A Travellerspoint blog

April 2020

Slogging through the Wetlands

Bartel Grassland, IL

all seasons in one day 50 °F

Today I planned to do a thorough search at Bartel Grassland for two annual but extremely elusive Cook County birds: Yellow Rail and LeConte’s Sparrow. I started at Butterfield Creek Headwaters, at the suggestion of Isoo, to check for migrants and anything that might happen to be there. And I had good luck! It started with a very photogenic NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH — starting off the trip with a migrant warbler is a great sign!
large_C8C8FFC8-74D9-4A9B-8CA9-4CAF6EEC26B3.jpeglarge_388C4545-6461-4BA5-8497-2FA8BB8FF287.jpeglarge_02463BED-0180-4203-BCFE-1A3A919018B9.jpeglarge_028FDA3D-E2CE-41E2-BA29-78D309427B90.jpeglarge_2EC7044D-5675-4003-820B-5DF6A18A9859.jpeglarge_F775CBB8-1129-4802-B786-3D88757EF448.jpeglarge_2AD6C268-B426-4B8C-831E-6523852B1438.jpeg

My first GRAY CATBIRD of the year:
large_D61EF306-0974-4D8D-B3B7-9F66CBDB353F.jpeg

And then I struck gold! I looked out across the lake and there were some huge white blogs, in the form of AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS! 31 of them in total — super cool for Cook County!
large_E91DA780-ABE8-4418-B3F6-671AF6035582.jpeglarge_10F5B53A-50FF-4F30-A7F1-F8892474D607.jpeglarge_9EC19D8B-2A48-40DF-92A4-62B88B0F4A73.jpeg

With RUDDY DUCKS & a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT swimming in the foreground:
large_D9BCAA3F-94CA-44B8-AE8F-EEFEB3F8C195.jpeg

Now, joined by a photobombing TREE SWALLOW:
large_E3528449-464F-4F80-8FEF-382D84118FFA.jpeg

Another nice migrant duck to see was a pair of BUFFLEHEAD — getting a smidge late, huh?
large_1D67D07D-A95C-4FE2-86E7-86F4FB332CD8.jpeg

HERMIT THRUSH:
large_F20F8FE6-DE1A-4617-9863-761C0076D7BA.jpeg

And my first-of-the-year SWAINSON’S THRUSH! Cool to see these two species relatively close together — note the complete olive back (with no hint of reddish color) on the Swainson’s.
large_E2944FFF-3E34-414A-86EA-030A20F42838.jpeglarge_FC181FD1-7701-4066-8647-38C20DCC6994.jpeg

As I drove into Bartel, I had to pull off to the side of the road because another AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN caught my eye sitting in one of the entrance ponds — beautiful! Their bill knobs are only present during the breeding season.
large_8BBAB2A0-71AA-4B08-8C07-8571C46E3CA4.jpeg

There were also RING-NECKED DUCKS:
large_1C548C55-8D5D-46F3-A33E-3AEB8FE254D3.jpeg

PIED-BILLED GREBE:
large_9FDE986E-019C-4380-A8F9-DB0F67197654.jpeg

This GREATER YELLOWLEGS flew over at one point:
large_9D4C6AC5-B4C1-4053-A42E-3FAB88C72B40.jpeg

And a VESPER SPARROW flushed up from alongside the road:
large_2C73EDCB-B629-41A1-ADA1-033A39E6AC5C.jpeg

Next course of action: trudging at times almost knee-deep through flooded grassland & wetland in order to have probably my best chances at finding a LeConte’s Sparrow or Yellow Rail for the spring. My feet almost immediately got completely drenched, which was at times rather unpleasant, but the birds certainly made up for it. A large rail took off from almost underneath me and to my delight, I had my first-of-the-year COMMON GALLINULE in flight! Awesome — a very uncommon migrant!
large_DC4ED5CE-01E2-4109-95B6-DFAF0497964B.jpeglarge_DD4F3B07-2DF6-4B8B-8B0D-5EDD88EF5C96.jpeg

“Whatcha doin fool?” asks the EASTERN MEADOWLARK as I continue to slog through the wetland.
large_0F07A69D-B1DD-4D73-8D11-B5EFD521FE4E.jpeg

GADWALL was a nice addition:
large_98DE184D-B45E-4A54-A593-9F22568AF724.jpeg

SWAMP SPARROWS were everywhere:
large_AC7C39CD-5DC6-4ACF-BA26-14F3BA79B466.jpeg

Also unphotographed were a number of HENSLOW’S SPARROWS which were heard-only several times and made several brief, flushed appearances — not cooperative today.

