Intermittent spring: local gulls and first wave of migrating sparrows

All of these photos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last few weeks, unless otherwise noted.

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Robins waiting for snow to melt

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And you thought all robins looked alike!

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A ruby-crowned kinglet

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A great egret

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A great egret, 39 inches long, with a herring gull, 25 inches long, for scale.

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An adult herring gull has red spot on bill and pink legs (photo taken in Cape Cod).

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A third winter herring gull has pink legs but has a black spot on bill that is starting to turn red.

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pair of ring-billed gulls (parking lot gulls). Ring-billed gulls have yellow legs and a black spot on their bill. They are 17.5 inches long.

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First winter ring-billed gull (note it has pink legs like a herring gull). This photo was taken in August.

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song sparrow, very stripy with spot on chest

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Another view of a song sparrow The song sparrow’s song has three notes followed by a trill.

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Fox sparrow is bigger than a song sparrow. It has a lot more gray and red feathers than a song sparrow. Both of these sparrows have a spot on their chests

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red maple blooming

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pied-billed grebe

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black-crowned night heron

Early migrants have arrived (meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds) and winter ducks are still here too

All photos taken in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last few weeks unless noted otherwise.

These photos were mostly taken in the area around 63rd and Hayes:  Hayes beach, the inner harbor, the outer harbor and La Rabida

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A male red-winged blackbird

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Front-end view of displaying red-winged blackbird taken March 30, 2013

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A back-end view of a displaying male red-winged blackbird. The females haven’t arrived yet.

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Cardinals have already been singing their spring song for a couple of months

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This white-throated sparrow is puffed up because it is a cold spring day

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meadowlark singing

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meadowlark

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dark-eyed Junco

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song sparrow

 

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redhead

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ring-necked duck ( it is a mystery to me why people agreed to this common name!)

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It was great fun having the white-wingd scoters come into the outer harbor again this winter. This one is posing in the blue, blue water of Lake Michigan just after most of the ice melted

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A close-up of the white-winged scoter’s bizarre bill.

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horned grebe

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Two red-breasted mergansers doing courtship displays for the female swimming next to the second male.

This video shows some serious courtship moves of 4 male mergansers. The female is sitting on a piece of ice

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Damage done by wood boring insect.

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Eggs are laid where you see the straight line, the grubs then eat their way through the wood. Notice the lines get thicker as the grubs move away from the original straight line. This is because the insect is getting bigger.

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

 

Spring migration continues and goslings!

All photos taken in Jackson Park or Columbia Woods Forest Preserve in Willow Springs during Spring 2014

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orange variant of  scarlet tanager in Jackson Park

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Scarlet tanager in Columbia Woods

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eastern bluebird in Jackson Park

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eastern bluebird in Columbia Woods – just took a bath

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eastern bluebird in Columbia Woods

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swainson’s thrush in Jackson Park

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an only chick

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goose protecting goslings

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black-crowned night herons in the fog — Jackson Park

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carp in Jackson Park

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Last year’s seeds with this year’s flowers

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spotted sandpiper in Jackson Park

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black-throated green warbler in Jackson Park

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palm warbler in Columbia Woods

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yellow-rumped warbler in Columbia Woods

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Jackson Park

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Columbia Woods after heavy rain