A Travellerspoint blog

All over the county, again!

Cook, IL

all seasons in one day 73 °F

Although my original plan was to go to Bartel Grassland this morning before classes to check for Yellow Rail & LeConte’s Sparrow, I woke up to a message on the Cook County Notables groupchat that a Worm-eating Warbler was seen by North Pond in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago! Worm-eating Warbler was not even on my “expected warbler list” so the spring so it sure was tempting... Also, as the warbler would be an Illinois lifer for me (I’ve only previously seen it out-of-state), so this report was just too enticing: before I knew it, I was on my way to North Pond!

I could immediately tell it was one of those magical spring mornings after night winds that brought ethereal foggy conditions, and many, many migrants. My first COMMON YELLOWTHROAT of the year was a welcome sight, my first new spring warbler of the day!

And I also managed to track down a singing BLUE-HEADED VIREO, a not-too-common bird:

Then, birder Laurel Ross said (from a distance) “I think I’ve got it!” So, I looked into a section of dead leaves in the tree she motioned toward and lo and behold, there was my Illinois lifer WORM-EATING WARBLER! Too cool!!! :) As Laurel said, they are indeed even prettier in person than in pictures. Also, my second new warbler for the day!

So, after the victory of finding the Worm-eater, I decided to walk the perimeter of the pond to check for more migrants. As I said, it was very active, and these NORTHERN FLICKERS had to join the party:


And another new warbler for the spring, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH! There truly was a turnover in migrants from last night. This bird can be differentiated from the Louisiana Waterthrush by the very faint streaking on the throat of this bird (which is completely pale on the Louisiana).


First HOUSE WREN of the year!

And yet another new warbler — a rather dumpy looking BLACK-AND-WHITE:



Another first-year bird: LINCOLN’S SPARROW!


On the way back home, I wanted to stop somewhere to get more migrants so I decided on Columbus Park which was right next to the expressway on the route back to Oak Park! Perfect! A GREAT BLUE HERON at the Lagoon was there to greet me:

And its smaller cousin the GREEN:

And migrants, there were! RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, the most common migrant of the day:

Nice to see a NASHVILLE WARBLER again — awesome! Bring it on, spring!


Female AMERICAN GOLDFINCH associating with the warblers:

Another common migrant of the day, yet again, was the SWAMP SPARROW:

And although I thought I was done with birding for the day, of course, I WAS NOT!!! I got a message during music history of a LeConte’s Sparrow which would be a full life bird for me if seen. So, after class, I was off to Gillson Park in Wilmette where the bird had been seen with other sparrows. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS proliferated in the lake:

And a COOPER’S HAWK had plenty to feast on today with all the migrants passing through! This bird had something in its talons, but I couldn’t make out exactly which bird it was (they just about exclusively prey on birds, as do other species in their genus).

One surprise was when I heard the buzzy song of a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, my last new warbler for the year! Although it was distant at first, I managed to track it down and get some nice shots — cool! As you may see, it is a close relative of the similar Townsend’s Warbler I saw recently.

My first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS of the year were around today, and they were around in numbers:

As well as their relative the WHITE-THROATED, too!

Loved getting some close-ups of a PALM WARBLER:

Although I picked carefully through the local sparrow flocks and checked all of the grassy areas at Gillson Park where a LeConte’s Sparrow would be likely lurking, I came up empty...as expected, because this is an e x t r e m e l y elusive migrant for Cook County! Maybe I’ll get it this spring, and maybe not! A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time, but spotting one also takes skill because they have a tendency to shoot into the air for a couple of seconds and then disappear into the grass, not to be seen again. Hell, I could’ve seen one today without knowing it!

Bird-of-the-day to the Worm-eating Warbler with runner-up to the Black-throated Green Warbler. A great day of spotting new migrants for the spring! The updated spring warbler list is included below.

One last note: I have discovered that this month now marks the month with the greatest number of blog posts to date, surpassing March 2014! This is, of course, partially due to an unhappy reason, a greater amount of time due to the pandemic, but thinking positively, the pandemic has also allowed me to enjoy the wonders of spring migration to an even fuller extent than usual. And we are not even close to peak migration yet!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1114 Species

Spring 2020 warbler list:

1. Ovenbird
2. Worm-eating Warbler BONUS RARITY: North Pond, April 28
3. Louisiana Waterthrush: DuPage County, April 4
4. Northern Waterhthrush: North Pond, April 28
5. Golden-winged Warbler
6. Blue-winged Warbler
7. Black-and-White Warbler: North Pond, April 28
8. Prothonotary Warbler
9. Tennessee Warbler
10. Orange-crowned Warbler: Oak Park alley, April 24
11. Nashville Warbler: Hegewisch Marsh, April 27
12. Connecticut Warbler
13. Mourning Warbler
14. Kentucky Warbler
15. Common Yellowthroat: North Pond, April 28
16. Hooded Warbler
17. American Redstart
18. Cape May Warbler
19. Cerulean Warbler
20. Northern Parula
21. Magnolia Warbler
22. Bay-breasted Warbler
23. Blackburnian Warbler
24. Yellow Warbler
25. Chestnut-sided Warbler
26. Blackpoll Warbler
27. Black-throated Blue Warbler
28. Palm Warbler: Big Marsh, April 27
29. Pine Warbler: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, April 18
30. Yellow-rumped Warbler: Thatcher Woods, April 4
31. Yellow-throated Warbler
32. Townsend’s Warbler BONUS RARITY: Deer Grove Forest Preserve, April 17
33. Black-throated Green Warbler: Gillson Park, April 28
34. Canada Warbler
35. Wilson’s Warbler

Posted by skwclar 18:11 Archived in USA

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