Sunday, June 23, 2013

Patch dispatch

eastern bluebird

When the summer doldrums hit--migration is long over, the breeding season is winding down, the shorebirds are still in the Arctic, and there's nothing exciting to chase--I like to take the advice of Peter Dunne and others and put the "watching" back in "birdwatching."

Today, with that in mind, I headed to my local patch, Weldon Springs State Park, with the hopes of getting as many bird photos as possible and maybe even watch some birds doing interesting things.

I started out on the backpack loop, hoping to see if the American redstart that I saw last summer, and again late this spring, was still singing in the tall trees, hopefully doing his part to make more redstarts. This was a big mistake. The mosquitoes were worse than I have ever seen them, causing me to run from the scene in a tizzy, using some naughty words along the way.

Luckily, the Union Schoolhouse prairie and Lake Loop were fine, and provided me many photogenic birds. I like to call rose-breasted grosbeaks my "cherry pies."

someone's been into the cherries

Believe it or not, this was my first of year hummingbird for Illinois.

female ruby-throated hummingbird

And I did find some birds doing strange things. It appears that this white-breasted nuthatch is trying to scare the mourning dove away from the food.

kung fu nuthatch

And I didn't think that a chickadee would drink nectar.

"So that's what all the fuss is about!"
Several Canada geese families were hanging out by the wetland. The "babies" are so big now, like they're just about ready to graduate.

"They grow up so fast!"
And here is probably the only great blue heron on earth that doesn't fly away from the sight of a human. It made me think of a heron that Sunwiggy and I saw at Banner Marsh a few years ago. We called him "Special Ed" because instead of flying, he ran down the road in front of the car. (Ed would fly eventually, so we knew he could.) I think this one just knew how handsome he was.

"I'm too sexy for this pond."

Of course it's always fun to see the rarities, but as one of the people in the documentary Birders: The Central Park Effect said, if you get tired of looking at the common birds, you might as well hang up your binoculars. These birds are beautiful!

1 comment:

  1. I just LOVE this post! The photos and captions are great, and the message is perfect for me right now. I was just feeling all sad and forlorn as I realized, watching 4 young starlings pursuing a harried parent around the yard, that for many birds the nesting season is almost over for this year. The birds won't be singing as much. And, in the UP, the summer solstice means that the warblers' time with us is half gone for this year.'s true, my all-weather, all-seasons friends, like the chickadees, will still be here with me, to enjoy and love. Thanks for the post! MOM