A Travellerspoint blog

Birthday birding: Jackson Park & Elsen’s Hill

rain 57 °F

Upon waking up this morning, I saw a text from Isoo O that Jackson Park was full of migrants, so of course I was up and off to the park ASAP!

It was a cool, misty morning: one of those perfect mornings for finding migrant songbirds — a “magical May” feeling morning. And yes, I saw many migrants including 20 warblers at Jackson Park, but the birds were just moving too fast for as many photos as I would have liked. They were really in a frenzy to stock up on their gnats this morning to fuel up for the remainder of migration! One of the first warblers to make an appearance was a good one — a brilliant male CANADA:

As well as an equally-beautiful female:

And after quite a bit of putzing around, picking through warbler flocks (which included my favorite warbler species, a HOODED), I spotted a larger, long-tailed bird perched in the trees east of Bobolink Meadow. I knew at once that it was a cuckoo (given that characteristic shape) and I wished and prayed it was a Black-billed, which I have seen maybe twice before. And lo and behold, it was! BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO!!!! Cuckoos are by no means easy to spot, but the Black-billed in my opinion is seen far less than its cousin the Yellow-billed, which I also recently saw at Jackson Park. And the black bill & red eyes of this bird are obvious:

SO COOL! I then had to high-tale it home so my dad could pick up Daisy from the groomer. But it was not over yet! In the afternoon, I took Tian to a birding location I have always wanted to visit: Elsen’s Hill in Winfield, IL! This is a large hickory woodland & fen that attracts a huge number of migrant warblers and various other species, and it did NOT disappoint this afternoon. 23 warbler species including a MOURNING and the ones pictured below — here is a female BLACKBURNIAN:





And an EASTERN KINGBIRD on the way out.

A quick stop at Danada Forest Preserve before getting back on the highway home was unproductive with the exception of a Traill’s Flycatcher (either Willow or Alder), and a couple of FIELD SPARROWS:

What a great way to spend my birthday! Bird-of-the-day to that incredible Black-billed Cuckoo with runners-up to the Hooded Warbler at Jackson Park and the Mourning Warbler at Elsen’s Hill. Stay tuned: I am leading a bird walk at Columbus Park tomorrow morning, and my fingers are crossed for a spectacular showing of migrants!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1115 Species

Posted by skwclar 17:38 Archived in USA

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Happy Birthday Henry!

by Mary Stevens

Happy Birthday, Henry!

by Marlene Scott

Happy Birthday, and thanks for all the joy you bring us!

by liz cifani

Happy birthday one more time and how special that a black-billed cuckoo helped you celebrate!

by Poo

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