A Travellerspoint blog

May 2016

Springbrook Prairie

sunny 72 °F

Today (Sunday, May 22) I led a private bird walk at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville, Illinois. It was a beautiful day in the lower 70's with completely sunny skies, and the expansive, rolling grassland landscape of the preserve was very pretty. I had never been to the prairie before; however, with tips from other birders on specific locations to see target birds, we really saw quite a few very high-quality grassland avian species. It was a fantastic walk!

I am experimenting with a new template for the blog, as well as inserting large- instead of medium-sized photos this post. Leave me a comment telling how you like it!

My primary target birds for the walk were Yellow-breasted Chat, Bell's Vireo, and Clay-colored Sparrow with secondary targets being Bobolink, Sedge Wren, Henslow's & Grasshopper Sparrow, Connecticut Warbler, Least Bittern, and Ring-necked Pheasant. We found a very good number of those target birds!

The walk started out with an AMERICAN COOT in the main slough:
large_910472B1EC5E24EEE56EA1C008668BCF.jpeg

As well as a BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
large_91059C5AB155F1C7BCB5272E32030DCD.jpeg

Flyover GREEN HERON:
large_9106624BB46A50C68F6394BF4C85CB5F.jpeg

NORTHERN FLICKER:
large_910750B6D4010E2BBC4231DEACC1329C.jpeg

Male BALTIMORE ORIOLE:
large_9108476CC979278CA17D025BBD819557.jpeg

Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
large_9109A66AC139F81F063C051770DD0B12.jpeg

TREE SWALLOW:
large_910AFA61DA83E9FC1FACCAA7F3BC91F7.jpeg

WILLOW FLYCATCHER, which sang its song to differentiate itself from its identical cousin, the Alder Flycatcher:
large_910C2A3E099B10BE8C16C1F92F33145F.jpeg

Male BOBOLINK, secondary target species:
large_9138FF2DA5682FB9042028BF6AD49B6E.jpeg

We heard at least two HENSLOW'S SPARROWS and at least one SEDGE WREN in the same area as the Bobolink, with all three of those birds being secondary target birds for the trip which we found!

Male EASTERN MEADOWLARK singing:
large_913A10C0A71118E1C470761D0EB01F44.jpeg

Sadly, most of the bird walk group had left at this point because it was quite warm in the bright sun of the prairie, and the four of us had to bushwhack quite a bit; however, we were rewarded with nice close-range looks at a pair of BELL'S VIREOS. This is a threatened and declining species which I have only ever seen once before - out in Arizona in 2015.
large_913B300AA5C7EA7C346EFB6C1ED71422.jpeglarge_913C23610FE0CED18F5350147988F8BA.jpeg

And then, after locating it by its buzzy song, I found another primary target bird for the day - the CLAY-COLORED SPARROW! This is an even better find because although they are an annual Illinois migrant species, Springbrook Prairie is the only reliable place in the entire state where they annually nest!
large_913D475BB859D16389CD7FF9A69A9DB3.jpeg

Its relative, a pretty SAVANNAH SPARROW perched nearby:
large_913E468BFBD3A1E198AC5E96FFB3B34B.jpeg

And a male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER in the woods on the way back to the car was nice:
large_913F5F01F07A16BFD772D68D369E8AE1.jpeg

It was a great walk! Thanks to Michelle H and Jodi T for coordinating the walk, and a HUGE thank you goes to Joe S for giving me all of the insider tips on where to find the Bell's Vireo, Clay-colored Sparrow, and other goodies at Springbrook Prairie.

And finally, here is a nice BLUE JAY photographed from my front porch this afternoon:
large_9140441FB32B3BE32CE274EA5BFB31D8.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day goes to the pair of Bell's Vireos, with runner-up to the Clay-colored Sparrow - the full list from this morning is attached below. A very fine day of birding!

