A Travellerspoint blog

A Wild Goose Chase

overcast 40 °F

Before I dive into this post, I think it might be of interest to both long-time and new followers alike to see what I was doing exactly three years ago (!)
http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com/13/

This Friday I went birding at Northerly Island near the Adler Planetarium in downtown Chicago in search of a rare bird that was being reported there: a Brant, a small species of goose that has only been documented a few times before in Illinois - qualifying it as a downright rarity!

On the walk there from the train, I spotted a few goodies in the lake such as this small pod which included an AMERICAN COOT (upper left), REDHEADS, & LESSER SCAUP.
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This pretty male NORTHERN CARDINAL was also nice:
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I arrived at around eleven in the morning and pretty soon happened to meet up with a few local birders who were also searching the island for the Brant and any other good things that might be in the area.

AMERICAN COOTS:
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Distant HOODED MERGANSERS:
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One fantastic surprise was a small group of six SNOW BUNTINGS - a species I believe I have only seen once before in my entire life!
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SWAMP SPARROW:
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AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, these little guys were quite numerous as expected:
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Finally, after looping around Northerly Island, we spotted the distant BRANT goose - my target bird - tucked up against the seawall right next to the Adler Planetarium:
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Then, we walked over there to get a better look at the goose to find it had moved up to the grassy areas right next to the Planetarium - the regular passerby would have probably taken it as just yet another (albeit small) "regular" goose!
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At one point, the cute little feller waddled right across the path in front of us - what an obliging life bird!
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We also spotted this weird dark-morph CANADA GOOSE. Anybody have any ideas as to what race this guy belongs to?
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It was a fantastic day of birding! Bird-of-the-day goes to the Brant, of course, with runners-up to the cute little Snow Buntings!

Happy birding,

Henry
World Life List: 926 Species (1 recent life bird: Brant)

Posted by skwclar 19:53 Archived in USA Tagged chicago rarity brant snow_bunting Comments (1)

More Fall Fun!

all seasons in one day 51 °F

It's been a busy but fulfilling and overall, enjoyable, autumn season for me so far! No description needed for these photos...
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My weekend bird surveys have yielded some pretty nice birds such as this DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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And this WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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Male DARK-EYED JUNCO:
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GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET:
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This past Friday evening, I led the final Oak Park Bird Walk of the season as an evening owling walk at Miller Meadows Forest Preserve. We started off by finding this nice buck White-tailed Deer:
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Male DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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CANADA GEESE flying over:
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We ended up successfully hearing an EASTERN SCREECH OWL and - amazingly - a rare NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL which I was NOT expecting to find at all! This is a very scarce owl that comes down to the south sporadically from the boreal forest each winter, and it is always an exciting event to find one in Illinois! Unfortunately, no photos as both of these owls were heard-only sightings.

Today an evening visit with Grandma was, as always, very nice:
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We went out to see the Super Moon which was brilliant over the distant Chicago skyline:
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I found the post-sunset western sky equally beautiful:
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Hopefully these photos gave you some peace in what can be a hectic time of year! Not sure when I will post next, so until then, happy birding!

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 19:09 Archived in USA Tagged autumn downy_woodpecker oak_park_bird_walks white_throated_sparrow dark_eyed_junco golden_crowned_kinglet canada_goose eastern_screech_owl northern_saw-whet_owl Comments (3)

Fall Catch-up Post!

all seasons in one day

Why hello, long time no see!!

It's been a very busy fall with me, although I have gotten to see some birds. The majority of my sightings have been through my regularly-scheduled bird walks and bird surveys in and near Oak Park, as I have been so busy with school and music Iately that I have not been able to do any personal birding day trips!

Here are some bird photos to enjoy since I haven't posted in such a long time.

Well, the first isn't actually a bird but a beautiful Monarch that posed oh so nicely in my backyard!
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Warbler madness! Male CAPE MAY WARBLER:
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Male AMERICAN REDSTART:
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Nonbreeding-plumage CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER:
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SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
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Male NORTHERN CARDINAL:
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GREAT BLUE HERON:
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CEDAR WAXWINGS:
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Female HAIRY WOODPECKER:
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Nonbreeding-plumage SCARLET TANAGER:
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Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
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SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
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GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH:
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RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH:
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Nonbreeding-plumage BLACKPOLL WARBLER:
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Definitely THE musical highlight of 2016 for me so far was performing with my choir as backup for Chance the Rapper in front of 50,000+ people at the Magnificent Coloring Day/South Side Festival at US Cellular Field on September 24. It was an incredible experience.
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GRAY CATBIRD:
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WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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BROWN CREEPER:
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MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
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Nonbreeding-plumage BLACKPOLL WARBLER:
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GREEN HERON:
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ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
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YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:
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GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET:
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RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:
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Best look I've ever had at a WINTER WREN, which is usually an extremely skittish bird:
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Also the best look I've ever had of a NASHVILLE WARBLER, as it was posing really nicely for me, trying to force down this inchworm:
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And finally, yesterday, Friday, October 21 was my choir's, the Chicago Children's Choir's, premier gala fundraiser event called the Red Jacket Optional. It was an amazing performance that featured performances from the choir, a guest performance by the amazing Allison Semmes who is an alumna of the choir and best known for starring in "The Wiz," and best of all, 1.25 million dollars were raised for the choir!! Phenomenal!!
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So it has been a busy but fulfilling autumn season for me. Sorry I haven't posted sooner, and I will try to post again after my owling walk scheduled for Nov 11! Email me at trumpetswan@comcast.net if you would like a reservation for this walk, where we will look for Short-eared and Great Horned Owls at Miller Meadow Forest Preserve in Maywood, IL.

Good birding!

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 19:14 Archived in USA Tagged birds fall music birding migration warblers chicago_children's_choir Comments (1)

1st Oak Park Bird Walk of the season

semi-overcast 71 °F

The first walk of the season was successful today, and we had a few nice birds including this beautiful CAPE MAY WARBLER:
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And this SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
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For more info on Oak Park Bird Walks, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/
Email me at trumpetswan@comcast.net to make a reservation(s) for future walks!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 07:06 Archived in USA Tagged oak_park_bird_walks swainsons_thrush cape_may_warbler Comments (0)

Oak Park Bird Surveys

all seasons in one day 77 °F

Just a quick note today, this year for a year-long school project I will doing bird surveys every weekend here in Oak Park until next May to study the relationship between weather/climate and bird presence/activity. The project will be chronicled on a blog devoted solely for this project, although I may also occasionally post about it here if I get enough photos that are post-worthy.
http://oakparkbirdsurveys.blogspot.com

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 18:42 Archived in USA Tagged oak_park_bird_surveys Comments (2)

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