Too Many Distractions

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Belted Kingfisher – Chicago Portage

I keep trying to get through all the pictures from Colombia and identify everybody who’s recognizable, but life keeps getting in the way…further complicated by signs of spring. Like the Belted Kingfisher above. He seems to have made the stripped-down Chicago Portage his summer home. I have seen him two weekends in a row.

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Red-Winged Blackbird, McGinnis Slough

These pictures were all taken last weekend. I went to McGinnis Slough and the Chicago Portage on Sunday because the weather was reasonable. We’ve been otherwise chilled by northerly wind blasts all week, even going down to freezing one night, I forget which, I only remember having to dump the ice out of the bird baths because I had already unplugged them.

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Great Blue Herons at McGinnis

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Gadwall

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Gadwall

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Gadwall – check out the one that’s dabbling – if this is the only part of the bird I see next time I’ll know it’s a Gadwall!

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Great Blue Heron

Not a lot to photograph at the Slough, most everyone was too far away in the water, but it was nice to hear Soras calling, and to count eleven Great Blue Herons and a lot of Gadwall.

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Caspian Tern

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Also nice to see a Caspian Tern. But perhaps the biggest surprise was a deer making its way across the smaller part of the slough, which I guess gives an idea of how not very deep it is. Below the deer is a Double-Crested Cormorant drying out after a dive.

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DCCO 4-26-15-9448Something else I don’t know if I’ve ever seen well before – the “ring” on a Ring-Necked Duck’s neck. Click on the picture to see what I mean.

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Not a lot different happening at the Portage yet… I could have had a substantial turtle count.

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Wood Duck

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Turtles, Chicago Portage

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Dabbling Mallards

Brown Creepers are always a surprise for some reason.

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And this Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was cooperative as long as he felt hidden behind the twigs, which he certainly was.

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BGGN 4-26-15-9672 BGGN 4-26-15-9686 BGGN 4-26-15-9694Caught the Kingfisher taking a break.

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Female Red-Winged Blackbirds are starting to arrive, but I don’t have a picture of one from last weekend, so I’m just including this guy-bird again.

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As far as the Life List Project goes (this proved to be a Major Distraction!), I still have a few more checklists to locate, but at the moment the count is 1,942. I’m trying to count only birds I have seen, so a lot of those Tinamous, Tapaculos and Rails aren’t making it onto my list. But there are also a few species that are not on the app, as hard as I have tried to find them under other common names, so I don’t know if that’s because they’ve been reclassified or split or lumped or what, but in general having the list will probably come in handy on my next far-flung trip and maybe even motivate me to pay more attention. Who knows, if I had time to go through all my pictures from all my trips again I might find even more species… I guess I save that distraction for when I can’t travel anymore. 🙂

Before the Deluge

Portage IMG_4961_1

The picture above was taken on April 14 at the Chicago Portage. There had been some rain, but the deluge was yet to come. The colors were still muted, with hardly any green. After the Portage, I continued on to part of Ottawa Trail Woods for the first time, searching for signs of spring.

Female Ruddy Duck

Female Ruddy Duck

I was a bit surprised to see this lone female Ruddy Duck at the Portage, napping. A little farther down stream were Blue-Winged Teal. Perhaps this couple was looking for a nesting spot.

Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal

The Canada Goose below was sleeping peacefully on her nest, incubating her brood. But I am afraid she has probably been washed out by all the rain that followed.

Canada Goose on nest

Canada Goose on nest

An early female Red-Winged Blackbird was sitting quietly off to the side.

Female Red-Winged Blackbird

Female Red-Winged Blackbird

Ruby-Crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets were everywhere. This particular Ruby-Crowned seemed to be having a little trouble controlling his crown in the wind. But in the second photo it really looks like a Crown sitting on top of his head.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

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Here’s a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, for comparison.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

The sunshine, which had been in short supply, brought the turtles out of their sleep. This is but a small group: there were at least thirty.

Turtles IMG_5384_1

A freight train crosses the Des Plaines River.

Portage Freight Train over the DesPlaines IMG_5269_1

This Chipping Sparrow disappears right into the tree colors surrounding him.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers almost blend into the birch trees.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Oh, just one more turtle. I couldn’t resist.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

At the end of the day, the emblematic first warbler of spring, the Yellow-Rumped, still vies for my attention.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

More to come…after the downpours.