Breeding Birds

PRWA IDSP 05-29-2016-2349Passerine migration is over for all practical purposes. Birds have taken to their breeding grounds and are getting down to business. Here are some photos from the last couple weekends, starting with the Prothonotary Warbler above, seen at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Yellow Warblers are common summer residents around here. The one on the left above was hanging out at IDSP and the one on the right was the first bird I encountered at the Chicago Portage last Sunday on a late, gloomy morning.

Even with a lot more light going on at the Indiana location, backlighting was a constant challenge. Above, compare an adult male Scarlet Tanager on the left with what was determined to be a first-year male of the same species.

There were several Red-Headed Woodpeckers at IDSP. I don’t see them too often so they were a nice surprise.

Perhaps the most exciting find was the hardest to photograph. Above is a male Acadian Flycatcher, not far from where his mate is sitting on a cleverly positioned nest underneath a leaf.

Two looks at Eastern Wood-Pewees above.

We had two Pileated Woodpeckers, and the one above was in the best light but this species still eludes my camera, monster lens and all.

Cedar Waxwings above, at IDSP on the left and the other one from the Chicago Portage.

The Portage had at least four male Baltimore Orioles, and I was able to spot a female not entirely hidden on the right, above.

To add to my list of not-often-seen woodpeckers, I had a Hairy Woodpecker at the Portage. Usually I see Downies everywhere, but this was the only woodpecker that I was able to photograph.

Tree Swallows were abundant. And below, it was a good day for turtles at the Portage.

And for Mallard ducklings…looking almost full grown.

Below, a newly fledged American Robin and an adult.

One more look at the Red-Headed Woodpecker.

RHWP IDSP 5-29-2016-2453I’ve been busy writing silly songs, working, gardening and starting to get ready for a trip that will begin on July 1. I am now glad I inadvertently planned to be away before the Democratic National Convention. I’m growing weary of the daily drama and it will be good for my head to be totally oblivious to politics for a couple weeks.

I’ll try to get back to this page a few times before I go. Thanks for stopping by!


Singing at the Chicago Portage

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

The usual disclaimer: this will be a short post because I am still going through pictures and there’s not enough time to get it all together. Having said that I would have posted this a lot earlier if I did not run into a snag with my no-longer-free audio editing program. Below is thia Baltimore Oriole’s song.

Yesterday morning was eventually beautiful, although it started out a tad windy and chilly. I haven’t been to the Chicago Portage for a couple weeks and feel responsible for reporting its inhabitants, so that was my destination. The first bird I heard as I crossed the south bridge was an Indigo Bunting. Below is his picture and his song.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

A little farther down the path, I heard a House Wren singing, and eventually located him high up in a tree, blending in with the branches of a trees that hasn’t leafed out yet. There is also a Red-Winged Blackbird singing on this clip, but the House Wren is the chattery one in between.

House Wren

House Wren

Portage 5-18-14.jpg-2273

The Portage itself had a dreamy, sleepy look to it, and in the moments planes weren’t flying over and I could forget the traffic noise, time stopped, I joined the alternate reality, and nothing else mattered. I had no ultimate goal but to observe. This is the real reason to spend time in nature, in my book.

There were several Indigo Buntings on site and a while later, I encountered another whose color shone in just the right light.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

A lot of trees have come down at the Portage and I am curious how it has affected breeding birds. I could find no trace of the Green Herons or Great-Crested Flycatchers I am used to seeing. But this is the second time in a month I have seen a Great Blue Heron and an Osprey. They are such large birds I suspect the Portage is probably just an adjunct to Ottawa Trail Woods and the Des Plaines River next door. But it’s still exciting to see them.

GBHE Portage 5-18-14.jpg-2328



The turtles are still in place.Portage 5-18-14.jpg-2250

I was originally going to cover much more in this post, as a lot more happened and there were quite a few more birds – busy birds – yesterday. I will try to return with another installment soon.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole