Yesterday morning we paid a brief return visit to Lippold Park, just south of Batavia, off IL-31 on the east bank of the Fox River in Kane County, IL.
It was overcast, chilly and windy along the river. We heard a Northern Waterthrush, found a singing Warbling Vireo, saw several Yellow-rumped Warblers fighting the breese and darting in the treetops, and caught glimpses of several unidentified warblers. We photographed a House Wren, a Catbird and a Palm Warbler there, but soon walked inland to seek the shelter of the bike trail that connects Lippold with Glenwood Park to the north.
This turned out to be a good decision, for as soon as we started along the path, we saw a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak perched amid the blossoms of a flowering tree:
A little ways down, at about the same location where we saw the Cape May Warbler a couple of days ago, we heard the distinctive song of a Scarlet Tanager. To my ear it sounds like a Robin with a sore throat.
Since Mary Lou started birding only a few years ago, I have shared most of her new bird sightings. I find this almost as thrilling as when I first saw the same birds, many of them in my childhood. Just as I can remember many of my first sightings, her new “finds” also stand out in my memory.
She saw her first Scarlet Tanager at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The bird moved on rapidly and did not provide very satisfactory views. Yet, its brilliant red body and black wings made it impossible to mistake for any other North American bird. Later, when we were recapping our sightings for that day, Mary Lou did not include the Scarlet Tanager. Why? Because she did not see its tail and could not be sure of its color, whether black or red. As I noted in this blog entry (when Mary Lou reached her 500 life bird milestone last year) , her standards have since “deteriorated” to the level required by ABA under the rules of the “counting game.”
The Scarlet Tanager was high in tree, providing mostly “underbelly” views:
Scarlet Tanager turns his back to show his black tail:
Perhaps a female was nearby, as the bird was singing energetically:
The Scarlet Tanager flew towards us and passed directly overhead before disappearing from view:
This Catbird lurked in a thicket along the bank of the Fox River:
A Palm Warbler peeked out at us from the shrubbery. We take these “Florida sparrows” for granted back home in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, as they are one of the most common yard birds, but they are really beautiful when decked out in spring finery:
This House Wren’s bubbly song belied its small size: