A Travellerspoint blog

Cap Sauer Holding Species Slam with Tian!

Cap Sauer Holding Forest Preserve, IL

all seasons in one day 75 °F

After getting up a bit before 7 and driving to “Cap,” Tian and I were out of the car along Ford Road and ready to see some birds! My targets for the day included woodland birds at Cap: Summer Tanager, Pileated Woodpecker, Veery, Hooded Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush. Then, I was hoping to head over to John Duffy Preserve to search for White-eyed & Bell’s Vireos & Yellow-breasted Chat.

As reported by other birders, I heard the one male BLUE GROSBEAK that has been frequenting the Ford Road area almost as soon as I left the car! It was extremely obliging — I love to view and photograph this beautiful species.

Upon walking eastward on the green trail through the woods, we started racking up the species! EASTERN TOWHEE:

Both male and female INDIGO BUNTINGS abounded:

Then, Tian said “woodpecker right up there!” and lo and behold, there was a PILEATED WOODPECKER on a tree right above the trail! Great spot, Tian! It flew off and landed a bit away for a single photo:

When we got to a thicker, lusher part of the woodland, I played the VEERY song and one immediately rushed in to start singing:


A male ORCHARD ORIOLE that carried some bugs to his nest! Awesome:

Then, I heard the unmistakable “peet-sah!” of an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and one soon came into view with a little searching:

I kept on hearing a loud “chink!” note coming from the bottomland forest understory but couldn’t locate it or call it in for the life of me. We soon came to a small bridge over a stagnant-looking stream and an idea popped into my head: I should try for Louisiana Waterthrush which has been seen here recently. I played the waterthrush song and immediately, in shot a male LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH flying so fast I could hardly track it! Luckily, after some tracking down, it sat long enough for some photography. Awesome bird — Cap Sauer is a historical location for this species but in recent years it has been pretty much non-existent (or non-detected) so it was super awesome to see this extremely-local species in northern Illinois.

Amazing! The birds were also active on the way back such as this NORTHERN FLICKER:

Upon getting back to the car, I walked across Ford Rd and bushwhacked a bit into Bergman Slough to look for grassland birds. And grassland birds, I found, such as this nice HENSLOW’S SPARROW:

Back at the trailhead, we enjoyed the fact that somebody had left out seeds for the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks, and Tian and I got positively enchanting looks at this RED-HEADED WOODPECKER — my best looks ever of this species:large_27A11FC5-E8AE-4E09-B120-A48255B01AD4.jpeglarge_4AD22C63-9768-4213-BE66-09EDEA26EB07.jpeglarge_EC348430-74F9-455D-8960-BE08F472932E.jpeglarge_F344DE8C-BCC6-45EC-89EA-EC3BDF150F11.jpeglarge_AA899234-8BA8-48FA-B9DC-836B51475021.jpeg


We drove over to Will-Cook Road to give one last look for Blue-winged Warbler and Summer Tanager. GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER was present:

And then, I heard a sweet, warbly song which indeed turned out to be the song of a first-year male SUMMER TANAGER — blotchy red and yellow! Super cool-looking bird and a great, great species for Cook County that is hard to track down.large_B6A86D6D-E753-4D3D-9007-F2816E870BE1.jpeg

Considering we had done extremely well with our targets at Cap Sauer finding almost all of them, as well as 58 species in total, we booked it with little time to nearby John J Duffy Preserve in Lemont in search of the aforementioned specialty shrubland birds.

I ran into one of my friends Jeff Skrentny, and of course when Jeff is around, the scope gets widened to searching for other small creatures! We found an impressive array of little creatures including a teeny-tiny American Toad and this cool Wolf Spider:

And most notably, this Question Mark which is an amazing find!

And it is aptly-named (if you have an imagination) as you can see:

Unfortunately, no time to chase my target birds, but it was still an amazing morning out with Tian! So awesome! Bird-of-the-day to the Summer Tanager which is a very tough one to nail down at any of their “more reliable” locations at Cook — runners-up to the Blue Grosbeak & Louisiana Waterthrush, two other tough species in the county!

Good birding!
World Life List: 1121 Species

Posted by skwclar 19:16 Archived in USA

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