A Travellerspoint blog

Wednesday: Bird walk, try for a salamander, & Thrush Twitch

Chicago, IL

semi-overcast 65 °F

Last wednesday I started off the day by leading an Oak Park Bird Walk right across the street from Oak Park, in Columbus Park! (Chicago)

I had a nice group and we started off with a WOOD DUCK:


This time a beautiful adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK made a brief appearance, too!

As did a female PURPLE FINCH, very briefly:

It was a great walk. Later in the day, I headed to Chinatown to buy Tian some moon cakes for Mid Autumn Festival (which turned out great!), and afterward I was in the mood for some herping. So I wanted to finally nail down the Eastern Tiger Salamanders which have so far eluded me on the south side of Chicago. I headed to the appointed preserve where my friend Simon had one just a few days prior, and literally on the third log flipped, I pulled out a GIANT Eastern Tiger Salamander!!!!! Crazy cool especially given that I had tried at this location and failed over the summer. Incredible herp, possibly one of my favorite salamanders I’ve gotten so far. Here are my iPhone pics:

And a couple shots with the camera before I carefully placed it right next to the log which he or she promptly crawled right back under.

Upon excitedly calling Simon afterward, he alerted me that an even crazier sighting had come up: a Varied Thrush at Montrose! I had quite an internal debate for ten minutes as I drove north on the highway, debating whether I should head to Palos like I had originally planned, or try for the Varied Thrush, which had only been seen by a small handful of birders, briefly, so far in the morning. I figured the Varied Thrush is more of a one-time thing, especially in Cook, and Palos and its herps will be there waiting for me next time, so I headed to Montrose. TENNESSEE WARBLERS abounded there:

Many birds were lined up for the puddle at the Magic Hedge, including this three-in-one shot of RED-EYED VIREO, TENNESSEE WARBLER, & NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:

Things were not looking good for finding my Varied Thrush with this COOPER’S HAWK patrolling the Hedge for tired migrants...

Other thrush species abounded though, like this HERMIT:


Another Waterthrush:

Welp, I soon had to head home for an errand, and the bird was never re-found again, so who knows where it could’ve gone...dip! It happens sometimes, and gives more motivation for the next rare sighting in the area.

Bird-of-the-day to the beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk at Columbus Park. Herp-of-the-day to my lifer Tiger Salamander! No awards to the missing Varied Thrush. Stay tuned!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1119 Species

Posted by skwclar 16:58 Archived in USA

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