A Travellerspoint blog

South Side Rumblings

Chicago, IL

sunny 77 °F

I made two trips to the south side for birds and herps in the last three days to take advantage of this unseasonably warm and nice weather — two days ago with Simon, Peter, and their mom in search of Short-eared Owls and anything that may fly over, and today in search primarily for herps..

We started off friday’s birding at Park 566 on the lakefront with a few AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS:

Flyover HORNED LARK. We also had flyover AMERICAN PIPIT & SNOW BUNTING, but no hoped-for winter finches which are irrupting this season.

HORNED GREBE in the harbor:

And then, we started flushing SHORT-EARED OWLS left and right from the open grassland area!!! We had at least five of them.

Even managed a shot of one in front of the Sears Tower!


BLACK SCOTER was a year bird for me and is quite uncommon here so it was awesome to see.

Then, we all headed to another preserve to hopefully flip some EASTERN TIGER SALAMANDERS and...I found one hiding underneath a rock on THE! FIRST! FLIP! Epic. Only my second ever.

Look at that handsome salamander smile:

Simon also found a huge Chicago Garter Snake which was cool. Sorry about the orientation — couldn’t seem to fix this properly.

Bird-of-the-day friday to the Short-eared Owls with runner-up to the Black Scoter. Both were really quality year birds for me.

Today I was back in search of herps. Started with a flyover COOPER’S HAWK:

And I ended up flipping two EASTERN TIGER SALAMANDERS including the same exact individual from last time (put him back quickly so as not to disturb). What a cool creature — this salamander is very uncommon especially in the Chicago area and is really special because it is the largest, chunkiest terrestrial salamander in the state.

So, good stuff recently! Fingers crossed for more winter finches — this winter’s “irruption” is turning out to be rather spectacular in Lake County, IL as while as Indiana but still has yet to really affect us down here in Cook County, IL.

Good birding,
World Life List: 1121 Species

Posted by skwclar 20:48 Archived in USA

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Cool to see short eared owls in flight. Thanks for all the pics.

by Mary McCutchan

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