Monday, June 11, 2012

Baltimore Orioles Galore! and some Orchards too in Northern Illinois

A Baltimore Oriole gathering nesting materials near Olsen Lake, Rock Cut State Park; 5/5/2012.
I have never seen or heard as many Baltimore Orioles as I did on May 5, at Rock Cut State Park this year.  I am guessing I probably saw and heard as many as 2 - 3 dozen Orioles. The day before - None. They showed up overnight in huge numbers. Judging by the posts on the IBET ( boards from the same date, the same thing was happening all over Northern Illinois - Baltimore Orioles were being reported in large numbers by many birders from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan in the northern third of Illinois.
Another Baltimore Oriole, Rock Cut State Park; 5/5/2012.
Within the week, while visiting Colored Sands FP, Espenscheid FP, Black Hawk Springs FP, and Nygren Wetlands, I saw many Baltimore Orioles in each of these places.
Another Baltimore Oriole, Rock Cut State Park; 5/12/2012.
A Male Balt. Oriole checking out a female who is in obvious mating position, Rock Cut State Park; 5/20/2012.
As I was waiting for the male Baltimore Oriole to get more in the open, he was soon joined by a female. By the looks of things, they were getting ready to mate (Above and Below), but I never actually witnessed the deed. I think they were bothered by my presence and probably waited until I was out of sight.
The same Oriole pair, Rock Cut State Park; 5/20/2012.

An Orchard Oriole, Rock Cut State Park; 5/12/2012.
Another Oriole species that showed up about mid May was the Orchard Oriole (Above). They are not as common as the Baltimores, but I have had a chance to see an Orchard in at least three different occaissions this Spring.
An Orchard Oriole, Rock Cut State Park; 5/20/2012.
A 1st Year Orchard Oriole, Nygren Wetlands, Rockton, IL; 6/2/2012.
While hiking in Nygren Wetlands, I was following a yellow bird that flew behind a small bush. I initially thought it was a Common Yellowthroat, but it seemed too big to be a Yellowthroat so I kept on it. While I was aiming my camera at the bush hoping to get a better glimpse, it poked its head out and I saw that it was a First Year Orchard Oriole, which are mostly yellow with dark wings and a black mask and throat. This was very satisfying, since I haven't seen a First-year Orchard since two years ago at the Rowe Sanctuary in Nebraska.

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