A Travellerspoint blog

Merganser Trifecta

Chicago, IL

overcast 34 °F

March is probably my least favorite month for birding. None of the “fun” summer birds have arrived on breeding grounds yet, and migration is nothing apart from waterfowl over Lake Michigan (best seen with a scope, which I don’t have). Because I would otherwise go stir-crazy though, I just had to get out, despite the relative lack of interesting bird sightings being reported in the area. Today I covered Columbus Park just outside Oak Park in search of two Red-shouldered Hawks that have been tracked there by renowned birder Eric Gyllenhaal. Afterwards, I drove to Montrose Point to see if I could pick up any of the migrating ducks offshore, as well as hopefully find a few Woodcocks and a Long-tailed Duck which have recently been seen in the area.

This HAIRY WOODPECKER greeted me right when I left the house — always a nice find for the backyard:

As you can see, after thirty minutes of searching at Columbus Park, I did find this immature-type RED-SHOULDERED HAWK seemingly carrying nesting material. Interesting!

Other than that Columbus was quiet. So, I continued on to Montrose where this RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was floating in the harbor.

Others were migrating offshore:

As well as their cousin the COMMON MERGANSER:

And the HOODED MERGANSER, a bit of a surprise, completed an unexpected “merganser trifecta” for the day: all three types!!

Other ducks were flying by, including NORTHERN SHOVELERS:


Unfortunately, I missed the Long-tailed Duck and White-winged Scoters I was hoping to see — these sea ducks are definitely less common here than out east in NY.

In the sparrow department, I had SONG:


And a nice, but shy FOX:

Several times I flushed a couple AMERICAN WOODCOCKS from the hedge areas but, infuriatingly, they were much less-cooperative than the super-tame ones in Bryant Park, NYC — never allowing for photos.

On the way out, I made one final attempt for the Long-tailed Duck in the harbor, but all I could turn up were HORNED GREBES, including this individual:

Bird-of-the-day to the Red-shouldered Hawk with runners-up to the three Merganser species! Stay tuned: more birding will definitely follow in this crazy quarantine.

Good birding,
World Life List: 1111 Species

Posted by skwclar 16:46 Archived in USA

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