Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring migration is underway

We endured a wet and windy two weeks in Chicagoland until weather conditions changed to favor northbound migrants. Finally, the clouds disappeared, and we visited Nelson Lake/Dick Young Marsh Forest Preserve in Batavia. However, the northerly wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour nearly knocked us over and drove the birds into hiding. The trees had not yet leafed out as we walked to the observation platform at the edge of the lake, on April 28:

Nelson Lake HDR 20150428

 Although winds abated for a while, the next day we had similarly bad luck along the shores of the Fox River at Lippold Park:

Fox River to south HDR 20150429

While waiting for the sunshine, we did take advantage of breaks in the rain to visit the Bald Eagle nest only about a mile from our second home. This is the second nest that they have occupied, both on the grounds of the Mooseheart residential school. The first nest, initially occupied in 2005, collapsed in 2013 before the two eaglets were ready for flight. An attempt to replace the nest with a platform in an adjacent tree was not accepted and the young birds grounded themselves for a second time. They were captured and successfully rehabilitated.

Here they are at the first nest in June, 2010:

Adult over nest 20100604

Our two Illinois granddaughters observed the first nest, back in 2012:

Nietas watching eagles 2-20121118

The next year the pair relocated and successfully raised three eaglets:

Mooseheart three eaglets 20140521

The nest tree is in the center of a paved parking lot (taken May 24, 2014 -- note the green foliage):

Bald Eagle nest 20140521

Bald Eagles DETAIL 20150429

This year they were reported to have three young, but so far I could see only one. I am concerned about the apparent declining health of the nest tree, here photographed on April 27, 2015:

Bald Eagle on nest 20150427

One of the adults feeds an eaglet:

Bald Eagle feeding eaglet on nest 20150427

Bald Eagle on nest 3-20150427

By May 7, the eldest of the three owlets at Fabyan Park in Geneva had fledged, and the larger of its two younger siblings seemed almost ready to fly:

Great Horned Owl owlets 3-20150507

Great Horned owlet Portrai 20150507

GHO owlet HDR 20150507

I did not obtain a good view of the oldest owl, high in an adjacent oak tree:

Great Horned Owl owlet 2-20150507

One of the parents roosted just under the newly fledged youngster:

Great Horned Owl adult 2-20150507

At Hickory Knolls nature center in St. Charles, a male Eastern Bluebird rested on a nest box:

Bluebird HDR 20150501

At Bliss Woods Nature Preserve in Sugar Mound, a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were busily constructing the foundation of their spherical nest of lichens and spider silk:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at nest in progress 20150502

Color has returned to the preserve, notably...

Baltimore Orioles...

Baltimore Oriole 20150502 early Warbling Vireo...

Warbling Vireo 2-20150506

(Anni take note-- here is my "carbon copy" of your Warbling Vireo!)

Warbling Vireo 20150506

..and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4-20150502

Listen to the grosbeak's energetic song. If the video fails to load in the space below, CLICK HERE:

More wildflowers! I was waiting to see the Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria:

Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria 20150502

Phlox - Phlox divaricata:

 Phlox - Phlox divaricata 20150502

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura


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



  1. hello Ken, great collection of birds and images.. Your post are always a treat to see. I love the eagles, owls and the Oriole.. Have a happy day!

  2. my connection is terrible today so several photos wouldn't load for me. liked your two cute grands looking at the eagle's nest. and always great bird shots you provide!

  3. Hi Ken, I Loved this post. Your photos are spectacular!! My birding friend spotted an Oriole in town yesterday, and the Grosbeaks should be arriving soon. LOVE their song: so melodious.

  4. Wonderful photos, and nice video of the grosbeak. That tree looks like it is about dead...I wonder if the eagles will build a new nest.

    Notice the the Chicago you ever drive down to the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife area in Indiana. The Sandhill cranes pass through there in the spring and fall. We have only ever been in the spring. That is southeast of Chicago. We live just north of Terre Haute, Indiana and it is about a 2 hr. drive for us. We also go to Willow Slough. It is in Indiana but is right on the Illinois border...We see eagles there, And one yr. husband took a friend up there and they saw pelicans.

  5. Great set of images again, Ken. I love those owls!

  6. Great photos - those eagles are amazing!

  7. My there was so much to see here and it was wonderful. I so love seeing the Eagles. That tree does seem to be rather sickly looking. Also the photos of the owls were delightful and I enjoyed the pretty wildflowers too.

  8. How fantastic to observe the Bald Eagles! I agree, the nesting tree looks a bit worrisome - I hope the nest doesn't have to collapse again. The owlets (Great Horned?) are cute. Thank you for linking to the video with the singing of the Rose Breasted Grosbeak - it sounds lovely!

  9. An amazing presentation of such interesting things.

  10. Eagles and owlets and songbirds oh my! What an amazing spring! Our" eaglet flew away earlier this month and Harriet is being courted by another male.

  11. Wonderful photos of the eagles, owls and songbirds! Beautiful!

  12. Wow - another superb series of shots.

  13. Glad your migration is underway. Great stots of the Eagles and Owls. Love the song of the Goshawk. The Orille a stunning bird. Have a great weekend Kenneth.

  14. How special to watch the eagles nesting.

  15. Great shots of the Eagles. The nesting tree does not look healthy. Love the cute owlets. I've seen a Red-breasted Grosbeak only twice here. I'll have to listen for its lovely song.

  16. I love the little birds you captured, but I especially love the owl shots!

  17. Hello ken, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  18. The sky is so beautiful in the top two photos! Nice shots! Today I saw a bald eagle carrying a fish in it's talons. Pretty cool. :-)

  19. Gorgeous photos! I love the eagles and the owls. Such handsome birds.

  20. Such a wonderful collection of birds and flowers!
    Have a Beautiful Day!!
    Peace :)

  21. Most definitely a 'carbon copy' of the warbling vireo.

    It's nice to see all the "Spring" they're beginning to leave our area already.

    And gorgeous mama/papa/baby images all the way around.

  22. The Bald Eagle is such a beast of a bird. Love all your images.

  23. The owls and eagles are so majestic! I hope the tree for the nesting eagles will recover. Very nice images and exciting spottings. The Baltimore Oriole is a real treat!

  24. What a fantastic series... I adore the owls, and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing his song.


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