Limpkin, O Limpkin

For the record, I drove to Fullersburg Monday morning with the intent of looking One More Time for the Limpkin. After parking, I opened the hatchback of my car and found my backpack in its usual spot, but No Camera. This was the second or third time in the past week I have forgotten something and gone back for it. I have gone so far as to put a post-it on the front door to remind me of things I might be taking with me, but what good was it if I didn’t look at it?

When I returned the second time with the camera, it was already 10:10. I took the long way along the Riverbend Trail to the Rainbow Bridge where the Limpkin has been seen so often. That was a bit of extra walking. When I reached the famous bridge, no one else was there. I scanned the riverbanks and saw no Limpkin.

I started to walk a little dirt footpath that runs along the river on the other side of the bridge and much to my surprise, I saw something with white spots sitting in the tangle of branches that were as brown as the rest of it was. I had found the Limpkin. This was not how I wanted to see the bird, but after two unsuccessful visits, I had to stick around for a little while.

I began by talking softly to it (why do we do these things?) apologizing for my presence, but taking photos. You can see the second photo where the bird closed its eye as if to say “if I stop looking at you, will you disappear?” When I didn’t disappear, it was patient after that for the most part and endured my taking photos. I couldn’t find a spot that was a little farther away to capture the entire bird, so I finally decided to go back out onto the bridge to see if I could find it in the tangle from that perspective and maybe see if it would come out and do something.

When I relocated the Limpkin from the bridge and started taking photos, I realized it was only because I knew where it had to be that I was finding it because it was pretty well hidden. This is in contrast to others who have seen it and posted photos where the bird is out in the open, capturing mussels and snails and eating them. You’ll have to use your imagination about that, or else go lookup Fullersburg Woods on ebird and check their pictures.

Shortly after I found the Limpkin and started trying to get some photos, two men, and then a third, came onto the bridge. I told them where the Limpkin was, and we exchanged stories for a short time. It turns out that it was my third attempt and also one of the others’ third attempts, so we had that in common.

The Limpkin was not interested in coming out from its hiding place.

I don’t think the Limpkin was too happy with me pointing it out to other people. It finally managed to disappear into the thickness of the branches. I will not go back again to find this bird. I was content with reporting it once with photos so that everyone would know it was still there. I guess it will just boil down to enough birders keeping track of its occurrence until it leaves. I think a lot of people assumed it might start leaving because of the drop in temperature. But it hadn’t become cold enough to freeze the water yet, and for as long as this bird has been around, there may be no incentive to leave as long as it is feeding well.

It wasn’t feeding while I was there. I got the impression that it had done its foraging and feeding earlier and was taking a well-deserved rest.

A few brief captures of other birds seen that day. There weren’t many at all and the cloud cover made it even less interesting.

Looking back briefly on the two previous visits to Fullersburg, on 11-17, all I photographed was fungus.

On 11-15, there was a young Red-tailed Hawk.

For what it’s worth, it was good to reacquaint myself with Fullersburg Woods. I also got to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time, and that was very special. I likely won’t be going back soon, though. The temperatures are dropping into the freezing zone and snow is in the forecast for Sunday. I hope the Limpkin finds a more southerly location soon. As of this writing, a lot of people saw it today.

There are a lot of other places I haven’t been in a while and maybe I should just start checking them out every now and then.

View looking upstream from the Rainbow Bridge

To those of you who are celebrating, best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. People who have been asking me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving seemed delighted when I told them I am staying home with my 40 birds. I must admit we are having a beautiful day. I went out earlier to the Chicago Portage and it was quiet, but not entirely without birds. I’ve been cooking this afternoon, so the kitchen is warm. The sun is shining and that always makes the birds especially happy. I’ll be back soon.

River Rounds

One snowy day back in February – the 17th, to be exact – I wound up spending a lot of time with a male Belted Kingfisher that I have seen periodically all winter long. As reluctant as I might be to show photos with snowy backgrounds these days, we have snow now in our immediate forecast, and sunshine beats all the odds as far as I’m concerned.

The snow made a great contrasting background for the Belted Kingfisher and it was a delight to have time to focus on his comings and goings along the river that morning.

The Red-tailed Hawk was calmly surveying the scene.

Below, what the river looked like from the Joliet Avenue bridge, and the snowy footsteps preserved in ice on the paved path.

Four days earlier, on February 13, it was a sunny day but without snow cover yet. Sunshine was nice on this Red-bellied Woodpecker.

A Red-winged Blackbird was chasing the Red-tailed Hawk.

Ring-billed Gulls are returning to the area.

That was the last time I saw the Common Merganser couple that was lounging around the river just beyond the Hoffman Tower.

Two last photos of the Belted Kingfisher – your choice – tail up or down?

The weather has been off-and-on crappy and I have not gone out every morning for a walk, but the birds are still on schedule. I hope to be back a little sooner with a few more.

Apologies for the boredom of this post . I kept falling asleep while writing it.