This rail gave me a good fool — it was very tiny and rather light, but after a good amount of discussion and posting on “What’s this bird?” it indeed turned out to be a SORA — the rare Yellow Rail would have white patches on the trailing edges to the wings. Dang it!
large_3353254C-8BE5-44F8-A0E3-3DE2F1F7B151.jpeg

The habitat where I flushed it — perfect for Yellow Rail though!
large_CAFF3639-5D39-4A63-9178-2DAD47C51462.jpeg

SANDHILL CRANE:
large_FEFD0A3B-E7AA-46A6-A8BC-00BE555A1C0A.jpeg

BOBOLINKS have arrived! This male was performing his display-flight for any females who might have been watching.
large_812C85DF-95A0-47EB-BD24-38EA97E19201.jpeg

SAVANNAH SPARROW:
large_5F39569B-2DE3-41EB-8C4F-F44D70803363.jpeglarge_11098C19-3600-42BD-A4E2-83DB9912E6F0.jpeglarge_2BE551AA-5744-4479-B87E-05766214466C.jpeg

BLUE-WINGED TEAL — love how this photo turned out; you can really see why they’re named that way.
large_45EAFCAA-C71B-4E00-B7EB-822E07D4CA50.jpeg

Another flushed SORA — I counted twenty-three of these today, incredible!
large_50E030B2-8C46-4D61-9731-90F025AF71E6.jpeg

LESSER YELLOWLEGS:
large_3C1D52EF-01DB-4FF0-A0E0-3B69FEA17C3B.jpeg

Ah, finally a decent pic of a WILSON’S SNIPE!
large_35239EA5-B7B5-4F1B-A0C6-1D8E9F7724B4.jpeglarge_0415D4C3-8A83-40B6-B56D-3C730E9AA51C.jpeglarge_44872CEA-332D-4CB0-8769-22CD4E4AA600.jpeg

What a shnoz!
large_0BA7581B-449F-4DD7-B3C7-CF9FC9C2A504.jpeg

This SORA also gave incredible views and I was happy to point it out to another birder, Linda.
large_00359D01-0C9C-4C13-B831-7F33DE0F3580.jpeglarge_FBD99E49-D763-4B7D-82AB-0CDA0F027422.jpeglarge_EDADB0A8-7104-484E-9F54-14874FDDB9E0.jpeglarge_1CE0245B-E893-4373-84B5-2D070EA40B29.jpeglarge_103B3410-4D86-4716-81DA-16DFACF60415.jpeglarge_A570E0C3-C061-4763-BE85-C86A3ECCBCC4.jpeglarge_567C50FB-D404-4501-8F35-2936D7758489.jpeglarge_CBAB4A10-5333-4BD3-8517-6D82407DD111.jpeglarge_06FA11B1-3418-4389-9441-276FD4BEB762.jpeglarge_A536550B-62B0-4B2F-91AC-15A61B822FBE.jpeg

I was also afforded with some GREAT photo opportunities of both SEDGE:
large_8E3ED025-40DF-4970-9C18-71A5274751BB.jpeglarge_C8B9548B-4319-48B5-A32F-216DFAF209D7.jpeglarge_7FC10441-A7CF-4EC8-945A-1B96693B3C6C.jpeglarge_2F7C433C-F422-4A9D-A756-D2B64B7525D2.jpeglarge_1C878446-C971-4CFE-A233-2DBD7FC38D0D.jpeglarge_1F35A71C-677F-41A1-B9F8-848E374A7927.jpeglarge_346BF18A-D79C-4F17-9533-65DBC4962C53.jpeg

And the similar MARSH WRENS:
large_135077B6-E3D2-49B1-A5D9-C5EAE4E941EE.jpeglarge_354A14E3-2238-4CCF-B1B8-FE58C9131508.jpeglarge_F0A1C714-2CAE-457C-BC77-8242DD0A89D8.jpeglarge_976C5AF5-CEF8-44A9-B835-7AFC3439472C.jpeg

This female/immature (because it’s brown) NORTHERN HARRIER winged overhead from time to time:
large_F5C6CEAE-8213-497D-9416-8330C5FABE7C.jpeg

One of my favorite parts of the day was hearing the “Boom! Boom! Boom-a-chunk!” call of an AMERICAN BITTERN from deep within the marsh — I had always wanted to hear that in the wild, and that wish came true today. So cool!

