Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cold front enters the area-May 30, 2012

Great Blue Heron-5/30/12-HC
Hairy Woodpecker female with fecal sac-5/30/12-HC
12 Spot Dragonfly-HC
A cold front came in last night and birding was light today. Just a few Redstarts and one Blackpoll appear to remain in the area. The Hairy Woodpecker pictured above is conveniently located just east of the Darrow Bridge. Lot's of dragonflies today and a nice Great Blue Heron.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Getting hot and humid today-May 27, 2012

Chipping Sparrow-May 27, 2012-HC
An interesting day as Lake Shore Drive was closed for biking in the morning. I spent an hour at the Darrow Bridge. A Prothonotary Warbler darted past me early. Then I watched 4 Swainson's Thrush's in the mulberry tree. A cooperative Chipping Sparrow allowed me to approach very close.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Windy, cloudy and threat of rain today-May 26, 2012

The beauty of the Common Grackle is anything but common!-HC
Many birders worked JP/Wooded Island today under a cloudy sky with threat of rain. Randy led a group and Pat Durkin was out with many folks. The hot spot was near the Darrow Bridge where at least 3 Swainson's Thrushes were seen along with Wilson's, Blackpoll and Redstart warblers. Vireo's and some empids were also encountered. No report yet from Randy. The Common Grackle is beautiful close up.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fairly good migration last night-May 25, 2012

Red-eyed Vireo May 25, 2012
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday not a migrant warbler or empi flycatcher could be found. Today. Canada, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Blackpolls and Redstarts plus many empids including Alder, Willow, Least and Yellow-bellied. Lots of Red-eyed and Warbling Vireo's as well. What will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where are the migrant warblers? Nothing today May 24, 2012

At least Caspian Terns are regulars-May 24, 2012-HC
Both Paul and I had very little to report today. Migrant warblers were missing. Strangely I encountered  Mourning, Parula and Redstart warblers in my garden across near 47th and Cornell.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another quiet day with a surprise goose-May 23, 2012

Canada Goose Hybrid?-May 23, 2012-HC
Canada Warbler-Nice eye ring-May 23, 2012
Today the weather was perfect with temperature around 70 degrees, light wind and sunny sky. However very few migrants were found. Highlights included a nice Canada Warbler, 4 Swainson's Thrushes feeding in the same tree and an unusual goose.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another cool day and few migrants May 22, 2012

Monk Parakeet 5/22/12-HC
Not much happening today. Most migrants seen yesterday have moved on. We did have a Bay-breasted Warbler and a few Redstarts, the only migrant warbler species. Mulberry trees near the Darrow Bridge attracted 2 Swainson's Thrushes. Yesterday, 3 SW Thrushes were in the same tree. The Bobolink Woods is still under siege by the landscapers. Today plants were cut to ground level and in some instances herbicides were used. A Red-bellied Woodpecker continues to excavate a cavity in the largest dying oak in the woods. Hope it isn't cut down. I got up close to a few parakeets today (pictured above).

Monday, May 21, 2012

A cool beginning today with wind 5/21/12

Once again the hot spot was not on the island but adjacent to the Darrow Bridge. Here, I spent over 15 minutes with a singing Mourning Warbler. Unfortunately no photo opportunities. At one point 3 Swainson's Thrushes were in one tree. The photo is of a SW Thrush taken in the Japanese Garden yesterday. Warbler species today included the Mourning, Canada, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, lot's of Blackpolls, Wilson's, Yellow, C. Yellowthroat, Redstart and Magnolia.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An interesting day, Paul found a female Western Tanager-5/20/12

Feeding Cedar Waxwing-5/20/12
Nice views of feeding Cedar Waxwings. Paul found a Western Tanager early today, a first for Jackson Park.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A pleasant day, warming well into the 80's-May 19, 2012


Once again the main action was just south of the Darrow Bridge. Nice views of several warbler species including Canada, Parula, Wilson's, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided and others. Lot's of flycatchers today including Peewee, Olive-sided, Least, Willow and Kingbird. The warm weather should continue into tomorrow and then cool down. Maybe the last good migration will occur in the next few days. Photo's of a few of the regulars today. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Warming trend this weekend with hopes for more migrants-May 18, 2012

