Stragglers in the City

CONW 6-3-15-4297Unexpected. There are reports of migrant warblers every now and then, here and there, but the warblers are, for all practical purposes, gone except for the few that stay to start families. But after reading every day about a Connecticut Warbler that continued to hang out, for over a week, in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn downtown, I finally got on the subway last Wednesday afternoon and went to see it for myself. It was not my first Connecticut Warbler, but its sheer persistence persuaded me.

CONW Clinton & Harrison 6-3-15-4325

Connecticut Warbler, Holiday Inn, Chicago parking lot

If I regret anything about my visit it was my failure to record his song, because he was a strong, adamant singer and he would knock off a few phrases every five minutes or so.

CONW Clinton & Harrison 6-3-15-4317

For those who are into identifying warblers by their undertail coverts…

For all I know the Connecticut could still be there, although there have been no reports since Saturday. Below is a handsome Gray Catbird that popped out at the Holiday Inn parking lot as well.

GRCA Clinton & Harrison 6-3-15-4258

Gray Catbird

The stragglers I encountered almost every day the past two weeks were White-Throated Sparrows. Yesterday they were gone from 155 N. Wacker, but I still heard one singing, of all things, at Union Station. I tried to report it in ebird on my phone app but gave up when it kept challenging me. So much for citizen science.

WTSP 6-4-15-4400

A lingering White-Throated Sparrow

Perhaps my favorite late warbler in terms of chutzpah was the little Ovenbird below who made the berm by the bicycle rack at Union Station his territory. He was still singing last week. His habitat wasn’t all cigarette butts but I found it rather poignant that he could endure them.

OVEN with cigarette butts, Union Station 6-3-15-4381

Ovenbird at Union Station

Also last week, there was a Chestnut-Sided Warbler at 155 N. Wacker. That was a special treat, even if that space, always in the shadows, made him difficult to photograph.

CSWA 155 N Wacker 5-27-15-3853

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

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There was a female Common Yellowthroat too: a furtive, not-always-so-common sight.

Female COYT Union Station 5-27-15-3731

Common Yellowthroat

Below is my last first-year male American Redstart at 155 N. Wacker.

AMRE 155 N Wacker 5-27-15-3770

The Union Station Ovenbird was just a delight to hang out with. I miss his cheery song already.

OVEN 6-4-15-4414

I haven’t heard or seen him this week, so I hope he has moved on to better territory.

OVEN 6-4-15-4420The forecast is for hot, rainy, muggy weather this week. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for the mosquito onslaught.

City Visitors…Part Two



The Chicago Loop migrant watch continues. There was a lone Gray Catbird at 155 North Wacker Thursday morning, but yesterday he was gone. Mostly the last couple days I have been enchanted solely by Ovenbirds at the train station and Lake Shore East Park. However many times I have seen them downtown before, they never cease to bring a smile to my face. The one above was at Lake Shore East Park yesterday afternoon, blown about by blustery, cold north winds. Hey, it’s only May…!

What I don’t understand is why small birds I have never seen before seem to want to engage, interact, communicate with me on some level, once they have gotten over the fact that I am paying attention to them. Perhaps they are just curious, as I am. Why would I be bothering to pay attention to another species when all those other big clumsy humans milling by noisily never notice?

Lake Shore East Park IMG_5848_1

Lake Shore East Park IMG_5847_1

Above, a couple views of Lake Shore East Park from the street level before I descend down the steps to get to it. I’ve decided the steps are good exercise and I can already feel a slight difference in agility and strength. The crumbs you hang onto with age!

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush

The only other warbler since the Kentucky last week is a Northern Waterthrush, who was still there yesterday, when I counted two Ovenbirds, one Waterthrush, about 37 White-Throated Sparrows and maybe 10 White-Crowned Sparrows. I didn’t see the Red-Breasted Nuthatch that’s been hanging out in the pine trees, though he might still be there. Not to mention that he was barely visible last time I saw him, below.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Here’s one of the White-Crowned Sparrows.

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow

And I will never, ever be done taking photographs of White-Throated Sparrows. They seem to be clamoring for their own post soon.

White-Throated Sparrow

White-Throated Sparrow

The white blossoms blown off the trees yesterday reminding me of snow, combined with the frigid temperatures. To get back to warmer thoughts, here are a couple more Ovenbird photos.

Ovenbird IMG_5882_1

Ovenbird IMG_6674_1

Think Spring!