Sunday, June 10, 2012

When the Swallows return ... Early May in Northern Illinois

When the Swallows return to ... Rockford area bridges...
Val's pic of Barn Swallows sitting on the handrails of the bridge over the Rock Cut State Park Dam; 5/17/2009.
... then you know it's finally May in Northern Illinois.
Two places that I know I can find two types of Swallows anytime I want to between the beginning of May to the end of September are at two bridges in two of my most commonly visited parks for my birding endeavors.
Bridge #1 - in Rock Cut State Park- the bridge over the dam which separates Pierce Lake from Willow Creek, always has a colony of Barn Swallows (Above). 
Bridge #2 - in Black Hawk Springs Forest Preserve - the bridge over Kishwaukee River at start of the multi-use trail always has a colony of Northern Rough-winged Swallows (Below) during the same time frame.
A pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallows resting on the bridge handrail, Black Hawk Springs FP, IL; 5/2/2010.
More photos of these two types of Swallows below:
A Barn Swallow sitting on the rope handrail of the "floating boardwalk," Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 5/13/2012.
A nice mirror image of a Barn Swallow landing on a mud bar, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 5/13/2012.
Barn Swallow, Rock Cut State Park. 5/5/2012.
The Barn Swallow (Above) was sitting in the niddle of the road and I watched a group of three 11-13 year old boys walk right past it and it never moved. As I approached, I thought it was injured as it had its left wing spread out flat over the ground. It warily watched me as I approached closer. I was within 3 feet from it and it didn't make any effort to move. I thought that I would try to move it off the road way so it wouldn't get run over. I stepped within a foot from it and it still didn't move. In fact I had to back up to take its picture, because I was too close for my 500mm Sigma lens to focus on it and for me to fit it in my viewfinder frame. After  took its picture, I again approached within a foot to see if I could help it off the road, but as I reached down to pick it up, off it flew without any obvious visual problems. I followed its flight as it soared over Pierce Lake and joined other Barn Swallows. It didn't seem injured at all. I wondered why it let me get so close to it.
a Northern Rough-winged Swallow seemed as interested in me as I was of it, Rock Cut State Park; 7/9/2011.
A Northern Rough-winged Swallow making a home out of a pipe opening in the dam wall, Rock Cut State Park; 5/8/2011.

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