Saturday, May 31, 2014

Catching up with migration

Although our granddaughter Graciela summed up her Florida visit very nicely in her recent guest blog, I had to cut her words short before she really got into describing the sights in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, Florida. 

Here are a few images from this marvelous place. Unfortunately each of our three stops in the Refuge occurred at time of high or incoming tide, not good timing for wading birds. Yet, we got to see...

...Roseate Spoonbills...

Roseate Spoonbills 2-20140422

...Least Sandpipers...

Least Sandpipers 20140422

...Semiplamated Plovers...

Semipalmated Plovers 20140422

...Spotted Sandpipers (this one was stalking a crab)...

Spotted Sandpiper stalking 20140422

...and a stunning Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal 2-20140422

OK, I'm boring you but I must share this photo of a mischievous Fish Crow caught in the act of raiding a bicyclist's camera bag.

Fish Crow mischief 20140422

I obtained a mug shot of the culprit.

Fish Crow 20140422

Upon returning to the wetlands next to our Florida home I captured a pleasant image of three young White-tailed Deer. The wind was in my favor and they stared at me for a long time before bolting off (click on the image for a slide show of many more photos in my FLICKR collection).

Whitail Deer 2 bucks 1 doe 2-20140427

There followed our unplanned trip to Arizona for the memorial Mass of Celebration of the  life of Mary Lou's brother, who passed away on Easter Sunday. From Phoenix we flew directly to our second home in NE Illinois. Migration in Florida had been rather slow in our neighborhood, so I looked forward to catching up with the northbound songbirds.

Listen to the bird sounds in this brief video clip, along the shore of the Fox River in Batavia, Illinois. If it does not display in the space below, visit this link

Blue Violets, the State Flower of Illinois, were blooming profusely.

Blue Violet 2-20140505

We were greeted by numerous Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a species that had migrated away from Florida during the the previous weeks. This one looked a bit perturbed by my presence.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 20140505

Yellow-rumped Warblers had exchanged their drab plumage for spring colors.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 20140506

At nearby Nelson Lake/Dick Young Forest Preserve the Yellow Warblers were singing profusely.

Yellow Warbler 20140507

This Yellow Warbler inspected the undersides of the leaves in search of insects.

Yellow Warbler upside-down 2-20140507

Wilson's Warblers wore their black skull caps.

Wilson's Warbler 20140510

Baltimore Orioles showed off their blazing colors.

Baltimore Oriole 20140512

Black-throated Green Warblers passed through in good numbers.

Black-throated Green Warbler 6-20140506

Boldly patterned Black-and-White Warblers did head stands as they explored the twigs for insect prey.

Black-and-White Warbler 3-20140506

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks filled the air with persistent warbling song.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 20140504

Flocks of Bobolinks appeared in the prairies. This male sang and displayed to a female hidden in the grass below.

Bobolink display 20140521 

The three primary colors were represented, first by the Scarlet Tanagers...

Scarlet Tanager 20140520

...then by the Indigo Buntings...

Indigo Bunting 20140520

...and finally by the American Goldfinches.

American Goldfinch 2-20140521


  1. I never did get to see a Bobolink in our area this spring. Bummer. I must say tho, that blue gray gnatcatcher image you the eye rings!!

    You added your Eagle Nest link today [from last week....] and this is your newest post, so hope you don't mind...I'm gonna add this one to our linking at Bird D'Pot.

  2. This post is a bird lover's dream come true! Such a marvellous variety and so beautifully photographed. So many of my favourites here Phil! The roseate, the warblers, love that black and white, grosbeak, oriole, tanager, bunting...gosh all lovely!

  3. LOL. I was so excited with your post, I called you Phil... sorry Ken!

  4. Fabulous photos as always. I had to laugh at the mug shot. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Wonderful series and post. The birds are all gorgeous. And the deer are pretty. Happy weekend!

  6. each and every photograph a winner; loved this post!

  7. Great selection!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

  8. Beautiful birds. You have got amazing variety.

  9. Superb post, Ken! How neat to be able to observe "both ends" of the spring migration. I'm jealous of all your warbler photos showing breeding plumages!

  10. What beautiful shots. I love the photo of the Bobolink on the post.

  11. The most incredible collection ... you are fortunate indeed to be able to see the migrating birds from both places. Wonderful. I've never seen a bobolink ... wasn't even sure what one looked like. I love this post.

    Ken -- your link on WBW says you have a post on little blue herons but that link appears to be broken... I couldn't access it from there or from my Feedly. (Not that this post alone isn't more than enough and probably the best post on WBW.... just thought you might like to know!

  12. This post is like a bird ID book! My goodness but the variety of birds is amazing! And all your photos fantastic! I am so impressed. I still have a long way to go to catch up with you real birders! Love the violets too. really beautiful. Glad you got to come to AZ for the memorial service too.

  13. Such a variety of great colors and information.

  14. HI Kenneth A BIG WOW! This post has spectacular photographs on it and I loved them all. I thought the drrr was so beuatiful and I looked them running away seeing the white on their tails

  15. That male Boblink looks like he's wearing a wig. Wonderful photos. I'm originally from South Florida, but I didn't become interested in birdwatching until I moved to Australia. It's lovely to see photos of these. I haven't seen them in years.

  16. Great set of pictures - I think the deer shots could be classed as a little better than "pleasant"!

    Three weeks out of phone range - what a treat - and it bodes well for pictures!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne


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