Henry
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)

49 species today:

Canada Goose 4
Mallard 4
Blue-winged Teal 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Green Heron 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Coot 1
Killdeer 2
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Willow Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 2
Bell's Vireo 2 Photos obtained.
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 2
House Wren 1
Sedge Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 3
Common Yellowthroat 6
American Redstart 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 5
Henslow's Sparrow 2
Clay-colored Sparrow 1 In regular breeding area.
Field Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 7
Song Sparrow 7
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Bobolink 6
Red-winged Blackbird 18
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
Baltimore Oriole 2
American Goldfinch 1

Posted by skwclar 19:11 Archived in USA Tagged me landscapes lakes people children trees animals birds Comments (4)

May 16 - 18: Montrose and More!

all seasons in one day 64 °F

This is another recap post from this Monday - Wednesday, which were three more great days of birding during pretty much the peak of bird migration through northeast Illinois.

MONDAY, MAY 16:

I was excused from 1st through 3rd period on Monday, so I visited Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary on Lake Michigan with my dad and his friend and colleague Dan. It wasn't the most active I have ever seen the preserve, but we did have a fantastic trip and I managed 70 species of birds in total for the morning!

A few minutes after we arrived, another birder told me about a rare vagrant Say's Phoebe which had just been seen in the shrubs in the dune area of the bird sanctuary. Once I arrived, to my dismay, I heard from birders that I was just 10 minutes too late...and the Phoebe was never seen again! How frustrating, especially considering that this a bird typically found in CALIFORNIA!!

Anyway, I did see a few shorebirds on the beach including this SEMIPALMATED PLOVER:
1C9C2960C4F5F24E19D43CB18D49A42C.jpeg

And this SANDERLING:
1C9D58ABF15B52B34ACCEC9A2FFA076A.jpeg

Once I arrived back in the "Magic Hedge" section of Montrose Point, where there are huge concentrations of migrant birds most days in May, I had a very surprising sighting: this RED-HEADED WOODPECKER:
1C9E3F4A9350D6A9BCF2470E2E70A941.jpeg

A gorgeous male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER in the same tree was also nice:
1C9F116DB2A9A3C995FE2DCDAEC0ADB6.jpeg

My first male BLACKPOLL WARBLER of the year, a typical late-spring migrant:
1CA016BFB2F30946D7BA94248F446F3B.jpeg

A beautiful GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER amongst some nice flowers:
1CA26B57E1941B7A37DC43F152B42E05.jpeg

A stunning male CANADA WARBLER with his telltale necklace:
1CA184B9DE07D85F0D83B69B10B83BB9.jpeg1CA37604C53C9504B7A2507569515C62.jpeg

OVENBIRD:
1CAC6EC6C8DF4B329BA40AC35D7E4D7F.jpeg

Male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER:
1CAD45B9D13640E160592EE88444D6F3.jpeg

Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
1CAE6F01F51092C5D3C72C73272F54A0.jpeg

After quite a bit of scanning through dense bushes and shrubs, I finally got a picture of this rather elusive male MOURNING WARBLER, an uncommonly-photographed species due to their retiring habits:
1CAFAF3893B0A624E5E7D464316CEBBA.jpeg

It was a great trip to Montrose! Thanks to dad for driving and birding with me.

Bird-of-the-day for Monday goes to the beautiful Canada Warbler with its gorgeous necklace, and runners-up to the Red-headed Woodpecker and Mourning Warbler. No awards to the missing Say's Phoebe!

TUESDAY, MAY 17:

I managed to photograph two nice warblers around the neighborhood, including this female CHESTNUT-SIDED:
1CAA62B3E7A488A597CBFF171FBDFAE1.jpeg

And yet another gorgeous male BLACKBURNIAN; it has been a fantastic spring for this species for me! The Blackburnian will be my bird-of-the-day for Tuesday.
1CA9545ABC4D551A8F1DD5BBEEC48B9F.jpeg

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18:

Wednesday also yielded some good birding around the neighborhood. This is a SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
1CB0E160A98B0CC30B1634D330458222.jpeg

GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, note the incomplete eye-ring when compared to the Swainson's above:
1CB8A890FE440F7C3D4290CDA69CFCA2.jpeg

Male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, an uncommon sighting for my block:
1CB9A4B1968C92BBD67701192B24A04C.jpeg

Flyover GREAT BLUE HERON, another locally uncommon sighting:
1CBAA8CEB777D0DF637B21821214F885.jpeg

And a beautiful ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
1CBB9937C39B639BE60055D13913A07D.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Wednesday goes to the Gray-cheeked Thrush, with runner-up going to the flyover Great Blue Heron.

