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05/08/09
Spring birding: Something new every day
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Illinois, Birding "Patches"
Posted by: Ken @ 10:42 pm

We set out this morning to Lippold Park in Kane County, Illinois, hoping to see our first Scarlet Tanager of the year. For the past week we searched for them in vain. Today we were not disappointed, for within 15 minutes we heard its husky “robin with a sore throat” song. As it was early and overcast, and the bird kept to the treetops, nearly all my photos were badly backlit and showed little color or detail.

This shot was about the best I got:

ScarletTanager20090508

He took flight on translucent wings:

Scarlet Tanager Flying 20090508

We logged 37 bird species, several heard but not seen, and obtained few good photos because of the light conditions and the fact that many were small guys flitting in the treetops. A pair of resident Eastern Towhees were courting and calling loudly. They let us get quite close.

The male showed off the pattern on his back:

Eastern Towhee Male 20090508

In the female towhee, black is replaced with warm brown, no less beautiful:

Eastern Towhee Female 20090508

The male towhee provided me with my second flight capture of the morning:

Eastern Towhee Flying 20090508

A White-breasted Nuthatch peered inquisitively from his upside-down perch:

White-breasted Nuthatch 20090508

Later in the afternoon, I walked our daughter’s family Tibetan Mastiff, Agramonte, and birded Hawk’s Bluff Park in Batavia. Located along the western bank of Mill Creek, this new small park is host to varied habitats including a tall oak woodland, grasslands, stream and marsh. This afternoon’s dog walk yielded 43 bird species. The light had improved, so I did get a few nice photos.

A Baltimore Oriole gleaned the buds of a small tree, apparently eating insects, flower petals and drinking nectar.nectar:

Baltimore Oriole 20090508

This was the first oriole to hold still for a photo since we saw our first arriving migrant about a week ago:

Baltimore Oriole 20090508

Several Nashville Warblers with distinctive blue-gray heads and conspicuous shite eye rings flitted about in the understory:

Nashville Warbler 20090508

A Chipping Sparrow peered out from the shrubbery:

Chipping Sparrow 20090508

On the walk back to our daughter’s home, I watched as three Red-tailed Hawks interacted, perhaps competing for a mate.  A pair of Common Grackes harassed them as they flew to a nearby rooftop.

This Redtail screamed incessantly:

:Red-tailed Hawk 20090508

One of the grackles landed on top of a Redtail and appeared to be picking at a feather:

Grackle Attack 20090508

This Great Crested Flycatcher, hiding among the branches, was a nice find:

Great Crested Flycatcher 20090508

Here is a slide show of images I have captured at Hawk’s Bluff Park, some before a playground was added and its dedication last year–