp Sparrow.

Also across the water close to the shore were a Song Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow.

There was a nearby Downy Woodpecker.

The third barely identifiable warbler was a Tennessee Warbler.

I have been seeing both kinglet species – Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned – off and on over the past week or two. There weren’t very many available Sunday, but this Ruby-crowned was easy to see.

An Eastern Wood-Pewee sat still for a long time and I am sure I took too many photos.

The last bird to reveal itself was in the shadows and at first difficult to photograph. It turned out to e a Gray-cheeked Thrush. For as many of this species as I have seen this fall, on Sunday its presence turned out to be rare for the lateness of the date,

Three more photos below, of the Gray-cheeked getting ready to fly and then taking off…

Tomorrow’s forecast includes a little sunshine, so I should be able to walk with the camera and see who shows up. It’s fall. Chilly, windy, brisk, leaves falling. We seem to have had all the right conditions for fall color. Leaves resembling birds and vice versa.

6 thoughts on “Sparrows and More at the Portage

  1. Nice catch on the swamp sparrow (wren). I see those great photos of the Gray-cheeked Thrush helped get your sighting posted on E-Bird’s list for Cook Country. It was a quiet morning, but I did stop to talk with George. Forest Preserve workers were dumping black dirt at a number of locations in the inner paved walkway.

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