After a lackluster early spring migration season in south Florida, I looked forward to catching up with the northbound warblers in northeastern Illinois. With each passing year I feel added urgency to make the most of every spring and fall. Now it seems that most of the warblers have also bypassed my summer home. In past years, fair numbers of warblers have shown up in local parks and forest preserves.
The warblers have left me high and dry, so instead of a taxonomic species list, I am compiling a color palette. What is prettier than a rainbow? Meet my friend ROY G BIV.
Northern Cardinal, of course!
Thankfully, there have been many Scarlet Tanagers here in Illinois this spring.
Both the red and the black of the Scarlet Tanager can be challenging for photographers, myself included, as the feather details tend to wash out.
This first year male Summer Tanager was a surprise visitor to the local Norris Woods Nature Preserve. They usually don’t venture this far north. He sang like a seasoned veteran, making him easy to find in the treetops. Getting a shot of his entire body among the leaves was another matter.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak qualifies in the “Red” category…
…as does this Red-bellied Woodpecker, whose head attracts much more attention than his undersides.
Of course, the Baltimore Oriole belongs in this category,…
…as does the Monarch Butterfly.
More subdued, the Eastern Question Mark gets its name from a very inconspicuous identification mark.
The undersides of the Question Mark make it invisible among dry leaves and tree bark, but this view shows the signature punctuation mark on its right wing (partially obscured by the flower on the left). Use your imagination.
This one is easy! An American Goldfinch
Yellow Warblers are nesting and singing in the shrubby fields at Aurora West Forest Preserve.
Common Yellowthroats are reclusive, tantalizing us with loud songs from nearby thickets, but rarely coming out into the open.
This morning I photographed three Eastern Meadowlarks in full song. Here’s one.
Although it is just a spot of color, it is enough to earn the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron its name.
A Tiger Swallowtail certainly belongs here too.
I haven’t seen a green bird in Illinois this year, but shot this Female Painted Bunting back in Florida.
In fairness to the female, I will place this male Painted Bunting in this category, though he could fit in at least three.
I captured this free-falling Orange-crowned Warbler here in Illinois in the autumn of 2011
I’m pretty sure this is a Clouded Sulphur, though I left my butterfly field guides back in Florida.
Unless you look closely, this bird appears to be a GINO (green in name only), a Black-throated Green Warbler.
Though I’ve seen plenty of these guys here, none posed as nicely as this one that I shot in Florida before departing for Illinois.
Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly, a tiny sprite but very colorful when it shows the top of its wings.
I had to reach into the archives again, for this pair of male Boat-tailed Grackles in our Florida back yard
Common Grackles are, well, common in Illinois.
The State Flower of Illinois is the Blue Violet, so this is actually a VINO.