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The Continuing Search for Rusty Blackbirds...

semi-overcast 66 °F

Taking advantage of the extremely mild near 70-degree temperatures today, I continued my ongoing quest for those evasive Rusty Blackbirds at Thatcher Woods. Despite scanning through a flock of 35+ COMMON GRACKLES, I did not find a single other blackbird species, what a bummer.

Some of you must be wandering why I am looking for, of all things, a blackbird?! Well, Rusty Blackbirds are a federally threatened species due to habitat loss. They spend their summers mainly in Canada in boggy, swampy sections of boreal forest and nearby swamp margins, and they winter in the southeastern states in mangrove swamps and flooded deciduous forests. These blackbirds pass through Illinois during March and April, and also in October, and last year I saw probably one hundred of them at Thatcher Woods during late March, and Thatcher is where I have been searching for them recently.

A nice consolation prize for the missing blackbirds was, of all things, a fly-over BONAPARTE'S GULL, a life bird for me, although sadly I didn't manage to photograph it. I did manage to photograph this GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, however, for documentation purposes:

I also saw a nice BROWN CREEPER:

While crouching down behind a tree to scan through the flock of grackles, this tame White-tailed Deer came only 20 feet away from me!

Bird-of-the-day to the life bird BONAPARTE'S GULL and runner-up to the relatively photogenic (for a kinglet) GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET.

Good birding,

World Life List: 642 Species (1 life bird today: Bonaparte's Gull)

Finally, here is the eBird list for today:

Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve (Cook Co.), Cook, US-IL
Mar 31, 2014 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
24 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose 4
Mallard 6
duck sp. 6
Turkey Vulture 2
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Bonaparte's Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 3
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 4
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Brown Creeper 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 30
Cedar Waxwing 4
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 3
Common Grackle 35
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 3

Do you eBird?

Posted by skwclar 16:17 Archived in USA

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