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!"|
|"They grow up so fast!"|
|"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!