Saturday 22 December 2018 33 °F
Today, I started off the day with Kim Habel and we were off to Northerly Island in search of anything we could find there, particularly Snow Bunting. Unfortunately, it was very quiet there with no buntings or anything else noteworthy so we drove to the Lincoln Park Zoo instead to look for a Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon which have both recently appeared with the zoo specimens of the duck pond (these two birds have been confirmed by park officials to be wild, though!). Both of these ducks are rare enough during winter that they were flagged by ebird!
A lioness posed nicely for us.
Soon, I spotted the male GREEN-WINGED TEAL, our first target:
A WINTER WREN flitted through, which was a very nice find for early winter:
And then our second target for this leg of the journey showed up, a beautiful male AMERICAN WIGEON which is uncommon for this time of year here in Chicago.
Then, Kim drove back to Oak Park and I was off to Lake Calumet in search of waterfowl and gulls. A big thanks to Kim for a great morning of birding!
After getting off of the metra electric, I walked to Lake Calumet and was not disappointed — there were many, many birds. This BALD EAGLE posed nicely:
Then, I spotted a large raft of “Aythya” ducks which are diving ducks that essentially all look very similar. Featured in this photo is one of my favorite ducks, the CANVASBACK (red head & white back), with LESSER SCAUP and a RING-NECKED DUCK (lower right).
This male GREATER SCAUP was also a cool find — with his more common LESSER SCAUP relatives.
Then, a very large flock of geese came flying in, trumpeting all the while. I scanned for more uncommon ones, and I was lucky in finding this CACKLING GOOSE (tiny goose, center bird) among the more common CANADAS.
Female HOODED MERGANSER — I got all three merganser species at Lake Calumet today.
REDHEADS (the final Aythya species to be mentioned in this post) flying with a few LESSER SCAUP:
Scanning through the more common RING-BILLED & HERRING GULLS, this LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was a cool find for the area:
MUTE SWANS flying by:
Then, a completely white-winged gull flew in, eliminating all of the more common species which have black wing tips. What could it be???
ICELAND GULL, a bird I’ve only seen once before! Nice! Bird of the day!
Runners-up to the Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Cackling Goose, & Lesser Black-backed Gull. A nice variety to choose from today!
World Life List: 958 Species