Here in Illinois, the trees are almost completely leafed out. This, combined with a series of overcast days, has made it difficult for me to ID warblers high in the trees. Resident birds now dominate the scene, the more colorful of which are Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings.
Mary Lou and I have visited our local “patches” nearly every morning, hoping not to miss the spring migration warbler bonanza. Frankly, too many of the warblers we encountered ended up in the “unidentified” column. This morning I saw an Orange-crowned Warbler in Hawk’s Bluff Park, Batavia, Illinois.
Hawk’s Bluff Park observation and fishing deck on a bend of Mill Creek:
The broken eye ring, yellow undersides and grayish head help distinguish the Orange-crowned Warbler from other similar warblers such as Common Yellowthroat and female Yellow Warbler:
While I was trying (unsuccesfully) to get photos of a small flock of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, these two Gray Catbirds suddenly appeared. They were displaying and interacting in a manner that suggested courtship rather than hostility, but they flew off before I could better interpret their actions.
This image makes it look like an angry confrontation, but they did not attack each other and seemed to be engaged in a mating ritual or “dance’ (click on the photo for another view):
Nearby, an Indigo Bunting appeared to be jumping for joy:
A Red-tailed Hawk floated overhead:
American Redstarts were the most common of the warblers at Hawk’s Bluff:
From the south end of Hawk’s Bluff, two eaglets are clearly visible in this shot of the Mooseheart nest, the first in Kane County since DDT was abolished in the 1970s:
An Eastern Kingbird appears ever vigilant…
…while an Eastern Phoebe seems to be at peace with the world:
A third species of flycatcher, this Great Crested, calls from the upper canopy:
A White-eyed Vireo sings his heart out:
At Jones Meadow Park near our North Aurora home, we often heard and sometimes caught glimpses of several Soras that nest in the wetlands. This time I was lucky. High water had forced them up the berm near the trail. It was difficult to focus on them through the high grass, but two ventured so close to me that I could not get their entire bodies in my viewfinder.
This Sora walked right out in the open, almost at my feet (click on photo for more views):
Also at Jones Meadow, this Northern Cardinal seems to be wearing a set of false teeth! On closer examination, his mouth is full of seeds, probably intended for a nestling:
Sporting a bright reddish cap, a Chipping Sparrow visited the play area at Jones Meadow Park:
A late White-crowned Sparrow pecked at dandelion seeds along the path:
The sparrow missed this perfect dandelion seed head:
A Tree Swallow guards its nest box:
Wildflowers add their color to the scene…
This afternoon, as I was cooking a BBQ at our daughter’s home, a Savannah Sparrow put in an appearance in their back yard: