In my typical fashion, I have been trying to write this post for the last week and a half. So while we are all wondering how to get through the holidays this year-like-no-other, I feel a sense of loss too, even though I likely would not have had any plans to go anywhere myself. But there’s also a sense of opportunity in any day I really don’t have to think about work.
Even though it was a cool, late spring and in the middle of the pandemic, there’s something oddly comforting these days about looking back.The Portage looks about like this now – no leaves on the trees, everything muted in browns and grays – but the birds are different in appearance, and most of these species have left for the winter. I took way too many photographs on this day, which might explain why it’s taken me seven months to process them. I won’t be doing a lot of explanation…that might take me another seven months. just hope you enjoy the images.
It will be a while before male American Goldfinches look like the one below.
Out over the Des Plaines River that day, there were three Belted Kingfishers flying around. I didn’t do a very good job of capturing them, they were quite far away. But at least one flew close enough to be recognizable.
I keep trying to get a decent photograph of the golden shafts on a Flicker and usually fail, but this time I got close.
There were a couple Blue-Winged Teal hanging out with the Mallards.
One Ring-Billed Gull flew over low enough to be identifiable.
Robins started coming back to their territories. The one in the second photograph is barely discernible from the tree it’s in.
Of course nothing says spring like the return of Red-Winged Blackbirds.
It was early enough in the morning to encounter a couple deer.
Please forgive me, I took way too many pictures of Golden-Crowned Kinglets. They are all gone now, but it was a joy to see them return in April.
Here’s a thrush I don’t see often – a Veery.
I took a few too many pictures of this Ruby-crowned Kinglet too, but at least I did get somewhat of a shot at the ruby crown.
A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker…
I am always happy to see a White-Breasted Nuthatch, even though they are with us all year long. I never tire of them.
The light was nice on this Red-Bellied Woodpecker.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are…what they are.
The pair of Eastern Bluebirds this year were such a welcome sight. Although I saw them for several weeks, I don’t think they wound up staying to breed. I can only hope they give the Portage a second chance next year.
The first warbler to show up in the spring, and the last to leave in the fall… the trusty Myrtle, or as long as it’s still lumped with Audubon’s (last time I checked), it’s a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
I will be back with more from last spring (!) and some more current observations. I hope you are safe and well, wherever you are. And I hope you continue to find moments of peace and solace. There is still a lot to be thankful for.