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Illinois Beach State Park!

sunny 93 °F

Today I birded with birding friend Al Stokie in northern Lake County, Illinois. Although it felt quite hot at times (it topped out at 93 degrees today!), we had a productive day of birding.

After an hour-and-a-half commute on the Metra, Al picked me up in Waukegan and we headed to the south unit of Illinois Beach State Park in search of shorebirds and assorted uncommon nesting birds.

On the beach, we didn't do well in the shorebird department; however, we did find a pair of juvenile HORNED LARKS, a fairly exciting find!
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Nearby, we found a few very uncommon plant species including this Hoary Paintbrush (a relative of the more widespread Indian Paintbrush):
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Although we failed to find one of our target birds, the Lark Sparrow, there were some neat birds around as well, including this GRASSHOPPER SPARROW:
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Then, we birded the campground nearby and found this very uncommon YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER. This is the only place where this species nests in Lake County and one of the few places in northeast Illinois as it is typically a more southern bird:
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Then, we drove to the Sand Pond area in the north unit of the state park in hopes of a Yellow-breasted Chat. That bird was not to be found today, despite the fact that we searched for a very long time for it. We had some nice birds to make up for it, though, including this male EASTERN BLUEBIRD:
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And the female:
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A fledgling RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD:
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Male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT:
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Female HOODED MERGANSER:
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A very vociferous BROWN THRASHER:
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And our best species at Sand Pond was two male BLUE GROSBEAKS, another species that is typically much more common further south in Illinois. Illinois Beach State Park is quite possibly the furthest north breeding location for this species in the state:
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A Leopard Frog was also nice:
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We ended the day by viewing (with Al's scope from very far away) a PIPING PLOVER sitting on its nest near Waukegan. Since it is in a restricted location with lots of security, Al told me I couldn't take any photos, and they wouldn't have turned out very well anyway because the nest was quite far away.

It was a fantastic day! Bird-of-the-day goes to the two cooperative Blue Grosbeaks, and runners-up to the Yellow-throated Warbler and Piping Plover. The full list for today, a good total of 69 species, is attached below.

Good birding,

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

69 species today:

Canada Goose
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Sandhill Crane
PIPING PLOVER
Killdeer
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
European Starling
Horned Lark
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
BLUE GROSBEAK
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Posted by skwclar 21:32 Archived in USA Tagged me landscapes lakes beaches people children trees animals birds sky

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Sounds like you had an incredible day of birding! Congrats on your lifer!

by Isoo

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