And a sunset put a lid on a wonderful afternoon of birding. Despite not finding my target birds after all, it was a very productive day!
large_9BFE1A00-74DD-4749-BC4F-A6A27FC8AF27.jpeg

One disheartening sight was a bunch of young men gathering together (not practicing social distancing whatsoever) and drag racing in the forest preserve entrance drive to Killdeer Wetlands. So I called the police and busted them. Unfortunately this officer was lenient — I would have liked to have seen some handcuffs and teary eyes. :)

Bird-of-the-day to the Common Gallinule with runners-up to the American White Pelicans and American Bittern. A great day out! Our next push of southerly winds is tomorrow night so I will definitely be out and about on saturday in hopes of picking up some more warblers.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1114 Species

Posted by skwclar 20:59 Archived in USA Comments (2)

All over the county, again!

Cook, IL

all seasons in one day 73 °F

Although my original plan was to go to Bartel Grassland this morning before classes to check for Yellow Rail & LeConte’s Sparrow, I woke up to a message on the Cook County Notables groupchat that a Worm-eating Warbler was seen by North Pond in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago! Worm-eating Warbler was not even on my “expected warbler list” so the spring so it sure was tempting... Also, as the warbler would be an Illinois lifer for me (I’ve only previously seen it out-of-state), so this report was just too enticing: before I knew it, I was on my way to North Pond!

I could immediately tell it was one of those magical spring mornings after night winds that brought ethereal foggy conditions, and many, many migrants. My first COMMON YELLOWTHROAT of the year was a welcome sight, my first new spring warbler of the day!
large_D08A56DD-A0AE-4704-B6E8-2D4E706B2040.jpeg

And I also managed to track down a singing BLUE-HEADED VIREO, a not-too-common bird:
large_A74A8606-4C27-4FCB-A635-56124ADAF3FA.jpeg

Then, birder Laurel Ross said (from a distance) “I think I’ve got it!” So, I looked into a section of dead leaves in the tree she motioned toward and lo and behold, there was my Illinois lifer WORM-EATING WARBLER! Too cool!!! :) As Laurel said, they are indeed even prettier in person than in pictures. Also, my second new warbler for the day!
large_9EB99463-991C-420C-A1BE-E3F46F43FB62.jpeglarge_53E46509-A888-4EB7-AA6C-FBE1E269CE4E.jpeglarge_25E7DEBC-E9B5-4F0C-AAEF-0077D77422EB.jpeglarge_36364BE9-2C6D-4CD2-BB61-C9AABCEB0D82.jpeglarge_CA4C5BCE-7801-4EC0-B998-782A9BC5FF1C.jpeglarge_1247EC79-DCAA-4374-A094-899C8BFE549B.jpeglarge_5A267E61-73D9-4925-84C4-21796422810B.jpeglarge_35A1FC12-87E6-41A2-89D1-E336C2B531D4.jpeglarge_3E1D6F2A-05BA-447E-878E-9DB8634AFBF0.jpeg

So, after the victory of finding the Worm-eater, I decided to walk the perimeter of the pond to check for more migrants. As I said, it was very active, and these NORTHERN FLICKERS had to join the party:
large_3B1502E6-6ACD-4461-8BF8-D579838B0B94.jpeg
large_9C7A9E7F-DCDF-411E-8EE6-365C3F26B6A0.jpeg

HERMIT THRUSH abounded:
large_4688CA1D-B90B-4B70-A090-4388ACFC5C18.jpeg

And another new warbler for the spring, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH! There truly was a turnover in migrants from last night. This bird can be differentiated from the Louisiana Waterthrush by the very faint streaking on the throat of this bird (which is completely pale on the Louisiana).
large_7801D073-FE98-4FBD-BDAA-84776AFAAB4E.jpeglarge_DCCC2C66-A747-47F0-A636-445AEC905C7B.jpeglarge_B867E2A5-E8FD-48F4-A6D7-E674022F6C2C.jpeglarge_2CB92F34-0EDE-4BE1-B2F1-D51E55C2AD6B.jpeg

WOOD DUCK:
large_2EC4C6F3-DABF-41EA-8962-F3F6372DF65C.jpeg

First HOUSE WREN of the year!
large_5E57428A-B8C9-49AA-8612-97534320762D.jpeg

And yet another new warbler — a rather dumpy looking BLACK-AND-WHITE:
large_BC643D35-C543-4A5C-B739-CDAE150B7F0E.jpeglarge_7F49B652-F315-4539-8D49-9134525400BD.jpeg

YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER:
large_118B5591-8BEE-45E9-8573-128C9E567F8F.jpeg

