When we visited Rollins Savanna on Sunday, one of the first birds we saw was a Bobolink.
He was kind of far away but we got good looks at this new life bird.
We soon realized the place was actually full of them – there were Bobolinks everywhere!
We saw them in the meadow, flying over, even enjoying some dandelions along the path.
Females were there too, but they were a bit more shy. We saw males vying for their attention.
I love this bird’s song. We could hear the males singing almost everywhere we walked. The computer-like sound really reminded me of the call Northern Lapwings make when courting. The sound is very different but also sounds like a 1980’s computer sound effect.
For more bird photos from all over the world, have a look at this week’s other Bird Photography Weekly submissions.
Sibley says these are uncommon in eastern North America. Don’t tell these guys. I saw this gang of four White-crowned Sparrows in my parent’s back yard last week.
We even have a couple up here in our yard in Round Lake Beach. Check out the straddle action on this guy!
Lots of sparrows are difficult to identify (I’m looking at you, Vesper and Grasshopper. Or maybe I mean you, Lincoln’s and Savannah! Actually I have no idea, I can’t tell you guys apart. But I’m looking at you!). But White-crowned Sparrows are easy. Not to mention cute.
I grew up around here but for some reason I can’t remember seeing American Goldfinches in our back yard as a kid. As I became more interested in birds over the last few years, my visits home would only be in the very early spring or, more often, at Christmastime. (Meanwhile I got to know the local European Goldfinches in Leiden). So in my memory I’ve only seen male American Goldfinches in their winter garb. I am really wowed by the bright, beautiful yellow color they transform into for the summer and I’ve enjoyed watching them during the transformation – they can look kind of funky when they’ve got a half-drab half-bright thing going on. Last week we took a walk at Rollins Savanna, the closest Lake County Forest Preserve to our house, and saw our first totally ready American Goldfinch. What a beauty!
First a look to one side.
Then a good fluffing.
And a look to the other side.
Bird Photography Weekly is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. This great meme is hosted by Birdfreak and is well worth checking out every week!
Arthur just posted about where we were two years ago today on our personal blog: Abuko Nature Reserve in the Gambia. He ended the post with a photo of one of the strangest birds I’ve ever seen, the White Helmetshrike.
White Helmetshrikes, also called White-crested Helmet-shrikes, are between 7.4 and 9.8 inches long. Males and females are similar. They are common in parts of sub-Saharan Africa although I think this was the only one we spotted during our time in the Gambia. I couldn’t find too much information about these guys on the web besides here; unfortunately our Gambia bird guide is still in storage.
Earlier this week I mentioned a BirdLife story about mysterious White Stork deaths at the sewage works of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. We visited those ponds and the sight of thousands of White Storks coming in from the mountains was remarkable. You’ll have to click on the below photo and view full size to see what I’m talking about.
White Storks were always one of our favorite birds to see when we lived in Europe. We saw a ton in Andalucia (Spain) last year. Here’s a nest with some chicks. It’s hard to tell but there are about 5 sparrows on the bottom half of the nest that also make their home in the huge structure.
Today I caught up on our [now defunct – ed. Mar 2012] photo life list and added the six latest new birds we saw during our Loire Valley trip in August [redacted] and during the last couple of weeks we’ve been here in Deerfield [redacted]. Unfortunately most of these photos are pretty bad. However, I also added new photos of some old birds, which were firsts for France – including this respectable photo of a Little Grebe.