A Travellerspoint blog

Birding Illinois Beach State Park and other areas in NE IL

semi-overcast 80 °F

Today I birded Illinois Beach State Park, South Unit and other areas in northeast Illinois with Al Stokie and a friend of his.

At Illinois Beach State Park, we found quite a few birds including a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO we heard and saw as soon as we stepped out of the car (sadly, it flew away too quickly for any photos). Also, we found the only nesting colony of BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS in Illinois there (we are on the far eastern edge of their range):

May cool butterflies and plants were present, as well:

After lunch, we birded other areas in northeast Illinois. I picked up my FOY SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER along the way:


The best bird of the day, however, was this amazing KING RAIL that we saw at an undisclosed location in northeast Illinois. King Rails are marsh birds about the size of chickens that live in weedy, reedy marshes, typically along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. A few, however, such as this guy we saw today, stray inland, so it was amazing to get these mouth-watering views (only two feet away!) of this phenomenal species:

A big thank you to Al Stokie for driving me around and showing me all of these super cool birds.

The King Rail was a life bird for me, so it will be the bird of the day.

Good birding,

World Life List: 676 Species (1 life bird today: King Rail)

Full bird species list for the day:

Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
American Kestrel
KING RAIL (saw 1 territorial bird at undisclosed location in northeast Illinois...LIFE BIRD!!!)
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (heard 1 near parking lot in IBSP, then saw it flush briefly)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
SEDGE WREN (many heard at two locations)
MARSH WREN (1 or 2 heard at one location)
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
DICKCISSEL (saw and heard a few singing)
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (many seen at typical location near mouth of Dead River)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Posted by skwclar 14:56 Archived in USA

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