It was a great few days of birding! School (and my birthday!) has kept me busy the past few days, but I will probably post on Sunday after I lead a private bird walk at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. Stay tuned!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 12:33 Archived in USA Tagged me lakes beaches buildings people children trees animals birds Comments (1)

May 9 - May 15: Migration Madness!

all seasons in one day 67 °F

I am a bit behind in posting due to a crazy schedule, but this is the recap post of what is usually the most productive week of birding of the entire year in northeast Illinois: the second weak of May! It will be split-up day-by-day again. Get ready for a ton of photos!

MONDAY, MAY 9:

A lot of birding around the neighborhood turned up a few avian goodies, including the following:

A beautifully-cooperative OVENBIRD:
C6EA7EFAD2B87F5A79927AB1906AC821.jpeg

Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
C6E96B24FB4CD86F26C30277301E765A.jpeg

Male BLUE-WINGED WARBLER:
C6E3D3B4DB8F60A71A6470738DFF6949.jpeg

VEERY:
C6E4F44BAA9741CA176FBBEB47DC75EB.jpeg

SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
C6E61E39FB43A4B2B7BC86D9EFD0CE2B.jpeg

And my bird-of-the-day was possibly the most brilliantly red male SCARLET TANAGER I have ever seen, always a remarkable and seemingly out-of-place species here in Illinois.
C6E7740EDEDA924A7B8D6BEA5BBE15FD.jpegC6E891C70320A2F8A29622980B68F1E1.jpeg

TUESDAY, MAY 10:

When I sat down to start my homeschooling in the morning of last Tuesday, I noticed a weird bird sitting right outside the house. On closer inspection, it was a molting male SUMMER TANAGER, an extremely uncommon bird for northern Illinois and one that I had never expected to see in my own backyard! It is the third rarest bird I have ever seen in Oak Park! This is a species that is much more frequently seen in forests of the southern half of Illinois in the spring and summer.
C6E2AC19DAA72ADC2589EDD8EF988294.jpeg

OVENBIRD:
C6F2B81AB621CBED85F3C844E6FC6ED8.jpeg
C6FD25A4DA218EF4B7971F6492279F8D.jpeg

Male NASHVILLE WARBLER:
C6F3E5DBC0C342AB5A762FB0936580D8.jpeg

Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
C6F55605B2FC5710CD608DFAA73E3433.jpeg

Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
C6F648F2EADE3CEBE20688A080FD7FFE.jpeg

WOOD THRUSH:
C6F7497AC25CA79190A8FD6FB71C8779.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Tuesday goes to the male Summer Tanager, of course. Two days of beautiful tanagers in a row!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11:

Taking advantage of my school's late-arrival Wednesday, I led a 7am Oak Park Bird Walk and even though only three people showed up, it was one of the most productive walks I have ever had with so many warblers and other migrant birds!

The walk got off to a good start with this female SCARLET TANAGER:
C6FE1919A68B16D0E9355AD8169F5F65.jpeg

Male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, a nice uncommon species:
C6FEE1A9E4B2914C9E484BD5DF89E340.jpeg

Male BALTIMORE ORIOLE:
C6FFDC43B8DA7DE2C53083D8C62C954E.jpeg

Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
C700CE3D09F148C1069B7645B2D015E0.jpeg

This bird had us all confused during the walk, but thanks to the help of the online Illinois birding community, I identified this bird after-the-fact as a first-year male ORCHARD ORIOLE, the first time I have recorded this uncommon species in Oak Park!
C70268CD959E834E894AB8E31E7EA7E9.jpeg

Male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER:
C7038FC2F980BFFDE47CB31808FA90C0.jpeg

Stunning male SCARLET TANAGER high in a tree:
C70B74710C980A0C98B9F9892153E3A5.jpeg

Any ideas on what this bird is? I'm stumped.
C70C79BAA95F82B026132DA00B920B0E.jpeg

It was an awesome walk! Later in the day, I birded a bit in Grant & Millenium Parks in downtown Chicago before choir rehearsal. They were surprisingly devoid of birds, but I managed a few photos including a bad one of this SWAMP SPARROW:
C70823E39A552F00BDEA28E4F6C5AB39.jpeg

SAVANNAH SPARROW:
C70A33429C3DE0CD0E7E5E6E60D61E81.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Wednesday, the 11th goes to the Orchard Oriole, a great species for Oak Park.

