A Travellerspoint blog

Palos w/the Tolzmanns

Cook County, IL

overcast 34 °F


This afternoon Simon, Peter, and Andrea Tolzmann joined me for a day of exploring the Palos Preserves in search of the specialty birds they have to offer. They picked up Carolina Wren before I arrived, and soon we met at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center where, as usual, the feeders were bustling with activity. Highlighted here is a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER with a HOUSE SPARROW (left) and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW (right) among AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES.

And pretty soon I spotted a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER swoop in which was a nice surprise — they are scarce in the winter! My first of the year.

Our next stop at a preserve further west was dead, so we continued to Ford Rd where I proceeded to successfully get the car’s wheels stuck in some ice while trying to park on the side of the road. Yikes! Thankfully, the Tolzmanns were there to help by providing towels to put underneath the wheels for traction — I gunned it in reverse as they pushed against the hood and it worked like a charm! Thank you thank you! Interestingly enough we also witnessed another car do the exact same thing right after I parked somewhere else, and they got their 2-wheel drive vehicle stuck a little worse — about ten minutes of pushing the vehicle and coaching through wheel motions — and it did the trick again!

Meanwhile a nice group of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS seemed unphased by the vehicular commotion:

Simon spotted a NORTHERN HARRIER way out over Bergman Slough which was cool:

And at the seed area, there were plenty of DARK-EYED JUNCOS, TUFTED TITMICE, and AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS — all represented here in this photo:


A calling RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was a nice addition to the year list for this location.

The best sighting at Cap Sauers was this PILEATED WOODPECKER which was flying about and acting quite territorial. Awesome!

A quick final stop at McClaughry Springs for the day was slow but did produce BROWN CREEPER which was nice:

So a great day out! Bird-of-the-day for me goes to the stunning Red-headed Woodpecker with runners-up to the Red-shouldered Hawk and Pileated Woodpecker. I’m also grateful I could get the car out easily!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1123 Species

Posted by skwclar 04:02 Archived in USA

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Cat litter works great for traction on ice-the cheapest brand is fine.

by Liz Cifani

I had people whom I have never seen , stop and help me clean up debris that I accidentally dropped on the road. They spent about a half hour out in the heat, and one in a nice dress + her day off work to booooot. I have helped many stuck in the snow ; I got to say it may have been a bit nicer if a Red Head WP was a part of the day.
People sure can be kind, remember to not hurt your self, hurt surely can come with age, and fancy woodpeckers aren't around every day.

by stephen fluett

Red headed Woodpecker-WOW! I used to see the Pileated frequently in the woods in Arkansas. Such a great call.

by Mary McCutchan

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