A Travellerspoint blog

October 2015

Fox Sparrow!

sunny 60 °F

Before talking about the aforementioned bird that was the highlight of my day, here are some travel plans I have: Sax-Zim Bog (winter birding mecca) in northern Minnesota with my aunt and uncle during Christmas Break (definite; my Amtrak ticket has been bought - this is the trip shown on the above map), Cuba & the Dominican Republic with my choir next June (rather tentative), and possibly even Colombia on a Majestic Feathers birding tour next July (very tentative)! Colombia is the country with the largest bird list on the planet, over 1,800 species, which is nearly twice as many birds as in the USA and Canada combined!

Anyway, back to birding much closer to home...today, Marcus, a neighbor who is also a casual birder, came by with a stunned Fox Sparrow which had collided with their window. Thankfully, he released it after showing it to me and it immediately flew away. I found the tree where it landed and snapped this photo of it because this is the first Fox Sparrow I have ever seen in Oak Park, the 112th species for my Oak Park list!
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Migration is continuing here in Illinois, and although I don't run Oak Park Bird Walks this far into the fall due to colder temperatures, raptor, waterfowl, and sparrow migration is really picking up in many locations throughout the state! Get out to your local grassland or body of water to see some of these late-migration specialties.

So this resilient Fox Sparrow will be my bird-of-the-day today. While school and musical commitments are very demanding this semester, I may not be posting very frequently, but I'm certainly very excited for my trip up to the Sax-Zim Bog after Christmas!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 865 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 14:56 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Last Oak Park Bird Walk of 2015

sunny 78 °F

Today I led the last bird walk of 2015, and it was a very pleasant walk with temperatures in the upper 50's and perfectly sunny skies. Although the birding was quite slow, the group had a great time, enjoyed lively conversation, and my grandma came on the walk for the first time ever!

This YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER decided to forage up the side of a chimney:
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The trees are starting to turn brilliantly, and this one was very showy:
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A few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, including this one, were sighted:
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The most photogenic bird was this HERMIT THRUSH, a characteristic bird of late fall migration:
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Bird-of-the-day to the beautiful Hermit Thrush, and runner up to the humorous Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, both being typical late fall birds for northeast Illinois. The full species list is attached below.

This was the last Oak Park Bird Walk until next spring, so I may not be posting for a bit as I shift more and more energy towards school and music. I have a really fun birding trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota planned with my birding aunt and uncle right after Christmas, and if rare birds or other cool birding opportunities pop up in the area before then, I will definitely be posting about them, so I will certainly keep posting this semester - just probably not as regularly as I have been.

To get on the email list for next spring's bird walks, send me an email at: trumpetswan@comcast.net

To learn more about Oak Park Bird Walks, please visit: sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 865 Species (no recent life birds)

21 species

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 2
Chimney Swift 20
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 7
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 4
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Brown Creeper 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 50
European Starling 15
Cedar Waxwing 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 8
Dark-eyed Junco 1
White-throated Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 12
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 7
House Sparrow 30

Posted by skwclar 13:52 Archived in USA Tagged people children trees animals birds Comments (0)

8th Oak Park Bird Walk of Autumn

semi-overcast 66 °F

This morning I led the second-to-last Oak Park Bird Walk of this fall. A nice group of birders enjoyed this walk, which turned out to be rather productive - especially for this late in the migration season - and despite the crisp temperatures in the mid-40s.

There were a lot of small passerines (songbirds) flitting about, but they were very challenging to identify because they were foraging quite frenetically due to the cool temperatures, making binocular and camera views a bit of a struggle.

Immature WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW that hadn't grown its white crown feathers yet:
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A very late SWAINSON'S THRUSH - the average departure date for these guys from northeast Illinois is September 30, not October 10!
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Male DARK-EYED JUNCO, a characteristic winter bird that clearly had a large influx into the area recently:
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Near the end of the walk, both GOLDEN- and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS treated the group to mouth-watering views just feet away; however, they were moving so fast that I only managed these terrible photos!

