One thing I can always look forward to on a Spring Bird Count at McKee Marsh in DuPage County is seeing a lot of Tree Swallows, and if it’s as sunny as that Saturday, May 7, 2022 was, they are positively iridescent. I don’t look forward to getting up at 3:30 in the morning so I can leave almost an hour before we meet, but somehow I still managed to do it and this time I stayed for the entire day. We covered McKee Marsh and Blackwell Forest Preserve in DuPage County, and ponds in the vicinity of the airport, which was a new location for all of us.
There were a few Eastern Bluebirds claiming the bluebird boxes as well. It’s only fair.
You have to look closely to see several Eastern Kingbirds in the photo below.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets were still around.
And Song Sparrows, of course…
Field Sparrows were abundant and singing.
The real treat for me was to see and hear several Henslow’s Sparrows.
A Great Egret or two around the airport ponds…
We didn’t have a lot of warblers but Pine Warblers were down on or near the ground as they had been elsewhere this chilly, late-start spring.
A nice male Rose-breasted Grosbeak would not turn around to show off his namesake field mark.
We had our share of hawks. Below is a Cooper’s Hawk.
And this bird turned out to be a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk in my photographs. The heavy barring on the breast was something I had never noticed before and that helped clinch the identification.
Then there was a Northern Harrier on the scene.
It was being harassed by Red-winged Blackbirds.
A few more harassment photos…
Look closely to find the distant Bobolink in the photo below.
The unexpected bird on the count was a juvenile Trumpeter Swan.
The count totaled 173 species for DuPage County. The next SBC will take place on May 6, 2023.
I’ll be back soon. Lots of photos still to immortalize and what better time than a couple days of instant summer when it will simply be too hot to stay outside very long.