A Travellerspoint blog

Swan Slam!

semi-overcast 51 °F

Hello birding friends,

Yesterday (Sunday, March 6), my dad and I joined the Illinois Young Birders for a field trip to look for waterfowl in Will County, Illinois under partly sunny skies and beautiful temperatures in the lower 50's.

Our first stop was Rock Run Rookery Preserve. Please note that most of my photos from the day are rather pixelated because a lot of the birds we viewed were at great distances.

Juvenile BALD EAGLE which we saw right away:
31B5F949C8869716DAF87C377923CC9E.jpeg

GREAT BLUE HERONS on one of their rookeries for which the preserve is named:
31B7132D908AA5B43182CF5673EB61C7.jpeg

A strange sight - a beautiful EASTERN MEADOWLARK actually perched in the top of a tree for us! Usually these are birds of grasslands, so it was ironic to see it perched so high.
31B80508E9D22916F15AAAC92517E24E.jpeg

Takeoff!
31B8D119E6F1152AB7BBEFB539B7248C.jpeg

PIED-BILLED GREBE:
31B9982AF0E0E9D29315AE9F6282CC96.jpeg

FOX SPARROW:
31BA8393DEF6D840929B1ED790ECF3A2.jpeg

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
31BB7441DFB59E4F4741D9BB3489DD02.jpeg

On our way to the next stop, the caravan of young birders (about 10-12 families in total) stopped alongside the road to get a better look at something one of the birders had spotted.
31C3D93794FFA9E0E1A30CCF4A4CE748.jpeg

WILD TURKEY! A rare sight for a Chicagoan like me.
31BC7BDCD63B792FA7A65E42663D9344.jpeg

Our next stop was the Des Plaines Widewaters, where we immediately spotted these beautiful TUNDRA SWANS, a lifer for some in the group:
31C4C9FCA5FB8FA16EB7B9F2D5417186.jpeg

Our second species of swan, MUTE SWAN, was also nice:
31C5903AFF69F48ED4BED5468292BFC1.jpeg

Male NORTHERN SHOVELER:
31C679E8933BEE90344F7EA18AD0A32D.jpeg

Male HOODED MERGANSER:
31C75745D227BF502C198D6BF2F7D4BA.jpeg

Male BUFFLEHEAD (black and white bird in the center) with GADWALL. Buffleheads are my favorite duck species because if you get a better look than I did, you will see their beautiful white plumage contrasts not with black, but stunning dark iridescent feathers. It is a remarkable bird.
31C81890CD143C3B3374421D037F1FC1.jpeg

One of my favorite stops of the day was the Des Plaines Conservation Area, where we had hundreds, probably thousands of waterfowl in one single lake! We kept our distance so as not to scare the birds, but we had no trouble identifying them with the help of scopes, cameras, and binoculars. The birds were mainly GADWALL, REDHEADS, and AMERICAN WIGEON; however, there were also a few beautiful RING-NECKED DUCKS such as this one:
31C8E09AB5AED8C27E06FCA396A68646.jpeg

As well as our third swan species for the day, the majestic TRUMPETER SWAN. One of the swans is pictured with GADWALL and AMERICAN COOTS in this photo:
31C9D4F4C542974A9BC0197ECF3E0039.jpeg

It was a fantastic trip. Bird-of-the-day goes to the TRUMPETER SWAN, the largest, and in my opinion, the most beautiful of the three swan species seen today. Runners-up to the distant BUFFLEHEAD and the strange EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

Stay tuned, because I am in the process of planning birding day trips during my spring break which is in two weeks. Also, Oak Park Bird Walks start up in mid-April! For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/home
And to reserve spaces on the walks, email me at: trumpetswan (at) comcast (dot) net

Good birding!

Henry
World Life List: 887 Species (no recent life birds)

I identified 50 species in total yesterday:

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Redhead
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Killdeer
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

3 additional species seen by others in the group but not by me:

Wood Duck
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird

Posted by skwclar 08:00 Archived in USA

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Awesome, a shot of all 3 swans! It was fun seeing you there!

by Isoo

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint