Backyard Fallout

Last Thursday morning was cloudy, rainy, and much cooler than the weather we had been experiencing. The rain came in with a cold front on Wednesday night and a lot of migrating birds came with it. I had no plans to go birding anywhere. But the rain seemed to be letting up a bit. I was in the middle of my breakfast routine with the indoor crowd, standing over the kitchen sink when I looked out the window into the garden and thought I saw something unusual. I picked up the binoculars. It was a male Common Yellowthroat.

It looked like there might be other fall migrant visitors in the yard, so I went out with the camera when the rain was down to a drizzle.

I was hanging around the back of my lot when the Common Yellowthroats popped in and out of the Hawthorn tree. I only saw the male (above) briefly but the female (below) gave me some nice looks.

There were a couple Gray Catbirds enjoying the pokeberries. I am now glad I let them grow.

Also attracted to the pokeberries were thrushes.

Not a migrant, but a sometimes infrequent visitor, I was happy to get some nice views of a male House Finch.

I have had White-throated Sparrows in the yard for about two weeks, but I don’t always see them. It was nice to catch this one in the Scotch Pine.

I was quite surprised to find a Northern Waterthrush in the yard.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were not so hard to find. There were at least four individuals. The second photo below of the bird flying away was taken in the front yard by the sidewalk.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were posing in the Hawthorn which now has berries that look ripe to me but they must not be ready yet for consumption.

Another surprise in the Scotch Pine – an Ovenbird, albeit obscured.

And I did manage to catch one Palm Warbler on the fence.

House Sparrows are always present. This one was perhaps curious to see me out there with the camera.

It was cloudy but not raining, so I decided to visit McGinnis Slough, where a vagrant Limpkin was being reported. This is a southern wader, usually seen in Central and South America. There is a population in Florida. I have seen it where it belongs. But this bird does not migrate. So it’s likely a hurricane blew this bird away from its normal habitat.

McGinnis Sllough

The first birds I saw were European Starlings.

There were the usual suspects.

Blue Jay
Great Blue Heron

I was treated to some nice looks of a couple shorebirds. Below are Lesser Yellowlegs.

And there was one Solitary Sandpiper.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were here too.

And a few Palm Warblers.

A Red-winged Blackbird or two. Okay, it’s the same bird, but I’m having a hard time removing one of the images now for some unknown reason…

And a Tennessee Warbler.

Shortly before I left, a Northern Harrier flew over.

But I did not see the Limpkin anywhere. It’s a distinctive-looking, rather large bird and would be hard to miss. What I was missing, however, were the location comments that I had ignored from the rare bird listing.

Sunday morning was also cloudy. I went to the Chicago Portage, but then decided to find the bridge on Southwest Highway that offers another view of McGinnis Slough that I have never seen. Given the difficulty seeing anything on foot over the towering growth in the regular preserve location, this is a good place to check. Finding the access to the bridge and a place to park was almost more of an accomplishment than seeing the Limpkin. It was easily visible from the bridge. It was also a bit far away, but that’s what my 400mm lens is for.

Here are a slightly few closer views.

I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long: it’s been a busy week. But now we are heading into a forecast of rain for several days so maybe I can get caught up with my other ideas for posts about this fall migration season. For now, I am off to choire rehearsal.