Riverside Walks

I hadn’t walked around Riverside for a while so I took a walk Monday while it was still comfortable to be outside. There were lots of Canada Geese and only a few Mallards but I was happy to see the hen below with her two ducklings. I admit I cropped dad out of the picture.

It was also nice to see herons on the water. There were two Great Egrets but they were quite distant, so I photographed only one. I also saw one Great Blue Heron. The water level is so low they are standing in the middle of the river.

I was reminded of the storm the week before, both by the paved walk and later on the Riverside Lawn trail where I had to negotiate three downed trees.

I love the spotty plumage on young American Robins like the one below.

The damselfly treat of the day was a Blue-fronted Dancer.

I often see Common Grackles in the rocks by the river. This is a female.

Almost two weeks earlier, on June 8, I visited Riverside and the first bird I saw was a Cliff Swallow sitting on the wire for quite a while. I don’t see this species very often.

It was a cloudy day. and it was much cooler as well. Again, a Common Grackle caught my eye, this time, a male.

It seemed unusual to see a feral Rock Pigeon on the riverbank.

Canada Geese were in the river. Nothing unusual about that.

There was this little family taking a walk.

I struggled to see and photograph Killdeer that day. They blend in well with the rocks by the former Hoffman Dam.

Here are the first photos I took, literally just pointing the camera in the direction I was hearing the Killdeer.

At some point there was a Turkey Vulture being chased by a Red-winged Blackbird. I love to see the vultures in flight, they are so graceful. A series of several photos is below.

I managed to capture a Baltimore Oriole that day. The photo opportunities have decreased since nesting season has taken over everything.

Here’s one more of the Cliff Swallow.

There were a number of Variable Dancers on the Riverside Lawn trail. They are very tiny,

Summer is official now and hot weather is baked in, so to speak. I have a busy agenda this week and heading into July with the possibility of a house guest for a couple weeks, so my posts may be a little scattered or scatterbrained, but after all it is summertime. Hope you are enjoying the longer days and staying cool enough, wherever you are.

More Warblers and Others

This is the last of the fallout warblers from Tuesday morning but I have added a few more to my migration sightings, so I will have to round those up next. I suspect that after feasting most if not all the warblers I encountered on Tuesday resumed their journey to their breeding grounds, with no interruption from the weather to slow them down. And some of the Yellow Warblers will be staying.

There were only a few Black-throated Green Warblers.

Warbling Vireos are abundant but will not be so easy to see once the leaves take over.

The White-breasted Nuthatches have been noticeably quiet, so I can’t count them until I see them.

There was still enough water left in the fluddle for the two Solitary Sandpipers that were hanging out,

Scarlet Tanagers are always noticeable. I have seen them several times this season so I will be back with more captures.

Remember Palm Warblers? I think they are probably all gone but there were still several on Tuesday.

A few more of the last Palm Warblers…

Here’s the female Blackpoll Warbler that Vera identified after it snuck in with the Palms. Thanks, Vera!

A warbler I don’t see very often, a Northern Waterthrush, is a likely bird around the river.

Below is the last Pine Warbler I saw. They were earlier than other species but now are considered late. According to my Sibley app this is a likely first-year female.

Gray Catbirds have been very easy to see this spring. They’ve been quite vocal too.

Finally there’s food for flycatchers.

Eastern Phoebe

There were two Eastern Kingbirds sallying for prey from high perches over the river that day.

It was nice to see a couple Cedar Waxwings. While I once say them kiting for insects in large numbers, more likely I will see them congregating in fruiting trees later.

I’m always up for a Blue Jay if it’s sitting still.

I will be back with more warblers and other species as spring migration continues. In a way I am thankful things have slowed down a bit.

Warbler Overload – Part II

Few warblers are as exciting to observe as the male Blackburnian Warbler in springtime. I keep asking myself why I took so many pictures of at least three individuals on Tuesday, but the only answer I can come up with is “because I could.”

I mean, this is truly a good reason to give in to obsession.

And with so many opportunities, I kept taking them…

Another beautiful bird is the Bay-breasted Warbler. If you remember my fall posts at all, I had several of these birds represented and they looked almost nothing like they do now.

The thing that made it so relatively easy to keep clicking away was the combination of hungry birds in numbers. I really think the birds were less concerned about me than they were with fueling up for their flights north. Also, the leaves were just starting to appear, so it was easier to see the birds than even a day or two later.

A few more of the Bay-breasted…

If you have made it this far, let’s go for a third species.

Black-and-white Warblers I had already seen and photographed this spring, but it’s always a challenge to get a good image.

Just to let you know I did not ignore the Robins…

I will be back with yet more warblers from Tuesday and other birds observed. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Spring Migration Continues

Even if the temperature doesn’t seem springlike lately, the trees are starting to leaf out, the birds are returning, and there is every other indication that spring is here. And now that the Spring Music Festival is over, I wonder if I will stop having occasional ancient dreams about performing because I have actually done so. It was good to be “back in the saddle again” to quote from our minister Emily’s opening monologue as she was the perfect emcee for the event. She actually played guitar and sang her own version of “Back in the Saddle Again” to reflect the novelty of a return to this tradition after a three-year pandemic-induced delay.

For the moment, we are experiencing a lot of rain, the complete antithesis to last year’s drought. I managed to visit Riverside Lawn yesterday but it’s likely I will not return immediately. In the back of my mind I anticipated flooding would happen eventually. Below is a portion of the trail I encountered.

Beyond that it’s been cloudy and chilly, so lack of light has been an issue especially focusing the camera with my old eyes. And I still manage to take too many photographs. This is a combined post of photos from yesterday and my visit on 4/29.

The most beautiful sight was at least 50 Chimney Swifts circling around the bend in the river. If you click on the photos below you might be able to see some of them – it was impossible to capture them all as they moved about quickly and then dispersed. I thought there were more than 50 but ebird pushed back on “60” and since I couldn’t possible count them individually for as quickly as they moved I settled on an acceptable number.

Green Herons have also returned to the area. I have seen two at the Chicago Portage in the last week but haven’t been able to photograph them well yet. With all this water I am confident I will see them again in sunnier and greener conditions. These photos are from the 29th.

On both days I saw a few Solitary Sandpipers in the fluddle close to the paved path in Riverside.

I know I said I was not going to bother with photographing Palm Warblers but with not much else standing out in the gloom, if they were close and still they became irresistible.

Great Blue Herons always manage to blend in, whatever the light conditions.

But then sometimes they take flight.

All this gray made paying attention to a lovely Yellow Warbler that much more attractive.

A few more soggy scenes from yesterday’s Riverside Lawn trail.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are still present. With barely a hint at a ruby crown.

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers abound.

On the 29th, not far from the Hofmann Tower in Lyons, I spotted a Peregrine Falcon. At first it had its back toward me but then it turned around. I speculated later than the Hofmann Tower would be a perfect nesting spot with built-in pigeons to feed the chicks. But this could also explain why I haven’t seen a lot of pigeons up there lately.

It was time for a stretch before it took off.

After the Peregrine Falcon nothing