DARK-EYED JUNCO:
large_59C37009-8C3E-43D9-999A-CAEACD68439A.jpeg

Another first-year bird: LINCOLN’S SPARROW!
large_381176F2-814A-4462-88EF-229A58FDE7C4.jpeglarge_3E2FC58C-052F-4F4B-A084-AD138BEC28BB.jpeg

Female EASTERN TOWHEE:
large_2E32D98C-7FD1-4793-AF51-25DD8B979638.jpeglarge_B524FDFD-E8A5-4BA7-8BE3-70AD39671E1A.jpeg

On the way back home, I wanted to stop somewhere to get more migrants so I decided on Columbus Park which was right next to the expressway on the route back to Oak Park! Perfect! A GREAT BLUE HERON at the Lagoon was there to greet me:
large_78B00EAB-805D-4ADE-AE1C-FC75D291C8CB.jpeg

And its smaller cousin the GREEN:
large_F03BC225-140E-42A2-BFF6-547577CA61F7.jpeg

And migrants, there were! RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, the most common migrant of the day:
large_E0C7C80E-66F3-40E1-837A-881C1223DF9B.jpeg

Nice to see a NASHVILLE WARBLER again — awesome! Bring it on, spring!
large_5A2D0217-DFC1-4AE9-AC3F-45C1B5455267.jpeg
large_DB004F9A-2D34-43E7-A046-579F71C3FED9.jpeglarge_F6D4A1B3-6B42-4106-858C-3DC2DFC80E2C.jpeg

And an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
large_56CCC419-4D93-418D-9BC8-3F75FD9DFFE1.jpeglarge_BDABF28C-AF8E-400B-8D6B-AAD61C50852C.jpeglarge_B65A7AB2-66D3-4088-B1F7-67E3747D102A.jpeg

Female AMERICAN GOLDFINCH associating with the warblers:
large_057BAF8F-841D-4605-834D-0C999AC85BE5.jpeg

Another common migrant of the day, yet again, was the SWAMP SPARROW:
large_9FE4D9B9-CA53-4315-909C-A32FCD82AC28.jpeg

And although I thought I was done with birding for the day, of course, I WAS NOT!!! I got a message during music history of a LeConte’s Sparrow which would be a full life bird for me if seen. So, after class, I was off to Gillson Park in Wilmette where the bird had been seen with other sparrows. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS proliferated in the lake:
large_A5CE451E-44CF-4D19-8757-277822C4B198.jpeg

And a COOPER’S HAWK had plenty to feast on today with all the migrants passing through! This bird had something in its talons, but I couldn’t make out exactly which bird it was (they just about exclusively prey on birds, as do other species in their genus).
large_834B3D5C-B157-40BF-B096-D7EA3C64B3F0.jpeg

One surprise was when I heard the buzzy song of a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, my last new warbler for the year! Although it was distant at first, I managed to track it down and get some nice shots — cool! As you may see, it is a close relative of the similar Townsend’s Warbler I saw recently.
large_9A3F018E-E011-4D05-AE1B-FE8387B1A018.jpeglarge_847B5EEE-52E9-42F4-B930-6BF2BD5B5FD9.jpeglarge_9ECFE064-10B0-40FF-A760-9D7AF0494A14.jpeglarge_EA42AEEF-8FA9-473E-A932-260C140ABA15.jpeglarge_43669E33-8189-4AA8-B22A-A6E6C6CC7732.jpeglarge_12402595-5114-40D6-B13B-54A9E268488C.jpeg

My first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS of the year were around today, and they were around in numbers:
large_4CC243A5-6F7A-4ECE-92F3-D9AB8E9B9AA7.jpeg

As well as their relative the WHITE-THROATED, too!
large_14C55801-EEEA-4811-B420-D779B5B8B8BC.jpeg

Loved getting some close-ups of a PALM WARBLER:
large_BFCED975-C3D3-49C4-B943-DA89CB58AAF3.jpeglarge_6A299A16-8CD8-41CD-8522-4A0E6CF3421A.jpeglarge_D390CB9B-B9F1-42F2-AE3A-9017D2581654.jpeglarge_EC6A2EC8-853F-49B4-80D7-FB1215886FEA.jpeglarge_45B62E20-10E4-42CA-BDB8-DAACA96DBE6F.jpeglarge_AD3B5594-89A8-4254-9100-BF8849792FCA.jpeg

Although I picked carefully through the local sparrow flocks and checked all of the grassy areas at Gillson Park where a LeConte’s Sparrow would be likely lurking, I came up empty...as expected, because this is an e x t r e m e l y elusive migrant for Cook County! Maybe I’ll get it this spring, and maybe not! A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time, but spotting one also takes skill because they have a tendency to shoot into the air for a couple of seconds and then disappear into the grass, not to be seen again. Hell, I could’ve seen one today without knowing it!