I woke up yesterday morning to no internet connection. After spending an hour or so on the phone with my service provider it was determined that I need a new gateway router. It was shipped this morning so with luck I will receive it soon.

I birded Riverside Lawn yesterday and this morning I was at the Chicago Portage. There were plenty of birds yesterday, but today at the Portage was exceptionally quiet. The entire focus switched to leaves. I met two fall enthusiasts on their way out and we admired leaf colors.

I will see if I can manage to finish what was to be my next post with my cellphone and if so, it will follow shortly. Alternatively I can do more work in the yard and maybe read a good book.

The Zebra Finch that was just singing perched on my head left when I tried to record a video of him so that’s out. Either way I hope to be back soon.

What? Winter? Left Overs

My windshield looked like this, this morning, when I went out to start the car so I could sing with the choir for our first choir Sunday in two years.

It fits this post, which is a little collection of wintertime visits that I never managed to mention. The first was a visit to Columbus Park on 12-30-21.

I had gone to see if a Greater White-fronted Goose was still visible after it had been reported for several days. But by this time the water had frozen and so many Canada Geese were sitting on the ice it was too hard to tell.

Still, it was a beautiful, sunny day with lots of virgin snow.

Another beautiful sunny day a month later, on January 30, 2022, I decided to visit the Little Red Schoolhouse after another snowfall. Below is a view of Longjohn Slough which borders the trail starting at the Nature Center.

A few birds were visible.

American Tree Sparrow
Blue Jay
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Red-bellied Woodpecker

As I walked the trail, I came across a sign denoting the original location of the school for which the forest preserve is named.

Then in my yard on February 15, a Cooper’s Hawk sat for a long time in the redbud tree right outside the porch windows. I could not resist taking too many pictures. Here are a few.

I miss a lot of beautiful sunsets and can barely see hints of them through my kitchen or porch windows, but I tried to commemorate the winter clouds anyway.

I am full of music from singing at the service which was devoted to the Spring Equinox. What began as a cold morning has turned into a beautiful day. The sun is shining brightly. I hope this is my last windshield ice for a while.

Berries At Last

This will be short. I started writing it in between visits outside to shovel snow that just kept falling yesterday. it looked like at least 7 or 8 inches when I went out for the first round. By the time I was done another half inch had already fallen. I wound up shoveling three times total yesterday. The snow was heavier and wetter this time around. I went back out this morning and discovered the snow plows had come down the street last night, walling me in. I dug out my car and am thinking I will attempt a grocery round so I don’t have to do everything tomorrow. We might get some more snow, but it’s of the lake-effect variety and I am going in the opposite direction.

After waiting for what seemed like forever to see the berries on my hawthorn tree disappear, I managed to catch this robin feasting on some of what few were left last Saturday. Yesterday morning when I went out to the yard there were five robins in the same tree so they likely finished up the job.

Suffice it to say I was quite fascinated by the robin’s berry-fetching technique. I am sort of sorry I had a lot of branches loaded with berries trimmed off the tree back in November, but they were practically into my neighbor’s yard. I look forward to this year’s crop and anticipate waiting for February 2023 to see the berries disappear.

So I will go out now and do said grocery shopping while it seems safe. I get to park on my side of the street today which will make bringing the bags in easier. At least that’s my strategy. Stay safe and warm wherever you are.

Snow – and a New Yard Bird

Yesterday I devoted practically the entire day to dealing with the snow. It snowed overnight and didn’t stop until around 1:30 yesterday afternoon, although by that time it was pretty much down to flurries. I went out early to do the first shoveling of the walks and went out again a couple hours later, then picked up a camera every now and then to see if I could get any pictures. This is more snow than we got last week but not anything near what has transpired on the East Coast. I hope everyone stays safe and warm through the “Bomb Cyclone” Nor’easter.

Earlier I tried to get photographs with the mirrorless camera but it wouldn’t focus well. I apologize for those few fuzzies I have included here. Later I went out with the Canon and as I was still on the back porch, a nuthatch landed on the peanut feeder. I started taking photos through the screened windows and realized later that this was a Red-breasted Nuthatch and, to my knowledge, a new bird for my yard. I wonder how many other species come to the yard that I have never seen…

Red-breasted Nuthatch (female)

Two views of the snow in the yard – earlier, cloudy and through the windows, and later when the sun was shining and I was outside.

A few views of the snow in the front yard, courtesy of my cell phone camera, and a longer view of the back.

The sun peeking through the clouds…

I continue to have American Goldfinches consistently in the yard with up to 40 or so of them in the early morning hours while the feeders are still fairly well-stocked. They stop by off and on all day until about an hour and a half before sunset.

Of course I have a lot of House Sparrows too…And there are House Finches and Cardinals but it’s been hard to capture them. I’ll keep trying.

Grey Squirrel

I came in from the yard yesterday and found some of my Zebra Finches hanging out in the kitchen window where they like to sit and soak up the afternoon sun. I have closely cropped out as much of the dirty window as I can, but I will try to clean the window before I take any more pictures of them. My excuse for this is somewhat practical – nobody flies into the windows from either side of them.

