Cooper's Hawk, Grant Park

Cooper’s Hawk, Grant Park

If I were better organized I would only upload pictures I was actually going to use in a blog post, but I am too often compiling posts on the fly and consequently I wind up making last-minute decisions of what to use and never going back to delete the unused, or “unattached” photos.

Black Vulture 4-26-14

Black Vulture 4-26-14

So this is a photo essay with no particular subject, only some previously unattached, unrelated blasts from the past.

Bewick's Wren, 4-26-14

Bewick’s Wren, 4-26-14

Northern Cardinal, Lake Shore East Park, 4-23-14

Northern Cardinal, Lake Shore East Park, 4-23-14

Lincoln's Sparrow, Songbird Meadows, 4-26-14

Lincoln’s Sparrow, Songbird Meadows, 4-26-14

White-Winged Crow, Daley Bicentennial Plaza Tennis Court

White-Winged Crow, Daley Bicentennial Plaza Tennis Court

Superb Starling

Superb Starling

Leopard 11-24-13

Leopard 11-24-13

I’ll be back in real time soon. 🙂

Off and Running

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

I had another post in mind but it is late, I’m leaving shortly for the airport, if not in the middle of the night this time, for our West Texas birding trip. As for the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker above, this is the most yellow I have ever seen!

Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow

Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow – sort of birds “of a feather” – yes there was snow on the ground last week…

So here are a few pictures taken in downtown Chicago over the past two weeks, as the migrants come through. Specifically the location is Lake Shore East Park.

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher and the Grackles are likely here for the breeding season.

Fountain Baths

Fountain Baths

Grackle 4-17-14 8251.jpg-8251Grackle Bath 4-17-14 8123.jpg-8123

The Common Grackles were ready the moment the fountains went on.

WTSP LSE Park 7902.jpg-7902

White-Throated Sparrows have been around for weeks, if not in the hundreds like they were when Daley Bicentennial Plaza still existed. Now and then one breaks into song.

I’ll be back in about a week and a half. I’m roughing it, not taking the laptop this time. 🙂

Thanks to all who follow or stop by!

Daley’s Daily Changes

Don’t fence me in…

Daley Bicentennial is now preparing to be officially closed to everyone. The cement horses went up first, and now the chain-link fencing.

The fences are going up everywhere.

There is still access, the Segway Tours haven’t left yet, and as long as I can fit through an opening in the fence, I’m going in.

The construction equipment accumulates.

And accumulates.

Tools of Destruction

And accumulates.

The trees are going slowly to sleep, for the last time.

Follow the Sap…suckers

Juvenile Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

The last couple weeks of fall migration, warblers and others have been following the sapsuckers as they drilled holes in the rows of homestead elms lining either side of the center “naturally planted” section of Daley Bicentennial Plaza. The birds are drinking sap from the wells drilled by the woodpeckers.

Orange-Crowned Warbler

We are still seeing Orange-Crowned Warblers and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. The Yellow-Rump below was putting on quite a show when I took this picture last week: he kept hovering around his favorite saphole like a hummingbird.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The Tennessee Warblers like the one below are sometimes confused with Orange-Crowned, especially this time of year.

Tennessee Warbler

There have been a lot of Red-Breasted Nuthatches this fall, and the one below, drinking sap, is no exception.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Some of the first warblers noticed were Black-Throated Blues. Here’s a female, and below her, a male – although I did not get a picture of him drinking, it’s almost a wonder he let me photograph him at all. He behaved like a celebrity tired of paparazzi.

Female Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Male Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Cape Mays aren’t always cooperative either.

Cape May Warbler

I took several pictures of this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet yesterday, but the midday sun was brutal and I discarded most of them.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

There could still be a lot of sapsuckers coming through…and following them, their fans of many colors and configurations.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

But as the leaves disappear…so will these migrants.

Unexpected City Visitors

My encounters with birds in the city have been few and far between lately. But I have at least learned to carry my camera with me, after missing a couple opportunities to document something last year, and this year it has paid off.

Black-Crowned Night Heron

A couple weeks ago I saw this Black-Crowned Night Heron hanging out on the Chicago River just outside the train station. Last year I had one in the same vicinity but all I had with me at the time was my cell phone and although I was able to get closer, the picture wasn’t worth the effort. This year there has been a lot of construction on the bridges and streets so I could not get closer to the bird, but thanks to the super zoom feature on my point-and-shoot, I at least captured his essence.

And then on Tuesday I got out to Daley Bicentennial Plaza in the afternoon. I had goldfinches singing and juvenile crows. and a lot of huge dragonflies that refused to pose, but I wasn’t really expecting to see anything unusual, although vagrants and early migrants have started popping up at Montrose Beach which is a much birdier location. As I walked slowly through the park after feeding the crows a woodpecker flew into an ash tree right in front of me, quickly tucking itself around the backside of the tree. My first thought was Downy given the time of year, but in a couple seconds after it reappeared I realized it was a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. That seemed pretty unusual to me, and as it turns out it was unusual enough to have my ebird report challenged. Luckily I was able to take pictures, even if the lighting and my lens left much to be desired. Confirmed early sighting of a female Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker.

Female Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

More City Visitors Part II

Scarlet Tanager

Daley Bicentennial Plaza, my old haunt, has been as slow as everywhere else with this year’s tepid migration. But it’s still my favorite place to go at lunch, and over the last week or so, I’ve had some nice birds.

Yellow-Throated Vireo

Like this Yellow-Throated Vireo capturing and swallowing a crunchy bug.

A day or two later, there were two male Scarlet Tanagers haunting the ash trees. One of them appears at the beginning of this post.

Today just as I entered the park, I heard a singing Tennessee Warbler. I found him and managed to capture him with my point-and-shoot. Not an easy task, but I have been taking a couple days off from the heavy camera this week, the power of suggestion planted by NATO preparedness. Monday I won’t be able to carry a backpack on the train, so it will be the small camera or nothing.

Tennessee Warbler

Perhaps the birds find the smaller camera less intimidating. This Brown Thrasher was in the park yesterday, and although he was trying to avoid me and preen under this bush, he wasn’t too bothered by my picture-taking.

Brown Thrasher

Then yesterday morning two of my now-buddies from 155 N. Wacker managed to ham it up in the same frame.

Gray Catbird and White-Throated Sparrow

Yesterday was hot and steamy. Today was on the chilly side. Tomorrow is predicted to be sunny and moderate in temperature. The quest continues.