Bird-of-the-day to the Worm-eating Warbler with runner-up to the Black-throated Green Warbler. A great day of spotting new migrants for the spring! The updated spring warbler list is included below.

One last note: I have discovered that this month now marks the month with the greatest number of blog posts to date, surpassing March 2014! This is, of course, partially due to an unhappy reason, a greater amount of time due to the pandemic, but thinking positively, the pandemic has also allowed me to enjoy the wonders of spring migration to an even fuller extent than usual. And we are not even close to peak migration yet!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1114 Species

Spring 2020 warbler list:

1. Ovenbird
2. Worm-eating Warbler BONUS RARITY: North Pond, April 28
3. Louisiana Waterthrush: DuPage County, April 4
4. Northern Waterhthrush: North Pond, April 28
5. Golden-winged Warbler
6. Blue-winged Warbler
7. Black-and-White Warbler: North Pond, April 28
8. Prothonotary Warbler
9. Tennessee Warbler
10. Orange-crowned Warbler: Oak Park alley, April 24
11. Nashville Warbler: Hegewisch Marsh, April 27
12. Connecticut Warbler
13. Mourning Warbler
14. Kentucky Warbler
15. Common Yellowthroat: North Pond, April 28
16. Hooded Warbler
17. American Redstart
18. Cape May Warbler
19. Cerulean Warbler
20. Northern Parula
21. Magnolia Warbler
22. Bay-breasted Warbler
23. Blackburnian Warbler
24. Yellow Warbler
25. Chestnut-sided Warbler
26. Blackpoll Warbler
27. Black-throated Blue Warbler
28. Palm Warbler: Big Marsh, April 27
29. Pine Warbler: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, April 18
30. Yellow-rumped Warbler: Thatcher Woods, April 4
31. Yellow-throated Warbler
32. Townsend’s Warbler BONUS RARITY: Deer Grove Forest Preserve, April 17
33. Black-throated Green Warbler: Gillson Park, April 28
34. Canada Warbler
35. Wilson’s Warbler

Posted by skwclar 18:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Shorebirding Continues

Cook County, IL

all seasons in one day 63 °F

After discussing with my friend Isoo last night, I thought today I would bird the Calumet marshes before to school to see if shorebirds or other migrants were around. I started with Big Marsh off Stony Island Ave where there was a moderate productivity of birdlife. AMERICAN COOT:
large_BC93D589-DDBC-496B-BF42-3AD51F2F830F.jpeg

SPOTTED SANDPIPER:
large_60503F09-353B-42E5-BB97-F05E111EE896.jpeg

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW:
large_61637FA2-23E4-4F97-B2FC-59688DC677A3.jpeg

CHIPPING SPARROW:
large_7288FE3C-F2F5-4236-9CE8-BA9F9D7D90CC.jpeg

SONG SPARROW:
large_0E04DB43-0335-461B-8C0F-791AA9D29262.jpeg

My first GREEN HERON of the year:
large_4C490A9D-7634-4BAA-84AD-B1BD27E29808.jpeglarge_88F20A04-6E3D-4B78-92A8-27E33DF041E6.jpeg

American Beaver — cool!
large_5B097CA9-1DB9-4D9E-9F5B-81ACF6AA5697.jpeg

MUTE SWAN:
large_259D4249-764E-45A5-964A-81DCEC35711A.jpeg

CASPIAN TERN:
large_EF959323-1691-4B30-9833-E63F22981A30.jpeg

I am overjoyed whenever I can get photos of any rail (they are tough little marsh-dwellers to photograph). Here are a few SORA who allowed for some decent snaps:
large_59299730-E92D-44D1-AE18-D2E8732E82F3.jpeglarge_9642A24A-8FA0-4D78-9D7C-A9B742991EDF.jpeglarge_3DF4CC23-D77D-4B66-896F-4E82238236C7.jpeg

SAVANNAH SPARROW:
large_54E2C469-6D76-4C29-950E-524B4C940A93.jpeglarge_447BA1FF-7179-48A2-9B9A-31502DB9554B.jpeg

PALM WARBLER:
large_B3E1BAEF-44E9-472C-BE49-15EE38921EC2.jpeg

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
large_28AA8BC6-27E7-423A-AF9A-79C2CDEB535A.jpeg

Next stop: Indian Ridge Marshes where the only noteworthy birds were a few more calling Sora and this PIED-BILLED GREBE:
large_31B8AFF1-CD5C-419B-B29B-862AF2706D26.jpeg