Male Monarch (dots on the wing) on what is left of a Milkweed
With warmer weather on the way perhaps more migrants will descend into the area. Sunday evening showers could provide a good day on Monday. Today, I had my first Connecticut Warbler of the year. A few Canada Warblers are in. The Darrow Bridge was a birding hotspot again this morning. Perhaps the bridge area won't be stripped the way the Rose Garden and other habitats have been decimated. Common Milkweed, a native plant has been removed from the Rose Garden (there are no roses there as well). Not only butterflies love the area, sparrows and other species utilized it.
Rose Garden stripped of Milkweed May 17, 2012
Parula Warbler 5/18/12-HC

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nice weather today-great vocalizations-May 17, 2012

Although not many birds today, the sound from the Darrow Bridge south of the Museum of Science and Industry (just southwest of the bridge) was great. The vocalizations included Canada, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black and White, Wilson's, Blackpoll, Palm, Yellow-rumped and Redstart warblers, along with Catbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Cardinal, and Red-winged Blackbird. On a sad note, today the Rose Garden got a manicure! Weedwackers and weed chemicals decimated just about everything. Hopefully the plan will restore the garden naturally. All this in the middle of spring migration.
Magnolia Warbler May 17, 2012-HC
Magnolia Warbler May 17, 2012 in flight-HC

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A cool day with few birds-May 16, 2012

Cooper's Hawk-May 16, 2012-HC
Chestnut-sided Warbler-May 16, 2012-HC
A cool day and not many birds. However the Cooper's Hawk and food was available.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scarlet Tanager-HC-5/15/12
Today was sunny and warm. Lot's of song but not too many species. Randy had 16 species of warblers plus a female Summer Tanager. The Redstart and Woodcock photo's were taken a few days ago, the Tanager today.

I was asked why did I create the birding blog for JP/Wooded Island. I wanted to keep a photo record of some of the birds of the area. Also, I wanted to spend time with individual birds, quietly stalking them, studying their movement and behavior. Bird photography can be enormously fulfilling if the photographer is not intrusive. I take most if not all of my photo's at 24X and keep my distance. And, I would like to invite other photographers to share their photo's as well. Eventually we will have a nice record of species in JP/Wooded Island. I do need to figure out how to download and copy other photographers photo's however. I first began to blog in California to keep records of migrating Swainson's Hawks through Borrego Springs, CA. See

Monday, May 14, 2012

Slow today-lots of forest floor destruction-May 14, 2012

Today Wooded Island and the woods leading to Bobolink Meadow were under attack. At least 3 landscape  crews were cutting and trimming and a large truck was removing dead wood (good ground cover). Not too many birds but the Olive-sided Flycatcher was singing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A great day with some sun as well May 13, 2012

Blackpoll 5/13/12-HC
Highlights today included 21 warbler species including Prothonotary, Mourning and Black-throated Blue. At least 35 Blackpolls, they were everywhere.
The Blackpoll top up close
Tom Irving

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A very wet day with over 20 species of warblers-May 12, 2012

Rain early delayed most birders from moving through Wooded Island. Those folks that did stay through the rain observed several new species for the spring including: Prothonotary, Canada and Connecticut Warblers, 20 other warbler species, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Clay-colored Sparrow. Tomorrow should be very interesting.

Catbird-May 12, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not many birds in JP today-May 10, 2012

Singing Wilson's Warbler May 10/2012
Migration must have been good last night as most of the warblers have moved on. A few nice Wilson's Warblers singing away was the highlight.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Green Heron's Gathering Nesting Material Today May 9, 1012

Highlights today:
Green Heron's have been gathering tree branches for nesting material near the Japanese Garden.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This Is What You See-May 8, 2012

Feeding Golden-winged Warbler-May 8, 2012
Patience is the name of the game when photographing birds. Today, I followed this Golden-winged Warbler and what you see is typically what you get. My camera is not fancy (Panasonic Lumix-24X optical). I use it primarily for documentation and video. It has too many bells and whistles and is tough to focus when foliage is dense.

The action today was in the east side of "The Woods of Bobolink Meadow" It is near the tennis courts and the harbor. This area is being denuded to plant native vegetation. Most of the warblers were feeding in the area that has not been worked on yet. This area last year produced Connecticut Warblers for at least 4 days. It will be interesting to see how the clearing operation affects the area.
Typical upside down feeding position

Monday, May 7, 2012

All Birds are Beautiful-May 7, 2012

A close-up view of a House Sparrow reveals color and pattern, truly
Even a House Sparrow can be beautiful

An American Bittern Comes to Wooded Island-May 7, 2012

American Bittern-May 7, 2012
Highlights Today:
An American Bittern on the island in east lagoon across from the boat harbor bridge and entrance to foot path.