The sunshine yesterday made all the difference, even if it was still quite chilly in the morning. The birds were enjoying it: I didn’t have to walk in for half an hour before I started seeing birds. Indeed, the sparrows from last weekend were all feeding just past the first bridge over the creek, and several Red-Winged Blackbirds were busy proclaiming their territories. There were not a lot of waterfowl, but mixed in with the regulars were a couple nice surprises, like the Wood Duck above.
Actually the first ducks I saw were Northern Shovelers. There were two males and one female. I think they’re quite striking.
This pair of Mallards might be staying. I caught the three below flying over the river.
Red-Winged Blackbirds on display.
The first fight of the day over territory was between two Downy Woodpeckers.
American Tree Sparrows were everywhere. This is another result of the tree removal, I’m sure.
Some Song Sparrows will be staying. I kept hearing one singing, but could not find his perch. The one on the ground below will have to do for now.
There was only one pair of geese, and I’m thinking it’s the same pair I saw last week.
Cardinals were abundant, if hard to capture.
I walked down to the Des Plaines to see if there were any more ducks or maybe a heron. The sunshine illuminated the graffiti under the bridge. There were about a dozen Common Goldeneye from my vantage point, but no herons. I liked the sunlit reflection of the trees in the water.
I never take pictures of people on the trail but it was nice to see this guy out early with his son and two dogs. It’s too bad they flushed the Wood Duck, it would have been nice to show it to them. Oddly enough for the beauty of the day, they were only humans I encountered. The accompanying landscape shots are just more bare branches and water waiting to wake up.
For as many cardinals and blackbirds that have been singing, I haven’t heard a robin until this one yesterday. Soon the neighborhood robins wlll be singing at four in the morning…
I left the Portage around 10:30 and drove to McGinnis Slough where I found enough surprises to fill their own blog post, so I will be back to report in a few days… I hope you are enjoying your own version of the anticipation of spring.