Then, it was off to Hegewisch Marsh Park where a NORTHERN FLICKER was there to greet me:
large_76E93B23-C18A-4DF3-BFF2-0F435F4A33CD.jpeg

And a SWAMP SPARROW:
large_E3FC1228-7098-4FA6-A555-37C1DC4FE0DF.jpeg

Painted Turtles:
large_3544AE2B-09AB-485A-8B84-FD80ABF44C10.jpeg

WOOD DUCK:
large_9A4B1E3B-9452-427E-BF94-2CD5D8FD7B29.jpeg

It was a nice treat to get a brief look at two GADWALL before they spooked:
large_4B34F503-C251-4442-810B-D1034F569AC2.jpeglarge_3227068C-8269-45EC-B840-7630D312A9F2.jpeg

Some nice views of BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
large_1FD8F661-647A-4B69-B857-04E4F426D7D9.jpeglarge_358EECED-4A4E-4597-86AA-4F73E6676BA2.jpeglarge_CE970393-F794-4087-A5C5-1D2D002EAD0F.jpeg

Then, I was overjoyed to find my sixth warbler species of the spring flitting in the treetops: NASHVILLE WARBLER! Characteristics for identification include the white eye-ring (visible in the first photo), the rufous crown (visible in the second photo), and the lemon-yellow underside.
large_306199CC-DD55-4CD7-BBF8-C2C6F9002350.jpeglarge_6E994EF2-D6CD-40E4-966B-A9F1EE1F4307.jpeg

So here is my revised Spring 2020 warbler list:

1. Ovenbird
2. Louisiana Waterthrush: DuPage County, April 4
3. Northern Waterhthrush
4. Golden-winged Warbler
5. Blue-winged Warbler
6. Black-and-White Warbler
7. Prothonotary Warbler
8. Tennessee Warbler
9. Orange-crowned Warbler: Oak Park alley, April 24
10. Nashville Warbler: Hegewisch Marsh, April 27
11. Connecticut Warbler
12. Mourning Warbler
13. Kentucky Warbler
14. Common Yellowthroat
15. Hooded Warbler
16. American Redstart
17. Cape May Warbler
18. Cerulean Warbler
19. Northern Parula
20. Magnolia Warbler
21. Bay-breasted Warbler
22. Blackburnian Warbler
23. Yellow Warbler
24. Chestnut-sided Warbler
25. Blackpoll Warbler
26. Black-throated Blue Warbler
27. Palm Warbler
28. Pine Warbler: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, April 18
29. Yellow-rumped Warbler: Thatcher Woods, April 4
30. Yellow-throated Warbler
31. Townsend’s Warbler BONUS RARITY: Deer Grove Forest Preserve, April 17
32. Black-throated Green Warbler
33. Canada Warbler
34. Wilson’s Warbler

EASTERN BLUEBIRD:
large_AD9C75BF-5E55-4E72-AAAC-284BAED9F39D.jpeg

One notable unphotographed bird here was a heard-only, grunting VIRGINIA RAIL.

And I made a quick stop at Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve where I only managed a photo of this FIELD SPARROW — then it was time to head home.
large_07FF47F9-6AC5-4A65-852F-6B32EB78CE8B.jpeg

Of course, after stepping outside the car at home, I took a few minutes to scan my surroundings and upon hearing the piercingly high-pitched call of a BROAD-WINGED HAWK, I trained my camera at the sky and snapped this photo of one sailing quickly away from me. Yeah, you’ll just have to believe me on this one.
large_D80939D9-8211-4A11-A2B9-E113A6E3F6C4.jpeg

But, the fun was not over yet! During theory class, I received word from my friend Jake C about three Long-billed Dowitchers up in Techny Basin in Glenview. So, of course, after theory I hopped in the car to twitch them! Upon arriving, a gale force wind was blowing with a light rain and a lonely KILLDEER was on the mudflat to greet me. The weather was miserable.
large_B560ACBE-CB61-42F8-ADBF-154070B7DA21.jpeg

And then I saw them — LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS! These beautiful shorebirds are not common by any means; the last time I saw them was at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (which I miss so dearly) in New York City (where they are a bit more common). These dowitchers can be separated from their look-alike Short-billed cousins by their extensive salmon wash they have on the underside, extending to a rust-brown belly, as well as barring on the flanks. They are incredible birds!
large_83D50093-6237-49AA-A704-85057BA57060.jpeglarge_D2EEABD5-284C-4D68-BE01-75A2B2EF9858.jpeg
large_F4B2BB74-976C-4EE0-B2C4-77E586A42A8C.jpeglarge_BFD6A837-35F1-4CFA-809B-E83285BC1DBB.jpeglarge_A1583549-C016-4181-B426-8F9A8910A726.jpeglarge_B0E2D2BD-ADEC-40F3-A9CA-87D590A19366.jpeglarge_83D50093-6237-49AA-A704-85057BA57060.jpeg

