A Travellerspoint blog

Riverside private bird tour & Saganashkee Slough, Part 2

Cook County, IL

semi-overcast 75 °F

Tuesday morning I gave a private guided tour to a wonderful birder named Stephany and her mom in Riverside, a few suburbs down the street from Oak Park. We started off with a bunch of YELLOW-RUMPED and this single ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER which was nice:


A bend in the Des Plaines River held some more water-related species like KILLDEER:


And the surprise of the day was these two female COMMON MERGANSERS roosting on a rock in the middle of the torrent. Not only is it early for this species, but it is an odd location as the Des Plaines isn’t particularly wide (and presumably not too deep) here.

First-year WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW lacking the white of an adult:

My favorite passerine of the walk was this lively WINTER WREN:

It was a great, enjoyable walk! Yesterday, after my dad came back with the car, I hopped in and drove back down to the Palos region — specifically Saganashkee Slough, to hopefully find the Red-necked Grebes I had missed there this past weekend. This would be a photographic life bird AND an Illinois lifer if seen!

RUSTY BLACKBIRD along the shore of the slough:

Grebes — but they were PIED-BILLED:

And then, I saw them. Two long-necked, large grebes with dagger-like bills and buffy necks. Hell yeah! My almost-lifer RED-NECKED GREBES! The only other one I’ve seen was from a distance on the coast of Long Island two winters ago.

After a successful twitch, I headed over to the nearby location where Oliver, Simon, and Peter had their beautiful Eastern Milksnake last saturday. I felt like I’d give it one last shot since it would be the last over-70-degree day of the year. Here is what the crazy habitat looked like — lots of rocks to flip for certain, I definitely didn’t flip them all, but flipped well into the hundreds today!

Welp, I didn’t get a single snake of any kind (cmon, not even a Garter?!) but on the way back I did catch this mid-sized American Bullfrog:

Next, I explored some rocky ravines in hopes of discovering some salamander populations, but unfortunately came up empty with only some earthworms, slugs, and this Green Frog (which still is a good indicator species for ravine habitats). The Palos preserves have a lot of “unexplored” woodland that has great potential for finding herps — for the rest of the year, snakes will be harder to come by though, and I am expecting to focus more on salamanders (in addition to birds, of course).

Bird-of-the-day to the Red-necked Grebes with runner-up to the Rusty Blackbird. A very successful birding trip, even if the herping was dead. STAY TUNED: this weekend I head to southern Illinois with family for a three-day camping trip. Herping targets will include: Black Kingsnake, Northern Cottonmouth, Northern Dusky, Spotted Dusky, Marbled, Zigzag, Northern Slimy, and Mole Salamander. We’ll see how it goes!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1120 Species

Posted by skwclar 22:23 Archived in USA

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and now I remember the immature White crowned sparrow look. thats what it was , it was in the yard yesterday. Thanks for the educational sharing

by stephen fluett

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