THURSDAY, MAY 12:

Some birding around the neighborhood yielded a few avian highlights, including absolutely crippling looks at a mixed flock of warblers, including this male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER:
C70E8C84E87126A21C56D82D52D2E482.jpegC70D7C01DA9FCDE4D9860B3EAAEF1740.jpeg

Male CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER:
C713E26AF5FAF29688C9BCC54052EA58.jpeg

Male NORTHERN PARULA:
C714FE75DDA7FE9964553BBAA99CAAD1.jpeg

Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
C715D7B6F64741FAC79F87C4D098F9C9.jpeg

Male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER:
C716D9A5D5040833DE399B96A772406D.jpeg

Male BAY-BREASTED WARBLER:
C7180232BC43295C49320E1F74FAB05C.jpeg

Male BLUE-HEADED VIREO:
C718F3C501C57F55A9FAF10A7CDD811A.jpeg

LINCOLN'S SPARROW:
C719CF6AF6998A8E0DD991AC7571E993.jpeg

RED-EYED VIREO:
C71AEA99F32EC7318907E02465605192.jpeg

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, it was a fantastic week for this uncommon species:
C7205BA794B90EE4FF2F83C4F20EF938.jpeg

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
C7215AB1B03B145071714EBE50422E16.jpeg

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
C72260ACF6F32106843CA3629384CC61.jpeg

Male AMERICAN REDSTART:
C7234EA8E18C52D849635D8D8D10209C.jpeg

GRAY CATBIRD:
C72435A5B24D057B9D497CD22C9CBE32.jpeg

Birds-of-the-day for Thursday the 12th go to the three uncommon warbler species seen: Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, and Golden-winged.

FRIDAY, MAY 13:

More birding by myself around the neighborhood-

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
C72CA0F7C1A65F69E7E66F738CD39814.jpeg

An amazingly beautiful SCARLET TANAGER, my bird-of-the-day for Friday, illuminated my day with his wonderfully red plumage!
C7266D52BCC9A3F2A6AC5F7477FCCAA2.jpegC727B7B0DE0FBCBE53E066439C968752.jpegC72AB112B7ED8D22A4F8FFBF1F3A284F.jpegC72BD6BBEC69D363C939E8B6F0324829.jpegC7253A510E14E47657BBB4667CDB7E95.jpeg

SATURDAY, MAY 14:

I led a 7:00am bird walk in my neighborhood on Saturday, and it was extremely productive with many migrants seen and ten birders in attendance.

LINCOLN'S SPARROW:
2F8195E60D521A88767ADC1800A7AA38.jpeg

Male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, what a beautiful bird:
2F831AE3DE40A486B102E45C8949FF6B.jpeg

PINE SISKIN, maybe he will nest in Oak Park this year?
2F8404F09BE74524F92A2419DFA0BCD1.jpeg

Male NORTHERN PARULA:
2F84DEE2F53C053484F8AB31F72E647B.jpeg

Molting male INDIGO BUNTING:
2F874E88B61A3854326448FC06281DD2.jpeg

SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
2F885498E9E7580F89211C28FD1DB571.jpeg

Then, in the afternoon between choir events, I birded Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary in downtown for about an hour. It was not a very productive hour of birding, but I did see a few birds including these CASPIAN TERNS and RING-BILLED GULLS:
2F894F7B9964D6831A85EFA2D006ABA9.jpeg

VEERY:
2F8DCCDAEB2F426F21A476042E1BD063.jpeg

WOOD THRUSH (left) with PALM WARBLER (right):
2F8EFDEDE68A7CF19C201B5601BE483F.jpeg

GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH:
2F901558980714004B7CA8FCD121C26E.jpeg

Female BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER:
2F910198F343EC595A1EA65E0F25DAF8.jpeg

Male EASTERN TOWHEE:
2F92095F96CB5C7CFB8DC92F14888FFE.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Saturday goes to the always amazingly orange male Blackburnian Warbler which was seen on the Oak Park Bird Walk.

