Thursday, October 8, 2015

Late summer birds in Illinois

As our summer sojourn in NE Illinois drew to a close, we enjoyed two weeks of nearly perfect weather. The cool nights permitted us to sleep with the windows open, and days were fair with high temperatures in the mid 70s F ( ~24 C).

Almost every morning we got out to visit local parks and preserves, especially Nelson Lake/Dick Young Marsh  Forest Preserve in nearby Batavia.  The entry path begins at this old silo:

Nelson Lake East entry path HDR 20150916

The path leads to a platform which overlooks the lake:

Observation deck at Nelson Lake HDR 20150920

A Mute Swan swam along the opposite shore:

Mute Swan on Nelson Lake HDR 20150920

A Red-tailed hawk wheeled overhead:

Red-tailed Hawk 20150921

A migrating Broad-winged Hawk passed high in the sky:

Broad-winged Hawk distant 20150915

Black-capped Chickadees scolded from the treetops:

Black-capped Chickadee 20150921

A Chestnut-sided Warbler unexpectedly lingered for several photos:

Chestnut-sided Warbler 2-20150916

Chestnut-sided Warbler 20150916

Chestnut-sided Warbler 4-20150916

Bumblebees gathered pollen:

Bumblebee 2-20150921

A Nashville Warbler foraged for insects in a daisy patch:

Nashville Warbler in daisies 3-20150921

Nashville Warbler in daisies 2-20150921

Tennessee Warblers were hard to follow as they weaved through the foliage:

Tennessee Warbler 7-20150916

Tennessee Warbler 20150916

Other migrants passing through included a Swainson's Thrush,...

Swainson's Thrush 20150920

...flocks of Cedar Waxwings, such as these posted next to the observation deck,...

Cedar Waxwings 20150916

...and this handsome immature waxwing:

Cedar Waxwing immature 20150920

The arrival of Yellow-rumped Warblers from the north is a sign the warbler migration has passed its peak, and we can therefore expect that back home in Florida the best is yet to come:

Yellow-rumped Warbler 20150923

Resident male Eastern Goldfinches were trading their brilliant yellow for somber winter garb:

American Goldfinch molting 20150921

Late breeders, the goldfinches were still feeding their fledglings:

American Goldfinch feeding fledglings 2-20150921

At Lippold Park across the Fox River from our home, the small boardwalk provided an excellent vantage point for warbler-watching,...

Lippold Park2 HDR 20150913 a family of Wood Ducks in eclipse plumage dabbled in the duckweed-coated pond:

Wood Ducks immature 20150913

This Blackburnian Warbler perched next to the pond, ...

Blackburnian Warbler 20150914

...followed by a somewhat similar Black-throated Green Warbler:

Black-throated Green Warbler 2-20150914

A Ruby-throated Humnmingbird sipped nectar from the flower of a pond-side Pickerelweed:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3-20150914

A pair of Northern Flickers (the male has the mustache) acted as if it were six months earlier. Perhaps the autumnal equinox triggered a "second spring:"

Northern Flickers 20150913

Back home in Florida, the uniform white FENCES pierced the pre-dawn darkness along the 196th Avenue Canal:

196th Canal before sunrise HDR 20150929

On the still waters of the canal, the lily pads seemed to float in the air amid the REFLECTIONS of the clouds:

Lily Pad Reflections 20150929


  1. Wow Ken, what gorgeous scenery. Terrific bird shots. I saw my first chestnut sided warbler this summer! Didn't get as great shots as you. Fabulous sky capture!

  2. beautiful sky and reflection shots! adorable warblers, love the flickers. neat broad-wing!!

  3. Wow, that's a great shot of the lily pads in the sunset reflection. Good eye!

  4. Wow, what an amazing trip. The more birds, the better the trip--that's my motto! Great captures. That sky and the reflections left me oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing.

  5. So many wonderful birds, The hawks always catch my eye and those wax wings.
    Your sky & reflection shots are beautiful. I think that platform area looks like a great place to watch for birds and other wildlife.

  6. A wonderful post once again. I loved my journey through it being excited as yet another beauty appeared beffore you to photograph. However the last 2 images were the gorgeous icing on the cake. Have a great week Kenneth.

  7. Amazing birding everywhere you go. My first waxwing sighting was my favorite first ever, so your perfect picture has to be my favorite here today as well.

  8. Hello Ken, beautiful post and images. The warblers are awesome and I love the gorgeous sky shots. The Cedar Waxwings are another favorite.
    Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  9. fabulous photos and a glorious reflection!

  10. Your post has so many lovely shots, just breathtaking!

  11. Such a lovely place! Loved the hawk and the songbirds! Loved that fat bee! And your parting shot with the waterlilies was a watercolor!

  12. Wow - you got some incredible bird photos! What a great place that was. Loved the last shot - I a agree - looks like a watercolor painting.

  13. That Red-tailed hawk shot is spectacular. Love seeing all those warblers!

  14. I see the warblers are out doing their people-watching. You have so many! I never see warblers here, such cute little birds. That Florida sunrise is really ablaze, and the lilypads seeming to float in the sky are so ethereral. You must be excited to be back in Florida, Kenneth.

  15. Amazing bird images and very enjoyable skies and reflections. A wonderful post indeed!

  16. Hello Ken!:) I'm in awe of the amount and variety of birds on your post. Wonderful sightings and beautiful captures of everything.The hawk in flight shot is really awesome, but I enjoyed seeing all the birds I could never see where I live.

  17. Hello Ken I wasn't sure if my comment went through so I'm commenting again. I am in awe of the amount and variety of beautiful birds you saw and photographed. I enjoyed seeing all your captures from the wonderful in flight shot of the Hawk to the lovely reflections of the Lillypads. Everything was a treat to see, thankyou for sharing.

  18. I always enjoy my visits and this one is all wonderful. Love the hawk in flight, well all of them are spectacular~

  19. So many beautiful photos, I am very jealous of all the "new world" warblers, they are so much more colourful and exciting (it seems anyway) than the European warblers.

  20. Fabulous collection! I love the flight shot of the hawk.

  21. That one of the lily pads looks like it is two photos merged. Really nice shots of the flickers.


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