Summer had yet to arrive in our part of the country when we left home yesterday. The high temp in our part of Lake County, Illinois was just 60°F whereas the normal is 76°F. Tomorrow & Saturday are predicted in the low 70’s. After driving south for the past two days, I know where summer has been hiding. OMG it’s hot here!
This afternoon we had a hot, sweaty picnic at the lovely Georgia Veterans State Park where we were joined by curious Northern Mockingbirds and a few Common Grackles watching us from Spanish moss-covered trees. We took a short walk there after lunch and actually saw our first ever Tufted Titmouse. They range in our part of Illinois but for some reason they are kind of hard to find in our county.
We’re now staying at a hotel close to the Space Coast with the main goal of seeing the Space Shuttle launch on Saturday morning. But first, some (hopefully good) birding!
There is a group of Least Terns flying around the roof of our hotel, transporting fish and making a lot of noise. Are they feeding young?
While trying to make a video of the tern shenanigans, this flock of White Ibis flew by. Can’t wait to see some more southern birds tomorrow!
During our Saturday walk at Rollins, we saw this Sandhill Crane family (the same small family that we had previously observed) being divebombed by Red-winged Blackbirds. And those blackbirds aren’t kidding – see how they really smack into the adult cranes!
I thought this male House Sparrow was so cute, gathering nesting material on the grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden. It looks like he’s intent to take the perfect piece of grass, but there’s a big chunk of mud stuck to it. He tries and tries to wiggle it off, but he gives up immediately when the missus shows up. She looks to be more practical in her search for nesting material.
We’re getting ready for Arthur’s parents to visit us for two weeks. They’re flying in from the Netherlands tomorrow. We probably won’t do any birding during this time so I won’t be making too many posts here on the blog, except for a couple I’ve got scheduled (T-Shirt Tuesday must go on, you know!).
I was outside taking a few photos of our birdbath and as I approached the feeders this funky little American Goldfinch was determined to keep on the sock as long as possible. It was extremely windy and I was only about 15 feet away from him but he just kept hangin’ on, munching away.
Imagine that the corn-on-a-wire is attached to a helicopter. The lengths squirrels will go to…
I’m pretty sure these corn cobs were meant as squirrel food, but the caption makes this photo cute. Squirrel antics are fun to watch, though I’ve never really seen any go too far to get food. That’s okay – there are plenty of antics to see on YouTube. I like the sound effects on this one:
This clip of Conan O’Brien birdwatching in Central Park with a group of birders aired earlier this week. The actual birding took place in the spring of 2005. I’m not a huge Conan fan but I laughed during this segment. I think he’s a bit more respectful than Steve Carell was when he joined some birders during the WSOB.
Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, a private nonprofit rehab organization in the Chicagoland area, is in trouble. The group has three locations, in Itasca, Barrington and Chicago (Northerly Island), and in the past six month they have suffered through three floods at two locations. The Northerly Island location suffered a burst pipe on January 17th, ruining the center’s flooring.
Since September, flooding twice forced [founder Dawn] Keller and her all-volunteer crew at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Itasca to evacuate 43 birds from outside cages. Then last month, while Keller was still figuring out where she was going to get $15,000 to replace damaged bird habitats, Flint Creek’s bird emergency room at Northerly Island in Chicago flooded.
Repairs to the ER will cost more than $8,000, and Keller fears they won’t be finished in time for the start of migratory bird season. And as the weather thaws, mildew will start to turn the ER into a veritable bacteria farm, she said.
It’s just cold all over, isn’t it? We were supposed to get a winter blizzard here in Lake County last night but I think we ended up with less than an inch of accumulation. Heavy snow predicted for the rest of the week has also been downgraded to dustings – so far. The low temperatures are here to stay, however, for the next week at least. We hit the low 20’s today, tomorrow’s predicted high is 14°F and Thursday we’ll only reach up to 3°F.
With the cold temps, our resident woodpeckers have been attacking our suet feeders. I set up the Wingscapes Birdcam to take some videos of one suet log and captured our three usual suspects.
Downy Woodpeckers were at the feeder all day. This video shows them going at it from the morning to the late afternoon.
We also get Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. On this video you can see all three: first a Hairy gets chased off by a Red-bellied. After the Red-bellied flies off, a Downy comes in. You can easily see the size difference of the Hairy and Downy in this short clip.