A Travellerspoint blog

Gillson Park with the gf

Wilmette, IL

semi-overcast 61 °F

Today Tian and I headed to Gillson Park in Wilmette, IL to do some lakewatching because of recent reports of Parasitic Jaegers (a would-be sophomore bird for me) and Little Gulls (a would-be life bird for me) in the overall area recently. It was a day with blustery north-northeast winds which would mean that any migrating seabirds would be pushed westward toward the lakefront, so perfect conditions for observing migration.

We arrived shortly before one and almost immediately I spotted a bulky bird chasing a RING-BILLED GULL very far out over the lake. It is the far birds that one must watch for since usually they will be the ones that turn out to be Jaegers, Kittiwakes, etc as opposed to the commoner gulls that congregare closer to shore. Indeed, this bird was bulky, dark, had white flashes underneath the wings, a slightly lighter underside, and was the same size as the Ring-billed Gull which it was chasing which means it could only be one thing: PARASITIC JAEGER!!!!! The other Jaegers are either smaller (Long-tailed) or larger than Ring-billed Gulls (Pomarine). Unfortunately I got distracted and lost the bird after only this very shitty photo which shows the Ring-billed on the bottom and the Jaeger (in hot pursuit of the gull, presumably because the gull had food the Jaeger wanted) on top. Lesson learned: don’t get distracted while viewing a Jaeger, EVER!

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were many in numbers:

A first-year HERRING GULL presided over the smaller RING-BILLED GULLS on the beach:

A beautifully-patterned BONAPARTE’S GULL flew by at one point, a new bird for my Cook County list this year!

And another highlight was a pair of NORTHERN PINTAIL that flew by — quite uncommon for this early in the autumn. These are slender ducks with brownish cheeks, white trailing edges to the wings, and noticeable tail extensions — no other duck this time of year looks like this in flight.

So for sitting for two hours, it was maybe a smidge slow, but the Jaeger was an obvious highlight of the day. Any day with a Jaeger, especially if you’re not even on a pelagic, is a great day!

Stay tuned: tomorrow I will be lake-watching from the other side of Lake Michigan: St. Joseph/Benton Harbor!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1119 Species

Posted by skwclar 19:02 Archived in USA

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: