Rosyfinch Ramblings
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September 2012
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Birding Bliss (Woods)
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Illinois, Birding "Patches", Wild Bird Wednesday, Bird D'pot
Posted by: Ken @ 5:45 am

This family of Sandhill Cranes visited our front yard several times over the past month. The two colts lack the red on their foreheads.

Sandhill Crane family 2-20120812

Earlier this month, the weather radar showed that migration had continued into the morning. Our condo is located a few miles east of the Interstate 88 highway logo on the maps, below. With visions in our heads of warblers dropping out of the sky, Mary Lou and I set out to visit Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, a 10 minute drive from our second home in NE Illinois.

This was the Chicago radar display on September 6, 2012, at 5:33 AM. Skies were clear and there was only a slight breeze from the southwest.

The velocity image shows that targets were moving from north to south despite the prevailing wind pattern– quite a biomass of migrating birds.

Although we had heard about good birding in this small preserve, this was to be our first visit. We found a nice variety of habitats, from patches of prairie to mature hardwood stands.

A creek crosses the bottomlands.

Bliss Woods HDR 20120908

Trails are paved and provide access to some nice viewing areas, such as this savannah.

Bliss Woods2 HDR 20120908

We immediately found a flock of about a dozen warblers, mostly Black-throated Greens. They weaved in and out of sight among the leaves of a large oak tree.

Black-throated Green Warbler 20120906
Black-throated Green Warbler 2-20120906

Black-throated Green Warbler 3-20120906

I captured this poor photo of a Magnolia Warbler.

Magnolia Warbler 20120906

There were also several American Redstarts flitting about, almost impossible to catch in the camera’s eye.

American Redstart 20120906

The movements of redstarts are totally unpredictable. Many of my shots merely showed empty branches…

American Redstart 2-20120908

…or a blur.

Redstart in motion 20120908

Although I had previously seen Golden-winged Warblers, they provided me with my first images of the species.

Golden-winged Warbler 2-20120906

Golden-winged Warbler 20120906

Among the non-warblers, my first-photographed Philadelphia Vireo was a prized find.

Philadelphia Vireo 20120906

This view shows the dark marks that extend through and in front of the Philadelphia Vireo’s eye, which along with its brighter yellow underparts, distinguish it from the more common Warbling Vireo.

Philadelphia Vireo 3-20120906

Another fairly uncommon migrant bird was this Olive-sided Flycatcher, roosting high atop the bare branches of a dead tree.

Olive-sided Flycatcher 2-20120906

We saw several southbound Swainson’s Thrushes.

Swainson's Thrush 20120908

An immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak posed nicely.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 20120906

A Gray Catbird showed off its rust-colored crissum.

Gray Catbird 20120906

A Hairy Woodpecker, distinguished from the smaller Downy Woodpecker by its relatively longer bill and lack of barring on its outer tail feathers, foraged on the trunk of a small tree.

Hairy Woodpecker 20120908