Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sora Happy To See You Again

 Our first sighting of a Sora this year was on a bird walk at McHenry Dam led by Karen Lund.
I highly recommend joining one of her walks.
Lots of birds, good company and a great learning experience.
I saw my first Yellow-throated Warbler on this walk. Their song is beautiful. 
The Sora however was my favorite sighting during this walk.
My husband and I saw our first Sora in May 2009 at Afton Prairie.
He found the bird during a walk on my birthday.
We didn't know what it was at the time which made thumbing through our field guides very exciting. 

This walk at McHenry Dam was on April 14, 2012. I was busy phographing a sweet grebe couple when my husband proclaims "Sora!" The group quickly formed around him eyes peeled. A huge smile grew across my face as I caught sight of it. The memory of him finding it for me on my birthday a few years before came flooding back. Both times we saw a Sora he was the one to find it.
This time we knew exactly what it was!

Swamp Sparrow can usually be seen foraging along with Sora. We saw this one later on the same visit to McHenry Dam.

Soras are shy and like marshy areas with shallow water areas.

 They can often be seen along the edges of the marshy waters foraging.

Each time we have viewed them they quietly walk along flitting their tail up and down as they move along the edge of the shallow water. Up and down, up and down, fun to watch.

Here it is entering a secluded little cove like entry into the marshy grasses.

 These last two views are from our May 2009 sighting. My birthday bird sighting from my husband. 
A life sighting for us at the time. It was so close to us we could have touched it. It payed absolutely no attention to us as we stood on the side of the marshy water watching. Up and down went it's tail as it foraged along the edge minding it's own. We were breathless and couldn't wait to dig into our field guides. In 2009 the Sora was on the same side of marshy water we were on. This year it was on the farther side of the marsh.. still wonderful views and breathtaking to watch :)
Sora happy to see you again this year.  We enjoyed wonderful views at both places this year and our fond memories attached to sightings of this bird continue. 
 McHenry Dam and Afton Prairie are both wonderful places to birdwatch in Illinois.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Common Loon Visits DeKalb

A lovely Loon visits a park just a few blocks from my home.
Rotary Park is small but luckily attracted this Common Loon
while on it's migration path. I was thrilled by a report that DeKalb
was a chosen stop by this beautiful water bird.

It peacefully preened, stretched out it's wings then went back to preening
for quite a while as I stood quietly smiling on the edge of the pond while watching.

Then suddenly without warning it went from still to warp speed running across the pond.
I actually held my breath for a short moment while watching it run on top of the pond.
Outside of four Mallard and one Pied-billed Grebe the Loon had the run of the pond so to speak.

There is another small pond behind the main pond here. As I stood at the entrance to the pond,
the Loon suddenly flew over my head and landed in the water.
Within a minute it caught a fish and gobbled it down right in front of me!
The sun was facing the wrong direction for a good photo. I took pictures anyway.
I used my no time to think motto ... shoot now edit later.
These shots are really lightened up but I'm okay with that.
I love them because of the memory that is attached.

After the Loon ate the fish, it moved back farther toward the other side of the pond
and caught a larger fish. It was so big it took the Loon a few minutes to get it down.

A very satisfied Loon resumes a peaceful visit to a local pond in DeKalb, Illinois.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Breath Of Fresh Air

As spring begins melodies of the Red-winged Blackbird enter the air.

This male Red-winged Blackbird chose just the right perch for displaying his bright red shoulder patches at Afton Prairie. He sang note after note to impress the ladies on Crego road in Dekalb, Illinois. I couldn't resist stopping for this concert. What a wonderful way to start a season. 

Migrating waterfowl begin to occupy the ponds, swampy areas and lakes. 
These Northern Shoveler stopped by for a visit to Afton Prairie in DeKalb Illinois.

It was a good month for seeing Northern Shoveler.  
Lake Shabbona attracted many this spring.

 Longer daylight hours brighten your mood each spring.
The bright orange breast on the welcome Robin brings yet another smile.

A busy little chipmunk pauses on a log at Lake Shabbona as he gathers last years walnuts. 
Signs of new growth begin to bud and leaf on this years newest walnut trees nearby.

My first warbler of the season Yellow-rumped Warbler at Lake Shabbona, Illinois. I am also still seeing Junco on 3/20/12.

 Buds begin to burst into bloom and share a splash of color to the new season.
Birds sing, hikers hike and dreams of more time spent outside begin to grow.

Fermilab is located just outside Batavia, Ilinois between Route 59 and Kirk road... another great place to bird watch.

A shot of my birding buddy and husband. 
We heard then finally saw our first of year Eastern Meadow Lark this March at Fermilab
It's song was lovely!

A very busy Black-capped Chickadee spring cleans it's new nest site
and adds the promise of new life to the season.

My favorite part of spring is new birds. This was my first time seeing an Eastern Towhee.
He sang to his sweetheart in one bush while she responded in like just a few bushes away.
The sweet sounds of spring echo .... spring on!

Please visit 
Shabbona Lake State Park is just 30 min south of DeKalb, IL
 You can enjoy fishing, hiking, boating, birdwatching, camping. Go explore!
Check the nature section for posts each month on my time spent in their wonderful park.