Sunday 24 April 2016 77 °F
Today was an awesome day of spring migration! I managed to photograph many migrant birds which can be found very close to home in Oak Park. I LOVE migration because anything can show up anywhere!
Just before leading an Oak Park Bird Walk from my house, I spied this ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER which unfortunately didn't stick around for the walk:
Six birders showed up for the walk, and we had beautiful partly sunny skies with temperatures into the 60's.
This abnormally early-in-the-season SWAINSON'S THRUSH gave everyone stellar views:
A stunning male YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was nice, even though it was viewed from quite a distance:
The COOPER'S HAWKS were attending the local nest:
A flyover flock of 11 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS was a great addition to the day list!
And this male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH at Taylor Park was absolutely gorgeous in the morning light:
I will never tire of seeing NORTHERN CARDINALS, such as this one posed in a lovely flowering tree:
And a FIELD SPARROW was a great surprise toward the end of the walk, blissfully out of habitat as it was in my neighbor's backyard (as opposed to a grassland).
It was an enjoyable walk! Thanks to all of the birders (and birds) for coming out.
28 species on the walk:
Double-crested Cormorant 11
Cooper's Hawk 2
Ring-billed Gull 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Swainson's Thrush 1
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 40
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 1
Northern Cardinal 8
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 6
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 4
House Sparrow 20
I birded a bit around the neighborhood throughout the afternoon, as well. This NASHVILLE WARBLER was nice, even though it didn't afford great views:
Male NORTHERN CARDINAL:
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW with a male EASTERN TOWHEE in the background - a cool pairing of native Emberizidae (sparrows).
Here is a better shot of the beautiful towhee:
DARK-EYED JUNCO, a classic winter bird. Funnily enough, just ten minutes before I snapped this photo, I saw my first CHIMNEY SWIFTS of the year which is an archetypical summer bird in Illinois. Another one of the joys of migration!
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (left) and my first PALM WARBLER of the year (right)!
In the evening around 6:00pm I saw on IBET, the yahoo birding forum for Illinois, that my birding friend Chuck had seen a very early migrant Blackburnian Warbler just seven blocks from my house! As this is an extremely early-in-the-season sighting for this bird, and the bird itself is beautiful with a fiery orange throat, I raced over there on my bike and almost immediately found it!
The bird was extremely back lit so this was the best photo I could manage, but it is still a breathtaking find since I usually wouldn't expect to see these in Oak Park until May 4/5 (compared to April 24!). And how about that throat?!?! What...a...bird!!!
A fantastic day all around! This is still "early" in spring migration and I am very excited because tonight could prove to be the biggest movement in migrating birds over Illinois yet this spring. (most bird species migrate during the nighttime)
Bird-of-the-day to the Blackburnian Warbler! It was an awesome day!
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)