SUNDAY, MAY 15:

I led an Oak Park Bird Walk at 5:30pm on Sunday, and it was a very successful first evening walk ever! Although they say morning is the best time for birding, we really found a good number of birds.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW:
2F932594B201B0E731A42EC566F7C086.jpeg

CHIPPING SPARROW:
2F942F2DFE46A8AF564FF84A4DE57FC2.jpeg

Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
2F981431CF78A92953694F8F1662106B.jpeg

My first female GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER I have ever seen!
2F9952D509082D35AFA116A9623E2551.jpeg

A striking male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER allowed for some fantastic views from just across the street. What a beauty!
2F9A7272AA33F57C5FFFF64906992081.jpeg2F9B5B03AAA2EDF3EC47B9C968B4004D.jpeg2F9C96E5D69EEE6877196E66A879BBCA.jpeg

PALM WARBLER:
2F9DA420FAD6343843148B226794C4CC.jpeg

This BROAD-WINGED HAWK was beautiful in the evening light:
2F9EA41BF937D21A6A79C1AE94A420EA.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Sunday goes to the female Golden-winged Warbler, and runner-up to the male Blackburnian. Female warbler species are often overlooked because of their beautiful male mates; however, I thought I would mix it up today because the female Golden-winged is a beautiful bird, as well!

I promise to do another "catch-up" post this coming weekend! School and everything is just so hectic this time of year!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 12:27 Archived in USA Tagged me buildings people children trees animals birds sky Comments (2)

May 4 - May 8: Marvelous Migration!!!

all seasons in one day 82 °F

The last few days have been absolutely fantastic for migrant songbirds and other avian specialties coming through the Oak Park area. This post covers five days, so it will be split up day-by-day like my last post. For anybody reading this post, let me just say that I hope you like warblers!!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4:

On the way home from school, I was astounded to see an AMERICAN CROW mobbing this OSPREY, a very rare species of raptor for Oak Park, and obviously just passing over for its migration.
B3D8763DC81517B2DE49D1CF59C99965.jpeg

Male NORTHERN PARULA singing:
B3DA0EC1BE6CB31965011B2313BAAFE9.jpeg

Male BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, a more uncommon species and my friend Isoo's favorite bird!
B3DB9273D1ABF0FF50ED6FFEEA4B215F.jpeg

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
B3DCB302B36DCCBF4CCA121E4FEF865A.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Wednesday goes to the nice Blue-winged Warbler.

THURSDAY, MAY 5:

Only a few minutes after I woke up on Thursday, I spotted this BROWN THRASHER on my suet feeder - its tail is quite stunning!
B3DDE901DC1D678C3ACB8870D68E5A5C.jpeg

COOPER'S HAWK - this bird is currently being treated to a colorful avian buffet with all of the migrant warblers and such coming through Oak Park, because smaller birds are its main prey item.
B3DF2F58DF0F23B37960C174C5968072.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Thursday goes to the beautiful Brown Thrasher.

FRIDAY, MAY 6:

I can never resist phtographing AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES like this one!
B3E029EAFBA70C1E5EB9CEB81DDC7956.jpeg

PALM WARBLER:
B3E211FCC001B7E1BE8D821AC1FFE79F.jpeg

Female TENNESSEE WARBLER:
B3EA2355A8FA061C3AD00464CABE412A.jpeg

Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
B3EC01DFEDABEFC67159DBF066DB8F89.jpeg

Female DOWNY WOODPECKER:
B3F1F3259B83A1218F1308832F2F5361.jpeg

YELLOW WARBLER was obviously my bird of the day for Friday, since multiple gorgeous male birds were very photogenic.
B3E820D1DDDA8F02611A0C478BD6C586.jpegB3ED7FD5A8BEB180FC326852BB404651.jpegB3EEE434A8C88C799B867B268B38DF5C.jpegB3F02CB6A7045999BB638A89AEE9A871.jpeg

SATURDAY, MAY 7:

I led a bird walk yesterday morning at 7:00am, and it was pretty productive with 35 species identified in total, despite some light rain and distant thunder during the walk. Because of the rain, I only photographed one bird, this male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:
B3E6FBD9E443993EDF0DE07982F2A375.jpeg

Here is the full species list for yesterday's walk:

35 species (+1 other taxa)

Killdeer 2
Ring-billed Gull 3 One flyover had food.
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
American Kestrel 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 1
Barn Swallow 3
swallow sp. 3
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 8
European Starling 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 2
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Palm Warbler 15
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 1
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 14
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 10

After choir rehearsals on Saturday, I did a little birding around the neighborhood and I found an absolutely gorgeous, rare GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER:
B406423DA971EF5014EAF909A8FA4143.jpeg

A male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER was also in the vicinity:
B404B6B4070653A10E3058A15F834025.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day goes to the Golden-winged Warbler, since that is the best photo I have ever managed of the beautiful and rare species.