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET:
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GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET:
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It was a fantastic walk! Bird-of-the-day to the very late SWAINSON'S THRUSH. The full avian species list is attached below.

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 865 Species (no recent life birds)

23 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose 9
Cooper's Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 6
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 13
Black-capped Chickadee 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 8
Swainson's Thrush 1
American Robin 35
thrush sp. 2
Cedar Waxwing 1
American Redstart 1
Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.) 15
Dark-eyed Junco 5
White-crowned Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 8
Common Grackle 2
House Finch 1
House Sparrow 25

Posted by skwclar 14:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

7th Oak Park Bird Walk of Autumn

overcast 58 °F

Before I launch into my regular post, you may be wondering what the featured map above is for...? Well, over this Christmas Break (which is, I will admit, quite a while away still!) I will be visiting the Sax-Zim Bog, AKA "owl & winter birding mecca," in northern Minnesota with my birding aunt and uncle, just like I did last year! I am already excited (and shivering)!

Today I led my seventh of nine scheduled Oak Park Bird Walks this autumn. It was a fantastic bird walk with eight birders in attendance under overcast conditions with temperatures hovering around a rather chilly 50 degrees. 22 bird species were identified in total, with some highlights photographed below:

GRAY CATBIRD seen right at the beginning of the walk:
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Female NORTHERN FLICKER, "Yellow-shafted" subspecies:
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YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER:
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BLUE-HEADED VIREO, my "bird of the day" and the most uncommon species seen. It gave fairly good looks to everyone in the group.
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AMERICAN GOLDFINCH not looking so gold anymore - they have already transitioned to their nonbreeding plumage:
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WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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HERMIT THRUSH:
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Bird-of-the-day goes to the uncommon BLUE-HEADED VIREO. The full list of 22 avian species is included below.

It was an extraordinary walk; one of my favorites of the fall so far! To get on the list for Oak Park Bird Walks, email me: trumpetswan@comcast.net

For more information, please visit: sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 865 Species (no recent life birds)

22 species (+1 other taxa)

I have two remaining walks scheduled for next weekend, and then this Oak Park Bird Walk season will sadly be over.

Cooper's Hawk 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 4
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 20
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Hermit Thrush 4
American Robin 60
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling 25
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.) 2
White-throated Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 10
Pine Siskin 5
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 35

Posted by skwclar 14:30 Archived in USA Comments (1)

6th Oak Park Bird Walk of Autumn

all seasons in one day 55 °F

Today I led six steadfast birders on the sixth Oak Park Bird Walk of the season in damp, chilly weather with misty rain showers and temperatures in the lower 50's. The avian turnover that has happened over the last few days was strikingly evident this morning as pockets of warblers and Swainson's Thrush that were here just a few days ago have been replaced with late-fall migrants such as YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, and abundant GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS.

The best bird of the walk; however, was my first-of-the-season DARK-EYED JUNCO, a typical wintertime bird for Chicago so although this was nice to see, it sadly signals yet another Chicago winter is on the way.
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To get on the email list for Oak Park Bird Walks, email me at: trumpetswan@comcast.net

To learn more information about the walks, please visit: sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

On a completely different note, last Sunday night, my parents and I admired the "blood moon" lunar eclipse, a once-in-a-generation, spectacular phenomenon where (as you may guess) a blood moon coincides with a lunar eclipse. The next time this particular event will happen will be in 2033. I had never even seen a regular eclipse before, so this was really cool!
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The full list for today's Oak Oark Bird Walk is attached below.

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 865 Species (no recent life birds)

21 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose 2
Ring-billed Gull 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 5
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Downy Woodpecker 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10
American Robin 20
European Starling 2
American Redstart 1
Cape May Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.) 1
Dark-eyed Junco 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 7
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 15

Posted by skwclar 13:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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