A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
When the Swallows Return to Northern Illinois; Early April Migration
A Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Espenscheid Forest Preserve, Rockford, IL; 5/1/2011
Early April is the time swallows start arriving in our area of northern Illinois. The first two species of swallows that I observed this spring were the Northern Rough-winged Swallows (Above) and Tree Swallows (Tomorrow's post). I have had good luck seeing N. Rough-wings near one of the bridges over the Kishwaukee River in Black Hawk State Park. Ordinarily I would have had a hard time differentiating between these swallows and Bank Swallows as they are both brownish with a lighter breast. But upon hearing their song, a short steady rough "frrrip" as they glide over the river snagging insects in mid flight, I knew they were Rough-wings. N. R-wings are plain brown with darker eyes and lores, and its breast is a bit lighter as it gradiates to a dirty white near the belly. These swallows are found throughout the U.S. and Mexico and into southern Canada. They will spend their winters in Mexico and Central America.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought my current lens, Sigma 150-500mm.