Wednesday 4 May 2016 64 °F
Migration has now hit northern Illinois in full swing! I have seen a huge number of birds recently, just haven't had the time to post about them due to the AP psychology exam and other school and musical obligations!
Since this post, covers up quite a few days, I will split it up day-by-day. Get ready for many, many photos!
MONDAY, APRIL 25:
Some birding on the way to and from school yielded some nice migrants, including my first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW of the year:
And its cousin, the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
A male NASHVILLE WARBLER was nice:
As was this PALM WARBLER:
HERMIT THRUSHES abounded:
And my best find of the day we this beautiful BLUE-HEADED VIREO, which will be the bird-of-the-day for Monday, April 25.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26:
More birds to and from school brightened my day, including this YELLOW-THROATED VIREO:
And a rather early TENNESSEE WARBLER:
An uncommon BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was my best find of the day, even though it only allowed for this one crappy photo:
This male YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER allowed for a beautiful photo:
And I found my FOY (first-of-the-year) BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
And this male NASHVILLE WARBLER showed off his beautiful yellow breast:
This HAIRY WOODPECKER was a nice, uncommon find for Oak Park.
Bird-of-the-day for Tuesday goes to the Blue-winged Warbler, the most uncommon species of the day, even though it only allowed for mediocre photos.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27:
Due to a late-arrival Wednesday school schedule, I led a 7:00am Oak Park Bird Walk which turned out to be quite productive. It started off well with a late-in-the-season PINE SISKIN, a bird much more common in Illinois from November - March.
A few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS foraged on the ground ahead of the group:
My (FOY) BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was a treat to see, always a beautiful and charismatic species:
After the walk, I birded a bit more and found a few more species, including this molting male INDIGO BUNTING, my first-of-the-year:
And my (FOY) PURPLE FINCH, a female, sharing the thistle feeder with the resident AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES:
Male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
Bird-of-the-day for Wednesday goes to the beautiful Black-and-White Warbler.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28:
This BROAD-WINGED HAWK was a nice, uncommon find for Oak Park:
After I got home from school on Thursday, I received an email saying that an extremely rare Townsend's Warbler had shown up in Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. Considering that this is a bird usually found in California and Oregon this time of year, I immediately hopped on my bike and rode the train downtown.
Upon arriving at Millenium Park, I had trouble finding the warbler amongst many other birds in the area, including this male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
I called the person who had found the warbler, Matthew Cvetas, and he gave me detailed directions about where to look for the bird, and funnily enough, I was soon scanning a row of flowering trees just spitting distance from "The Bean." Who knew such rare birds turn up in such seemingly obvious locations! The warbler; however, so far wasn't being so "obvious" for me!
A warbler - but a NASHVILLE, not a Townsend's:
FINALLY, I found a warbler with a yellow cheek and heavy black facial markings - and voila! - I had my TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, not a life bird, but the first time I have seen this bird outside of Arizona:
A bit of birding on the walk out of the park yielded a nice NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:
And this WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and HERMIT THRUSH hung out cooperatively for a photo together:
Bird-of-the-day for Thursday obviously goes to the Townsend's Warbler.
FRIDAY, APRIL 28:
More local birding around the neighborhood on Friday. I photographed this pretty male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH on the thistle feeder:
Molting male INDIGO BUNTING, my bird-of-the-day for Friday, singing away:
SATURDAY, APRIL 29:
On Saturday, I led a bird walk in the morning before the rains moved in, and this mystery bird at the beginning of the walk was later identified as a drab first-year female PINE WARBLER:
This GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was annoying since it is a very uncommon bird and due to the poor looks we attained (as evidenced by the quality of this photo), I only was able to identify the bird after the walk from looking at this photo:
A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was nice again:
My first-of-the-year OVENBIRD was a welcome sighting:
A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER allowed for nice photo opportunities:
Bird-of-the-day to the cooperative Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a subtly beautiful bird.
SUNDAY, MAY 1:
May started off amazingly well with a super productive bird walk that I led at Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve in conjunction with the Illinois Young Birders' Club. We found 63 species in total, including an astonishing 14 different types of warblers - quite impressive for so early in May!
A latish YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER:
Male WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW:
This SOLITARY SANDPIPER was a surprising find in the middle of the soccer field at Thatcher:
BLUE-HEADED VIREO. We located the most productive stretch of the forest, which was the wooded swampland west of the soccer field. Warblers, sparrows, vireos, you name it, were everywhere! It was the most productive I have ever seen Thatcher Woods!
Male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT:
Male BLACK-AND WHITE WARBLER:
It was a fantastic walk! After leading the group around, I stopped at the Trailside Museum where they were in the process of banding feeder birds with the use of mist nets. Very cool! When I visited, they had caught this female DOWNY WOODPECKER:
A bit more birding by myself afterwards yielded more goodies, including this male BALTIMORE ORIOLE, a true harbinger of spring and summer:
Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
Female YELLOW WARBLER:
My best find of the day at Thatcher Woods was right at the end, when I spotted this magnificent RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, a vulnerable and declining species that is very uncommon in northeast Illinois and that I have never seen in the Oak Park/River Forest area before! So cool!
Bird-of-the-day to Sunday, May 1 obviously goes to the Red-headed Woodpecker.
Whew! More photos of migration madness to come this weekend! Nothing beats birding in May!
Happy spring migration,
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)