Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gray Catbird; Late April Migration to Northern Illinois

A Gray Catbird in the brushpile in our back yard, Rockford, IL; 4/30/2011.
After all the time I spent trying to chase down Gray Catbirds for the past couple of years, one happened to be sitting out in the open in our back yard one weekend at the end of April (Above). Catbirds are very good at hiding in the dense thickets, and because of their dull gray coloring, they are hard to spot. I hear them all the time, but usually I only see small partial glimpses of them, as they sneak around the underbrush feeding on insects and berries trying hard not to be seen.

Another blurry Gray Catbird hiding from me, Bauman Park, Rockford, IL; 5/4/2010.
These Catbirds started arriving to northern Illinois in late April, and once they arrived they inundated the area - all over the place - in the State Parks, the City Parks, and the Forest Preserves. The only problem is they are incognito - all sound, little sight - a head here, a tail there - but a whole body? No way! Most of my pics looked like the one (Above) - an out of focus and a half-hidden bird.

A Gray Catbird visited our yard, Rockford, IL; 4/30/2011.
 So it was to my surprise that as I was on the back deck watching something move in the brush pile in the corner of the lot, out pops a Gray Catbird sitting on a railroad tie in the open (Above) and not only that - it stayed there long enough for me to go inside, get my camera, focus and click. Finally a good picture of a Gray Catbird! This picture shows the rufous patch underneath its tail that I seldom get to see.

A Gray Catbird, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.
Gray Catbird, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.
 Well, wouldn't you know it. After the Catbird visited our backyard, I've been seeing these guys in the open all month (during May), and have several more good pics of it (two Above), and even a series of pics of two Catbirds courting eachother (Below).

Two Gray Catbirds flirting, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.

1 comment:

Chesney said...

Great captures of this elusive bird!