Saturday, June 7, 2014

May 2014 Birds

I didn't expect my first May with a baby to be so productive but with relatively few trips, I happened to make them on the right days, right places.  Feeling pretty good about it.

My long-awaited Prothonotary Warbler was spotted at Skokie Lagoons after Jerry guided us through the flooded, wooded lake's edge.  As the male suddenly flew in close I got greedy and lifted my camera spooking the bird.  So I failed at getting a good long stare or a photo. >: / (Here's a video I found on YouTube) But with that bright yellow it's quite hard to miss.  Such a beauty...  I'm not sure why I wanted to see this one so badly but then turned my nose up at waiting around LaBagh Woods for a glimpse of the much more elusive worm-eating warbler.  Perhaps it's the huge, dark eyes that contrast with the consistently soft yellow head, neck, and chest. The blue-gray wings and white underbelly.  Looks a little cartoony.  And, we're at the far northern range of their breeding territory so not-so-common.  They're the only eastern warbler to nest in tree cavities.  And their "sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet" song is about what you'd expect.

Anyway, others worth noting..  My favorite new spot produced a female Scarlet Tanager and my first Hooded Warbler (pair) :O.  I was at LaBagh Woods May 13th around 9am before work. Dropped W off with Lhatso and got in probably my best solo session ever.  Such a serene setting and trail.  The slope down to the river allows for good visibility (compared to areas where you have to look up into tall trees).  Perfect temp. and amount of shade with just enough sunlight for some decent shots.  Once I saw a birdy spot I just leaned against a tree with camera up and waited.  It's an intense feeling to start seeing exactly what you came for but then lose it...  finally see it again, struggle to ID another at the same time,  then hold your breath while trying to capture an image.  Birds popped everywhere - chestnut-sided warblers, hooded warblers, magnolia and wilson's warblers, canada warblers, scarlet tanagers, redstarts, blue-winged teals, thrushes, great-crested flycatchers, eastern phoebes, the list goes on.

Almost a week later, I was lucky enough to show up at Montrose on what a bunch of pros were calling the birdiest day of the year - May 19th around 9am.  I didn't write down my list, but saw tons of warblers.  I caught a brief glimpse of a Connecticut Warbler and then saw my first Clay-colored Sparrow.

And, finally, a fairly entertaining wounded display from a Killdeer at Montrose Beach .  Not the greatest pics but you get the idea.  This adult was acting all broken-winged and unable to fly away, slowly moving away from me hoping I'd follow.  Apparently I'd come to close to its nesting site.  Pretty goofy-looking theatrics.  (oh, and on this day I had some company <3)

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