Return of the Yellow-Rumpeds

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Lyman Woods

Our migrations always seem to be punctuated by the arrival of Yellow-Rumped Warblers. In the spring, their arrival in great numbers signifies the beginning of the end of spring warbler migration. It is much the same in the fall. So while I was delighted this weekend to see them easily because of their numbers, I could not help but think that the warbler numbers would be dwindling, and fall would give way to other species.

"Meadow" Rump

“Meadow” Rump

Yesterday there were perhaps 30 or more Yellow-Rumped Warblers foraging in and around the meadow at Lyman Woods in Downers Grove.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Chicago Portage

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Chicago Portage

Today I went first to Ottawa Trail Woods where I saw virtually none of them, unlike spring. By the time I got to the Portage, there were only a few Yellow-Rumpeds hanging out with some American Goldfinches. But when I circled back around to the south bridge before I left, there were perhaps 20 or more foraging in the duckweed-covered shallows with as many American Robins.

Yellow Rump Portage 1I2A3050

I have many other bird photographs from this weekend but I have to get some sleep, so I am limiting myself to the Yellow-Rumped Warblers for this post.

Yellow-Rump Portage 1I2A3053

I am surprised by this particular setting, which I didn’t realize at the time I took the pictures, I was so busy following the bird’s movements. But the duckweed background, branches and sparse leaves strike me as very shibui.

Yellow-Rump Portage 1I2A3064

Once upon a Wren

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Actually this is thrice upon a wren. Last Sunday I visited the Chicago Portage, and although I did not see the Carolina Wren, it sang three beautiful songs for me that I was fortunate to capture. The picture above is from two weeks before, the last time I saw him. Here are his three songs (second clip has two songs):

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

I also was lucky enough to hear (and briefly see) a Winter Wren. This is a bird whose song I have wanted to hear for a long time. Now I can hardly wait to hear it again. The picture above is not the same winter wren, only the last picture of one I could find easily. It’s hard to believe such a tiny bird can make so much music.

House Wren

House Wren

Forward one week to yesterday. I could not access the Portage because of flooding, but I did manage to visit Ottawa Trail Woods North where I heard and saw this House Wren. Maybe he’d been up all night with the weather, but he managed to sing and show his face.

I have already noticed one thing in the field. When I stop to record, it’s as if I suddenly become part of the environment. The birds almost seem to lose their fear and start appearing from everywhere. I suppose the simple explanation is that I am not moving, but I can be very still without recording and it does not produce the same results. Maybe I am more relaxed than watchful, or attentive in a way that only birds could respond to. I suspect they know I am listening to them and they prefer that sort of attention to gawking at them! Whatever it is, it’s pretty amazing.