A Travellerspoint blog

Late Christmas Gifts

Cook County, IL

semi-overcast 22 °F

Merry Christmas! First off, I would like to share with you my rendition of O Holy Night from this year’s Christmas Mass, with pianist Michele vonEber. It was an absolutely wonderful and totally enjoyable Christmas in many expected, an unexpected, ways.

One of the unexpected ways was an exceptionally good day of birding today following the intense cold snap we have endured over the last week. My targets today: Long-eared, Great Horned, and Eastern Screech Owls with Parker.

My day began at Wolf Road Prairie where it was quiet apart from an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW:

After picking up Parker, we made a bee-line to the lakefront to look for the Long-eared Owls! On the way to the appointed location, we had COMMON GOLDENEYE:


And another COMMON GOLDENEYE once we met up with my friend Oliver:

Then, we spotted our friends Simon, Peter, and a gaggle of other birders training their cameras into the bushes and it could only be that we had found our first, and rarest, target of the day, the LONG-EARED OWL! Absolutely amazing! And you can see here that it is a well-deserved name.

And there was a second one hiding behind the first from the original angle! There weren’t any clear shot opportunities for both so this was the best I could manage. Absolutely awesome though. By far the best looks I’ve ever had at this secretive species.

The cameras were clicking away when the front bird peered straight at us.

And once again when the sun emerged from the clouds and cast its golden glow on this fabulous bird.

Wow. Incredible. Our next stop, unfortunately, was less productive with a miss on the Great Horned Owl of Northwestern University. HERRING GULL:

But we headed up to Wilmette and almost immediately found our target there, the EASTERN SCREECH-OWL, also partially obscured from all angles, but at absolutely point-blank range! Though actually in a fairly obvious perch, we could see how because the owl holds perfectly still it is so easy to miss. This owl is TINY.

Bird-of-the-day to the Long-eared Owls with runner-up to the Eastern Screech-Owl. Fabulous to have a TWO OWL day, and I will try to top that with the next trip right around the corner: Sax Zim Bog this thursday - saturday!!!! Will we find a Great Gray? Or a Hawk Owl? Or even a Bobcat? Stay tuned and find out next.

Happy birding,
World Life List: 1142 Species

Posted by skwclar 08:11 Archived in USA

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