Hummingbird Moth Migration

Hummer Moth IMG_0335_1

White-Lined Sphynx Moth

Last week for two days in a row in downtown Chicago, I saw Hummingbird Moths, also known as Sphynx Moths, with the first one being on my way to work Thursday morning in the flowering plants at 100 South Wacker Drive. Now that fall warbler migration has begun I have had my camera ready. But I think even if I had to stop and put the lens on the body, this moth would still have waited for me. It seemed to respond to attention.

Hummer Moth IMG_0293_1

If you know the name of this plant please tell me: it’s installed everywhere which makes me think it’s rather common and very hardy.

When I got to 155 N. Wacker Drive a few minutes later, I did manage to see a Nashville Warbler out in the open. I had a female Mourning Warbler too but she was not so cooperative.

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Later in the afternoon, at Lake Shore East Park, I was hearing birds but not seeing them, so I started imitating some call notes and this Blackburnian Warbler emerged to check me out.

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Also had a brief encounter with a Swainson’s Thrush.

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

Few and far between are Monarch Butterflies. I can remember only a few years ago seeing scores of them at a time and now I am lucky to see one. I would like to see this species recover; I hope it’s not too late.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

On the way back to work, at the Aon Center, was another hummer moth.

Hummer Moth IMG_0367_1

This one was a bit easier to capture. Click on the pictures for an enlarged view. I think the eyes are fascinating.

Hummer Moth IMG_0375_1

Indeed these moths look to me like some kind of magical made-up creatures that belong in a Pixar movie.

Hummer Moth IMG_0373_1

Not that I’ve ever watched one. I’d rather see the real thing.

Confusing Fall Warbler

Mystery Bird

I went downtown early yesterday to see what the wind blew in. There were predictably a lot of sparrows, although most evaded my lens. However I ran into this warbler at the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park and took several pictures without really thinking about it until I downloaded them and started getting confused. So I drag out the books: The Sibley Guide to Birds, Warblers of the Americas, the Peterson Field Guides Warblers.  There is such a thing as too much information.

There are a lot of drab-looking birds with yellow on the vent and throat this time of year. Well, at least a few came to mind. Could this be a female Common Yellowthroat?

Or even a juvenile Yellow Warbler? Wait, brownish maybe, but not all the feathers are edged in yellow…

Too much of an eye-ring for a Yellow. But it doesn’t look like a Nashville either… and then, the bird gave me my best clue in a subsequent frame.

The only warbler with yellow in the tail is…a Redstart. This is a first year Female American Redstart. I’ve never seen one with hardly any color on the wing before. Wow. Learn something every time I go out. I think I’ve been paying closer attention this fall.

First-year Female American Redstart

Now that smirky little face makes sense to me…I recognize that look. How could I ever forget this is a Redstart? The gizz starts to fill in immediately. But just in case I forget, she reminded me one more time.