I had no idea what I was going to do today until I got up, but it turned out to be a nice morning so I took a drive up to LaBagh Woods to see Common Redpolls. I will be back with a report later today or tomorrow.

Visit from a Leucistic Robin

I was quite surprised to see this visitor through my kitchen window about a week ago. I have seen an occasional leucistic American Robin but never in my yard. It was a one-time experience. Since it was preoccupied with its preening in my dying Staghorn Sumac tree, I managed to take too many photographs.

Also through the window in unsatisfactory light I did manage to see a Downy Woodpecker exchanging food with its likely offspring. There are two suet feeders hanging off the Sumac and they are star attractions for the woodpeckers and House Sparrows who have been feeding suet to their youngsters as well.

Worth mentioning, perhaps, is the fact that in spite of all the Brown-headed Cowbirds in the yard earlier this year, I haven’t seen any overgrown fledglings.

Meanwhile, in the front yard, pollinators have been busy. Visiting butterflies were a special treat. The series is of a Spicebush Swallowtail on a Purple Coneflower

Monarch Butterfly on the Common Milkweed

This is all for today. As always I hope to return soon…

A Little Local Color

The past two weeks have been challenging and I can’t seem to find a breather anywhere. Yet we race ahead into spring, even if temporarily yanked back to winter by strong winds, so I’m here with a few local images from a couple recent outings and the yard. This morning my cardinal was singing before sunrise… likely the same guy pictured below.

My windblown Northern Cardinal

Male Red-Winged Blackbirds have been coming back to claim their breeding territories for the past couple weeks. The one below was at Miller Meadow.

Also at Miller Meadow, tossed around in the wind, was a distant Red-Tailed Hawk. These pictures are cropped extensively but I liked how they captured the hawk’s maneuvers and the confirming red tail.

There was a somewhat leucistic American Robin at Miller Meadow and it was really hard to get a picture of it but it seemed worthy of documentation. I’ve never seen this before.

Below is what the Chicago Portage and the Des Plaines River nearby looked like last weekend. There were maybe 60 Common Goldeneye on the Des Plaines. I managed to get a closer view of one through the trees at the back of the Portage.

Common Goldeneye

I keep getting distracted by this shelf fungus every time I see it at the Portage.

Black-capped Chickadee, Chicago Portage
Mallards at Miller Meadow

Song Sparrows are returning to the Portage to set up territories too. I heard one singing, might have been this one.

Song Sparrow, Chicago Portage

Hadn’t run out of “winter” sparrows yet, there was a sizable flock of American Tree Sparrows at the Portage.

I will never run out of House Sparrows in my yard.

More windblown photos of my Cardinal visitors.

I never get tired of Canada Geese flying overhead in formation. People are reporting Sandhill Cranes and I hope to see some of them soon as well.

My plan is to get through a very busy weekend and return here soon! Something keeps pouring extra salt on my chaos… lately I’ve been surprised to land on two feet.

One more Downy Woodpecker at Miller Meadow…

Kouchibouguac Part 2

Ruddy Turnstone

I have been struggling to come up with a narrative for this post of pictures from the remainder of this day. Yesterday I would have finally managed it except I got sick, however briefly, and needed to sleep. Now that I’m fully recovered, it’s time to plunge into more holiday festivities.

So maybe it’s best just to let the pictures speak for themselves so I can move on to the next chapter.

Ruddy Turnstone
Common Tern with catch
Greater Yellowlegs
Another Greater Yellowlegs
A Canadian Crow
Song Sparrow

The Northern Gannets were never close, but they were always distinctive.

Pectoral Sandpiper wading with Ruddy Turnstone…

Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, whatever you are celebrating, and if I don’t get a chance before the 31st, Happy New Year…

Recycling the Unattached

Some of my original Zebra Finches from years past (the cleaner pot rack alone dates the photo)

I’m almost totally over the rhino-plus virus, well enough to get through what seemed like endless commitments. Now as my mind clears along with my sinuses, I am feeling remiss in keeping up with this commitment, so when I remembered this morning there is always an opportunity to fall back on those “Unattached” photographs that clog up my media library, I decided to select a few at random just for fun. A couple from the Galapagos, not so long ago, which reminds me I still have a couple days left from my trip I never covered…


Yellow Warbler – Galapagos – July 2016



Magnificent Frigatebird, Galapagos, July 2016

The three below are from a trip to East Africa in 2013.

Gray-Crowned Cranes 11-21-13 5679.jpg-2

Gray-Crowned Cranes, November, 2013, Tanzaniya


Burchell’s Zebra, November 2013

Pearl-Spotted Owlet 11-22-13 6696.jpg-2

Pearl-Spotted Owlet, November 2013

The sunset below probably happened in Belize at Crooked Tree in March of 2014…I’ll be back with more recent endeavors soon.. Thanks for following my meanderings. I hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past.