Today, Sunday, May 8, I led a bird walk at Columbus Park just east of Oak Park. Eleven people showed up and 53 avian species were identified in total, so in my opinion it was an extremely successful walk!

Here is a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW sitting with a male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
B3FA93D30CE47653CE89AB70F550F168.jpeg

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:
B3FD4100EF7F4CD94B3BF82036C7FBFF.jpeg

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT:
B3FED7200BE317A8AFE2BB96A961F724.jpeg

Male BALTIMORE ORIOLE singing:
B4007685E0A2280BEA7BC6C2AA5363E2.jpeg

CHIPPING SPARROW:
B401E9500CAE62C31AEDA3827598333D.jpeg

Male WOOD DUCKS:
B4033933AE72B908D0CB274DB9332AF0.jpeg

EASTERN KINGBIRD:
B40CE70BAA72CC302B0E3CABFCCCE5BC.jpeg

Female HAIRY WOODPECKER:
B40FF446F5A9B9E60301E3177DA7F2F2.jpeg

The group was treated to multiple beautiful BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS creeping up the tree trunks:
B4124FAED8FC0036D4C27C6AE5E41FCC.jpegB413DF120EEC809BB8E8912622F807F8.jpegB4155070E64875AC4BA473F3954530B6.jpeg

Male INDIGO BUNTING:
B416A4B69FC32A246955AA8EC7EBCD19.jpeg

Calling NORTHERN FLICKER:
B4184F54AEEC238B08423396F2AE3128.jpeg

Male WOOD THRUSH, uncommon and declining species:
B41DAA90D48872972491DACB74B32FFD.jpeg

This BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was probably the best bird of the walk:
B41101B5D91A6D31210B2ED583B59FD1.jpeg

Here is the full bird list from the walk:

53 species:

Canada Goose 18
Wood Duck 14
Mallard 4
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Green Heron 1 Foraging alongside lagoon, also flew into a tree.
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Ring-billed Gull 5
Caspian Tern 1 Hunting over lagoon.
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 2
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Woods along Jackson Blvd.
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1 Calling in woods along Jackson Blvd.
Eastern Kingbird 1 In small trees/large shrubs along east side of lagoon.
Warbling Vireo 12
Blue Jay 4
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1 Austin Woods.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Wood Thrush 1 Singing in Austin Woods.
American Robin 15
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 18
Northern Waterthrush 3 Alongside lagoon & in Austin Woods, singing.
Blue-winged Warbler 2 In trees near lagoon.
Black-and-white Warbler 4
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 In tree next to Refectory.
Nashville Warbler 12
Common Yellowthroat 1
Northern Parula 3
Yellow Warbler 8
Palm Warbler 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Chipping Sparrow 2
Field Sparrow 1 Heard singing from trail alongside the highway.
White-crowned Sparrow 35
White-throated Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5
Indigo Bunting 1 In grass near Refectory.
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 8
American Goldfinch 7
House Sparrow 20

This afternoon, my neighborhood back near my house turned out to be very, very active with migrant birds - especially warblers! I was completely floored by the dozens of warblers that were flitting in the elm trees behind my house, and I have to say it was one of the most special days of birding in the neighborhood that I have ever had.

