Thursday, May 23, 2019

Crops & Clips: I saw a Sora

During our brief stay with our daughter's family in northeastern Illinois, I enjoyed watching the birds from the deck in their back yard. We had visits from local breeding birds and even one species which had not departed for its nesting grounds to the north.

Several White-crowned Sparrows brightened up the surroundings by perching on the fence:

White-crowned Sparrow 01-20190512

White-crowned Sparrow 02-20190512

The presence of black in front of their eyes (lores) and pinkish bills indicate that these belong to the East Tiaga population which breeds in the eastern Canadian tundra. They will soon be departing. One took a perch in a blooming cherry tree:

White-crowned Sparrow 06-20190512

Song Sparrows breed locally and were singing from the fence and nearby spruce trees:

Song Sparrow 03-20190512

Song Sparrow 01-20190512

Other visitors included Eastern Goldfinches. A female was eating the catkins of a birch tree (I learned that people can eat them too):

American Goldfinch female 02-20190509

Male House Finches were in full song...

House Finch 01-20190512

...and visited the freshly stocked feeder...

House Finch 03-20190512 did House Sparrows...

House Sparrow male 01-20180512

...and Brown-headed Cowbirds:

Brown-headed Cowbird 01-20190512

The fence also hosted a cooing Mourning Dove...
Mourning Dove 01-20190512

...and a male Northern Cardinal:

Northern Cardinal 02-20190512

Northern Cardinal 01-20190509

American Robins were starting to nest:

American Robin 20190509

A surprise visitor was a Blue-headed Vireo which posed for a few photos as it foraged among the buds and flowers:

Blue-headed Vireo 06-20190509

Blue-headed Vireo 03-20190509

I glanced out the kitchen window and saw that I was not the only one attracted to the yard birds. An immature Cooper's Hawk perched for a moment before plunging into a small bush after an unidentified bird. It was not successful and flew away empty-taloned. My photo is soft because I shot through the window:

Cooper's Hawk immature 02-20190511

Cooper's Hawk immature 01-20190511

My first venture outside was a single-minded search for a Sora in nearby Jones Meadow Park, which I hoped had already returned for the summer. They winter in Florida, but I rarely see them near our home. I succeeded, though my glimpse of one was momentary:

Sora 02-20190510

On a subsequent visit the Sora appeared at closer range but was very shy and elusive:

Sora 01-20190513

Sora 02-20190513

The cool outside air made me feel better. Seeing the Sandhill Cranes (described in my prior post) also lifted my spirits!

Back home in Florida, a rare Seasonal Blue Moon made its appearance on May 19. The more common "Blue Moon" occurs as the second full Moon in a month with two full Moons. This happens about once every two or three years. The Seasonal Blue Moon is the second of three full Moons which appear during one of the four seasons, in this case between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

The Seasonal Blue Moon descends in the southeastern sky just before sunrise over our local wetlands:

Full Seasonal Blue Moon 2-20190519

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. The Sora is a wonderful sighting! Love seeing the birds you've seen. Lots to see in FL right now! Enjoy your week!

  2. So many beautiful birds! Many of them live in my region, too.

  3. Your pictures are great! The Sora is a new bird to me.

  4. Lots of birds to enjoy. I used to get a song sparrow visiting during the winter but he didn't show up this last year. - Margy

  5. Impressed to see that hawk paying you a visit.

  6. Love the shots of the Cooper's Hawk, and also the White-crowned Sparrows! Have a great weekend.

  7. I read an article recently on new research on how migrating birds find their way. Quite incredible... it is connected with their vision, apparently. But it still did not answer the question of how they manage when they are over oceans and there is nowhere for them to rest. I wonder if they can do without sleep or if they can sleep with their eyes open.

  8. Hello. Beautiful birds. Great photos.

  9. A great collection of birds and pictures. My favourite is the White-crowned Sparrow.

  10. Hello, love the moon capture. The Sora is a cute bird, always nice to find one. The sparrows are all lovely, I have not seen a White-crowned Sparrow in a while. Neat capture of the Cooper's hawk. Your photos are always beautiful. Thanks for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for the comment and visit to my blog.

  11. Superb series of images, Ken! Any day I can see a Sora is a good day.

  12. To be able to sit on the deck and find all are living the good life! Loved seeing the blue mon also (it was cloudy here!)

    Thanks for stopping by I'd Rather B Birding this weekend, and sharing your birds!

  13. Excellent pics! The reflection is top notch!

  14. and the Sora saw you! A see-sora maybe!!

    cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

  15. I am impressed with the hawk. I have one in my backyard, but he or she hasn't ever come that close to our house. They did eat the koi fish out of my neighbors pond though.

  16. Wow, all these birds in your daughter's garden! Regularly see birds with big wingspans fly over and circling (probably vultures?) A great post for All Seasons, Ken! Many thanks for your kind comment about mentoring on the All Seasons' post:)


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