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Miller Meadow Bird Walk & Deer Grove Herping

Cook County, IL

sunny 69 °F

Today I led the annual Oak Park Bird Walk in Miller Meadow Forest Preserve for a wonderful group of eight birders. We saw a good number of birds including many WARBLING VIREOS:
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TREE SWALLOWS have, as usual, taken over the “Kestrel” nest box.
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Surprisingly, there were still a few migrant warblers around including BLACKPOLL:
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And a super-obliging BLACK-THROATED BLUE who sang for us — amazing, especially this late in the season!
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One interesting sighting was an escaped pet cockatiel called a BUDGERIGAR (not technically countable).

The highlight of the walk was probably hearing & seeing either 5 or 6 YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, a known breeder here, but today the place was CRAWLING with them!
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Check out that tail!
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Next stop: Deer Grove Forest Preserve in search of breeding birds and Tiger & Spotted Salamanders. I quickly found a beautiful singing male SCARLET TANAGER:
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And right alongside the entrance road, incredibly, was a family of SANDHILL CRANES! Soooo cool!
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This shows how close they were:
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The baby truly looks like a fuzzy dinosaur!
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And of probably eighty logs flipped, I found two Blue-spotted Salamanders. Not my target species, but still super cool to see. Another cool amphibian around was the Leopard Frog.
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And on the way out, I was treated to my favorite warbler, a (hopefully breeding) pair of HOODED, which will be my bird-of-the-day. Runner-up to all the Yellow-billed Cuckoos at Miller Meadow.
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Good birding!
Henry
World Life List: 1115 Species

Posted by skwclar 21:29 Archived in USA

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