Male NORTHERN PARULAS:
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This warbler confuses me so much that I do not have an identification for it. Does anybody have any ideas? Sorry about the bad photo quality.
UPDATE MAY 9, 15: Matthew Cvetas and Josh Engel confirmed with me that this bird is a female CERULEAN WARBLER, a federally threatened species and the BEST bird I have EVER seen in Oak Park!!! WOW!!!
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Nice close-up shot of a migrant thrush called a VEERY:
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Stunning male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER with a fiery orange throat:
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This is a bad photo, but trust me, this is an OVENBIRD!
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This PINE SISKIN was a nice surprise! Now it is two months later than normal!!
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A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was also nice. I saw it being mobbed by AMERICAN ROBINS and BLUE JAYS.
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And not a bird, but worth posting on the blog - these Bleeding Hearts are one of the most beautiful flowers in our garden, but they only bloom for about one week during the peak of spring migration! What a beautiful reminder of spring!
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And here is an absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER in my neighbor's yard, a bird that is fairly hard to photograph but has an absolutely jaw-dropping plumage.
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Bird-of-the-day for Sunday goes to the female Cerulean Warbler which is an extremely rare sighting for Oak Park, and runner-up to the gorgeous and also uncommon male Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Here is the full species list for the afternoon in Oak Park:

28 species:

Broad-winged Hawk 1
Chimney Swift 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
House Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Veery 1
American Robin 8
European Starling 10
Ovenbird 1
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 7
CERULEAN WARBLER 1
Northern Parula 4
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 2
Palm Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 10
Indigo Bunting 1
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 20

It has been another extremely gratifying week of spring, migration, and the best is yet to come! Stay tuned!

Awesome birding,

Henry
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 17:54 Archived in USA Tagged me lakes people children trees animals birds sky Comments (0)

April 25 - May 1: Many, Many Birds!

all seasons in one day 64 °F

Migration has now hit northern Illinois in full swing! I have seen a huge number of birds recently, just haven't had the time to post about them due to the AP psychology exam and other school and musical obligations!

Since this post, covers up quite a few days, I will split it up day-by-day. Get ready for many, many photos!

MONDAY, APRIL 25:

Some birding on the way to and from school yielded some nice migrants, including my first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW of the year:
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And its cousin, the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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A male NASHVILLE WARBLER was nice:
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As was this PALM WARBLER:
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HERMIT THRUSHES abounded:
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And my best find of the day we this beautiful BLUE-HEADED VIREO, which will be the bird-of-the-day for Monday, April 25.
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TUESDAY, APRIL 26:

More birds to and from school brightened my day, including this YELLOW-THROATED VIREO:
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And a rather early TENNESSEE WARBLER:
B12FFC45C863E57CC2B262A2E3FB7ACF.jpegB130F6E2C48FA2657C388A141B77CAF4.jpeg

An uncommon BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was my best find of the day, even though it only allowed for this one crappy photo:
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This male YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER allowed for a beautiful photo:
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And I found my FOY (first-of-the-year) BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
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And this male NASHVILLE WARBLER showed off his beautiful yellow breast:
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This HAIRY WOODPECKER was a nice, uncommon find for Oak Park.
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Bird-of-the-day for Tuesday goes to the Blue-winged Warbler, the most uncommon species of the day, even though it only allowed for mediocre photos.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27:

Due to a late-arrival Wednesday school schedule, I led a 7:00am Oak Park Bird Walk which turned out to be quite productive. It started off well with a late-in-the-season PINE SISKIN, a bird much more common in Illinois from November - March.
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HERMIT THRUSH:
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BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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A few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS foraged on the ground ahead of the group:
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My (FOY) BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was a treat to see, always a beautiful and charismatic species:
B142F8D7B4332A4F4377C39F3EC96695.jpegB14445E2C6714A4EE1483371E24FC30F.jpeg

After the walk, I birded a bit more and found a few more species, including this molting male INDIGO BUNTING, my first-of-the-year:
B145A1D7DF4968FD51AEED5BD17E9C60.jpeg

And my (FOY) PURPLE FINCH, a female, sharing the thistle feeder with the resident AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES:
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Male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
B14A3C36CBB8A59CF4ADD55EFC517A5E.jpeg

Bird-of-the-day for Wednesday goes to the beautiful Black-and-White Warbler.

THURSDAY, APRIL 28:

This BROAD-WINGED HAWK was a nice, uncommon find for Oak Park:
B14B7EFDCE57FA30F6A03D3AE8D2AA23.jpegB14CA30FDA12D13A6AFFDCBA8E01B97F.jpeg

After I got home from school on Thursday, I received an email saying that an extremely rare Townsend's Warbler had shown up in Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. Considering that this is a bird usually found in California and Oregon this time of year, I immediately hopped on my bike and rode the train downtown.

