Look At That Bird!

It is bird migration season, so I have been on the lookout for birds.  I even joined in with someone, for the first time, to help on the Bird Count in the forest preserve for the global big day of birding on May 4th, 2019.  Since there are many birds I have never seen before I try to take pictures of the birds I see, if I am able to do so, so I can look them up in a bird book to verify what I have seen or try to identify a bird.  Because of that some of the pictures to follow may not be the best quality, but they are fun for me as I remember the sightings.  I put in a few wild flower pictures in at the end, because I can’t help noticing them when I am in the woods!

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Yellow Warbler

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American Redstart

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Female American Redstart

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Belted Kingfisher

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You can’t see very clearly, but I think this is a black-throated blue warbler.

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Ruby-throated hummingbird.  All the pictures above were taken at McClaughry Springs in the Palos Forest Preserves.

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Up in the woods above McClaughry Springs we saw a flurry of warblers.  This is a pine warbler.  We also black-and-white warblers and palm warblers.

Last weekend we went to Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, where they were having a special birding festival.  We checked out the woods and the feeders there.

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Baltimore Oriole

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Tree swallow

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Rose-breasted grosbeak

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Rose-breasted grosbeak

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We spent a while watching bird banding, which was fascinating.  Here a chipping sparrow is getting banded.  The lady doing this let me release the sparrow when she was finished!

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American goldfinch

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Back in my backyard – the goldfinch is a regular visitor.  You can see how the green plants are shooting up today!

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I noticed a white-throated sparrow pecking around the garden the other day.

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Male northern flicker

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I took this picture in April of the mute swan on her nest at Lake Katherine.  I have not been back to see the cygnets, so I hope they survived.

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We flushed this pileated woodpecker on our walk in the woods yesterday.  This was the best picture Dan got.  When Dan and I walk in the woods he takes the camera and I use my binoculars, so I need to credit him for a number of the bird pictures.

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Jack-in-the-pulpit.   I nearly missed this flower that was off the path in the shade.

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Trillium

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This looks like another kind of trillium.

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Virginia bluebells

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Back in our yard again – This was a bumper year for the “profusion” crabapple.  It was stunning!  It looks like the robins built a nest in it a few days ago, once the blossoms had fallen.  I am curious if they will stay there as it is quite close to the house.  A few years ago this tree lost almost all its leaves, but so far it looks healthy this year.

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Finally, I am a book worm and I loved this book.  It was entertaining and kept me interested and wondering what would happen to each person in the book.

Sedum, Skippers and Plums

The cool days and rain this past week have greened up the grass again.  Many plants are dying out in the garden, but some plants are at their peak or will be getting going soon.

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Silver-spotted skipper on sedum.  I noticed that last September I had a picture of a silver-spotted skipper on sedum as well.  One of the host plants for this butterfly is false indigo, which I have planted close by.

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There have been quite a few of these very small skippers around the yard this week.  The proboscis is the long sucking mouthpart that drinks the nectar.

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Sedum in dappled light.  I don’t know if you can see all the flies, bees, wasps, etc. that are hanging out on this plant.  In the background on the left are the two American plum trees and in the center are the yew bushes.

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I remembered to check on the American plums and found a number of ripe ones and many on the ground.  I tasted one that was between red and purple and was no longer hard.  The skin was too tart to eat, but the flesh inside was sweet!  I picked a dozen and brought them in to see if I could keep them from just falling on the ground.  I picked a few up off the ground, too, that seemed fine.  It would be a lot of trouble to make anything from them, but eating a few a day is fun!

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Red berries for the birds on the Hicksii yew bushes.  They won’t last long.  The viburnum bushes are heavy with purple fruit and I am waiting for the day the birds start feasting.

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Pink zinnia.  The annual Monarch Festival is at Lake Katherine today, and at the end of the day I think the monarchs are released.  I am hoping a few will wander to my neighborhood and take an interest in the zinnias.

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One lone chamomile flower.

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Moss roses re-blooming this year in an old planter, with no help from me.

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Still thankful for cucumbers.  This type is “Marketmore,” and is very dependable and tasty for my salads.

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One of three large collard patches.  6 – 10 leaves head into our weekly pot of soup.  We have a lot of cabbage moths in the yard!

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How many house sparrows can hang out at the bird bath at the same time?  The bird bath has been generally quiet these days, but once in a while there is a party.

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Grasshopper on pineapple sage.  It looks like the leaf below has been chewed on by something.  The pineapple sage will start blooming with bright red tubular flowers, maybe in a few weeks, and will be visited by the hummingbirds.  It was cool at noon today and I just heard one cricket trying to make a few noises.  Now at 4 pm it has warmed up and the full summer chorus of grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, and other noise makers are going at it.  We expect hot summer weather this week!

Vacation:  We took a long weekend trip to central Indiana over labor day and had a great time at Shades State Park in Indiana.  I have been too busy to post anything from that trip, but here are a few bird pictures that we saw in other places on our trip.

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We visited Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, where tens of thousands of migrating sandhill cranes stop during migration in spring and fall.  Through our zoom lens from the observation deck we saw two sandhill cranes in the shade and later another flew out of the trees.  We probably won’t get back here to see the spectacle in the fall, but we could imagine these muddy fields filling with birds.

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Is this a killdeer?  It was in the same muddy field.  That is the best we could do with our zoom.  We need to get another camera as ours is having some troubles.

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Belted Kingfisher.  I think it was along Walnut Creek.

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Butterfly on thistle.