One Day in May

I thought I would be combining photos from a couple days in Riverside, but I took more than enough on May 17. It was perhaps my best spring migration day from the standpoint of seeing some birds I had not seen yet this spring and receiving great cooperation from them. My list totaled 52 species that day, and I spent a little over three hours to see them. Two days earlier on the 15th, I had 57 species – we will have to get caught up with those birds later.

When I crossed the Joliet Avenue bridge, I saw the Mallard hen below with her four ducklings. Later I saw them swimming across the river.

As I started to walk the paved path that runs along the Des Plaines River, I found birds here and there tucked into the trees.

Least Flycatcher
Believe it or not – a Yellow-rumped Warbler
A more recognizable Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Robin

I took the photo of the fisherman below to show how low the river was. Unfortunately, nearly 2 weeks later, it is even lower now. We are experiencing “moderate drought” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

I could not resist photographing these Tree Swallows taking a break. I shot the two twice to focus on one and then the other.

I crossed the footbridge and walked into Riverside Lawn. There I encountered an American Redstart singing enthusiastically. The video clip below has a small portion of his song.

For a Redstart, he was relatively easy to capture.

It’s annoying to try and figure out flycatchers that don’t vocalize, but for some reason I decided this one was an Alder Flycatcher.

I never tire of Magnolia Warblers.

This was the first time I saw Cedar Waxwings this spring.

Palm Warblers were everywhere for weeks. Now they are being seen here and there but the sightings are rare. This one didn’t want to be seen at all.

I don’t always find an Indigo Bunting here, so this was a nice encounter.

Gray Catbirds are everywhere.

Scarlet Tanagers were around for maybe a couple weeks. The yellow on the one below is interesting.

Sooner or later a female Red-winged Blackbird strikes an interesting pose.

Common Yellowthroats are frequently heard but rarely seen in areas with more trees, so I was very happy to get a chance to photograph this one.

Another warbler that’s not always easy to see, in part because it tends to stay close to the ground, is the Ovenbird.

Yet another Scarlet Tanager…

And another male American Redstart…

No matter how long I photographed the flycatcher below, it would not turn sideways so I could see its wing bars. I think it’s an Alder Flycatcher.

The thrushes were abundant and lovely to see this spring.


Then I got lucky enough to see a less-often-seen warbler. This is a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. If I had gotten no other photograph but the first one below, I would still be able to tell what it was from the distinguishing white check mark on the wing. That identifier helps a lot when seeing the female of this species.

It’s easy to take Yellow-rumped Warblers for granted, but I thought this one took an interesting pose.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Nashville Warblers made themselves available only in part all season.

I caught up with the Ovenbird again later and it posed for me.

More Magnolia Warblers…

Female Scarlet Tanagers are beautiful too. The light on the bird in the first photograph makes it look almost like another species.

The guys are just fabulous. One of those days in Riverside I saw a male Scarlet Tanager appear in a tree right above a couple walking toward me with their dog and I pointed to the tanager. They looked up and saw it. I got a thumbs-up.

Let’s not forget about Mourning Doves. It was a Mourning Dove’s song that got me started with the whole birds-sing-in-key-with-music stuff.

Here’s one more of the Magnolia Warbler that’s at the top of the post.

This appears to be a lovely female Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

And in better light, it was easier to see this Palm Warbler.

The Ring-billed Gull below was putting on a little show on the wall by the Hofmann Dam.

And now for a little vireo review. Red-eyed Vireos are heard more often than seen, with their distinctive question-sounding song. But every once in a while I get to photograph an individual.

And then on occasion I get to see a Warbling Vireo well.

It has taken me days to get through this. I hope it won’t take you that long!

I have been out every day finding more birds, which would be enough to keep me occupied. But now we suddenly have summer weather – the heat of it, anyway – with no rain, and I have new plants in the ground and more coming shortly, so I have added watering the garden in the evening to the daily routine. I bought a new hose that just makes it either to the back or the front of my lot. Even though we had a drought last summer, it was generally cooler, and I managed to get by without watering at all, but that was because of all the established native plants. I am planting new things while preparing for a native garden walk the third week of July.

June will be “Bustin’ Out All Over.”