Yesterday, I guided two birders: Fernando, from Spain, who is about my age, and John, from England. We had a BLAST and found some great, great birds — despite it being in a typically-quiet part of the summer in Chicago. As I write this, I am enjoying my first evening here in Sun Valley Idaho and will soon start posting about the birding from this trip!
Once again, we started the day by birding at Bartel Grassland in the south part of the county — I was hoping to get a photo of the Bobwhite briefly seen tuesday. We started with a DICKCISSEL:
Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
Male EASTERN MEADOWLARK:
Male FIELD SPARROW:
Then, we found a more uncommon sparrow — a HENSLOW’S:
Finally, we found this NORTHERN BOBWHITE I had seen only briefly on tuesday, our goal for the Bartel Grassland segment:
Next, we visited Big Marsh in the Calumet area in search of Least Bittern and COMMON GALLINULE, of which we immediately found several sets of families! Amazing given this is a pretty rare Illinois breeding bird.
Adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON:
Juvenile, to compare:
Female YELLOW WARBLER:
Immature GREAT BLUE HERON:
Painted Turtles sunning:
Fernando was particularly impressed by this tree which was felled by an American Beaver:
Suddenly, Fernando spotted this rare LEAST BITTERN (!!!!!!) which came up onto a cattail for AMAZING LOOKS! Absolutely incredible for this shy, diminutive, and rare species.
Along the way to the next stop, we spotted this immature RED-TAILED HAWK:
A BELL’S VIREO and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW entertained us with their songs at Steelworkers Park, which were added bonuses.
Next was Montrose Point where we scored an amazing KING RAIL which unfortunately scuttled away before I could obtain any photos, but still awesome! Scoring amazing birds!
After picking up my girlfriend, we went to Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve in hopes of a Prothonotary Warbler, which unfortunately was our only big miss of the day. EASTERN WOOD-PEWEEE:
Fernando ran onto this dangerous looking log at one point which was quite entertaining! I would’ve fallen in!
What a day! Bird-of-the-day to the Least Bittern with runners-up to the Northern Bobwhite, Common Gallinule, Bell’s Vireo, and King Rail! GREAT!
Bonus bird: Fernando corrected a misidentification I made in Italy, and it turns out I have another life bird: a Melodious Warbler! I had previously misidentified it as a Wood Warbler, which is a lookalike.
World Life List: 951 Species (1 life bird from Italy: Melodious Warbler)