A Travellerspoint blog

May 18-19

semi-overcast 75 °F

Wow, almost two months late in posting now…well as always, better late than never! Here are my sightings from two pleasant days in mid-May.

On tuesday, May 18 I led a bird walk at GAR Woods which totaled 52 species, though most of them were heard-only and very fast-moving so it was tough to get people on them. We made the best of it, though, and found a few gems such as this beautiful male BALTIMORE ORIOLE:

HOUSE WREN at its nesting cavity:

INDIGO BUNTING male molting into his adult plumage:


The bird-of-the-walk was this BAY-BREASTED WARBLER which gave fairly good, albeit high, views for everyone:

After the walk, I drove down to the Palos area because I was in the mood for herping and on LITERALLY THE FOURTH FLIP I flipped a friggin Brown Eastern Milksnake, a lifer subspecies for me! (I had seen the Red subspecies in southern Illinois earlier this year). Absolutely insane. This is a very uncommon snake for Cook County with only a few iNaturalist records, and my observation is the first in many, many years for the forest preserve at which I flipped this beauty. This was a small one, these Brown ones up in this part of the state can grow to a couple feet long and considerably thicker than this.

Then, I drove to another nearby preserve where I found some Painted Turtles:

And a young American Bullfrog:

At this site, I phone-recorded the first-ever site record for Blanchard’s Cricket Frog calling — this particularly species had only ever been seen at one other location in Cook County so this was a new discovery for this species! Amazing!

And at another preserve, I was herping the edge of a lake and caught this Common Watersnake, but there was one catch: it had a fishhook stuck in its side! So I tried in vain to remove it, but the hook was deeply implanted. I went up to a sympathetic fisherman who had a pair of pliers and tried my hardest but ended up calling Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation Center who said they could take it in.

So, I saw someone throwing away an empty lunch container in the nearby parking lot so I grabbed the container with one hand, quickly put the feisty little snake in the container with the other, and drove the creature 30 minutes to the wildlife rehab center. Overall a cool experience and I wish the snake a full and quick recovery.

On wednesday, May 19 (my birthday), I accompanied my mom to her friend’s wake and while she was doing that, I herped my grandparents’ former property in Otsego, MI. They have a ravine that apparently has had Blue Racer in the past, so I knew herps were present. Alas, I didn’t find any snakes, but I did find several frogs including a Green Frog:

And I flipped my LIFER WOOD FROG!!! So cool I was able to get a herp lifer on a former family property! Very touching for me — definitely a gift from my late grandparents.

Good birding and herping,
World Life List: 1126 Species

Posted by skwclar 21:44 Archived in USA

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Wow! Nice photos - thank you Henry!

by Mary Stevens

are these Water snakes mean nasty aggressive beasts ? I recollect reading that they are dangerous and they have a nasty bite _ not poisonous but their teeth are recurved for catching fish, puncturing fish scales and there by really screwing up peoples flesh & muscle ! And they climb trees, I saw one at the old nuns retreat in a tree
- now Blackwell FP

by stephen fluett

The Bay breasted Warbler was a cool one; haven't seen those myself. Am following up reports of unusual bird appearances here...........like Road runner

by Mary Mc

You have to much fun! Take me herping while you’re in Idaho!😁🦎🐍🐢

by Poo

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