September Birding and Wildlife

The fall bird migration season is a great time to get out and do birding in our area between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River in Illinois.  I recently joined IBET (Illinois Birders Exchanging Thoughts) and I get numerous emails each day from birders who are announcing what birds they are seeing around Illinois.  This has given me ideas about new areas to explore.  This morning we ended up at McGinnis Slough in Orland Park and never got to the other places we planned to explore.  It amazes me how many beautiful natural areas there are right around us that we have not even explored yet!


Wood ducks and American coots at McGinnis Slough.  We walked very quietly down the path in order not to scare the waterfowl and saw quite a few beautiful wood ducks, but the pictures I took of them were not the greatest.


Most of the brown ducks are mallards, but I wondered if the brown one in front is an American wigeon or something other than a mallard.


I didn’t really count how many coots there were.  I would say at a minimum there were 40, but maybe quite a few more.


Great egret up in a tree above McGinnis Slough.


McGinnis Slough.  This time of year there are high marsh grasses surrounding the water as well as a beautiful forest area.


Orange sulphur along the path


Can you see the dragonfly?  I think it is a darner, but after some research I am hesitant to clearly identify what type of darner.


Female yellow-rumped warbler at Lake Sedgewick in Orland Park, IL.  She is just migrating through…


I made a quick stop at Lake Sedgewick yesterday and hope to explore here soon.  One of my IBET emails said that a group of 25 American white pelicans stopped for a bit on one of the islands in the lake as they migrated through this week.


Male downy woodpecker.  These birds stay in Illinois year round.


Another place where I made a quick stop yesterday was Orland Grasslands.  An IBET email mentioned that a mink had been seen here several times this week.  The grasses are tall now and I hope to get back to explore soon.


Male northern flicker searching for ants at Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve.  We sat in our car for a while and watched the little meadow filled with morning bird activity early last Sunday morning.


Deer in morning light.  Restoration has been going on at Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve and much of the overgrown shrub undergrowth has been cleared out to restore sunlight for more native plants to flourish.


Back in our yard the goldfinch was snacking on coneflower seeds.


Mystery bird in our chinquapin oak tree.  Can anyone identify this bird?


Hummingbird on clothesline.


Mute swans at Lake Katherine last week.


Stephanie walked around the lake with me last week and she tried out the new giant adirondack chair in the back meadow.


The forbes at Lake Katherine were tall and attractive.




Back home again, this is a painted lady butterfly, I think, on an orange zinnia.


Common green bottle fly on yellow mum.  Yesterday when Dan and I were walking at Lake Katherine we saw for the third time a man with his camera in the weeds.  We stopped for a while and he is a specialist at insect photography.  We had a fun time talking about insects and the best ways to take pictures of them.  He recommended some reading for me.


Huge bee on the nasturtiums.  I am not sure if these big bees are bumble bees.  They are much bigger than the other bumble bees in the yard.  Rather than entering the flowers from the front they just bite the outside of the flower and sip the nectar that way.

Hope you enjoy your little corner of the world this week!

6 thoughts on “September Birding and Wildlife

  1. Great photos and you saw so much! I’ll bet you would have a great time posting your sightings on iNaturalist or something similar. Would you mind sharing the insect photographer’s recommended readings? I’m trying to improve my own shots of the little critters.

    1. I just looked up iNatualist and I might try it. The recommended reading was John Shaw’s book from 1987. I found it at the library. I also checked out John Shaw’s digital photography book to compare the two. The guy I met said – learn to use the camera you have and not necessarily buy expense equipment. There are some things I really can’t do with bugs on my little hot shot camera, but I am just interested in learning more about photography. But I really liked talking to this guy, as he could identify all the little bugs that were around us that morning.

  2. Lovely photos and scenes, although the birds and insects are different to ours, the landscape is very similar to the Norfolk Broads (England) where we are. Fascinating for us to see this current season from over “the pond”, thank you for sharing!

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