Upon arriving at Millenium Park, I had trouble finding the warbler amongst many other birds in the area, including this male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
B14EDD3CBA795C96445ADA0A4A29300B.jpeg

I called the person who had found the warbler, Matthew Cvetas, and he gave me detailed directions about where to look for the bird, and funnily enough, I was soon scanning a row of flowering trees just spitting distance from "The Bean." Who knew such rare birds turn up in such seemingly obvious locations! The warbler; however, so far wasn't being so "obvious" for me!

A warbler - but a NASHVILLE, not a Townsend's:
B14FFCFAFFB827FE6324FB7B733EDCD1.jpeg

FINALLY, I found a warbler with a yellow cheek and heavy black facial markings - and voila! - I had my TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, not a life bird, but the first time I have seen this bird outside of Arizona:
B159511D908D826FD1AAC46D99642831.jpegB15A79F8AFC6D273D915D174324DBE29.jpeg

A bit of birding on the walk out of the park yielded a nice NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:
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And this WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and HERMIT THRUSH hung out cooperatively for a photo together:
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Bird-of-the-day for Thursday obviously goes to the Townsend's Warbler.

FRIDAY, APRIL 28:

More local birding around the neighborhood on Friday. I photographed this pretty male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH on the thistle feeder:
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WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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Molting male INDIGO BUNTING, my bird-of-the-day for Friday, singing away:
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SATURDAY, APRIL 29:

On Saturday, I led a bird walk in the morning before the rains moved in, and this mystery bird at the beginning of the walk was later identified as a drab first-year female PINE WARBLER:
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This GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was annoying since it is a very uncommon bird and due to the poor looks we attained (as evidenced by the quality of this photo), I only was able to identify the bird after the walk from looking at this photo:
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A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was nice again:
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My first-of-the-year OVENBIRD was a welcome sighting:
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A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER allowed for nice photo opportunities:
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PALM WARBLER:
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Bird-of-the-day to the cooperative Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a subtly beautiful bird.

SUNDAY, MAY 1:

May started off amazingly well with a super productive bird walk that I led at Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve in conjunction with the Illinois Young Birders' Club. We found 63 species in total, including an astonishing 14 different types of warblers - quite impressive for so early in May!

A latish YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER:
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SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
B16706C3FB573E5930F3C4175E420D34.jpeg

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
B174E9C8D5856606A8B61517EB6DC1A0.jpeg

BROWN THRASHER:
B17648B2EF293595A34D0FD2D2DB1243.jpeg

Male WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW:
B1777DC3DA9976FB5251105F664CE2EC.jpeg

This SOLITARY SANDPIPER was a surprising find in the middle of the soccer field at Thatcher:
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BLUE-HEADED VIREO. We located the most productive stretch of the forest, which was the wooded swampland west of the soccer field. Warblers, sparrows, vireos, you name it, were everywhere! It was the most productive I have ever seen Thatcher Woods!
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Male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT:
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Male BLACK-AND WHITE WARBLER:
B17BDEB3BBC2FAF8189DFE30258A9F87.jpeg

Female:
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VEERY:
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It was a fantastic walk! After leading the group around, I stopped at the Trailside Museum where they were in the process of banding feeder birds with the use of mist nets. Very cool! When I visited, they had caught this female DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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A bit more birding by myself afterwards yielded more goodies, including this male BALTIMORE ORIOLE, a true harbinger of spring and summer:
B1841D39F7313393F0ED350CF9E4C713.jpeg

Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
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Female YELLOW WARBLER:
B1869C0E021E4F2B78FE6086258BDB2D.jpeg

My best find of the day at Thatcher Woods was right at the end, when I spotted this magnificent RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, a vulnerable and declining species that is very uncommon in northeast Illinois and that I have never seen in the Oak Park/River Forest area before! So cool!
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Bird-of-the-day to Sunday, May 1 obviously goes to the Red-headed Woodpecker.

Whew! More photos of migration madness to come this weekend! Nothing beats birding in May!

Happy spring migration,

Henry
World Life List: 884 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 19:48 Archived in USA Tagged me people trees animals birds sky Comments (1)

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