Thursday, October 19, 2017

Little kings crowned and bejeweled

The final week of our "warm season" stay in Illinois drew to a close a bit earlier than in most years. We missed the peak of autumn color. It was forecast to be much more subdued this year because of the late-summer drought.

A few maples, at nearby Lippold Park in Batavia, stood out among the oaks...

Lippold Park color 2-20171009

...and one accented the pavillion:

Lippold Park pavillion 20171002

Usually our schedule permits us the opportunity, not only to witness the end of fall migration, but to see a variety of other northern "target" land bird species which spend their winters in NE Illinois. 

I hoped to see Fox Sparrows which usually arrive late in October, but which have posed for photos as early as October 7. Slate-colored Juncos and Purple Finches become abundant after mid-October.  Red-breasted Nuthatches are irregular migrants and may suddenly show up as early as August. American Tree Sparrows, Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings usually wait until November, although any of these birds might appear a month or more earlier. So far I had not seen any of the aforementioned species.

We had a lovely walk at Bliss Woods preserve in Sugar Grove, but saw few birds. Blackberry Creek provided a nice fence and reflection:

Blackberry Creek 02-20170919

Rain and family committments limited the opportunities for birding as our departure approached. Rather than focus on failure, let's talk about what we did see in early October. Among the warblers were...

Nashville Warbler:

Nashville Warbler 20171009

Black-throated Green Warbler:

Black-throated Green Warbler 01-20171009

Black-throated Green Warbler 03-20171009

The arrival of Yellow-rumped Warblers signals that the end of migration is approaching:

Yellow-rumped Warbler 01-20171010

As expected, some of the earlier-arriving northern sparrows were present, including the White-throated Sparrow...

White-throated Sparrow 04-20171005

...and White-crowned Sparrow. This is an immature:

White-crowned Sparrow immature 20171009

Speaking of crowns, the highlights of our final week were flocks of two kinglet species. They are very active and tiny and difficult to photograph as they flit among the leaves.  

The female Golden-crowned Kinglet has a yellow cap:

Golden-crowned Kinglet 03-20171010

Male Golden-crowned Kinglets have varying amounts of red in the center of the patch:

Golden-crowned Kinglet male 06-20171008

Golden-crowned Kinglet male 08-20171008

The red feathers may be retracted and become barely visible, as in this male:

Golden-crowned Kinglet male 01-20171010

Ruby-crowned Kinglets were present among the Golden-crowns. The males erect a red crest when excited or displaying to females or rivals, but they seem to be more placid during fall migration:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 02-20171010

Here is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet displaying this May, at almost the same spot in Nelson Lake preserve:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 01-20170507

My first photo of the precious ruby crown was taken at Lippold Park in April, 2010:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2-20100414

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

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 Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


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



  1. oh such a heavenly abundance of species...all beautiful!!

  2. Oh my gosh, I'm not really up on these birds but the little warblers are beautiful.

  3. I'd be thrilled if I could photograph this many birds here in Oregon Ken -- family and friends and other activities have kept us busy and away from birding days. Your summer home area is stunning.

  4. Lovely foliate and great bird photos!

  5. Another great series of photos. Gotta love those ruby crowns... outstanding captures!!

  6. Wow! All beautiful birds, but the last photo really wins the prize!

  7. Hello Ken, gorgeous shots of all the birds. I love the warblers, great sightings. The Kinglets are awesome captures, fantastic photos. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  8. Love the warbler with its head tilted ~ all wonderful photos of our feathered friends ^_^

    Love and light,
    A ShutterBug Explores ~ aka ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  9. Nice shots! It looks like a beautiful place.

  10. What a gorgeous place! Loved all the warblers and kinglets...stunning shots! But that ruby-crowned was the crowning touch!

  11. Such wonderful photos of all the warblers and sparrows! And the Kinglets as well. It is very hard to get photos of those fast moving smaller birds. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  12. lovely to see all these warblers, sparrows and kinglets

  13. I'm late visiting again. Busy with yard work - finally, tomorrow they are going
    to start replacing our fence sorely damaged by the, I want to note I appreciate your linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week!

    Extraordinary photos Ken!

  14. Great birds and colours - we are now deeply into spring - the garden stirs and butterflies return. Same world different season.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  15. All of these are so pretty, Ken! My favorite is the ruby crowned one. I also love the bright colored trees, since we get to see hardly any of these in California! Many thanks for sharing these with All Seasons! Am biased toward finches, they have such cuteness over them, hope get to see the purple ones sometime. Have a beautiful Fall week!

  16. This is an amazing variety of lovely feathered critters! Thanks for sharing all your gorgeous photos.

  17. Wonderful photos of the birds!
    Thanks for linking up at


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