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Morton Arb

Lisle, IL

semi-overcast 90 °F

Today, Susie Nies generously bought me a pass to visit the Morton Arboretum with her (since they are gradually opening up to members on a timed order only). Thanks to my mom who dropped me off there by 7am, Susie and I were able to connect at the entrance and we promptly began to tour the Arboretum for its specialty bird species. My targets included Yellow-throated Warbler, Summer Tanager, Barred Owl, and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Well, this one isn’t an enigma: within ten minutes of searching the vicinity of Parking areas 2 & 3, I heard one male bird singing its little heart out — YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER! I believe the Arb is their only nesting location in DuPage County (this is a more southerly species addicted to conifers and sycamores). It took quite a bit of tracking down, but eventually it sat up in the tippy-top of a conifer and gave absolutely breathtaking views — my best ever of this uncommon species.
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Then, another birder tipped us off to a HOODED WARBLER singing near Parking area 8 and, upon getting out of the car, I heard the bird singing within two minutes. We walked down the road, met up with two other birders who were tracking the warbler, and eventually had great looks of my absolute favorite warbler. Look at that stunning jet-black hood contrasting with the beautiful lemon-yellow tones. So cool. This bird apparently has been on this territory (classic dense-understory forest) for a number of years, so hopefully he finds his mate.
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We continued on to the Big Rock area in hopes of Summer Tanager & Barred Owl. A CAROLINA WREN was piping away which was awesome, and there were plenty of INDIGO BUNTINGS around:
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As well as ORCHARD ORIOLE:
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CEDAR WAXWING:
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And a good number of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS seemed to be utilizing natural nesting cavities in dead snags — a great sign.
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Female BALTIMORE ORIOLE:
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An algae-covered Painted Turtle:
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Alas, we failed to find the owl or the Summer Tanager, but a consolation was great looks at a male SCARLET TANAGER.
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A DICKCISSEL was singing its heart out in Big Rock Prairie:
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We continued on to the west side of the park in hopes of any random Summer Tanagers, as well as Red-breasted Nuthatches which nest on Hemlock Hill. At the hill there was an INDIGO BUNTING:
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And sure enough, I soon heard the “yank! yank! yank!” of a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH which we quickly tracked down. Very cool, especially considering how scarce they were last winter (their more expected time in these temperate climates).
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An amazing morning of birding thanks to Susie! Bird-of-the-day to the Hooded with runner-up to the Yellow-throated Warbler, two truly stunning breeding warbler species which we are lucky to have at the Arboretum.

STAY TUNED: Bright and early tomorrow, my family and I will begin our RV trip out west to South Dakota with birding each and every day (and hopefully some life birds).

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1115 Species

Posted by skwclar 15:53 Archived in USA

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