The Fall Travelers

 

On the last day of summer, I followed the butterflies around the Butterfly Garden at Saylorville Lake. Hidden in a nearby tree, a red-eyed vireo searched for food. It was almost time for him to leave. He spends the summers in the tree tops here and the winters in South America.

In October, the park was bustling with the activity of migrating birds. A female yellow-rumped warbler flitted about in an oak tree in the garden. A Lincoln’s sparrow hopped up onto a rock after foraging in the shadows of the fading flowers.

A shy fox sparrow blended in with the dried flower stalks on the bank of Saylorville Lake. A flock of white-throated sparrows converged on the dried evening primrose flowers by the path. The bushes gave cover to the field sparrows and the Harris’s sparrows.

Storms, wind, and cold filled the first three weeks of November. Thanksgiving morning awoke to sunshine and relatively mild weather. I was surprised to find a common yellowthroat warbler in the dried flowers near the entrance to the woods. The summer range of the common yellowthroats extends up into northern Canada. She might have been a northern warbler late on her journey south.

The summer ranges of the field sparrows, the red-eyed vireos, and the common yellowthroat warblers include this area. The other birds featured today are only seen here during their fall and spring migrations.

October 8, 2017

A female yellow-rumped warbler in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, October 8, 2017

October 9, 2017

A Lincoln’s sparrow in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, October 9, 2017.

October 20, 2017

A white-crowned sparrow on a dried flower stalk near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 20, 2017.

October 22, 2017

A fox sparrow on the bank of Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2017.

A white-throated sparrow on a dried flower stalk near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2017.

October 25, 2017

A Harris’s sparrow in the bushes near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

A Field Sparrow in the bushes near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

A Field Sparrow in the bushes near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 25, 2017.

October 26, 2017

A white-crowned sparrow on the bramble near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 26, 2017.

October 31, 2017

A Harris’s sparrow on a dried flower stalk near Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, Iowa, October 31, 2017.

November 23, 2017

A female common yellowthroat warbler near the entrance to the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, November 23, 2017.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

 

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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19 Responses to The Fall Travelers

  1. Shady_Grady says:

    Hey a new post! I like the pictures. I thought that you were going to tell us that the vireo was eating all the butterflies. That would stink for the butterflies.

    I think I like the fox sparrow picture the best. I wonder how the birds and butterflies always know exactly when it’s time to leave for warmer places.
    And hopefully we can get the Canadian geese to go further south as well. 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the post. 🙂

      The butterflies are a bit big for the vireo. 🙂 He is only 6 inches. I hadn’t seen one before this one. They spend most of their time in the tree tops and with the leaves are hard to see. I was walking back to the car when I saw this one fly to a tree branch in view. He didn’t stay very long. He was moving around looking for insects. He might have spent his summer further north. Like the barn swallows, they go all the way down to South America for the winter. The barn swallows leave here in early September. Until then, the summer air is filled with the sound of their chattering. 🙂

      The fox sparrows are very shy. They are large for a sparrow at 7 inches, but they keep well away. I heard them chirping in the dried plants at dawn and stood still until I found this one. They blended in well.

      I have looked for information about migration times before. I didn’t find anything definitive. It does depend on the temperature and available food sources somewhat. I saw the yellow-rumped warblers in the park at about the same time last year. They were gone by the end of October. The migrating sparrows were gone by Thanksgiving. There was a three week stretch when I didn’t visit due to the weather.

      I was very surprised to see the common yellowthroat on Thanksgiving. It has been cold enough that there are few bugs around. It seems the warblers can also eat seeds in the cold weather months. They winter down along the southern and western US coast and in Mexico. She has a long way to go yet!

  2. zirah1 says:

    Really great pictures….the images are so crisp and clear. I especially like the white-crowned and white-throated sparrows.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂

      For a couple of weeks in October, the area around the path to the pond which is by the lake was filled with very busy birds! There were enough of them that I found a few posing where I could see them. Most of the time, they managed to hide in the branches and dried plant stems. They were in constant motion. I couldn’t blame them. I wasn’t the only one watching them. There was a hawk or two perched in the trees and a smaller hawk that flew over on one of the days.

      I love looking at the intricacies of the patterns of the bird’s feathers. 🙂

      The northern edge of the winter range for the white-crowned sparrow, the white-throated sparrow and the fox sparrow is just south of here. On the map, it looks like it might even include this area. It is hard to tell. I haven’t seen any of them in the winter, though, at the park or near my apartment. I have only every seen them in the spring and the fall.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Belinda 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked the photos. 🙂 The birds were being kind and let me be in their world for a little while. I knew from the last two years that they like the spot by the lake so I was keeping an eye on it. I think it must have a “rest stop” symbol on their travel map. 🙂

  3. They have the sweetest little faces! I love your pictures!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diane 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂 The birds do have very endearing faces, expressions, and mannerisms. I have noticed that there is a certain sparrow way of being – a jaunty tilting of the head in inquiry. 🙂

  4. Jet Eliot says:

    I imagine this season has passed now and the migration has moved on. But what a fantastic time of year it is when you walk through a park or tree-lined area and find what we often call “a bird party.” Great descriptions, bird ID, and fantastic photos, Sarah.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the travelers. 🙂

      Yes. The party has moved on. 🙂 It was fun while it lasted!

  5. My app doesn’t seem to be working well but am impressed by how you capture their characters. The yellowthroat is striking as here we have the whitethroats that migrate to us from the south of Africa. You really know your birds.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked seeing the birds. 🙂 I have learned a lot about birds since I started taking photos. There are still more in this area that I haven’t seen yet. It is fun when the birds migrate through. They travel in large groups then and are easier to spot then during the summer when they are spread out.

  6. Amazing shots! I totally love it.

  7. stbarbebaker says:

    Super fantastic images. Your walks are spectacular

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed coming along with me on my walk. 🙂 It looks very different outside right now. We are having some of your cold Canadian weather plus falling snow. 🙂 I went to the park next door this afternoon with bird seed and I didn’t find any birds. They must have been hiding out of the cold. I left the bird seed where I have seen them before and will go back tomorrow to see if there are any little tracks. 🙂

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