A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3: Moving back northward

sunny 93 °F


Isoo and I were up soon after 5am and on the road to try for some eastern Illinois targets: Loggerhead Shrike, Barn Owl, Greater Prairie-Chicken, and Upland Sandpiper.

A bit of birding around Ferne Clyffe State Park yielded KENTUCKY WARBLER, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, FISH CROW, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, and more common ones like this EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE:

Our first location, a random pair of country roads known from eBird to hold the shrikes, was decent for birds and had this silhouetted EASTERN BLUEBIRD:


This shrike-patterned bird had us for a second, but soon it was revealed it was the much-more-common-down-there NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD:

At a second location for the shrike, we frustratingly struck out again but picked up this GRASSHOPPER SPARROW.


We headed to one wetland reserve in hopes of Barn Owl, King Rail, Least Bittern, and others, but frustratingly struck out on ALL OF EM! Dang — we even located the Barn Owl box and tried our best impressions of Barn Owl calls, to no avail...

Isoo didn’t want to wade through waist-high grasses to get to the wetland area and I wasn’t too keen either since it was a hot, sunny day by then so we unfortunately dipped on all three targets there, too. We were beginning to say, “jeez, this day is ass...”

At a gas stop we picked up EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE:

Our route took us through Olney, IL which is famous for its albino squirrel population. It took a surprising bit of cruising around before we located one near the aptly named “White Squirrel Drive.”


Next stop: Bartel Preserve for the Greater Prairie-Chickens — nada.
At a random country road north of Champaign for Upland Sandpiper, we saw one bird that fit the description so much that I would call it an UPLAND SANDPIPER but it was such a brief fly-by that Isoo wouldn’t call it. We tried and tried to relocate but with no luck. THIS was particularly infuriating.

Finally, by evening we had made it back to Cook County where we checked the Hemlick Preserve which was dry, but nearby Bartel Grasslands added a few species to our trip list including VIRGINIA RAIL, MARSH & SEDGE WRENS, BOBOLINK, & SWAMP SPARROW.

We hopped back in the car and hopped to Burnham Prairie in hopes of a King Rail seen there fairly recently...it was a bit more birdy there with a MUTE SWAN family with an impressive seven cygnets:


Female ORCHARD ORIOLE, a nice species for this location in the summer:


One big surprise was a brief look at a flying AMERICAN BITTERN which quickly dropped down into the marsh. This is an extremely scarce species, barely staying in northern Illinois in the summer, so it was super cool to see even though I didn’t manage any photos. Dang it!

With the sunset came the fact that yet again we had dipped on King Rail. Sometimes, you just have days like that!

One last trip bird, a COMMON NIGHTHAWK was heard at a 5-second stop behind OPRF High School to pick up another species for the trip before Isoo dropped me off at home. The trip list is below.

Bird-of-the-day to the American Bittern with runner-up to the Fish Crows back at Ferne Clyffe State Park. 2/3 days on a trip being extremely productive is still a great trip! One explanation for our poor luck on the last day was the hot temperature, topping out at 93 degrees at one point. 3 lifers, 132 species, and many Illinois lifers (and 1100+ miles covered) and year birds are not a small feat! Stay tuned: tomorrow, I (and possibly my friends Isoo and Simon) will bird some Palos preserves including Cap Sauer Holding, McGinty Slough, and maybe Swallow Cliff Woods. Should be fun, and hoping for some nice Cook County birds!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1121 Species

1. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
2. Canada Goose
3. Mute Swan
4. Wood Duck
5. Blue-winged Teal
6. Mallard
7. Red-breasted Merganser
8. Northern Bobwhite
9. Ring-necked Pheasant
10. Pied-billed Grebe
11. Rock Pigeon
12. Eurasian Collared-Dove
13. Mourning Dove
14. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
15. Chuck-will’s-widow LIFE BIRD X 2!!
16. Eastern Whip-poor-will
17. Chimney Swift
18. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
19. Virginia Rail
20. American Coot
21. Sandhill Crane
22. Black-necked Stilt IL LIFER
23. Killdeer
24. Ring-billed Gull
25. Least Tern IL LIFER
26. Caspian Tern
27. Double-crested Cormorant
28. Neotropic Cormorant
29. American White Pelican
30. Great Blue Heron
31. Great Egret
32. Snowy Egret
33. Little Blue Heron IL LIFER
34. Cattle Egret IL LIFER
35. Green Heron
36. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron IL LIFER
37. Black Vulture IL LIFER
38. Turkey Vulture
39. Mississippi Kite LIFE BIRD!
40. Cooper’s Hawk
41. Bald Eagle
42. Red-shouldered Hawk
43. Red-tailed Hawk
44. Barred Owl
45. Red-headed Woodpecker
46. Red-bellied Woodpecker
47. Downy Woodpecker
48. Hairy Woodpecker
49. Pileated Woodpecker
50. Northern Flicker
51. American Kestrel
52. Eastern Wood-Pewee
53. Acadian Flycatcher
54. Eastern Phoebe
55. Great Crested Flycatcher
56. Eastern Kingbird
57. White-eyed Vireo
58. Bell’s Vireo
59. Yellow-throated Vireo
60. Warbling Vireo
61. Red-eyed Vireo
62. Blue Jay
63. American Crow
64. Fish Crow IL LIFER
65. Carolina Chickadee
66. Tufted Titmouse
67. Horned Lark
68. Bank Swallow
69. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
70. Tree Swallow
71. Purple Martin
72. Barn Swallow
73. Cliff Swallow
74. White-breasted Nuthatch
75. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
76. House Wren
77. Sedge Wren
78. Marsh Wren
79. Carolina Wren
80. European Starling
81. Gray Catbird
82. Brown Thrasher
83. Northern Mockingbird
84. Eastern Bluebird
85. Wood Thrush
86. American Robin
87. Cedar Waxwing
88. House Sparrow
89. House Finch
90. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
91. American Goldfinch
92. Grasshopper Sparrow
93. Lark Sparrow
94. Chipping Sparrow
95. Field Sparrow
96. Henslow’s Sparrow
97. Song Sparrow
98. Swamp Sparrow
99. Eastern Towhee
100. Yellow-breasted Chat
101. Bobolink
102. Eastern Meadowlark
103. Western Meadowlark IL LIFER
104. Orchard Oriole
105. Baltimore Oriole
106. Red-winged Blackbird
107. Brown-headed Cowbird
108. Common Grackle
109. Ovenbird
110. Worm-eating Warbler
111. Louisiana Waterthrush
112. Prothonotary Warbler
113. Kentucky Warbler
114. Common Yellowthroat
115. Hooded Warbler
116. American Redstart
117. Cerulean Warbler
118. Northern Parula
119. Yellow Warbler
120. Pine Warbler
121. Yellow-throated Warbler
122. Prairie Warbler
123. Summer Tanager
124. Scarlet Tanager
125. Northern Cardinal
126. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
127. Blue Grosbeak IL LIFER
128. Indigo Bunting
129. Dickcissel
130. Black-crowned Night-Heron
131. American Bittern
132. Common Nighthawk

  • last three species not in taxonomic order because they were added late in the trip

Posted by skwclar 14:58 Archived in USA

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