A few times, a LESSER YELLOWLEGS also joined the fun:
large_1AD6BAD3-7A1D-483A-9014-D9E37A74413F.jpeg

NORTHERN SHOVELER:
large_E8618534-162E-46D8-9672-0E63CF9631F7.jpeg

BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
large_560A8BFD-8E79-4B0F-9753-77C1EE60FB41.jpeglarge_7453E239-BAD2-469D-88C0-1F352F1701DA.jpeg

Another rare bird that has been recently hanging around Techny Basin that I saw was an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (one of three actually) — not a rare bird in the winter, but certainly unexpected in late April!
large_0B35C1E3-F25A-46BC-9A29-BC2E81564FD1.jpeg

Of course, the birding didn’t stop there because I had noticed the rain let up, and since waze convenintly routed me past Thatcher Woods on the way home, I made an unplanned stop there to search for migrants. And migrants there were! BROWN CREEPER:
large_E572C758-0B0A-4E4C-98EB-EAFABB4F2559.jpeg

EASTERN PHOEBE:
large_D67B9C14-5805-40EF-BF2A-B2DF64861C1A.jpeg

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
large_9AA74958-9E16-458B-9BEC-48D7C0C458BB.jpeglarge_04976DE5-9130-4F6D-BBF8-B293E59A0B72.jpeg

COOPER’S HAWK:
large_8258A697-1773-41BF-9364-E79EFB116A37.jpeg

And my first CHIMNEY SWIFTS of the year, hooray!
large_9F675F59-79C5-46FF-8538-DD219F41088A.jpeg

So a great day! Bird-of-the-day to the Long-billed Dowitchers with runners-up to the Nashville Warbler & Broad-winged Hawk. Stay tuned: tomorrow I return to Bartel Grassland in hopes of a stray Yellow Rail, LeConte’s Sparrow, Ring-necked Pheasant, or any other grassland/wetland speciality that might be lurking around. Keep it up, spring migration!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1114 Species

Posted by skwclar 18:25 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Family picnic!

McClaughry Springs Woods, IL

sunny 57 °F

Such a beautiful day (for a change!) with nothing to do called for a family picnic, of course! My dad drove us to McClaughry Springs Woods which was great for the family because it is a sublime little preserve at which to picnic, and productive for me because it is a woodland birding hotspot.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
large_D8696DD8-7F35-4BB1-BDE0-4686EF7618B7.jpeg

Picnic time with Pearl and Tian!
large_DF288E71-DCEE-4520-A9DF-84B372863E4B.jpeg

I was overjoyed when a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, an increasingly uncommon Palos-area specialty, gave a quick flyby:
large_D157F235-A491-4AB4-B58B-6E52BD9FF986.jpeg

But was soon chased off by one of the resident RED-TAILED HAWKS:
large_E0C0C938-E99A-4545-BBD7-E48C95E06ED6.jpeg

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS proliferated today. About a week late for their peak numbers!
large_D3CF5106-BE8A-473D-A02D-AEA2B6C9AD54.jpeglarge_3729D347-D05D-45DD-9E97-96DEE69CB5A3.jpeg

Nice to catch up with another BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER who even sung for us!
large_4C9A77C4-F38A-4B97-9A37-2D1D415ABE23.jpeg

And I loved seeing this lovely male EASTERN BLUEBIRD. It also seemed to have a mate tagging along — hope they breed successfully!
large_A81078C4-0801-4E29-A7AF-7CB9CB2861D6.jpeg

EASTERN PHOEBE:
large_E8E52141-5061-49D1-A908-2A1894857205.jpeglarge_AC44BCE3-D030-40D2-B5CF-9FB90F47DAEA.jpeglarge_860DBAD8-F4B0-4DB6-A43C-226BF5688DB9.jpeg

BROWN CREEPER:
large_DB3A7A51-0061-4720-9DE7-91C2AF78F062.jpeg

It was a great excursion. Later today, Tian, Pearl, and I enjoyed relaxing on the roof outside my bedroom window and I even did some birding! This may be a new spot to have a “big sit” during May migration as the view is great, hmmmm...photo credit to my neighbor Priscilla!
large_F50D2A8F-3E50-4DEA-8C27-BC173D96E267.jpeg

One of the birds seen from up there was this bright YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:
large_8881B62A-8231-4DD1-AB9D-3D315CF4AE89.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day to the Red-shouldered Hawk with runner-up to the Eastern Bluebird. Stay tuned: tomorrow morning I am off to the Calumet area to search for marsh birds!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1114 Species

Posted by skwclar 16:56 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Recurvirostra americana!

