Friday, September 25, 2009

Nashville Warbler

Fall Migration seems to be picking up based on the variety of birds that are hanging out in Grant Park. Here is the Nashville Warbler. I think he might have arrived a little too early -- next week is the Country Music Fest in Grant Park.

(Click to Enlarge)
But he's still on time for the morning yoga sessions. Here he is doing a side triangle pose.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cardinal Phases

I don't mean to be mean but young cardinals did not fair well in the plumage department. It's one thing to be drab, as many juvenile and/or non-breeding versions of birds are. It's another to be mottled and splotchy.

Perhaps it is like the gawky teenager who becomes a model - it's just a phase they have to go through. And they seem to sense it, too. The ones in Grant Park were squawking up a storm earlier this month. It was almost as if they were all commiserating about how pitiful they looked in comparison to the adult birds.

But then they finish changing colors and they are the most brilliant, sleek red.

You better not post this picture.
I'm not in my good outfit yet.

Can't you wait until I've completely
changed colors to take my picture?

Don't look at me!
Almost there ...
Who? Me?
Mottled red and gray?
That was some OTHER bird.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Down by the Shore

A trio of shore birds spent Labor Day at Montrose Beach (along with the seagulls, volleyball players, and sunbathers)

This Sanderling looks big ...

... until you see it in perspective to a plastic cup. He's a small guy but large for sandpipers.

When it is sitting, the Least Sandpiper looks a lot like a Semipalmated Sandpiper ...
... but when it is up and about you can see the distinguishing greenish legs.
So happy to be back in Chicago, this little Semipalmated Plover ...
... broke into a high-kicking chorus line routine.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

Totally surprised by a Cooper's Hawk just sitting quietly in a shrub in the Magic Hedge by Montrose today. We knew one was in the area as we saw it last week in a "flyby". But it is so much more satisfying to be able to watch one, close up, for awhile.

It eventually flew over to a taller tree and kept an eye out - in all directions - for brunch. There was also a kestrel in the area (we only saw it as a "swoopby", though). Two raptors in the area sure kept the warblers, flycatchers, and sparrows on their toes. They were all fairly quiet and kept somewhat still and hidden behind leaves. The notable exception were the goldfinch. They never are quiet -- I think they are singing out "We taste like lemons - you don't want to eat us." ;)