Orland Park, IL

rain 41 °F

Although the weather today was absolutely miserable to say the least, I unbelievably actually got some decent birds today. It started with a flurry of activity in my backyard this morning — an AMERICAN GOLDFINCH can always brighten up a dreary morning:
large_18C117F1-A489-4955-A7F6-695C4D9535C7.jpeg

As can the crown of a male RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET:
large_405806B7-A86C-47BA-8669-3C54DC6A774D.jpeg

Then, later today, I saw on the Cook County RBA (Rare Bird Alert) that six American Avocets were seen at Centennial Park in Orland Park, IL — just forty-five minutes away! So, it was obvious that I needed to see “Recurvirostra americana” today because any day with Recurvirostra is better than one without! When I arrived to the lake mid-afternoon, RING-BILLED GULLS and CASPIAN TERNS were very obvious:
large_FB1418DB-D26D-49B6-91F7-714CF6E53D41.jpeglarge_10ABB73B-968A-4FD3-8C35-E9FEB5E6A72F.jpeglarge_C335B1C1-A2C8-40D7-8491-709B824F604E.jpeg

And I was pleasantly surprised to also find a shorter and less-common, migrant FORSTER’S TERN among the Caspian! Too cool!
large_F6BE40A2-E110-4FC0-83DC-D2E243C5AC30.jpeglarge_C20A8FDD-FDE8-4304-8751-EB3066643866.jpeg

Of course, the “big ticket” bird today can’t be left out — now you can see why the AMERICAN AVOCET’S Latin name includes “Recurvirostra:” amazingly upward-curved bills!!! What incredible birds!!!
large_7690BA5F-883D-47A9-860F-45E32117F1D1.jpeglarge_02280113-AE53-41B5-98DF-1095E7271007.jpeglarge_E9B2C5B1-D70A-4874-BC2C-29133786D6A7.jpeglarge_F65854A0-05CA-4632-8348-B8E60942D97F.jpeglarge_8C531A01-AD92-4027-81AF-5A429D23A017.jpeglarge_1BC71C19-F5F5-4DF1-A2C3-11F3021BCD43.jpeglarge_97C1F572-42D0-435A-BF1B-31CD65B05A51.jpeglarge_FD529E69-6772-44FF-8768-DA1F4DC986B6.jpeglarge_E77502EE-DA79-4E50-8186-C8EB24A8900C.jpeg
large_301A9A00-3852-4BE2-A1BE-7DA072EE88B9.jpeglarge_9F88254D-A593-4FDF-A753-BE645C5FBF16.jpeglarge_38EDBBC4-A1AC-4BC4-8AEA-5C9E5F7C6BC6.jpeglarge_BBE33604-7DEB-4BF6-BA67-033BC72AC8F8.jpeglarge_BC042CB0-6E05-408D-A29D-028946064F6A.jpeglarge_2D853537-FBF7-4C4E-A0CC-4FD2C291FFF1.jpeglarge_CE2E0A66-CEB9-49E3-B0B2-32138EA0A975.jpeg

An AMERICAN KESTREL patrolled nearby:
large_29CACA79-4BCE-4099-BB38-D8BD88270188.jpeg

And despite the awful weather, I had a number of other first-year birds today including SPOTTED SANDPIPER:
large_189DFB3F-2CDD-40F0-9D06-1B61B9BEC29C.jpeg

And BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
large_F5934DB1-040A-4FBB-AFF7-DC249B0AADD3.jpeglarge_2C13B841-9EF4-4D81-99F3-4E90BB018BB6.jpeg

A BALD EAGLE flew by at one point, scaring everything into flight which was my cue to go back to the car as I was absolutely freezing in the dreadfully cold rain.
large_C37DC235-8684-4D47-BC5A-9D44B15353F2.jpeg

Still, despite the weather, yet another amaaazing day with migrant shorebirds! Bird-of-the-day to the American Avocets with runner-up to the Forster’s Tern. Stay tuned: tomorrow will be much more beautiful, so my family and I will head to McClaughry Springs Forest Preserve (also down in this Palos/Orland area) for some picnicking and birding. Should be fun!

Good birding and stay safe,
Henry
World Life List: 1114 Species

Posted by skwclar 20:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 25) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 » Next